Reading April – May, 2008

This is part of a series of wrap-up posts for books I read before I started writing proper reviews for them at the time. In these posts I’ll be writing down thoughts I remember having about them. This is for the books I read during April and May of 2008, the period during which was mostly reading to take time off from revision for exams.

The Inimitable JeevesThe Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
Series: Jeeves #2
Publisher: Herbert Jenkins
Released: May 17, 1923
Pages: 224
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Classic Wodehouse

The Inimitable Jeeves wasn’t the first Wodehouse book I read, but it’s the first one I read which I really loved. There is something unique, but also wonderfully familiar with Wodehouse’s humour. In some of his books it can seem a little forced, but this is one of the books where it just seems be belong perfectly, making the book an absolute delight to read.

Quick ServiceQuick Service by P. G. Wodehouse
Publisher: Herbert Jenkins
Released: October 4, 1940
Pages: 192
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When imperious American widow Beatrice Chavender eats a forkful of inferior ham at her sister's country house near London, it affects the lives of everyone around her - her sister, her brother-in-law, her sister's butler, her sister's poor relation Sally, Sally's fiance Lord Holbeton, and, most of all, Mrs. Chavender's own one-time fiance, 'Ham King' J.B. Duff, whose rotten product spoils her breakfast.

And off the back of The Inimitable Jeeves, Quick Service was next up (I think I got the books together from the library in a collection). Again, a delightful Wodehouse book!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Released: May 1, 2003
Pages: 272
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a book I had lying around for a long time, having received it as a Christmas present, and I finally got around to reading it. It was very worth it. It’s a great book, and the kind of book I’d recommend to everyone and anyone, and, I think, probably a great way to introduce young people who don’t really read to books. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, easy to read, intriguing mystery with a great protagonist. This is one of the books I think everyone should just get around to reading sooner rather than later, if they haven’t already.

The LiarThe Liar by Stephen Fry
Publisher: William Heinemann
Released: September 1, 1991
Pages: 367
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Stephen Fry's breathtakingly outrageous debut novel, by turns eccentric, shocking, brilliantly comic and achingly romantic.
Adrian Healey is magnificently unprepared for the long littleness of life; unprepared too for the afternoon in Salzburg when he will witness the savage murder of a Hungarian violinist; unprepared to learn about the Mendax device; unprepared for more murders and wholly unprepared for the truth.
The Liar is a thrilling, sophisticated and laugh out loud hilarious novel from a brilliantly talented writer.

My first Stephen Fry book, because, as great as Stephen Fry is on television, there must also be something to his writing!
There is something to his writing.
The Liar isn’t exceptional, but it’s a fun, quick read, and certainly gave me a taste for going off to explore more of his books.

The Luck of the BodkinsThe Luck of the Bodkins by P. G. Wodehouse
Publisher: Herbert Jenkins
Released: October 11, 1935
Pages: 336
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Monty Bodkin's wooing of Gertrude Butterwick on the R.M.S. Atlantic is not progressing as it should. And the cause of all the trouble is Miss Lotus Blossum, the brightest star in Hollywood's firmament. The easy camaraderie of Miss Blossom, coupled with the idea that Monty is the only person who can send the errant Ambrose back to her welcoming arms, is causing Mr Bodkin moments of acute distress.

The Luck of the Bodkins was one of my first favourite books. I had already taking a liking to Wodehouse, but this book was exceptional. I still find it to be the funniest Wodehouse book I’ve read – there are so many great one-liners, and it’s just effortlessly hilarious throughout.

The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Series: Sherlock Holmes #3
Publisher: George Newnes
Released: October 14, 1892
Pages: 288
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Amid the foggy streets of sinister London and the even more sinister countryside, Sherlock Holmes and sidekick Watson once more solve the unsolvable. In 12 intriguing stories, the great mastermind of detection grapples with the extremes of treachery, duplicity, and murder.

An, if not the, classic collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories. These stories have aged very well, and really are really satisfying reads.

Moab Is My WashpotMoab Is My Washpot by Stephen Fry
Series: Memoir #1
Publisher: Random House
Released: January 1, 1997
Pages: 366
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A number one bestseller in Britain, Stephen Fry's astonishingly frank, funny, wise memoir is the book that his fans everywhere have been waiting for. Since his PBS television debut in the Blackadder series, the American profile of this multitalented writer, actor and comedian has grown steadily, especially in the wake of his title role in the film Wilde, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and his supporting role in A Civil Action.

Fry has already given readers a taste of his tumultuous adolescence in his autobiographical first novel, The Liar, and now he reveals the equally tumultuous life that inspired it. Sent to boarding school at the age of seven, he survived beatings, misery, love affairs, carnal violation, expulsion, attempted suicide, criminal conviction and imprisonment to emerge, at the age of eighteen, ready to start over in a world in which he had always felt a stranger. One of very few Cambridge University graduates to have been imprisoned prior to his freshman year, Fry is a brilliantly idiosyncratic character who continues to attract controversy, empathy and real devotion.

Stephen Fry has undeniably had an incredibly interesting life, and this is the first of the surprising number of volumes in his autobiography. One might think that he is pushing it with chronicling his life in the detail he seems to be going into, but no, I really don’t think he is. The length of this book is justified. It’s a good biography, which would probably be of interest to anyone who cares about Stephen Fry. And who doesn’t?

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