This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House India in exchange of an honest review
The moment I set eyes on this book, the first thought to cross my mind was ‘Collector’s item’. This beautiful hardcover offering from Random House would make a perfect gift, especially as a Christmas present, what with snowflakes on the cover design and the more obvious reference to very mysterious sounding Yuletide (which is just a fancy name for Christmas but always reminds me of the delicious baked yuletide log and a cozy fire).
This here is a collection of short stories, garnered from the various collections of Wodehouse, hence making it a perfect introduction to P.G.Wodehouse to the uninitiated. There are twelve stories, one for each month of the year, and one for good luck I suppose, bringing the total to the well-loved number in our household – thirteen.
1) Jeeves and the Yule-tide spirit (from ‘Very good Jeeves) – Jeeves and Wooster are about to depart on a trip to the gaming tables of Monte Carlo just after Christmas, when their plans are disrupted by an invitation from Lady Wickam. While Wooster seems pretty happy with the change of plans, the same cannot be said of Jeeves. Watching Jeeves get his way once again is as always priceless as are Wooster’s antics and misfortunes.
2) One touch of nature (from ‘The Man with Two Left Feet’) – This was a story I hadn’t come across previously in my forays into the Wodehouse archives. Its the story of Mr. J. Wilmont Birdsey, a doting American father who had to shift continents when his daughter married an Englishman, and his love of Baseball. After 5 years, he gets an opportunity to see his beloved game played on English soil and there meets two strangers who seem just as enamored as him with the sport. What follows when he invites them for dinner is hilarious.
3) The Ordeal of young Tuppy (from ‘Very Good Jeeves’) – Tuppy Glossop makes his second appearance since the book began and this time he has a much meatier role. Considering Wooster, it comes as a pleasant surprise to both the reader and Wooster himself that his friends are not just indolent, floppy Englishmen, but have some fire in their veins. If I had been present at that rugby match, I am sure I would have fallen in love with Tuppy Glossop on the spot!
4) Ukridge’s dog College (from ‘Ukridge’) – I never liked the Ukridge stories. He seems to be not cute and a pretty encroaching sort of person, apart from being a leech and somewhat of a crook. And yet, he has friends aplenty. It is a boy thing, I think, to give leeway to rogues just because you have known them since you were kids and sort of live vicariously through their adventures. Hubby does it all the time. This time he has hit upon the scheme of training Pekingese dogs for the stage. Needless to say, things do not progress as imagined.
5) The story of William (from ‘Meet Mr Mulliner’) – Mr Mulliner is a storyteller with an anecdote for every occasion. How much of his story is true is usually open to interpretation. Here, Mr Mulliner recounts the story of an uncle who visited California in 1906 to an American he encounters in his pub.
6) Uncle Fred Flits By (from ‘Young Men in Spats’) – Uncle Fred is the bane of Pongo Twistelton’s life. Here he is once again making an ill-advised visit to London and had roped in Pongo to make the rounds with him. Pongo is well aware where such shenanigans will lead and is suitably depressed. When Uncle Fred suggests visiting the suburbs, Pongo breathes a sigh of relief, for who can get into trouble in the suburbs! Alas, he has failed to heed the voice of experience as Uncle Fred manages to do just that.
7) How’s that, Umpire? (from Nothing Serious) – A story about cricket lovers and those not particularly enamoured by it. Conky Biddle hates cricket but must attend every match in Lords to please his uncle who loves cricket and controls his purse strings as well. When he meets a girl who despises cricket as much as her, he is ecstatic, only to learn his uncle despises the girl from the bottom of his heart. Conundrum!
The rest of the stories are bound to be just as funny and hilarious as all of the above and following my one story at bedtime routine, I will post them up as I get along.