Saturday, May 18, 2013

Five top books for the Anglomaniac

Raymond Sokolov is the author of The Saucier’s Apprentice, the novel Native Intelligence, and a biography of A. J. Liebling, Wayward Reporter. His new book is Steal the Menu: A Memoir of Forty Years in Food.

For the Wall Street Journal he named five top books for the Anglomaniac, including:
Joy in the Morning
by P.G. Wodehouse (1946)

Wodehouse wrote his masterpiece while interned in Upper Silesia as an alien enemy. "If this is Upper Silesia," he said, "what must Lower Silesia be like?" Then, to show his American fans he was keeping a stiff upper lip, he agreed to participate in a couple of chipper German broadcasts aimed at the still-neutral U.S. In Britain, they were seen as traitorous betrayals. The stink never abated and turned him into an exile from the homeland he never stopped recasting as a comic heaven of harmless pranks and pastoral misdoings. He was officially cleared of aiding the enemy and no sane observer has ever believed that Wodehouse understood the moral mess he was so blithely creating. With his feckless Bertie Wooster and his omniscient man's man Jeeves at the center of the sublime foolery, Wodehouse, in novel after novel, just kept on letting us smile at a world of privilege and big houses, upstairs and downstairs going gently topsy-turvy. "Joy" is the story of a country weekend from hell at Steeple Bumpleigh. Engagements crumble, jewelry is mislaid, tempers are lost, drinks drunk. Jeeves saves the day, really he saves the world and now has time to read the latest scholarly edition of Spinoza.
Read about the other books on Sokolov's list.

--Marshal Zeringue