Sunday, September 18, 2011
Week 39: Author! Author!
Author! Author! by P. G. Wodehouse
P. G. Wodehouse corresponded with his writer friend Bill for many years, and Bill collected them into a book, had Wodehouse add some extra notes, and published it as an amusing book of letters filled with writing advice. My favorite line of advice is "I think most novels would be better if shorter."
It's quite interesting to see how Wodehouse moved around. I had not realized how much time he spent in New York and Hollywood; he did quite a lot of work for Broadway shows and movies and so on, as well as producing reams of short stories and novels. He couldn't write stories in anything but an English setting (for the most part), but he spent hardly any time in Britain once he really got going as a writer.
Just about any solid Wodehouse fan would get a lot of fun out of this book, but I can only find it in the original 1961 edition, so you'd probably have to get it through ILL. It's a shame it hasn't ever been reprinted, I think--though Author! Author! is a pretty rotten title for remembering purposes. I'd change it.
A funny thing--near the end of the book, I found a postcard that had been used as a bookmark. It was an overdue notice from a local public library--dated 1972. From the looks of things, I was the first person in nearly 40 years to read that book.