Sunday, October 29, 2006

Right ho

Right now I'm reading The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse. It's about a slightly dim, upper crusty British guy, Bertie, and his resourceful manservant, Jeeves. I love all the Jeeves and Wooster books that I've read. They're really funny (or, as Wodehouse might write, "rather spiffy") and the language is terrific. I've been laughing out loud while reading on the train, and I often find the urge to explain, "See, he just said, 'mens sana in corpore whatnot.'" This particular book, so far, focuses on a "cow creamer" and various romantic liaisons, which Bertie always seeks to avoid. Another line that made me laugh was the following, in which a friend of Bertie's explains a scheme:
"There was a story...about a duke who wouldn't let his daughter marry the young secretary, so the secretary got a friend of his to take the duke out on the lake and upset the boat, and then he dived in and saved the duke, and the duke said, 'Right ho.'"

Also everyone has really hilarious nicknames, like Stinker and Gussie and Stiffy. I've been trying to get my friends to call me by a nickname for years - I suggest something like Muffy or Kitty - but so far... nothing. BTW, the BBC series, Jeeves and Wooster, is quite good, although not as good as the books, and features another of my favorite authors, Stephen Fry, as Jeeves. His autobiography, Moab is My Washpot, is nothing less than superb.

The Code of the Woosters really should be read aloud - or at least that's what I wish to do with it - although a certain husband abhors the idea of being read to. It was a real problem when I read Me Talk Pretty One Day and kept saying, "Oh my god, listen to THIS!" I have only on one (ONE!) occasion gotten him to read to me: a little Harry Potter when I was so sick I thought I was dying. Ah, how I cherish the memory.

Me dear ol da used to read to me and my brother and sister when we were kids. Mostly Dr. Seuss, and he was very good at it. In my adult life I am read to very little, although once my friend Liz read J.D. Salinger to me on a car trip from San Francisco to LA. Occasionally I'll pick up a book on tape and listen to it before I go to bed. I listened to quite a few of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series in this way. They are read by Adjoa Andoh - she has a beautiful African accent that lulls me. Oh, Jesus Christ. I just googled her, and it turns out she's British, and that's not her real voice. Her voice over page describes her voice as "Authoritative, maternal, warm, smooth." Wow. If someone described my voice, it'd probably be "Unsure, brassy, annoying, stiff."

Well, I hope you have some nice stories to tell re: reading/being read to. Please leave a note in the comments if you'd like to share.


Sonya said...

Hi Kelly,
I like the book excerpt!
I have to learn how to do links like you do in your blog, very tech saavy you are!


Lyman said...

A friend of a friend tape recorded himself reading the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy for his sons to listen to. Eccentric for sure, I'm sure the kids cherish it.

And Kelly, I've been meaning to thank you for hipping me to Everything is Illuminated, it was fantastic. I bought Foer's latest book and will start on it soon. I also am still reading the McSweeney's short story collection you got for me. I like to read one story then put it down for a while.

I just finished Less than Zero last week. Loved it. Can't wait to read more Ellis.

Special K said...

I'm sure you'll like his other book too - Extremely Loud and Incredibly close is maybe even better? Close one.

Eek - I hate B.E. Ellis!

That is both creepy and endearing about your friend and the LOTR!!!!

Carrie said...

Ellis...I wouldn't want to be stuck in a corner at a party with him! I just finished Less than Zero this week, and I am surprised my husband recommended it. Maybe he didn't say you should read this, but, to me, saying this book is incredible shares the same message. Not a favorite... but I give him kuddos for writing a novel I could not put down out of sheer horror.

m_roark said...

A 'certain husband' has indeed given you a nickname. SG (aka Little Strawberry Girl).

m_roark said...

Another little strawberry girl.