Do you come here often? If you do, you’ll notice that I’ve been “currently reading” Atlas Shrugged for a while now. Maybe I need to go on another vacation with a long, peaceful train ride so I can finally finish it. But, in the meantime, I’m stuck at Galt’s long (!) speech. It goes on for at least 60 pages and while it’s very interesting to me, I don’t have the luxury of being able to read it at complete and total ease. It’s heavy, semi-philosophical stuff and it must be understood well for it to stick. When I do sit down to read it and try to devote my attention solely to it, I become aware of thoughts buzzing about at the back of my mind. I have to respond to that email. Oh, that write-up is still pending. We have to fine-tune the new program. I don’t have enough choices for the next promo set! There’s no milk at home and I need to have coffee tomorrow morning. The apartment is messy and I should really tidy that before plopping myself down to read. You get my drift, I’m sure. I can’t concentrate on it the way that book deserves. So I’m distracted and I get up, walk around, check my emails to make sure I haven’t missed anything.
Maybe it’s because these days I want to get started on an unread P. G. Wodehouse book. They make for relatively light reading and they’re hilarious to a point where you cannot read them in public. If you do, your neighbours will think you’re having some sort of a fit while you struggle unsuccessfully to suppress your laughter before it emanates loudly. This will usually result in involuntary shudders while squeaks escape you at odd intervals and the people in close quarters with you will probably slide a few inches away surreptitiously just in case whatever you have is contagious. It is impossible to resist at least a chuckle a page when reading his books. But, you see, I can’t feast my eyes on his words yet. I have to first finish reading Atlas Shrugged!
Is it okay to stop reading a book when you’re so close…so close to the end? I’ve made it through 948 pages of tiny print…can’t I do another 136? What will I think of myself if I don’t? I will have shamed myself in my own eyes. I shall do it as a project if I have to. If I want to get to Wodehouse badly enough and I must go through Atlas Shrugged to get to it, then it simply must be done. While I love Atlas Shrugged and will re-read it before the end of this year, I’m craving a change of prose. I’m also craving laughter, the kind Plum(as he was called)’s books draw from us. The absence of P. G. Wodehouse’s work and humour in my life will start to burn a hole in the book that lays at my bedside table, with such desire it will be stared at. I’m starting to crumble and I can’t take it anymore. No, I have to get to Wodehouse and I will. I will, dammit! I leave you with a tiny example of the reason I worship his writings. Do look at the Quoting Wodehouse page too. Plenty of gems to be found there.
I had just got across the lawn when a head poked itself out of the smoking-room window and beamed at me in an amiable sort of way.
“Ah, Mr. Wooster,” it said. “Ha, ha!”
“Ho, ho!” I replied, not to be outdone in the courtesies.
– P. G. Wodehouse, ‘Very Good, Jeeves’
*A play on the name of the book ‘The Code of the Woosters’ by P. G. Wodehouse (for all the non-Wodehouse-fans, of course. The Plum fans would recognise it upon reading the first word.)