Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jeeves and Wooster and P. G. Wodehouse

My latest obsession is Jeeves and Wooster by P.G. Wodehouse.  I was looking for DVDs that were family-friendly but didn't bore me to death and I thought the kids might enjoy these, especially since they got a hoot out of the audiobook version of Three Men in a Boat that we listened to in the car.

My youngest daughter especially has gotten a real kick out of the videos.  We liked them so much we bought the entire series in a box set, which we found for a great price at Costco.  It worked out to about $1 per episode, which is pretty good since I know we'll watch them over and over.  It's so fun to see Hugh Laurie in his pre-House days, and Stephen Fry is just brilliant as Jeeves.  We particularly enjoy it when Jeeves disapproves of fashion choices:



[There's actually a better and even funnier montage of Jeeves' disapproval on Youtube, but somehow I couldn't imbed the video.  If you're interested, click here.]

Anyhow, I've found watching the series absolutely delightful and it inspired me to pick up more Wodehouse at the library recently.  I have far too many books checked out and on the TBR shelves, but I needed a break from all the big fat Victorians I've been reading lately.  I could not resist this cover: 



Of course it would look so much better without the library sticker covering up the swan on the front.  Oh well.  If you haven't fallen in love with these already, they're the Overlook Press reprints of the works of P. G. Wodehouse.  He published more than 90 books and I think they've reprinted about 75 so far.  Which could be dangerous!!   I had a birthday recently and I strongly hinted to my family that any of these would be greatly welcomed.  Well, I suppose "hint" would be an understatement; I handed my husband a Borders coupon with the words "P. G. Wodehouse Overlook Press" written on it in large printing, so he wouldn't miss it.  I admit that I am not terribly subtle.  The result was this nice little stack:


I've started reading The Man With Two Left Feet, which is a collection of Wodehouse's early stories, including the very first appearance of Bertie and Jeeves.  Jeeves is merely mentioned and Bertie's apparently has no last name, but it's still pretty funny.  The dreaded Aunt Agatha ships Bertie off to America to prevent his cousin from making a ghastly marriage to a chorus girl.  Bertie does not enlist Jeeves' brainpower and it all goes terribly wrong, of course, though hilarity still ensues.  Perfect summer reading! 

27 comments:

  1. Wodehouse is wonderful at all ages! I was certainly introduced to him through the Jeeves and Wooster television series when I was little and the episodes were first airing. I started reading the books when I was eleven or twelve and have never been anything less than delighted with them, year after year. Jeeves and Wooster may not be my favourite Wodehouse creations (I prefer Psmith, followed by the Blandings crew) but I do love them and think they make particularly fine summer reading.

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  2. I've tried reading three different Wodehouse books now, one three different times including an audio attempt, and there's something about them that just grates on my nerves. I never make it through!

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  3. I'm a fan of Wodehouse myself, though I know him largely through Jeeves. I'm a bit surprised that your kids like him. I thought he was a bit too old-fashioned, maybe too heady for kids. But I'm glad to hear you're raising a couple of Wodehouse fans.

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  4. I haven't ever heard of these! I'll keep my eye out - sounds like my kind of summer reading :)

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  5. I love Wodehouse's use of language. It's musical and so much fun, I'm not surprised your kids enjoy him. He's perfect for reading out loud. We always take the Jeeves stories to read in the car on road trips. It makes the time fly by!

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  6. I'm reading my first Wodehouse now (Right Ho, Jeeves) and giggling all the time! It's so light and fun. I plan to read them all, though I admit I didn't love the short story collection The Man with Two Left Feet. Didn't do much for me.

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  7. Captive Reader -- I've only read Jeeves & Wooster, and this short story collection, so I have yet to read any of the Blandings or Psmith. I'm really looking forward to reading the entire works.

    Amanda -- I could see that this isn't really your thing, especially since you didn't care for Three Men in a Boat.

    CB -- The kids love the TV adaptations, and they love how Bertie's always getting into trouble and Jeeves is so much smarter than he is. I agree they might get the books as much. I tried to read my youngest one of the stories and I had to stop and explain parts. She didn't get all the slang and it is rather wordy, which you wouldn't get as much on screen.

    Brenna -- they're light fun reading, but I think they're clever enough to transcend a lot of the usual summer fluff. The last few summers I was reading Charlaine Harris and her books just started to annoy me.

    Wendy -- I'm definitely packing J&W for my vacation next week, if I don't finish all my new books by then!

    Aarti -- I thought I would only enjoy the J&W stories but I'm quite liking the others as well so far, some of them are very clever. Haven't finished it so we'll see.

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  8. I love Jeeves and Wooster and have had the DVDs for ages, and watch them on a continual loop. I was fairly young when they came out and I was a fan then!

    The books are great, and I am just getting back into revisiting some of them after having read them in my late teens early twenties. Not exactly fashionable at the time!

    There are a few free on Project G for the Kindle so I am discovering some new stories that I had not read before.

