Monday, April 14, 2014

How I know I am not alone in my fetish for books-1

I plan to go as I have lived: with a book in my hands. And not just any book by anybody. No, if there's one writer who can ease aeronautical timor mortis [the author is flying from Washington, D.C., to Chicago], it's Dr Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, Plum to his friends, and the creator of Jeeves, Psmith, Madeline Bassett, Uncle Fred and a body of fiction that has brought more joy to readers than even the Kama Sutra of Vatsayana. When angels in heaven want a book to read, they buy a paperback of The Code of the Woosters, then lean back into a cloudbank and sigh with pleasure over sentences like these:
"He, too, seemed disinclined for chit-chat. We stood for some moments like a couple of Trappist monks who have run into each other by chance at the dog races."

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French."

"Years before, and romantic as most boys are, his lordship had sometimes regretted that the Emsworths, though an ancient clan, did not possess a Family Curse. How little he had suspected that he was shortly to become the father of it."

— From "Weekend with Wodehouse", one of 46 essays written by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Michael Dirda for The Washington Post Book World and collected in Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments. Dirda was flying to Chicago to attend a convention of the P.G. Wodehouse Society. (By the way, I am also the proud possessor of another of Dirda's fine collections, Classics for Pleasure.)

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