I’ve been enjoying P.G. Wodehouse (pronounced Wood-house, as I learned on a Circe Close Reads podcast) for a couple of years now. I recently discovered that my library has a decent collection – surprising, because my library often disappoints – so I have read several titles in the past few months. Wodehouse is one of the funniest writers ever, and as I was enjoying Right Ho, Jeeves the other night, I thought it would be fun to quote from it for this week’s Wednesdays with Words.
The plot doesn’t even matter. The details change from book to book, but the gist is that Bertie Wooster gets himself into scrapes, and his butler Jeeves extricates him every time. But the writing, the humor, the situations…this is why you read Wodehouse. If you haven’t yet, you must.
Take this, for example:
Bertram Wooster is not accustomed to this gluttonous appetite for his society. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that after two months of my company, what the normal person feels is that that will about do for the present. Indeed, I have known people who couldn’t stick it out for more than a few days.
The discovery of a toy duck in the soap dish, presumably the property of some former juvenile visitor, contributed not a little to this new and happier frame of mind. What with one thing and another, I hadn’t played with toy ducks in my bath for years, and I found the novel experience most invigorating. For the benefit of those interested, I may mention that if you shove the thing under the surface with the sponge and then let it go, it shoots out of the water in a manner calculated to divert the most careworn.
I want to live in a world where people talk like this. But since I don’t, I read Wodehouse.
Some of the humor is slightly more subtle:
I wouldn’t have said off-hand that I had a subconscious mind, but I suppose I must without knowing it.
I enjoyed this brilliant bit of alliteration:
Only active measures, promptly applied, can provide this poor, pusillanimous poop with the proper pep.
A couple more quotes, for fun. Because, really, that’s why you read Wodehouse.
Jeeves could tell you the word I want. I think it’s “ecstatic”, unless that’s the sort of rash you get on your face and have to use ointment for. But if that is the right word, then that’s what her manner was.
I eyed him narrowly. I didn’t like his looks. Mark you, I don’t say I ever had, much, because Nature, when planning this sterling fellow, shoved in a lot more lower jaw than was absolutely necessary and made the eyes a bit too keen and piercing for one who was neither an Empire builder nor a traffic policeman.
So if you enjoy excellent, humorous, light-hearted writing, take up some Wodehouse. The sooner, the better.
And see what others are reading at ladydusk.