December 17, 2009

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) ***

*** Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), Jerome K. Jerome, 1889

This book may be 120 years old, but it's still funny as dammit. I learned of the existence of this book from To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, also worth reading. JKJ was an influence on Wodehouse, as I learned from the bio I'm currently reading and from the style of this book.

I never got around to finding a copy in a bookstore. Instead, I grabbed text copy from Gutenberg.org, and snagged a Librivox.org audio book while I was at it. I listened to about half of the book and read the other half.

A note on Librivox. Free is a good price for an audio book, but the old thing of "you get what you pay for" still applies. In this case, the 19 chapters were narrated by almost as many different people from different countries and widely varied accents, not all of whom knew how to pronounce "Thames" or "row" as in, "Harris and I had a bit of a row over it" in which case it rhymes with "cow" not "tow." On the upside, I listened to half the book while taking care of two projects (hanging a towel rack and fixing burnt-out Xmas tree lights), both of which presented highly frustrating complications which bothered me a lot less since I had a hilarious audio book keeping me company.

Back to TMiaB (TSNotD), for the most part it was very satisfyingly funny in an understated 19th-century British kind of way, much more so that I was expecting. There were a few places where JKJ went off on a lyrical or historical tangent and required some skimming. But aside from those 3 or 4 spots, it was excellent.

I also NetFlixed a movie adaptation from 1956. It was mind-numbingly horrid. Be advised.

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