I have always loved nursery rhymes. Alligator Pie has kept its spot on my bookshelf for its memorable, and ridiculously catchy verses. After (mumble mI have always loved nursery rhymes. Alligator Pie has kept its spot on my bookshelf for its memorable, and ridiculously catchy verses. After (mumble mumble) years, I can still quote it. Plus, when you're a kid growing up in the modern age, rhymes that mention skyscrapers and Batman are a thrill. The poems are nonsense, but their imagination and earnest enthusiasm get to the heart of how kids see the world. The illustrations are beyond bizarre, and that's part of the charm.
If you do pick it up, make sure you read it aloud: preferably to a child or two!...more
This is a fun read that features, like all the Jeeves and Wooster stories, Bertie Wooster getting into unbelievable situations and trying to worm hisThis is a fun read that features, like all the Jeeves and Wooster stories, Bertie Wooster getting into unbelievable situations and trying to worm his way out of them in even more unbelievable ways. When he succeeds only in digging himself in deeper, he is inevitably rescued by his unflappable valet (NOT butler), Jeeves.
Wodehouse's command of breezy English is in fine form here, but maybe not top form. I just felt that there was something lacking -- but only when compared with other Wodehouse prose, and I guess I will cut the fellow some slack as this was published a year before he died. Even here, he's still miles beyond most comic writers.
There is not nearly enough Jeeves in this story, as the valet disappears for a good portion of the story and the book sorely misses his presence. On the other hand, there is a good deal of Bertie's Aunt Dahlia, whom I love from the depths of my snarker's soul, so all is not lost....more
If you haven't read anything by P.G. Wodehouse, you're missing out. He was a master of the English language and his uniquely bubbly way of writing jusIf you haven't read anything by P.G. Wodehouse, you're missing out. He was a master of the English language and his uniquely bubbly way of writing just rolls off the tongue (and would have done for me, if I had dared to besmirch the phrases by reading them aloud in a Canadian accent.) His famously sparkling prose is in high form in Cocktail Time. The plot is an overly convoluted series of coincidences involving a best-selling book, a couple of con artists, and a bunch of upper-class airheads, all brought together by "Uncle Fred" and his good-hearted meddling in their business ... in short, it's classic Wodehouse.
While the plot is intentionally silly, the book is great fun. It rollicks away with a breezy humour that sounds so effortless that it's easy to overlook Wodehouse's genius with words. I prefer the Jeeves stories in general, but Cocktail Time proved to me that Wodehouse doesn't need to feature Bertie Wooster and his "gentleman's gentleman" in order to be hilarious.
I wanted to love this book. I normally really enjoy Pratchett, so I was expecting to love this one too. But I was underwhelmed by Unseen Academicals.I wanted to love this book. I normally really enjoy Pratchett, so I was expecting to love this one too. But I was underwhelmed by Unseen Academicals. On the surface, this book is about a bunch of stodgy wizards and a horde of football-mad Ankh-Morporkians. Sounds hilarious, but it... wasn't, really. I just didn't find Unseen Academicals to be as funny as I expect a Discworld book to be, and it took a long time for the various plot lines to coalesce into something coherent (even by Pratchett's standards of "coherent."). It's also very possible that I just don't care enough about sports to be amused by the football theme.
There were elements I really liked -- dwarfish haut couture, the mysterious and precocious Mr. Nutt, and everything Lord Vetinari does, ever -- but overall the story just fell a bit flat....more
This book is a must-read for anyone who reads fantasy books, especially of the Lord of the Rings/"let's go on a quest" type. Written as though it's aThis book is a must-read for anyone who reads fantasy books, especially of the Lord of the Rings/"let's go on a quest" type. Written as though it's a tourist guide to "Fantasyland", it hilariously lampshades the genre's recurring tropes and character types. Because of its format, it's not really the sort of book that you read from start to finish -- I tried that initially and kept getting sidetracked by the cross-references, so eventually I gave it up and chose entries at random. It would be more entertaining for people who have read (or at least watched) Lord of the Rings, but anyone who is even slightly familiar with the fantasy genre will find something to make them laugh and say, "it's so true!" ...more
On the surface this is a story about Audrey Flowers, who goes home upon the death of her father, only to have to come to terms with a lot of other issOn the surface this is a story about Audrey Flowers, who goes home upon the death of her father, only to have to come to terms with a lot of other issues from her past. But it is so much more than that.
How do I love thee, Come, Thou Tortoise? Let me count the ways... -You're hilarious and quirky, but not in a self-conscious way and you never feel forced. Reading you is like being inside the head of someone who has a unique view on the world. -You introduced me to Audrey, whom I loved from the start. She just walks onto the page fully formed as a woman who mixes childlike and adult perspectives on the world. She's a refreshingly genuine character, with all her little quirks that are wonderful and weird but taken for granted, in the same way that everyone has wonderful and weird things that they do without thinking that they are anything but ordinary. -You're full of puns and wordplay. And I do love wordplay. -Every once in awhile you are narrated by Audrey's pet tortoise, who is snarky, erudite, capable of expounding on Shakespeare, and terrified of being abandoned. And somehow it works. -You made me desperately want everything to work out for Audrey, her strange-but-lovable uncle, the hilariously keen Jewish-atheist Christmas light designer (it makes sense in context), and even the tortoise. You made me care about a tortoise. -You are steeped in Shakespeare and Gilbert and Sullivan. I think we can be friends.
One thing I will point out is that this book doesn't use question marks or quotation marks. Initially this threw me off, but soon I felt that it replicated the characters' inner monologues (or dialogues) more accurately, and it stops being intrusive quickly enough. In short, this is an unusual book, but it is all the more entertaining, touching, and memorable for that. ...more