Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guess What I'm Reading

I've been on a bit of a reading jag lately. I spent most of Sunday and Monday on the couch reading book after book. I finished three books this weekend. But it was my reading on Monday that left the best impression. It was a chance to escape the dreary winter and find myself in aristocratic England. You see, I'm reading Wodehouse.

I've been reading Jeeves stories for the last couple of years but yesterday was the first time I spent my whole day immersed in the world of gentlemen's gentlemen, where the biggest struggle is about which socks to wear and who is in love with who. For those of you who haven't been introduced to Jeeves, the ultimate valet, it's good to have a bit of background. The stories (and there are many) focus on Bertram Wooster, Bertie to his friends. Wooster is a gentleman which means that he lives on a stipend and spends most of his days in exclusive clubs and attending fancy dinners. He's also a bit of an idiot. He and his friends are constantly getting into problems. And Jeeves is constantly getting them out. He's brilliant, witty, and always one step ahead. He's also reserved, tactful, and a snappy dresser.

P.G. Wodehouse's writing is filled with politeness, humor, and plenty of twists and turns. The writing itself is genteel, particularly where Jeeves comes in. The British humor takes a bit to get used to but the stories are hilarious. There is some great banter between Wooster and Jeeves. They play well together. For those who are interested in a bit more silly humor, you only need to wait for Wooster to do something stupid. It won't take long. This weekend I read Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves; Carry On Jeeves, and The Inimitable Jeeves. I laughed, I was surprised, and I couldn't set the book down.

For those of you with a less literary bent, you can watch the Jeeves and Wooster TV episodes that the BBC did. In the series, Jeeves is played beautifully by Stephen Fry and Wooster is done by Hugh Laurie. The two together are priceless. I would recommend reading the stories first and then watching the episodes. Both will leave you in stitches.

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