A Greek national takes a humorously scathing look back at his student life in Great Britain.
Although the title suggests a recounting of erotic escapades, this debut is more of a compendium of quotations from literature, journalism and scholarship about the English character, rounded out with Doikas’ anecdotes of his experiences in England. Heavy drinking, emotional inexpressiveness and sexual repression all come in for criticism here, as do local colloquialisms (“innit should become the formal equivalent of n’est-ce pas”), the English climate and food and beverage horrors such as baked beans on toast. These are all well-known targets, and Doikas’ extensive quotations show that even the British often take aim at them. The author’s Greek perspective, however, is fresher, especially when he discusses generosity and reciprocity. He writes of a Greek concept, for example, that “represents a code of honor, a rectitude, that even villains are compelled to observe.” Doikas is apparently horrified when he overhears “a discussion between a young couple that had been living together for four years”; she wants to make a phone call, and he offers to lend (not give!) her the princely sum of 10 pence. Similarly, the author writes that the common English instruction to “bring your own booze” when going to a party was “most discordant with my home culture.” The book is at its best when it sticks to such scenes. However, Doikas’ humor can be heavy-handed at times, as when he cites the fictitious “Dr. Paulus Silentiarius,” who “graduated in Social Anthropology (Single Horns) with a First Clash degree from Onanistan’s renowned university of Loxford.” The book’s most glaring problem, though, is that it contains no references later than 1998. You’d never know, for example, that famous celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay exist, or that one of the most popular dishes in today’s Britain is chicken tikka masala. Did Doikas like anything about Britain? He does mention a few things, such as the postal system, taxis and public libraries, and when he watches sitcoms such as Blackadder, he feels “such a great gratitude for this nation that [he] could forgive them almost everything.”
An amusing, if somewhat dated, critique of British culture.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)