Saturday, December 29, 2012

Leave It to Psmith

Leave It to Psmith, by P.G. Wodehouse

A "Somewhat Lacking" Blurb I Found Online:
A debonair young Englishman, Psmith ("the p is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan") has quit the fish business, "even though there is money in fish," and decided to support himself by doing anything that he is hired to do by anyone. Wandering in and out of romantic, suspenseful, and invariably hilarious situations, Psmith is in the great Wodehouse tradition.

My Reaction:
This was one of the (if not the) funniest I've read of Wodehouse.  I can't recommended it highly enough!  Laugh-out-loud moments abound, and Psmith is such a charming main character that you can't help but love and root for him.  I was not quite so fond of... let's just call them "the Americans".  Their outdated slang was less of a joy to read, but (as Mr. Cootes would say) "Hey!"-- even they couldn't spoil such a darn good book!

I don't know what more I can write without spoiling any of the "surprises"... Many of the basic plot developments are obvious far in advance of their actually happening in the book-- but they are delivered with such absolute sparkle, and everything fits together just so...  It's impressive, to say the least.

This one ranks right up there with the very best of the Jeeves & Wooster series.  (I had been a little worried that none of Wodehouse's non-Jeeves books could ever measure up to that standard; this gives me new hope.)

(This was-- of course-- another read-aloud with Donald.  It's a definite tradition, at this point.  It probably wouldn't feel right reading Wodehouse on my own.  He's best when shared.)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Men at Arms

Men at Arms, by Terry Pratchett

Publisher's Blurb:
Corporal Carrot has been promoted! He's now in charge of the new recruits guarding Ankh-Morpork, Discworld's greatest city, from Barbarian Tribes, Miscellaneous Marauders, unlicensed Thieves, and such. It's a big job, particularly for an adopted dwarf.

But an even bigger job awaits. An ancient document has just revealed that Ankh-Morpork, ruled for decades by Disorganized crime, has a secret sovereign! And his name is Carrot...

And so begins the most awesome epic encounter of all time, or at least all afternoon, in which the fate of a city—indeed of the universe itself!—depends on a young man's courage, an ancient sword's magic, and a three-legged poodle's bladder.

If you've read one of my Pratchett reviews, you've read them all.  Funny, as usual!  (Another read-along with Donald, which explains the complete lack of specific commentary.)

I appreciate Pratchett less for plot and character development than for humor and wit.  (Incidentally, the same goes for P.G. Wodehouse.)