Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Psmith is quintessential Wodehouse - urbane, gentleman-like, polite - and utterly oblivious to societal norms (or at least he appears to be). He knows how to manipulate things (and people :)) to go his way, but he's so debonair doing it, it's not even wrong. And he takes Mike along in his various schemes to improve their rather dull City-man lot. All this is of course related in Wodehouse prose, light and delicate but full to the brim with humor.
There's not much of a story, it's mainly anecdotes of Psmith and Mike at work, but I can't say I read Wodehouse for the story. It's more about the characters, and in the case of this series at least, it's all about Psmith. I'd say he does an okay job of carrying his series - he's not as much of a genius as Jeeves, and cares far more about appearances, niceties, etc. than Uncle Fred, and certainly not as lovable as Bertie, but he's not too bad. The book moves along as lightly as Psmith himself does - never a real page-turner but amusing enough to keep me reading. So typical Wodehouse, though not in prime form I'd say.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
It was quite turn-of-the-century American, all lightness and fluff. The premise of the book is Brewster spending a million dollars in a year - how will he do it? This was obviously much harder 100 years ago, and the various provisions for spending (having nothing to show it for it at the end, not giving it away) made it harder still. But of course, the book would have had no plot at all if it was just about spending money. There's a love story to go along with it of course - and then there's the tension of whether Brewster will succeed, that is, succeed in spending money in the correct way and succeed in spending it all.
None of the elements were particularly pleasing on their own, but put together, I guess they were something. Brewster himself is likeable and we certainly sympathize with him on his ridiculous journey. I knew the whole time the ending wasn't going to be simple though - what would be the point? So of course I was tense as he spent, knowing he wouldn't get it all back in the end (he needed to spend a million dollars to inherit seven million, sorry for not explaining that earlier :)) But in the end, it was resolved nicely enough, though I think slightly anti-climactically. In any case, an amusing journey, which was short enough that it never really got boring.
It proved surprisingly easy reading, actually. It's the kind of thing that it's only a classic because it's still around - when it was originally published, I doubt it had any literary pretensions. Which of course usually makes for a fairly light read. It was a charmer in its own way, which is of course a way I am very familiar with - 19th century gentle England. A little more middle class than my usual (townspeople, not (as they term it) "county", but they certainly acknowledge their own pretensions to gentility. I guess it's much the same folk as Elizabeth Gaskell (the two I've read anyway, N&S and W&D), though possibly a little later in time. In any case, quite my milieu.
Miss Marjoriebanks herself is quite a character, one of those indefatigable types who will always carry everything her way in the end (a'la The Grand Sophy). I always like reading about cool people like that. And I was fairly certain that there would be little or no romance from almost the beginning (just didn't see any likely candidates) so I didn't mind that none materialized. Don't get me wrong, she does get paired off in the end, but that's not what the book is about...
... or is it? It's not, but then, what is the book about? Miss M. goes through machinations of various sorts to arrange various things to her satisfaction, some of which are more successful than others. But in the end of the day, does it make much difference? The denouement of the book is precipitated by an event that renders all past history moot. Well maybe that's the point of the book, all the machinations lead us right back to where we started (slight spoiler :)) but it does seem a bit of a letdown after all the glorious schemes. Still the journey was entertaining enough, and Miss M. gets her happy ending, so I'm not overly inclined to complain. Definitely a point in its favor that it kept me so well entertained, even in ereader form.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Once I got the kindle, I was pleased to discover that by becoming an Amazon Prime member, I could access a large lending library for free... until I took a look at the inventory of the said lending library, which does not compel me to continue past my free trial. But then, a great discovery - library ebooks work on kindle! When it comes to availability, ebooks are kind of ridiculous on the one hand - that is, never available - but on the other, all you have to do is reserve and wait, you'll get them eventually. And the selection is decent, especially when you have (as I do :)) membership to several different libraries (in 4 states! :)) So I'm not in crazy bad shape when it comes to reading materials that won't break the bank.
With that said, book number one on the kindle was an old favorite, and one I've previously reviewed - Daddy Long Legs. You know I love it, and I don't have anything new to say about it - so let's review the ebook reading experience instead. Yes, it's not a book. But it works for nursing! No holding it open, no losing the place, and backlit so it can be read in the dark (this is a new feature, which I did not realize previous to shopping for the kindle). In the case of DLL, the cute little illustrations were missing - oh well. But I was still able to enjoy the book, and I'd say it served its purpose well. A good purchase on my part :) I'm proud of myself for the idea :)
Friday, January 4, 2013
Well it's been a while again... but with this pop back in, I have new material to review! True, I have been busier than I ever with my LO (that's a common abbreviation on mommy sites :)) but what with nursing and pumping, I do have time which is well-filled by reading. Reading what? Some old favorites. Well-loved, but I still don't (or maybe because of that don't) feel like posting full reviews. So right here, you're getting three shorties :)
So that was that, three old favorites, all still 5/5!