Monday, February 27, 2017

An Early, But A Goodie

Very Good, Jeeves! (Jeeves, #4)Very Good, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the earlier Jeeves & Wooster, Very Good, Jeeves sees Wodehouse with some matured characters, but a plot that is still taking baby steps.

If memory serves (and it seldom does, so take that with a necessary grain of salt!), the first few "Jeeves" books Wodehouse penned were written as short stories. This one definitely is and I'm not a huge fan. Or perhaps I should say that I prefer the full length novellas of later books. These shorts felt like they were just getting off the ground only to suddenly land. The books wherein Jeeves and Wooster get to flap their wings for the length of a novel are much more satisfying. Short though they may be, almost all of these stories pack a solid comedic punch.

While the stories change faces over the course of nearly a dozen shorts, the faces of the characters stay mostly the same, thus retaining a certain sense of continuity. Bertie's "friends" and/or old school chums Tuppy Glossop and Bingo Little pop up occasionally. That spunky bird Bobbie Wickham sticks her nose in now and then to make Bertie's life more taxing. His mostly-beloved Aunt Dahlia likewise prods poor Bertie from time to time to make sure he's not idle, much to the delight of us readers.

The collection includes:

"Jeeves and the Impending Doom"

"The Inferiority Complex of Old Sippy"

"Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit"

"Jeeves and the Song of Songs"

"Episode of the Dog McIntosh" (US edition: "Jeeves and the Dog McIntosh")

"The Spot of Art" (US edition: "Jeeves and the Spot of Art")

"Jeeves and the Kid Clementina"

"The Love That Purifies" (US edition: "Jeeves and the Love That Purifies")

"Jeeves and the Old School Chum"

"Indian Summer of an Uncle" (US edition: "The Indian Summer of an Uncle")

"The Ordeal of Young Tuppy"

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Bill Bryson's African Diary

Bill Bryson's African DiaryBill Bryson's African Diary by Bill Bryson
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All the Bryson goodness you've come to know and love at half the calories!

Actually, it's more like a 10th the size. In fact, the worst part about Bill Bryson's African Diary is its shortness. This slim volume is more about awareness and philanthropy rather than a literary or journalistic endeavor for its own sake.

Bryson heads to Kenya to check out CARE International's charitable works. Times are tough there. Clean drinking water is at a premium. There's some slight heart-string pulling, but it's not Sally Struthers sappy. Just the right amount of compassion.

Tidbits of Bryson's trademark humor are wedged in between the descriptions of the ravaged slums and gorgeous beaches. His style and low-key flair are present in small quantities. This would be perfect for the Bryson noob who wanted to test the waters before diving into the deep end of his more chunky books.

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