Thursday 4 June 2009

A light summer fling

Back in December, I decided to join this Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge, and pledged to read at least 20 library books in 2009. The year is now officially half gone and I am only on book #8. It's not impossible that I'll reach my goal but it'll certainly take some doing.

But such doing is not something I'm entirely sure I want to engage in given how many kick-ass books are currently moldering in my personal collection and making me feel desperate and panicky about them in particular and the fact that there are more books I want to read than can be managed before I die at the ripe old age of 102 in general. (That run-on and grammatically mutilated sentence reflects the depth and breadth of my anxiety on this front. Sigh.) (I've got Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on hold at the library so I know I'll at least make 9!)

Not that I won't also borrow more Wodehouse from the library, of course; I love his stuff but he's not really a re-read or a keeper, you know? Reading Wodehouse is like having a light and happy summer fling when you're 17 - all fun and happiness, no complications, and fond though often vague memories to think back on later.

Blandings Castle was not the Wodehouse I was hoping to read this time around. I really wanted to pick up Psmith in the City because Book Psmith said it was almost as good as Leave it to Psmith, which is still my favourite Wodehouse novel. Alas, my public library doesn't currently own a copy of Psmith in the City and so I was left to find something else, and also to tear my hair, gnash my teeth, and rend my cheeks. No, of course, I didn't wail and beat my breast - it's not that serious.

Anyway, much to my disappointment, Blandings Castle turned out to be a collection of short stories. I'm really not interested in anything but novels these days and so the only thing that got me reading at all was the fact that it was Wodehouse and I love Blandings tales. There were laughs and giggles and fond smiles and silent titterings. It was good. But then there were several Mulliner stories and I have to say, I don't love the Mulliner stories the way I love the Blandings tales or the way I loved the one Jeeves tale I've read thus far. I don't find Hollywood hi jinx so effective when it comes to working the giggle reflexes. There were moments, yes, but I found myself yearning for more news of The Empress of Blandings (Lord Emsworth's prize pig) or The Efficient Baxter.

In spite of my lamenting for something more thoroughly Blandings-ish here, I have been very grateful for Wodehouse's timely intervention in my reading. I'm also reading Tolstoy's Resurrection, which is heavy stuff, which would be more than fine if it were even half as awesome as Anna Karenina, which I read a few years ago while honeymooning with hubby (perhaps a strange choice for the circumstances, I realize). I'll keep plowing through the Tolstoy but more comic diversions may be required to complete it.


Stacy said...

I agree with you about Blandings Castle...the second half just wasn't that great (I did love the orange juice diet story though). The point you made about Wodehouse's rereadability is interesting because I am in the middle of writing a review post on three Jeeves books and the first review I wrote was on My Man Jeeves which is a collection of short stories, a few of which were rereads for me, and I commented on how surprised I was to find that they were just as good the second time around but I do have to say that I probably would not have reread them by choice but did so to complete a challenge. I am having a similar problem with challenges...I keep getting sidetracked by other books or not liking some of the books I signed up to read:(

Bookphilia said...

It's good to know that I might possibly go back to Leave it to Psmith someday and be as pleased as I was the first time around. The world suddenly seems like a lovelier place!