Forbear to taste Library Paste.

Wednesday reading — letters and liver flukes

What I've been reading

I read Vita Brevis: A Letter to St. Augustine, which is RPF by the author of Sophie's World and very satisfying if you have ever read any of Augustine's Confessions and just wanted to start arguing with him about how incredibly wrong he is about everything but especially about women.

I read P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters, which is delightful if you like a.) Wodehouse and b.) letters, which I very much do.

I read The Little Friend, because I enjoyed The Goldfinch that much, and if I hadn't been reading it on my iPad I likely would have thrown the book across the room. I had a vague impression that people were annoyed with the end of this book, and it is, in fact, annoying! It's not just that there is no solution to the murder of Robin. I mean, that's annoying, but I expected from the beginning that there wouldn't be, that it was going to be "realistic" in that way. But it barely resolves the present-day story with Harriet and the methheads either! I swear, it's like the actual last chapter was accidentally amputated or something! Argh.

I read The Girl in Blue, a late standalone Wodehouse that I may or may not have read before—as the man himself said, they do all have the same plot, so it can be difficult to recall.

I read Parasite Rex, which is awesome, in the senses of "cool" and "horrifying". Parasites: can't live without them, can't learn about them without shrieks of disgust.

What I'm reading now

Still Medieval Iceland.

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What sort of stuff does/did Wodehouse write? I think that's more of a scholar-bowl type knowledge, not anything I've experienced firsthand.
The most utterly delightful nonsense, basically. Everyone is always in love, but unable to get engaged, or engaged, and unable to figure out how to break the engagement, or attempting to acquire some item, or attempting to prevent some item from being stolen, and there are misunderstandings and escalations until everything comes out right in the end. The plot of a Wodehouse novel, such as it is, is merely a theme, like that of a fugue, an excuse for gathering together a cast of colorful characters and producing some of the funniest sentences in the English language, like "She fitted into my biggest armchair as if it had been built round her by someone who knew they were wearing armchairs tight about the hips that season." Or "It is fortunate that the quality of country hotel turbot is such that you do not notice much difference when it turns to ashes in your mouth, for this is what Monty's turbot was doing now."

Wodehouse wrote pretty continuously from the turn of the century until his death in 1975, so a.) there is quite a bit of it, and b.) a fair bit of it is in the public domain and available in the usual places.