Thursday, 29 January 2009

Book Review: Doctor in the House by Richard Gordon

An eternal fan of British Sitcom I’ve found myself over the past year retreading the steps of an old TV classic from the 1970s. The Doctor… series was one of ITV’s finer sitcoms following the escapades of student doctors, then qualified doctors in and around St Swithins hospital in London.

The TV series, inspired by Dr. Richard Gordon’s stories was the last in a line of film, stage and radio adaptations from Dr. Gordon’s books, the first in the series being Doctor in the House.

This is where it all began! Stories of student Doctors at St Swithins hospital are just as hilarious on the printed page as they are on the TV screen.

Doctor in the House never ceases to tickle the funny bone with well crafted characters from the mischievous student Doctor, Benskin, to the idle Grimsdyke and the larger than life surgeon Sir Lancelot Spratt, all featuring in credible yet believable scenarios.

In the centre of all this is student Doctor, Richard Gordon (the inspiration for later adaptations in Simon Sparrow, Michael Upton and Duncan Waring) recounting the scenarios from a personal angle.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Book Review: Evil Weasel by Hannah Shaw

Weasel is evil. His mean schemes and cunning tricks have made him richer than you can possibly imagine. But they have also upset his friends. So when Weasel throws a big party to show off his amazing castle, fast car and money-filled swimming pool, none of his guests turn up!

Weasel is horrified to discover that he's bad at being a friend and sets out to put things right. But can he convince his friends that he’s truly sorry? And will he really learn the error of his ways and stop being evil altogether?

Shaw's comic illustrations and interesting typographic layout make Evil Weasel fun to read as well as interesting to look at, giving the reader something new to discover with each read!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Book Review: The Jenkins’s’s’s’s’s by Chris Needs

Following on from his successful autobiography, Like It Is, BBC Radio Wales presenter Chris Needs presents a biographical account of a year in the lives of his comic creations The Jenkins's's's's's family.

Seen through the diaries of the matriarch of Wales' first family, our Gladys. The book follows them from humble beginnings in their valley community of Ponty Pantin to the sun kissed Mumbles Bay and foreign parts (including Western Super Mare).

Mark Davies comical illustrations bring this adult humour book to life and is sure to delight Chris Needs followers across Wales and beyond!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Book Review: Not Quite World’s End - A Traveller’s Tale by John Simpson

John Simpson has been travelling the world as a journalist for over forty years and has experienced first hand many news breaking situations including war, disease, terrorism, natural disasters and crime.

Where many of these stories daunt most of us John delivers quite a positive message in Not Quite World's End, and takes the surprising view that despite whatever happens, its not the end of the world.
His vivid prose, clear-sightedness and wonderful anecdotes about the many people and places he has encountered- from emperors to movie stars, from Chelsea to China - all add up to an inspiring and entertaining read.

When we are at the point of looking back over the previous year's news events and looking to the future, Not Quite Worlds End should surely be a positive note to begin 2009 with and certainly offers us reassurance in seemingly desperate times.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Book Review: Rapunzel's Revenge

I’ve found the content of Graphic Novels quite depressing in recent times, many aspire to be too adult or realistic while forgetting the main point is tell a good story that is entertaining and has appeal to the masses.

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale is a collision of the Grimm Brothers world of storytelling and the gutsy female heroine falling somewhere between Calamity Jane and Buffy The Vampire Slayer takes the elements of great story telling while mixing it with eye catching artwork which draws you in to a fantasy adventure.

I loved the subtle tongue in cheek references to Mother Goose and Jack and The Beanstalk thrown alongside a backdrop of Wild West landscape.

The book features a great mix of traditional villains and monsters while fighting stereotyping by discarding with the irritating handsome prince in the first chapter in favour of a lovable rogue in the second.


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