Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Something Fresh


I've been making my way through Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster series, which is a guaranteed lighthearted and clever romp, but a friend of mine keeps telling me to read the Blandings books, which he actually enjoys even more. So I set Bertie and Jeeves aside and picked up this first book in the series, which introduces us to Lord Emsworth of Blandings Castle as well as many other fun and quirky characters.

As with the Jeeves series, this book is made up of several subplots that wind together and come to a clever, funny conclusion and involves interesting characters I came to care about as the novel progressed. There is a young man about to be engaged who is worried about being blackmailed about some incriminating letters. There's another young man in need of a change in his professional and personal life, who finds himself behaving in a new and purposeful way after meeting an inspiring young woman. He soon finds himself undercover in an attempt to retrieve a purloined scarab, but that young woman is bound and determined to beat him to it - and to the reward money.

I particularly enjoyed the female characters in this novel, who are stronger and more independent-minded than many female characters portrayed by writers (male and female) even decades after this was published, which is certainly refreshing. There are humorous misunderstandings, romantic entanglements, and all those delightful things to be expected in a Wodehouse novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

These books truly lend themselves to being read aloud, and I listened to the audio version of this one, narrated by Frederick Davidson, who did an excellent job. I'm now hooked on both series and look forward to many more visits to Blandings.

This book is available for free at Project Gutenburg.

Books in the Blandings series:
1. Something Fresh
2. Summer Lightning
aka Fish Preferred
3. Heavy Weather
4. Blandings Castle and Elsewhere
5. Lord Emsworth and Others
aka The Crime Wave at Blandings
6. Full Moon  
7. Pigs Have Wings  
8. Galahad at Blandings aka The Brinkmanship of Galahad Threepwood
9. A Pelican at Blandings 
10. Sunset at Blandings  
11. Imperial Blandings 
12. Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best

Something Fresh (#1 in the Blandings series) by P.G. Wodehouse; narrated by Frederick Davidson (Blackstone Audio, 2009); originally published 1915

3 comments:

  1. I have many Wodehouse books still to read, but at this point this one remains my favorite and its one I've re-read a handful of times. I like the romance and humor of this one very much. As you said, great female characters, which adds a lot to it. But just great overall. Such a fun one.

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  2. This is my favorite Wodehouse book. I just love it! I've read it several times and even read it aloud to my wife. He is such a great writer. I don't think I've had any author make me laugh out loud while reading with the consistency that Wodehouse does. He is especially fun to read aloud.

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    1. Carl - I'm glad you enjoy these books too! This one is hysterical. I agree - they really lend themselves to being read aloud, don't they? Whenever I need something to lift my mood, I just load up a Wodehouse audiobook. I'm so happy that there are more in this Blandings series to read!

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