My parents are both big readers, everything from Dickens to the latest John Irving to essays by Stephen Hawking. When I picture my childhood, there’s always one of parents in the frame, with a book in their hands.
My dad introduced me to P.G. Wodehouse when I was in college. I was doing tons of reading in literary theory, and my dad thought Wodehouse would give me a nice break from all that seriousness. He was right. I loved Wodehouse.
(I wish I’d had this list of Fun Reading for Recent Grads back then!)
Now I re-read Wodehouse – any Wodehouse, but especially his Bertie and Jeeves stories – several times a year. It’s like settling into a warm bath every time. Ahhhh.
Wodehouse is a terrific writer, snappy and smart. But it’s the lightness of his stories that brings me back again, and again.
The camaraderie of Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves is charming. Bertie is always getting into trouble in part because he has hilariously bad luck but mostly because he has a moral code that keeps him from being unkind. No one knows this about Bertie, they just think he’s daft. Bertie makes a mess of things, and Jeeves puts the pieces back together with quiet grace.
There’s something so comforting about these stories. Everything always turns out okay. This world reminds me a bit of The Thin Man movies with the cracking wit of Nick and Nora, but Wodehouse has an even lighter touch. Entering the world of Bertie and Jeeves lifts my spirits every time.
I often re-read Wodehouse to cleanse my “reading palate” after an especially tough read. You know the kind – the book that blows your mind but leaves you feeling a little heavy. Wodehouse is the perfect antidote. I read, I re-read, I laugh every time.
Do you re-read? Why or why not? Is there a book or an author you like to re-read regularly? Tell us in a comment!