wodehouseblog

I can hear it from here!  All of you out there say­ing, “My good­ness, Adam, there are so many P.G. Wode­house books at KU, how did you pick just one to read for book club?!  And, more impor­tant­ly, how should I choose some of them to read this sum­mer, since they are great for sum­mer read­ing and are the fun­ni­est books ever?!”  First­ly, let me say that you are very ver­bose.

Sec­ond­ly, yes, it can be dif­fi­cult to know where to begin with Wode­house (that’s wood-house, p.s., not woad-house) but the truth is that you can start any­where you like.  Wodehouse’s books are usu­al­ly short sto­ry col­lec­tions and while there are over-arch­ing plot lines, he’s very good at fill­ing his read­ers in on what they need to know for the present moment.  Most of the Wode­house books we car­ry (he wrote over 100!) come from two main sto­ry­li­nes, Jeeves and Woost­er and Bland­ings Castle.

Jeeves and Woost­er is about wealthy and scat­ter­brained Bertie Woost­er, the unfor­tu­nate sit­u­a­tions he and his friends get into, and how his inge­nious valet, Jeeves, extri­cates him from them.  If you’re a stick­ler for chronol­o­gy, the first three books pub­lished were My Man Jeeves in 1919, The Inim­itable Jeeves in 1923, and Car­ry On, Jeeves in 1925.  Car­ry On, Jeeves con­tains the sto­ry Jeeves Takes Charge which is about how Jeeves came to work for Bertie in the first place, so from a nar­ra­tive per­spec­tive, it’s a good place to start and that’s why we chose it from the oth­ers for a book club selec­tion.  Oth­er great J&W books include Right Ho, Jeeves and Mat­ing Sea­son.

Bland­ings Castle is con­cerned with Lord Emsworth and the res­i­dents of Bland­ings Castle, who also get them­selves into unfor­tu­nate and hilar­i­ous sit­u­a­tions.  The first BC book is Some­thing Fresh (1915), but we rec­om­mend start­ing with Heavy Weath­er or Lord Emsworth and Oth­ers.  One of Wodehouse’s most beloved char­ac­ters is Psmith (the P is silent, as in pshrimp) and he is part of the BC series.  His first book is Psmith in the City, but we love Leave it to Psmith the best.

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