Well, here we all are. Confined to quarters. Recluses, by order of HM Government. No Mass, no pub, no meals out, no sports matches, no public gatherings. The Sealed Knot return to barracks and summer fete committees draw stumps. West London will no longer have to endure its annual invasion by Oxbridge hearties for the Boat Race, and for once Glastonbury in late June will be a haven of tranquillity.
Goodness only knows how long this will last. So what should we do with all this enforced semi-captivity? POWs could at least work on tunnels, or brush up on their German, or forge identity papers. If you prefer to settle down with a book after your permitted daily ration of exercise, what should be on your pile? I am determined to revisit some serious works, like Peter J Williams’s excellent apologetic Can We Trust The Gospels? and Pope Benedict’s Jesus trilogy, but I expect that a lot of my reading will be on the lighter side.
The obvious choice for pure escapism at this difficult time is PG Wodehouse. I came late to Plum, but now ensure that I read two or three of his books every year, in order to maintain mental equanimity and a cheery outlook on life. The supreme works, of course, are the Jeeves and Wooster series, and the Blandings saga. Right Ho, Jeeves and Summer Lightning (a Blandings Castle book) are excellent starting points for the above. The Inimitable Jeeves is a fine short story collection, containing one of the undoubted masterpieces of the Wodehousian canon, “The Great Sermon Handicap”, but almost everything he wrote – and he wrote a great deal – is worth at least some of your time.