Monday, June 04, 2007

I'm reading Bertie Wooster

So his creator, P.G. Wodehouse rather liked the Nazis. Well, is that a reason not to investigate one of the funniest writers in the English language? Not quite. Once in a while I go to the venerable Strand (now with air conditioning!) and I buy $5 books. It feels wonderful. So I bought Very Good, Jeeves, a collection of short stories. I have a method for buying books. I open the book on the first page and read the first paragraph. If it grabs me, I buy it. It seems to work quite well. Alas, it works on very few books. Frankly, most of the books I open strike me as trying too hard to be cute and postmodern, at least the ones that are regularly extolled in the New York Times, and whose young, hip authors almost always happen to live in Brooklyn and give good headshots.
Well, Bertie Wooster's inimitable voice will grab you from the get go. Even though they are trifles, I have been laughing out loud at some of the magnificently hilarious language of the book. Delightful. I love that all these brainless rich people are always asking Jeeves to deliver them from their silly predicaments. He does it with grace and a minute amount of elegant willfulness, which is lovely. I know you know that, but I didn't until Saturday. So it is news to me.

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