So there we were, eight of us, all sitting together in a hobbit hole. That is, it feels like a hobbit hole, except that it's so lined with books that I suspect the house is built of them and when you take one off the shelves you do so with great care and skill, otherwise the house falls down. It was the home of my fun and inspiring friends, C and S, where we always end up laughing a lot and talking about books.
I've known many book people in my time, but I've never met one quite like C, who has read everything ever written in the English language at least, and owns most of it. Conversation turned to classic humour, and the discovery that my great friend Daphne hasn't read Three Men in A Boat (Jerome K Jerome). HOW HAS SHE LIVED? And what a treat she has waiting for her!
It turned out that lots of us loved P G Wodehouse. Those books read as naturally as if a monocled gentleman was telling you the story over a drink by the fire. What C told us was that Wodehouse redrafted every book ten times before he was satisfied with it, and read his way through Shakespeare every year. Yes, it takes a lot of effort to make something seem easy.
We also told each other to read the Molesworth books (Willans and Searle) and James Thurber. And Terry Pratchett.
Any more recommendations, please?