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The Best of Wodehouse: An Anthology

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  435 ratings  ·  50 reviews

P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) was perhaps the most widely acclaimed British humorist of the twentieth century. Throughout his career, he brilliantly examined the complex and idiosyncratic nature of English upper-crust society with hilarious insight and wit. The works in this volume provide a wonderful introduction to Wodehouse’s work and his unique talent for joining fantast
Hardcover, 840 pages
Published June 19th 2007 by Everyman's Library (first published 1949)
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4.40  · 
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 ·  435 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Jim Bradbury
What a delight is P.G. Wodehouse. This copy is one that I actually bought for my father, and it was the last book he read (or, more accurately, had read to him by a hospice volunteer). Don't know how Jeeves and Bertie sounded with a Texas accent, but I'm sure it was good medicine. It's impossible to be in a bad mood while reading Wodehouse. For anyone who loves language, reading him is like wandering onto a beautiful beach that's been salted with precious gems.
Patrick DiJusto
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
Jolly wonderful, as they say, book, what? The very thing to pop out some ha-ha's from the old tummy, and no fooling.

Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster is the epitome of the English idle rich minor aristocracy of the 1920s and 1930s. (Something the Monty Python crowd would later call the Upper Class Twit, which is dashed rude if you ask me, but there you are.) Bertie's relatives regard him (incorrectly, he would say) as young, flighty, not actually insane but could be mistaken as such, and constantly ma
Anand Ganapathy
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ourlibrary
This anthology of some of PG Wodehouse 's best novels and short stories is a delight to read . 'Over seventy' , his autobiographical essays are just as humourous.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I skipped over the novels in this collection, as I have them in separate volumes, and stuck to the short stories.

A great introduction to someone who is fast becoming a favorite.
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc, classic, 2015
I only had time to read one story in this - Honeysuckle Cottage, where a man is left his late aunt's cottage. She was the writer of romances, he writes detective thrillers with no women, but the spirit of her stories are haunting the place and everything he does and writes turns into a romance. It was utterly hilarious. When I have time again, I need to read more of these.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this up at random from the library, when I was trying to convince my daughter to add a few known good books to her pile (she was picking based on titles and covers). I've heard of Wooster and Jeeves as a BBC show, but I hadn't watched it, and I'd heard that Wodehouse was a good read.

The collection starts with "The Code of the Woosters", a longer Wooster and Jeeves story (novel?), but not the first. Wooster is an upper class, wealthy bachelor, and Jeeves his butler. The story is a social
Mark McTague
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I stopped after 315 pages (800+ in this anthology) for two reasons: 1) Bertie Wooster and his man, Jeeves, seem to have disappeared (though other characters introduced in the first third of the book seem to appear throughout, if my casual leafing through the remainder is any guide), and I enjoyed them so much that I was a bit deflated by their absence, but also 2) the witty repartee of the "jolly gentlemen" (to use my English friend's characterization) had grown a bit stale. I suppose that's an ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pg-wodehouse
A perfectly chosen anthology. Includes Wodehouse's two best novels, and many of his best short stories. Excellent introduction by John Mortimer as well. But the last word should go to AA Gill:

"If you want to saddle Wodehouse with an idea, which I don't, it might be that there is a sort of bliss in ignorance, and that innocent loafing is the way to be. Success is not achieved, it's underachieved. His books stand alone like the lilies of the field, neither reaping nor sowing, just being Wodehousia
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An absolute joy. Two novels and short stories. A great introduction to PGW for those who don’t know him. And great reads for his fans.

The writing in his stories is wonderful. He has some of the best dialogue ever. Somewhat like my favorite Austen, he always chooses just the right words to construct the perfect sentence.

I love his stories because they make me laugh but also because of the writing.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I really enjoyed this. It's a great intro to Wodehouse, whom I had never read and is now a new favorite. The anthology includes 2 novels, a number of short stories from his various series, and an excerpt from an essay/autobiography at the end. His stories are, truly, delightful. I started acquiring my Wodehouse collection (and happily, there are literally dozens to collect, the man was prolific in the extreme) before I had gotten halfway through the anthology.
James Violand
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: own
A wonderful romp through wit. The inability to identify with the problems of aristocratic men living frivolously and yet dependent upon the largesse of relatives, does not in any way diminish the enjoyment of reading Wodehouse. His humor brightens your day.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
the 14 short stories and two novels are full of the humour of wodehouse,I would suggest this volume to any reader who;s like to laugh.
Jun 04, 2010 rated it liked it
A solid collection--

None of Wodehouse stories disappoints. Every single one of them, in fact, engages. Plus, he is funny - not as funny as DFW (de gustibus non est disputandum), which is always good.

I especially liked the figure of Uncle Fred (who appears in "Uncle Fred Flits By" and the novel, Uncle Fred in the Springtime) whose taste for anything adventurous coupled with his unparalleled charm and intelligence makes him an irresistible character.

I was also a fan of Clarance, the Earl of Emswo
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This 800-page volume-- not including notes, biographical annotations, etc.-- is surely one of the most pleasurable, addicting, and essential things I have read. If you know and love Wodehouse, you will doubtless agree; if you don't, this tome is a persuasive (though perhaps daunting) introduction.

