One of the troubles with being a voracious reader is finding stuff to read, whether you’re a tight git or not. I love roast dinners. But if I had to eat them every day of the week for months, I can see the pleasure would wane. It’s the same with reading. I like reading a lot (in both senses of the expression) but the same diet of crime, mystery, thrillers needs spicing up a bit from time to time. But with what? Choice can be a little limiting if, like me, one baulks at paying several pounds for a computer file ebook and one has no access to charity shops.
So it was my great good fortune on the commute this week after a couple of average reads to discover a PDF document of a PG Wodehouse book of Jeeves and Wooster stories on my Kindle. The first of which is called Leave it to Jeeves and had me laughing out loud at 6.30 in the morning, much to the obvious annoyance of my fellow travellers who were trying to sleep.
Just before Wodehouse I read a Stella Rimington novel, The Geneva Trap. It was a free download on Amazon. I like spy novels. I thought it a competent effort. I enjoyed the read and looked forward to picking it up. But not once did I feel any real emotion. It didn’t frighten me. It didn’t make me laugh. I never felt my heart miss a beat. I didn’t gasp. The language and plot were straightforward and easy to follow. I never once encountered a word I didn’t understand. It was uncomplicated – a sort of spy book by numbers writing. I’m not trying to diss the writing. I’m just expressing my opinion.
Straight after Stella I started on another free downlaod with good reviews. A crime thriller. It shaped up well enough but I realised a couple of chapters in that I was no longer in the mood for the genre. I needed a change of reading cuisine. Enter Wodehouse.
What a wordsmith that fellow was. And it got me thinking about what a gift it is, as a writer, to be able to inspire emotion in your reader with nothing more than a clever arrangement of words and punctuation on a blank page. (Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. The reader must bring something to the event too.) Or is it a gift, I quickly argued with myself. Isn’t it the result of someone who has worked hard at his craft and reached a high level of expertise in it? Probably like the old educational nature/nurture argument goes, there’s a good dollop of both in there.
I’ve tried reading Dracula a couple of times but never got too far with it. I’ll try again. When I haven’t been reading on the commute this week I’ve been listening to Dracula as an audiobook. It was another free one. It’s really good. The reading just brings the text to life, something which I haven’t yet managed as a reader. It’s got me thinking about audiobooks again and that I’d like to get some of my books done as audiobooks. I’d really like to have a go at reading them myself. I believe I could make a decent fist of it and it could be fun.
I know what you mean about having something decent to read. I too down-loaded Stella Rimmington’s book because it was free, but not got around to reading it yet.
Your blog title, ‘Leave it to Wodehouse’ made me smile, though, as he wrote a book entitled ‘Leave it to Psmith’, but you probably already know that.
As I am the sort of person who gets things done, those around me have always said, ‘Leave it to Pat; she’ll know what to do’.
I must try and get around to reading about Wodehouse’s Psmith.
I didn’t know that title. I will be looking out more of his books. I simply loved his style.
Stella’s book wasn’t bad. Maybe I was a bit tough on her because of my mood. Certainly a good freebie.
I downloaded The Geneva Trap some time back but as I have been rather ambivalent about it, I just kept going back to look for new books when in need of something to read. This often happens to me when I am not totally convinced that a book is going to be my kind of book (with one honourable exception by some bloke who writes books set in Kent, and blogs a bit) but I when I do get round to them, I often find that they are either OK or brilliant. It does sound as though my intitial impression of this one might just be right for once though.
It could be that I was a little hard on Dame Stella’s debut. I finished it after all and I don’t do that if I’m not getting something out of the read. What do you think of Wodehouse? Just the language killed me. Very funny in small doses.
I haven’t read Wodehouse in years and to be honest I think I would be hearing Martin Jarvis in my ears throughout the book if I started. They are as you say, very funny in small doses, probably irritating in larger doses. Wodehouse stories translate so well to radio that I now tend to listen rather than read, but you may just have piqued my interest again . . .
I recently listened to Jarvis reading Wodehouse on BBc iplayer. Pretty funny.
I just fınished a book that was free but isn’t now that I thought excellent. The Survival of Thomas Ford by John AA Logan. Hıghly recommended. And he has a good story to tell about it all on hıs blog, which I will be making reference to next time.