April 02, 2014

Something New by P. G. Wodehouse


Hey guys, please forgive my absence. I don’t have a great reason for being gone that long, it was mostly because of work. And partly because of winter. Anyways, I’m back and eager to share my latest obsession: P. G. Wodehouse.

But let’s start from the beginning.

Back in December, I read a million books just to finish my 2013 to-be-read list. One of the books I read was a collection of Chekhov’s plays.

Wait, let me go even further back.

Winter sucks. I don’t want to complain because, chances are, you live in a much colder climate than me. But I’m Brazilian. Snow days have zero appeal to me.

So, if you’ve ever read Chekhov, you know that even though it's incredible, it is also depressing as hell. Characters are stuck in the Russian countryside, sick of the snow, wishing to scape their own hopeless emptiness. Just like me during winter.

But I exagerate. I just wanted to read a funny book, but not any funny book. A classic funny book, which is hard to find.  That's when I discovered P. G. Wodehouse. I started with one of his earlier novel, Something New (or Something Fresh, the U.K. title).

The story is about two young Americans who find themselves in London, bored with their writing jobs. An opportunity arises for them to go to Lord Emwrosth’s castle in search of a stolen collectible item (a scarab). Both want the 5 thousand-dollar reward. Competition and romance ensue as the American characters try to come to terms with odd aristocratic customs.

In truly Seinfeld manner, the plot gets tricky and complicated but eventually all characters and circumstances are interconnected somehow.

I’m not really sure what subgenre this book is in. Romantic comedy/light detective story? Whatever it is called, I love this genre. This book is right there with Moonlighting and The Thin Man.



Because the only thing better than a detective story is a detective story where both detectives are romantically involved.

Needless to say, I couldn’t put the book down. I was reading it at home, listening to it in my car, sneaking a chapter here and there at work 

However, before my enthusiasm gets out of control, let me give a little warning: comedy is subjective, tragedy is universal. My sister tells me that I’m not funny. My mother is the only person in the world who found In Bruges funny. Some people find violence funny (Quentin Tarantino, I’m talking to you).

So, to be more specific, this book will most likely attract the anglophile that finds English castles interesting and aristocracy hilarious. It will also attract readers that like a touch of romance but don’t want it to dominate the plot.

Unlike most classics, Something New was a laugh-out-loud page turner gem. A real winter-blues antidote for those times where a search for a lost scarab is the only thing that will get you out of your funk.

Have you read any of P. G. Wodehouse's novels? Check out 13 P. G. Wodehouse quotes guaranteed to make your day better

3 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm so happy to see you posting here again! I was happy to see you posting on your fashion blog, too, but I missed The Culture Enthusiast.

    I adore P G Wodehouse. I haven't read this one, but may do so on your recommendation. I do prefer the Jeeves and Wooster books, but it seems everything he's written is at least pretty funny, if not extremely funny. The last one I read was The Mating Season, I think. Also, while I haven't read much of his poetry, what I have read was hilarious. He wrote a very funny poem about Sherlock Holmes returning from the dead (which is also currently appropriate with the Sherlock series, etc) and a priceless poem called "Printer's Error" about how authors react to typos in their work.

    I must say Wodehouse is one of my go-to authors if I just want to laugh. If I'm feeling gloomy, he'll cheer me up at least a bit, and he'll make an already happy day even happier...

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    1. Thanks for the support, Clarissa! I also like the Jeeves' stories but I 've been watching the series with Stephen Fry instead of reading them. It would normally sound like cheating if it werent for Fry's love for Wodehouse.
      I had no idea he wrote poetry! I knew he had a prolific career but the poems you mentioned sound genious. I 'll definitely check them out :)

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  2. Plum is the therapy we all need. As Evelyn Waugh said, Wodehouse's world is an unfallen one.

    Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are the perfect Wooster and Jeeves on the Orwellian telescreen, and what a joy to read the original stories, which are even better.

    - Mack in Texas

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