The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G.Wodehouse

I guess most of you will already be familiar with Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. This book is centred around Bertie’s friend Bingo Little who falls in love with every girl he meets. How he keeps getting into trouble and how Jeeves bails him out is the book in a sentence.

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I’m surprised it took me this long to read Wodehouse since almost everyone in the family is a fan. My dad and uncle have read all the Jeeves books and have gone one step further to read the Psmith series as well.

But in a case of the apple falling far from the tree, I must confess that I’m not a fan of the book. I had to labour hard to finish it and it took me months.

I have always held humour as a genre in high esteem whether it be books or movies. And even in this case, I admire the writing and there were places where I did laugh out loud. Here are some of my favourites ..

Everything seemed to be going right. On three separate occasions horses on which I had invested a sizeable amount won by lengths instead of sitting down to rest in the middle of the race, as horses usually do when I’ve got money on them.

“Have you told her ?”
“No . I haven’t the nerve. But we walk together in the garden most evenings, and ti sometimes seems to me, that there is a look in her eyes”
“I know that look. Like a sergeant major” 

 He appeared a trifle reassured and lowered the umbrella. But just then the most frightful shindig started in the bedroom. It sounded as if all the cats in London, assisted by delegates from outlying suburbs, had got together to settle their differences once and for all. A sort of augmented orchestra of cats 

What then was the problem ? There is no plot or storyline at all. It is just a collection of circumstances that could almost pass off as a collection of short stories. One chapter isn’t connected to the next and I suspect that even if I change the chapter orders or delete a few, it wouldn’t make a difference. The effect is that it makes for excruciatingly slow reading. As someone who likes fast-paced novels more, I found this really irritating.

Whether you like the book or not will therefore depend a lot on your personal taste in novels. If you give importance to writing over everything else, you will love this. If you are like me, you may not.

Don’t forget to share what you think ! Should I have started with some other title ?

More importantly, is it ok to not like classics ?

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Don’t Go Away, We’ll Be Right Back by Indu Balachandran

Full title: Don’t Go Away, We’ll Be Right Back: The Oops And Downs Of Advertising 

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As indicated by the title, the book is a humourous take on the advertising industry.  As also indicated by the title, its not meant to be taken seriously as an insider’s insightful account or a thought-provoking profile of the industry,etc. Its just a look at the ad world from a comical lens.

The author divides the book into chapters based on the various departments of an advertising firm and the last few chapters deal with what the firm goes through before an ad film is finally released.

So what did I like about it? The author doesn’t miss a chance to poke fun at overused phrases like ‘paradigm shift’ or high-brow jargon. Sample this

“The vignetting background, though a classic cliche, gives it all an iconographic quality – almost immutable in grammar ….. ” 

She also gives a classification of templates used by ad agencies that rings uncannily true. I personally liked the sections about the copyrighter and the art designer. They were truly hilarious.

What didn’t I like ? The book has plenty of cartoons and while some of them work, others are simply taking up space (they are just repeating the printed text in the form of a sketch). The puns at times feel laboured and hence fall flat.

Overall its a light, breezy read filled with humour and wit.  I wouldn’t recommend that you go out of your way to read it but if it happens to be lying around (as it was in my case), there is no harm in giving it a chance.