Book Review: My Man Jeeves

My Man Jeeves (Jeeves, #1)My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good collection of Jeeves stories. I am not a big fan of the Reggie Pepper stories, though I suppose an historian must consider him canonical as a part of the Bertie Wooster origin story. A fun read as usual.

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Book Review: Candide

CandideCandide by Voltaire
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I will have to check with the patent offices to be sure, but I don’t think anti-gravity boots had yet been invented when Voltaire (aka Francois something or other) made walking on air while mocking God look so easy almost anyone could do it. This profane ramble is a ham fisted satire including ill-fate and contrived providences to fill in the gaps. The story is basically the old atheistic theodicy argument dressed up in lipstick-on-a-pig fashion. But he faults at the start because walking on air turns out to be walking on nothing after all.

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Book Review: The Man With Two Left Feet

The Man With Two Left Feet (Jeeves, #0.5)The Man With Two Left Feet by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another fun collection of short stories. These are early stories and the first story of Jeeves and Wooster. Both of those characters would grow and develop later on. I quite enjoyed it.

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Book Review: The Code of the Woosters

The Code of the Woosters (Jeeves, #7)The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a book! Bertie Wooster gets thoroughly into the soup and gets out again. This is Wodehouse on his game and a whole lot of fun.

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Book Review: The Good Earth

The Good Earth  (House of Earth #1)The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The only thing I knew about this book and author before reading it, was the extreme likelihood of one or both being featured in any sort of West Virginia history or trivia. I suppose Buck is the most famous author from West Virginia. Though she was born here, she grew up in China.

The book tells the story of the adult life of the fictional Wang Lung, a rural farmer in China. Farming in rural China a century ago is merely the setting, not what the book is about. The book is about the human condition and life on Earth. The story is gripping, though at times plodding, kind of like the life of a farmer.

Buck is an excellent story teller and I’m sure she paced her novel deliberately. She reminded me some of Jane Austen in how adeptly she sketched out character before the reader without having to tell us their character was good or bad. Wang Lung had his own moral code shown in the deference he paid his father and his scoundrel uncle, the chastising of his young son for stealing food, though they were nearly starving, and the way he worked, etc. She also deftly portrayed his pride as being the center of his morals. Even though he was poor, he would not steal. This was not because he thought of the act as wrong, per se, but rather the act was beneath him. He might have been poor, but he was not as low as a thief.

Buck also captured the nature of temptation and yielding, when he committed theft and that theft was what changed the course of his family life for material prosperity but also further moral degradation. His love for the land was his constant, and true religion. He never wavered in his faithfulness to his land. Though by the end of his life he was content with the peace he desperately wanted, I consider his arc to be more tragic than redemptive.

It’s a good story from a good writer.

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