If your New Year’s resolutions are limited to eating healthy and exercising regularly, I encourage you to advance the fitness of your mind and suggest starting the year with a novel by P.G Wodehouse.
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, called Plum by his friends, was an English comic writer of last century and enjoyed a prolific career lasting over 70 years. Though known best for his Jeeves novels and short stories, Wodehouse also enjoyed success in Hollywood and Broadway and a play write and lyricist.
I suggest Wodehouse not because he is difficult to read (like Ulysses or Gravity’s Rainbow), or profound (like The Waste Land or Lolita), but because he makes his readers laugh while giving a dose of perfect English prose. Evelyn Waugh, an English writer of the same century, said of Wodehouse, “Mr. Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.”
Lydia Olson Library has over 35 of Wodehouse’s novels and several volumes of short stories in circulation, recently bolstering the collection with the purchase of Company for Henry (PR 6045 .O53 .C66 2012), The Head of Kay’s (PR 6045 .O53 .H42 2012), and Utterly Uncle Fred. If you have an evening to spare, I recommend The Prefect’s Uncle (PR 6045 .O53 .P73 2010) a short novel about harmless boyhood mischief and the comedy of family relations. If you have an entire afternoon free, I suggest Right Ho Jeeves (PR 6045 .O53 .B75 2011), a novel about Wodehouse’s two most famous characters, Bertie and Jeeves, who try to help newt loving Gussie Fink-Nottle win the heart of Madeline Bassett.