Author: P. G. Wodehouse
Title: The Inimitable Jeeves
Publication Info: Blackstone Audiobooks (2000), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Two things marred my enjoyment of this otherwise fine collection of Wodehouse stories. First, the audiobook narrator employed an obnoxiously high-pitched voice in his characterizations of Wooster and Jeeves and with little nuance or finesse at that. Second, I’d seen many of these stories performed by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in the TV series, and for some reason the first way I hear a story always feels like “the right way.” Silly thing, I know.
This book collects together several short stories and weaves them into a single narrative to create a pseudo-novel. Almost all of the stories focus on Bertie’s friend Bingo who is constantly falling in love serving as a satire for the overly-romantic. All of the stories capture the foibles of the decadent leisure class of aristocratic England and gambling is frequent. My favorite part is when a contest is established to bet on which of the local pastors will preach the longest and most boring sermon.
All an all, an entertaining if not great work, probably better read than listened to.
Author: Ulrich Boser
Title: The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft
Publication Info: Smithsonian (2009)
For the 20th anniversary of the theft of 13 priceless art works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, I read this book detailing the heist. The first chapter gives a blow-by-blow of all the known details of the heist itself in the early-morning hours of March 17, 1990. Next, Boser introduces Harold Smith, an art detective who dedicates many of the remaining years of his life gathering clues and following leads about the heist. After Smith dies in 2005, Boser himself picks up Smith’s casebook and begins immersing himself in the case to the point of obsession. The trail of the crime leads Boser to look into various Boston underworld characters such as a noted art thief, Whitey Bulger and his mob cronies, and even the Irish Republican Army. At one point the obsession gets ridiculous as Boser visits a town in Ireland thinking he’ll be able to pick Bulger off the street. In the end, there’s no solution yet for the mystery of missing art, but Boser gives some interesting insights into how art theft is perpetrated and how that art may hopefully be returned.
Recommended books: Dead Certainties : Unwarranted Speculations by Simon Schama, Legends of Winter Hill: Cops, Con Men, and Joe McCain, the Last Real Detective by Jay Atkinson, and Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr
Author: Barbara Kimes Myers
Title: Young Children and Spirituality
Publication Info: New York : Routledge, 1997.
This book disappointed me mostly because it was not what I expected – namely a book that would help me as a parent understand my child’s spiritual needs. This book is more of a psychology and childhood development book. Kimes Myers has a broad definition of spirituality within the realms of family life, community, school and multicularism. It’s an interesting book, but not being in the author’s intended audience I didn’t find it easy to comprehend or apply to real life.