The Week in Books 2009, No. 8

Daniel Gilbert’s novel “Magi” is an entertaining story of how the Three Wise Men might have undertaken the journey to present gifts to Jesus. Informed by research into historical sources, Gilbert’s novel has an authentic feel to it, although much of the story is of course based on conjecture. I found it interesting and enjoyable, and I agree with one of the Amazon reviewers who opined that this would be a good book to give people for Christmas. However, I’d add that it’s still a good diversion when read in February.

I have long meant to read P.G. Wodehouse because his Jeeves series is such a favorite of so many people. To that end, I undertook to read “Much Obliged, Jeeves.” I quickly realized that it was not the first book in the series, but that didn’t present too much of a problem since most of the first section of the book consisted of recaps of previous books.

Here is my sheepish confession: I hated this book and couldn’t force myself to finish the last third of it.

The dialog is great, and I imagine that is why so many people like these books, but the characters were two dimensional and the story was boring in a painful way, much like the genre of “painful funny” movies that I also hate, like “Meet the Parents” where you just sit there cringing waiting for the next thing to go wrong and it’s not quite funny enough to make it worth your time.

If Wodehouse is your favorite thing, please don’t be offended, it’s just not my cup of tea.

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