Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Beginning: Pelham Grenville Wodehouse: Volume 1: "This is Jolly Old Fame" by Paul Kent



In 2015, three of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse's best-loved comic characters celebrated their 100th birthdays.

-- Pelham Grenville Wodehouse: Volume 1: "This is Jolly Old Fame" by Paul Kent. He was talking about Bertie Wooster (without surname in 1915), Jeeves, and Clarence Threepwood, ninth Earl of Elmswoorth. Shows you the enduring power of P. G. Wodehouse's comic genius.

I am a huge Wodehouse fan. I keep a list of Wodehouse books here on this blog and am working my way through them, sometimes in order, sometimes when I can find an audiobook at the library. I especially love Wodehouse in audiobook editions.

This is the first volume of Paul Kent's three-volume biography of Wodehouse, based in part on new access to Wodehouse's papers and library. This first volume is out in the UK. For American readers, you have to order it from the publisher, TSB an imprint of Can of Worms Enterprises, or from Book Depository.

Honoria Plum at Plumtopia has a fun review here.

From the publisher's description:
Whether you re an absolute beginner or an aficionado, Paul Kent has captured the essence of what made Wodehouse tick without spoiling all the fun; and makes a compelling case for why we owe it to our collective sanity to keep on reading him. P.G. Wodehouse 1881-1975 Humourist, Novelist, Lyricist, Playwright So reads the simple inscription on the memorial stone unveiled in London s Westminster Abbey in September 2019, honouring the greatest comic writer of the 20th century. It takes a steady hand and a steely nerve to insist that sweetness and light can prevail in a world that seems hell-bent on proving the opposite, and over 40 years after his death, Wodehouse is not just surviving but thriving all over the world. Young Indian professionals can t get enough of him; he s hugely popular in Japan; his books have been translated into more than 30 languages, from Azerbaijani to Ukrainian via Hebrew, Italian, Swedish and Chinese; and there are established Wodehouse societies in the UK, the USA, Belgium, Holland and Russia. His books are demonstrating the staying power of true classics, and are all currently in print, making him as relevant and funny - as he ever was.

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up. Please find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.


TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


“If you must kill off one of your characters”, the young sage recommended, “do it behind the scenes and let someone else tell a friend all about it”. . . . A small but telling recommendation from the future master of lightness.


  1. Sounds good! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Not sure it's for me but I hope you enjoy reading it! I added you to the linky. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. I've actually never heard of Wodehouse before, so that's interesting. I love that Friday 56 snippet, though!

  4. Sounds interesting. Wodehouse is an author I have heard of but never read. One day soon, I hope. This week I am spotlighting a book from deep in my TBR mountain - Redshirts by John Scalzi. Happy reading!

  5. Interesting. I hope you have a great weekend!

  6. I've only read one PG Wodehouse book but want to read more.

  7. I adore Wodehouse! I'll definitely add this to my toppling tbr!

  8. Thank you all for playing along! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  9. I love Wodehouse! Would love to read this! Happy Christmas!

  10. I'm a big Jeeves fan, so this book sounds great. Mine for today is "Seven Days of Us", where a whole family gathers for Christmas for the first time in years, and are stuck in the house for 7 days of "family bliss".

  11. Wodehouse is great fun. This book looks amusing.


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