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  9. After reading Thank You, Jeeves, I got a disc of the series. Very charmingly entertaining! One of my kids tried to watch it with me but got bored. I guess it just wasn't as good as Suite Life of Zack and Cody...

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  10. I read several Wodehouse books last summer and really enjoyed them. Thanks for the reminder I should pick up more.

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  11. For a long time it seemed like only the Jeeves books were available in bookstores. I'm so glad Overlook is reprinting some of the others, especially the stand-alones. I'm glad to see Eggs Beans and Crumpets on your pile. I agree with thecaptivereader, Psmith and Blandings are my favorites - though I'd add Uncle Fred to the list.

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  12. Wodehouse is the best!! I remember being at O'Hare and buying several copies of his work - I had just discovered him then and couldn't help but scoop up his books when I saw them. His work is just so clever and hilarious - love it! I have the whole collection of Jeeves and Wooster on dvd - must admit that I haven't watched it yet. After reading your post - I think I will watch them all this summer. Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful author! By the by, I loved the stack you received for your bday ;)

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  13. Wodehouse is brilliant! I love the books and the TV series is also excellent! You've reminded me that I must see it again.

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  14. I love, love, love Wodehouse! He's perfect on audiobook. And I love the series, too - it's probably time for a rewatch.

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  15. Jo-- my library has more than 100 items listed for Wodehouse (including audio and DVD) so hopefully I can read them all someday. I'm up to Season 3 of the DVDs and I'll be sad when I've finished them.

    Shelley -- I have to leave the room when my girls watch The Suite LIfe, or basically anything on the Disney Channel. I can't STAND laugh tracks.

    Picky girl -- they are PERFECT summer reading!

    LIsa May -- I hadn't heard of Uncle Fred so I'll look for him.

    Nadia -- the DVDs are brilliant! Stephen Fry is so perfect as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie makes Bertie both ridiculous and lovable.

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  16. Mrs. B -- I watched part of the series years ago and I'd forgotten how wonderful it was. I'd never read the books and they are just as good.

    Carrie K -- I have two different audio versions checked out from the library, so far I prefer Martin Jarvis. He reminds me of Hugh Laurie which is probably why I like him so much.

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  17. I drool over these gorgeous editions every time I see them! Guilt over my tbr pile keeps from buying them but one of these days...

    Good on you for your not-so-gentle art of persuasion to get what you want!

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  18. I only discovered PGW last year & I love him. I've read & listened to about half a dozen books & have more on the tbr shelves. I also have the DVDs of the series but I've only dipped in so far. I loved the film clip! Fry & Laurie are just perfect in these roles.

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  19. My teenagers also enjoyed Three Men and a Boat on audio, so they might like these DVDs, too. Hmmm. More for family movie nights.

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  20. Wodehouse is wonderful! I read a collection of stories called Enter Jeeves at the beginning of the year. I still haven't made it all the way through my copy of Leave It to Psmith, but maybe I'll try again soon.

    If you enjoy Jeeves & Wooster, maybe you should see their sketch comedy show A Little Bit of Fry & Laurie.

    Is it just me or does anyone else miss turning to Jeeves (AskJeeves.com) for needed advice and information?

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  21. Not read Jeeves and Wooster but I did enjoy Summer Lightening. I've heard the Psmith adaptions on the radio which are wonderful.

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  22. There are four Uncle Fred books, two of which are also Blandings books, just for a double treat. Uncle Dynamite is a great introduction to Uncle Fred, but I'd also highly recommend Cocktail Time.

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  23. Darlene -- I predict I will use my subtle hints to acquire more of these on future gift-receiving occasions! (And anytime I have Borders bucks and a 40% off coupon.)

    Lyn -- the series is so good, though it's not exactly faithful to any particular book. It seems like they cut-and-pasted a lot of different books and stories into various episodes. They still capture the essence, so it's still fun to watch.

    Jeanne -- some of it isn't exactly PC (there's an episode with characters in blackface which made me a bit uncomfortable) but it's pretty family-friendly.

    GirlsWannaRead -- I did check out A Bit of Fry and Laurie from the library but I haven't watched it yet, I really should. Another series to get hooked on!

    NIcola -- I'll have to see if I can find the Psmith radio adaptations online, maybe there are podcasts I can download.

    Lisa May -- I'll have to look for Uncle Fred.

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  25. I have a sad confession: I have read a bio of Wodehouse and I' ve yet to read any of his works. I have seen quite a few videos, etc, but I NEED to read something! It is because I can't commit to which...

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  26. I have yet to read any PG Wodehouse - but my partner has a couple of Jeeves and Wooster books, so I must try one this year sometime.

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  27. Hello! I absolutely love the Jeeves and Wooster series! I am too young to remember the original run but I have watched the re-runs and have loved them. Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are perfect as Wooster and Jeeves respectively.

    Coincidentally, I finished reading Very Good, Jeeves a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, it was a library book and I had to return it. Pity really because it is the kind of book I'd like to read again and again.

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