It contains: The Code of the Woosters, which is perhaps the most essential of all the "Jeeves and Wooster" novels, and among my favorites; a dozen or so short stories, including a handful of Jeeves/Woos
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-britain, humor
If you read anything from this (admittedly large) anthology, let it be "Uncle Fred in the Springtime," and "Over Seventy." I'd love to be able to pull a quote that would convince other people to pick this up, but are far too many of them and I'll have to settle for this:

"I go in for what is known in the trade as 'light writing', and those who do that -- humorists they are sometime called --- are looked down upon by the intelligentsia and sneered at. When I tell you that in a recent issue of the
Spike Gomes
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
From Wodehouse, one finds the ur-text from which all future British situational comedy would spring forth.

In all, I never failed to be bored in reading him, though I was rather cold to the Wooster and Jeeves series in comparison to the other stories. I found Wooster's voice more annoying than enchanting, really.

That said, Wodehouse is *very* good at plotting and finding humor in characters and events, even if his humor is trifle on the silly and shallow side. You won't find any deep satire here,
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
The first Wodehouse I'd read. Of course, I'd seen some of the film and TV adaptations but those don't convey the freshness of the humour. This volums has 3 novellas and some short stories, with all the main Wodehouse characters and settings, Jeeves and Wooster, Blandings Castle. The volume includes Uncle Fred in the Springtime which had me frequently laughing out loud, certainly the funniest book I've read in a very long time. I had to stop reading it on the subway. "Uncle Fred in the Springtime ...more
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This anthology--along with all Wodehouse work--is an absolute delight to read. I am grateful for having been introduced to him, for there are few authors who can make me laugh in public while reading, and ol' PG manages all the time. Of particular note is an excerpt from his autobiography where he manages to defend Shakespeare against negative comparisons to himself.

The 5 stars are for technical mastery of his craft. He's more like a Bach than a Beethoven: you won't necessarily have your heart w
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I got through everything but the autobiography about a month ago, and thought I might skip it and call it done. However, today I picked it up and found myself emminently in the mood to truly finish the book. Even his autobio is wonderfully amusing. I enjoyed every story in this collection, and undoubtedly will re-read them multiple times, at which point I might consider myself competent to write pithy reviews of each one. Until then, if you are interested at all in his works, I suggest that you ...more
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Jeeves knows how to get Bertie Wooster out of the predicaments he always seems to find himself in. Fun stories if you like old-style British humour. I didn't actually finish this 700+ page book because the stories started to seem too similar to each other. They weren't originally written for a book, so not really meant to be read together anyway. Maybe I'll pick the book up again at a later date to read more.
James Harmeling
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My entire family benefited from reading these short stories out loud. This was the best way to share it as after dinner entertainment. Wodehouse remains delightful and wonderfully creative. No film version of Wooster and Jeeves captures the richness and humor of reading the stories because his choice of metaphor is too hilarious to bring out any other way. This is a great volume containing many short stories and a few longer ones.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good Wodehouse compendium. I love what a twit Bertie is, and how ridiculous the problems of the main characters are. And of course, Jeeves always saves the day -- and gets his way in the end. This book also includes some stories about other Wodehouse characters, which were fun in their own right. I really liked "Uncle Fred Flits By". A light and fun read.
Feb 11, 2008 marked it as home-library
Shelves: partially-read
I got to page 459, which is about half way. I am not sure I will ever really finish this book, though I have enjoyed all of the stories in it thus far. I haven't read anything from it in a long time. Someday I might really finish it off, but I am content for now with what I *have* read out of it. Wodehouse is an excellent, witty writer. I particularly love Jeeves!
Apr 21, 2010 rated it liked it
I liked this stuff. I think I'm a little overloaded on Wodehouse though because I'm watching through "Jeeves and Wooster" now and I'd seen all the episodes before I read the stories, and in close temporal proximity too, so I didn't get much new out of this read. Would probably get four stars if I read it again in a couple of years.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very delightful introduction to British humor. The last section which has excerpt from his autobiography "Over Seventy" would be a good book for an aspiring author in introducing them to the rigors involved w/o scaring them away.
Aug 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
I definitely need a dose of Bertie and Jeeves, I've been reading some deep and even depressing stuff lately. Update - upon reading, not as much Bertie and Jeeves and I expected, as I'd already read Code of the Woosters, but a rollicking good read anyway.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
What ho -- I've got to get me some of that old Wooster grit! 5 stars for "The Code of the Woosters", I might like it better than "The Importance of Being Earnest" which is the closest thing to which I could compare it.
Mike Harper
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect introduction to Wodehouse. The ten short stories are among his best, and the two novels are wonderfully zany. If one were interested in Wodehouse himself, the editor's timeline would be very helpful.
Even the autobiographical piece at the end is entertaining.
John Kitcher
Such a fun book to read. All of the stories are delightful and full of humor. The characters are great - especially the dimwitted cast who get dragged around and trampled on like something the cat dragged in, as it were. Just brilliant.
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Wodehouse and this does not disappoint. I received this as a Christmas gift, so there were one or two stories that I'd already read. The only thing that disappointed me was that this isn't a comprehensive Jeeves compilation, but a 'best of'.
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Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, was a comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success during a career of more than seventy years and continues to be widely read over 40 years after his death. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse's main canvas remained that of prewar English upper-class so ...more
“Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoy's Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day's work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city's reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty.” 425 likes
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