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I read "The Golf Omnibus" by PG Wodehouse and liked it: it made me laugh and it changed my life by making golf seem like fun, and then I tried it at the instigation of  a friend and now I'm a hopeless golf addict.  If you read this book, you may laugh too even if you don't try it at the instigation of a friend, and  become a hopeless golf addict.

Whew, there! All the important information is right there, you can tune out now and start thinking of your comeback. Or you can pick up the book and look at it.

H'mm, you're thinking: green, lots of words in it but  nothing in the way of How One Plays Golf, Complete With 32 Color Plates. And all those words are in the form of short stories, a collection in which the central theme is golf, told through the eyes of The Oldest Member, the most rabid golf clubber you may ever run across. All of life is viewed across the golf course to The Oldest Member: there is no situation that wouldn't be better if you practiced your mashie niblick approach shot a little more. No relationship that would not be improved with a tad more practice on the putting green. No love affair but that would be tremendously improved by shortening one's handicap by three or four.

 And like most of the Wodehouse lexicon, it is designed to be read in bits, not all at one shot. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

A Sample Day's Menu:

After Breakfast: The Clicking of Cuthbert
Post-coffee break: The Magic Plus Fours
Pre-nap: The Awakening of Rollo Podmarsh
Post-nap: for Those In Peril On The Tee
Before Retiring: Rodney Has A Relapse
Only by taking in small doses can all the information be absorbed sufficiently.

What Wodehouse is best known for is his lighthearted humor and if you're the type who enjoys furrowing the brow over complex, depressing topics, whose life can only be changed by many thousands of words of significant, meaningful harangues, then this book is not for you. No, this book is for those who look for a good turn of phrase, humorous characters, absorbing plots and the frequent applications of belly laughs both literary and otherwise.

Now I'm supposed to fill in an extensive fill-in-the-blank scenario thing which I haven't paid attention to so far. H'm', pretty complex but here goes.

I encountered this book in a bookstore when I was casting around for a good  book to read. I'd been reading Wodehouse since I was a slip of a lad so I was familiar with the author. By the time I ran across the book I was well past my first voting age, well past school age, an overgrown juvenile delinquent, looking for ways to pass the time.  And I found it!

ANYTHING you can read by this author is a better than 4 to 5 bet that it will be good. One either likes it or one doesn't.  This is the same author that provided the world with Bertie and Jeeves, which is the usual entry-level-Wodehouse. One can jump to the Golf Omnibus and get away from all that servility stuff.

Wodehouse wrote not from the perspective of a pro, but from the perspective of one who, like me, spends a significant time in the rough. One must learn to laugh in such circumstances ,or one will not enjoy oneself. And one strives to enjoy oneself--oh yes, one does.

This book changed my life by getting me to play golf,  by making it seem attractive and showing me the humor in it. I assure you that this book will have no significant impact on any but those are looking for a good laugh, and possibly a pleasant way to spend their time. That may be significant enough to change your life, as it did mine.

Then again, you may be too deep for this and maybe should look for your type of humor in Tolstoy or Solzhenitzyn.

Either way, the good news is that my life was changed significantly by this book, and if you're a person like me, who way down deep is fairly shallow, you'll enjoy the escapism that this book, and golf, provides.

See you on the fairway!

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Community Spotlight.

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