Monday, March 27, 2006

With a little help from my friends

I told myself I didn't have time for any serious blogging today (or even any silly blogging, which often takes even longer), but then I opened an e-mail from the ever-alert Neal Dench, who wanted to make sure I saw this BBC News article, in which the author mentions a handful of books that have enriched his life. One of them--and this is undoubtedly the reason Neal sent me the link--was P.G. Wodehouse's The Code of the Woosters. If that title doesn't ring a bell, you might be more familiar with the PBS series about Bertie Wooster and his excellent man Jeeves, played by the hilarious Hugh Laurie and the equally talented Stephen Fry. Funny, funny stuff.

If I mention Wodehouse a lot, that's because his novels and short stories have given me countless hours of pleasure. I keep a fat volume of his writings close to my desk because whenever I need a break, I can open it, read one random page, and be sure to end up grinning. Hold on a sec, and I'll prove it.

Okay, I just picked up a collection of Wodehouse stories and opened the book to somewhere around the middle. I stabbed my finger at the right-hand page and then looked down to find myself at the beginning of "The Purity of the Turf," one of the Jeeves stories. What you need to know is that Bingo Little, whose heart has just been stomped flat by the capricious Cynthia, is making a too-early call on his pal Bertie Wooster. Our Bertie is a staunch friend unless you happen to interrupt his breakfast, which is exactly what the feckless Bingo has just done:

...And when, one morning, he blew into my bedroom while I was toying with a bit of breakfast, I decided to take a firm line from the start. I could stand having him moaning all over me at dinner, and even after lunch; but at breakfast, no. We Woosters are amiability itself, but there is a limit.

"Now look here, old friend," I said. "I know your bally heart is broken and all that, and at some future time I shall be delighted to hear all about it, but--"

"I didn't come to talk about that."

"No? Good egg!"

"The past," said young Bingo, "is dead. Let us say no more about it."

"Right-o!"

"I have been wounded to the very depths of my soul, but don't speak about it."

"I won't."

"Ignore it. Forget it."

"Absolutely!"

I hadn't seen him so dashed reasonable for days.

See what I mean? There's a chuckle on every page.

What books do you find yourself picking up when you need a quick laugh?

7 comments:

Goddess said...

Anything by Terry Pratchett. Or Jasper Fforde.

Hornblower said...

Count me in as a Wodehouse fan - unparalleled for the "pick up at random and laugh" factor.

Douglas Adams.

Also love Elizabeth Peters, though those usually require a longer read for the LOL moment.

ParkAvePirate said...

Sean and David's Long Drive by Sean Condon, just thinking of the book makes me chuckle. It's the story of these two guys who take a long road-trip through their native Australia. The best part is when they stop at the campground that birthed the saying "The Dingo ate my baby." - Not that a dingo eating a baby is funny!
*sigh* wiping away tears of joy.

Jen

Winter said...

Okay, I admit, it's not a book I pick up, it's a blog. Whenever I need a good chuckle I come over here. Did I just make your head bigger? :)

But if I had to choose a book, I'd read Earlene Fowler. Granted she writes mysteries, but she's always good for a good LOL moment every 10-20 or so pages.

Ruth said...

Two things: My Get Fuzzy and Calvin and Hobbes books, and Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey stories and novels (they are HYSTERICAL!).

Ella said...

I am a Saki girl myself; Reginald always makes my day better.

Brenda Coulter said...

Ooh, yeah--Douglas Adams.

I'm going to have to look into to Sean and David's Long Drive.

Way to earn suck-up points, Winter. Yeah, you made my head bigger.

Thanks for commenting, everyone.