Friday, 27 May 2011

Classic funny

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?


Deborah said...

I've never read Three Men In a Boat! I love to read and read quite a bit, but there is so much literature I feel I've missed.

I love the image of a hobbit hole lined with books! Comfy, cozy and inviting.

Rina said...

I love Wodehouse. Our dad reads them to us.
I don't know but you might try some of Clare B. Dunkle's work... she's a Catholic and a pretty good writer. I call her genre Historical Christian Fantasy/Horror. That is, 2 of her books are... 2 are dystopia, 3 are just historical fantasy.

margaret mcallister said...

Deborah - three men in a boat is such a treat! There's nothing else quite like it. C and S are moving to a new hobbit hole this week, which I suspect will soon look exactly like the last one. And they both work in libraries!

Rina - One of my favourite Wodehouse lines is 'aunt calling to aunt like mastodons across the primeval swamp'.
I'll look out for Clare B Dunkle.

Rina said...

My favorite Wodehouse was always the bits about the Pekingese dogs. And whenever a cat showed up, wow... Did you ever read the story about - I think it was a young man visiting his fiance's home - and the house was full of animals, and he kept doing the wrong thing and ended up throwing a cat out the window and it landed on the house owner in the hammock? 'Scuse me for the long comment, but I can't keep from snickering at the thought of that story in especial.

margaret mcallister said...

Rina - I seem to remember somebody reading that one on the radio, but I haven't read it myself. I'll ask C about it. He'll know what its called and where I can find it. There's probably a copy in the hobbit hole.

Santan said...

A resounding yes to Terry Pratchett! Aside from his Discworld books, which he's most famously known for, the Bromeliad Trilogy and his standalone novel "Nation" are absolutely lovely. :)
You might like to try Aimee Bender too--I recently read her book "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake" and I really enjoyed it.