Aug 14, 2006

One book

One book that changed your life. When I was feeling very low--can't bring yourself to get out of bed low--I picked up a two-volume set of the complete Jeeves stories by PG Wodehouse. I remember the author's preface warned the reader to pace himself as there was too much humor between the covers to take in one sitting. I ignored his advice; I needed a jolt of humor. And joy. The sheer joy of the Wodehouse Eden. Of Bingo Little, Sir Roderick Glossop and Aunt Agatha. Although the Jeeves stories have been packaged and repackaged hundreds of times, I've never found another complete set in the nifty two-volume format. The actual books that served as my salvation were cheap paperbacks with really small type that I lent to a friend--a philistine who sniffed that she preferred Thurber and then failed to return them.

One book that you’ve read more than once. I'll go along with the flow and pick Pride and Prejudice.

One book you’d want on a desert island. War and Peace. Maybe that way, I'd actually get around to reading it.

One book that made you laugh. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. Just thinking about the scene where he burns his bed makes me laugh.

One book that made you cry. I'm not sure any book has ever made me cry though many have made me sad. Although I often read to escape, reading requires a certain amount of distance from the reader that inhibits crying--though obviously, for me at least, not laughing. I tend to cry during movies.

One book that you wish had been written. I just wish we'd discover some unpublished Jane Austen or PG Wodehouse written in their prime.

One book that you wish had never been written. Although I enjoyed it, I think we can credit Bridget Jones for the recent torrent of really bad chick lit books that are currently clogging the aisles at the bookstores.

One book you’re currently reading. I just finished Background to Danger by Eric Ambler and have started on his Journey into Fear, having begun with his first, Epitaph for a Spy. I'd love them just for the atmosphere: Pre-World War II Europe, but they're also great stories.

One book you’ve been meaning to read. War and Peace, see above.

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