Friday, January 19, 2024

Friday Book Recommendation (Jan 19)

This week's reads:

Piccadilly Jim by P.G. Wodehouse: a lot has been said about Wodehouse being the "greatest English comic writer of the 20th century". I will take some issue with that because, <ahem> Sor Terry Pratchett, which is what you get if Wodehouse had a kid with Dickens, so the comic romps have a much stronger sense of social consciousness and awareness of the power of comedy to transform. That being said. Piccadilly Jim is a absolute corker of a comic novel, full of Wodehousian flair without being one of his standard character sets. If the ending didn't quite live up to the promise of farcical mayhem, I still read many phrases aloud to my family with much chortling. 

Did you know that around 1940 Wodehouse, who had been living in the U.S., was living in France for tax avoidance reasons? and then got captured by the Nazis? and had to make broadcasts for the Nazis to the then still neutral U.S. population? and because of that had a huge reputational hit after the war and was never able to go back to the U.K. even after he was knighted (his OBE was delayed for years, and then happened 6 months before his death)? PAY YOUR TAXES, KIDS!

Worlds Beyond Time: Sci-Fi Art of the 1970s by Adam Rowe: I am sure that I have violated some fundamental rule by having a coffee table book I have actually read cover to cover. I'll risk it. Rowe gives a symposium on the styles, trends, and masters of the SF and Fantasy art of the 1970's (bleeding in from the 60's and out to the 80's), what was popular when, what changed with the times, etc. with pages focusing on individual artists. It was fascinating and beautiful from top to bottom (though starting with the surrealist works of the late 1960's put me off just a little because I wanted goddamn space ships and rayguns! Pew! pew!) and highly recommended.

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