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Books 2, 3, and 4

Yay! This weekend has seen the completion of a few books that I've had in progress. A bally good lot, all of them!


Title: How Right You Are, Jeeves
Author: P. G. Wodehouse
Length: 206 pages
Personal Rating: 4 (on a scale of 5 being best)

This is my third or fourth Wodehouse and perhaps the weakest of the lot so far. (Earlier readings including The Code of the Woosters; Right Ho, Jeeves; and a number of short stories.) I'm sure the fact that this is written later in Plum's career (copyright is 1960) has much to do with it. Had this been the first Jeeves novel I'd read, I would have found it light and wonderful and fresh; as it was, I saw repetition in plot line, overall themes, and even actual lines.

Don't misunderstand; I still found this a wonderfully enjoyable read. Bertie and his pal "Kipper" Herring manage to find themselves in the soup: Kipper faces the loss of his One True Love and the loss of his job due to a libel suit. And, as a chap is either preux or he isn't, Bertie must do everything possible to help out his friend. Bertie's solution? Recall Jeeves from his annual holiday. The silver cow creamer, Aunt Dahlia, Bobbie Wickahm, and Roderick Glossop (posing as a butler named Swordfish) all play their parts in this story and, most importantly, Jeeves arrives in time to ensure all's well that end's well.

Two of my favorite bits of this story are the revelation that while on holiday, Jeeves was the judge of a bathing beauty contest (that completely intrigues me!) and an exchange between Bertie and his aunt:
Bertie: The only thing left, it seems to me, is to put our trust in a higher power.
Aunt Dahlia: You're right. Go and fetch Jeeves.

Title: The Liar (link contains spoilers)
Author: Stephen Fry
Length: 277 pages
Personal Rating: 3 (on a scale of 5 being best)

This is the story of Adrian Healey, the liar of the title. The novel follows his days in public school and at University and beyond. It is Stephen Fry's first novel. I had a mixed reaction to this book. I enjoyed the plot but found myself getting a bit lost in the telling of the tale. Adrian lies to everyone, and many people lie to him. As such, it got difficult to keep the lies straight from the truth (was there any truth in the story at all?).

My feeling is that this is a book I'll enjoy more in future readings. Kind of like when I saw Napoleon Dynamite for the first time. I remember thinking, "Is this funny or stupid and do I like it anyway?" Well, I liked it enough (maybe more to the point I was intrigued enough) to give it another go and then another, and now it's one of my favorite movies. I think the same will be true of The Liar; I need another few readings to really digest the story and "get it" enough to enjoy it.

Title: Moab Is My Washpot
Author: Stephen Fry
Length: 361 pages
Personal Rating: 5 (on a scale of 5 being best)

This is Stephen's second book and his autobiography, covering his first 20 years. I have always been a fan of biography, and I really enjoyed reading Fry's account of his early life. The detail he captures are fascinating, and he is brutally honest in characterizing his flaws and failings. His sketches of his parents and siblings are lovely, recognizing the pain he put them through and being grateful for their continued support over his difficult years.

I'm a huge Stephen fan; despite that bias, I enjoyed this book for its look into the British education system, perspective on a troubled youth coming to terms with his sexuality, and theme of redemption through love.

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kalimyre
Feb. 26th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
I haven't read the Fry stories, but I recently finished How Right You Are, Jeeves and yes, it's not his very best, although certainly good. I think my favorite of his so far is Aunt's Aren't Gentlemen in which there are some fantastic scenes.

The recurring question of "Has he brought it yet?" referring to the purloined cat and the bit where Bertie falls in the pool (after falling in the 'rather special' mud) are a couple favorites. I downloaded the audiobook of that one, read by Simon Callow who does a great job. It's a bit abridged from the written version, but very little is cut out and he does very well with creating distinctive character voices and phrasing.

I haven't yet read Jeeves and the Ties That Bind, but I've ordered a paperback and am expecting in fairly soon. I have high expectations of that one.
msliz4857
Feb. 26th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
I love The Tie That Binds; that's the one where Jeeves tears Bertie's pages out of the Club Book. Also, Bertie states explicity, "I want Jeeves" and that he "yearned" to see him. And fangirly slashiness ensued. Heh.

You'll have a ball. ;)
envisogon
Feb. 26th, 2007 04:28 am (UTC)
I love the liar and Moab I have them both on audio. And if ever get a chance get Moab is my washpot in audio form it is moving to hear him tell his story. I hope the turin these books into movies. I think my favorite scene from Liar was when Adrian trick Cartwright into giving him a blowjob. That was so funny.

And the other one was from Moab when Stephen and Matteo decided to take a walk and it was snowing outside that night. And Matteo told Him about one of the boys trying get with him. And how Stephen reassured him about intention with him. Even though he really was in love with him. I also liked the comment he was making in his mind. Right then and there when he said "Why could we leave this place and go to london?" He goes on to say that Matteo had a quick Body and Stephen had a quick mind. And they would work in some type shop. and They would save up enough money and buy flat and They would both spend the nights together in front of a fire cuddling. And I was like awwwww. I think the one thing that made me uncomfortable was to hear was the deflowering,The suicide attempt, and The night when he turned 16th and he was alone in the room dranking himself to death. And he finally realizes that he was truly alone. That almost brought to tears that and when his mother visted him in prison and she collected the times crossword puzzles everyday he was missing and give it to him. I am sorry for the long comment. I just love the audio book so much.
msliz4857
Feb. 26th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)
Oh, no, please don't apologize! I really enjoyed hearing your favorite parts from the book; they were some of mine as well. I definitely cried when he told about his mother giving him the cut-out crossword puzzles. That's such a mom thing to do, and the fact that he recognized it and appreciated it really touched me.

I'm a mom, so a lot of my reading of the book for me was cast in that perspective...how I'd react if one of my children had run away, faced prison, and so one. But I also strongly identified with a lot of the youthful angst and pain he described; I think most of us have felt that to some extent or another.

I'm definitely going to look into getting the audio book; I'd love to hear Stephen reading this!

And I squee'ed every time he mentioned Jeeves, PG Wodehouse, or Hugh Laurie. Hee!
envisogon
Feb. 26th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC)
I would like to think that Moab was the first 20 years. The liar was cambridge. And the secert life of manic depression was a follow up to Moab. It was interesting because they actually go to uppington and actually see some of the places that the events took place. And that fact you meet the woman who caught him stealing money.

I wish one day he decides to turn it into a movie. I have seen good autobiography Movies and I believe that this would be great movie.
elenar
Feb. 26th, 2007 06:32 am (UTC)
I read a couple pages of The Liar in the library (I only got to the part he’s in the bar with his daughter at the beginning so not very far really), but couldn’t really get into it because I was being distracted by the vulgar voice of the main character so I decided to try Making History first instead which I liked and thought had a really interesting concept though I think it would have been better if it had been a bit shorter. I’m trying to decide which of Stephen’s books to try next and from you reviews it seems I should try Moab first.

Also, I’m thinking about doing the 50 book challenge as well, but it seems like so many books, I’m not sure I’d be able to complete it.
msliz4857
Feb. 26th, 2007 10:27 am (UTC)
I was very moved by Moab and was very glad to have read it. I can see reading it again sometime.

I really don't think I'm going to complete the challenge, either, to tell you the truth. But I figured it's a goal to shoot for. :)
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