Top 10 P.G. Wodehouse Titles


British humorist P.G. Wodehouse penned close to 100 books in his prolific career. That’s great for him, but it also means I find myself up against the dashed difficult problem of determining where to begin. So to help me navigate the options I contacted the man who introduced me to Wodehouse a number of years back, Douglas Wilson. “As a general rule, the Blandings Castle books and the Jeeves books are the best,” he told me. And then followed that summary with “a rough and ready list” of 10 titles that take the biscuit:

  1. Joy in the Morning
  2. Leave it to Psmith
  3. Galahad at Blandings
  4. Uncle Dynamite
  5. Uncle Fred in the Springtime
  6. The Code of the Woosters
  7. Meet Mr. Mulliner
  8. Right Ho, Jeeves
  9. Lord Emsworth and Others
  10. Heavy Weather

Now that’s a bit more manageable.

Any other Wodehouse fans out there? What are your favorites?

[Note: the character sketches were pinched from this blog.]

20 thoughts on “Top 10 P.G. Wodehouse Titles

  1. Tony, I can’t say how glad I am to have discovered your blog (and heard the interview about your book).

    As a huge Wodehouse fan (I’ve finished 34 of his books), I’d say that you just can’t go wrong with the Jeeves and Psmith books. Notably missing from the list are The Code of the Woosters and Carry on Jeeves. I think those are pretty big omissions :)

    Also, now this is more of a nostalgia item (it was my first Wodehouse book), Bachelors Annonymous is simply hilarious and quite different than the others.

    Enjoy!

  2. I’ve never read them in any order, picking up random titles at various times. I’ve noticed that PGW does a fine job introducing all of his characters, alluding to previous plots, and easing into the storyline, so I’ve not had any trouble reading Wodehouse randomly. And those are some reasons why I think his titles can be broken into a top 10 list like this one.

  3. Enjoy! Have read for fun 88 novels in mostly chronological order over 6 years as Everyman in the UK & Overlook in USA releases hardcovers of all hid books.

    Three STAND ALONE titles for your list:

    Jill the Reckless – PGW draws on his experiences on Broadway for the main character’s life as a chorus girl.

    Laughing Gas – PGW draws on his experiences in Hollywood in the 30’s with child stars, starving writers and a Twilight Zone premise.

    The Luck of the Bodkins – Monty Bodkin comes into his own aboard a transatlantic liner as PGW draws on 30 years travel between England & the USA prior to WW2. Reads like a Marx brothers film.

  4. What Ho, Tony! I’ve been reading the man blasphemously referred to by his fans as “The Master” since I bought a Jeeves book in 1987 solely because it was in an orange Penguin jacket and I thought it might be a classic novel of some sort. I probably read 10 pages in confusion until I realized–this is really funny! Since then I have completed my collection of his books, save a couple of rare ones that would costs thousands to get.

    One of the best single short stories ever written is “Uncle Fred Flits By,” which I think is found in Lord Emsworth and Others. The book list is good, although Joy in the Morning and most of the later Jeeves books are a little weaker than his earlier work. If omitted, Code of the Woosters, as noted above, is a notable omission. However, I see it there on the list. The sequel to Luck of the Bodkins is also very good and has the nifty name of Pearls, Girls, and Monty Bodkins. The short story collection Eggs, Beans, and Crumpets is also a highlight as are the tales of the Oldest Member in the golf books like Heart of a Goof. I can take or leave the short stories on Fishing, but the Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge stores are pretty good. Love Among the Chickens starts them out, the Ukridge we meet in later stores is a different fellow, really.

    But I ramble, and Beach is bringing round the restoratives. Pip Pip!

    Oh, and here’s a site what delivers a random Wodehouse quote, and has been doing so since the mid 1990s. http://www.drones.com/pgw.cgi

  5. Oh, and as far as chronology–while not required, it’s worth reading them in order if you have access to them as knowing the content they refer to (e.g., the incident of the Efficient Baxter throwing flowerpots at Lord Emsworth) is funnier if you know the context better. Simply going by the publication/copyright date is sufficient. Wodehouse was methodical about his work, with no time for creating backstories after the fact. As for determining chronology, the wikipedia entry has a good listing. It’s not a bad idea to make a list so that you don;t buy the same book twice–there are US and British titles for many, and I used to get multiples from used book stores accidentally.

  6. Hi Tony, I’m a HUGE Wodehouse fan, and I just wanted you to know that I’ve saved your top 10 list in one of my Google Docs for ages, and have used it as a guide. Well done. Any fan of Pelham Grenville is a right jolly chap in my eyes. :)

    I would also like to add Something Fresh to the list as well as The Mating Season (which I’m reading now and it’s a scream).

    So, well done on this list. I should’ve commented long ago. Happy New Year!

    –Hunter

  7. Amanda, I think you have the title confused with another book. “Aunt’s aren’t Gentlemen” (otherwise known as the “Cat-Nappers”) is a novel, not a short story collection. Perhaps you mean “Carry On, Jeeves”?, which I agree is brilliant.
    Another (non-Jeeves) novel I would like to add is “Three Men and a Maid”. In my opinion, among the funniest by Wodehouse, and by extension of course by anyone else.

  8. Please could you pass on my question? I’m trying to identify the title of two PGW stories which caused such hilarity among my own children and now I want to read them to my grandchildren, though I can’t remember their titles:

    1. A story about a man who stuttered when speaking but who never stuttered when singing so consequently he sang all his conversations.
    2. A story about a curate who took horse medicine which gave him a bombastic confidence. He called the bishop “Bish!”

    I’d be most grateful for any help you can give me.

    Thank you,

    Evan Davies

  9. Evan Davies, the second story you mention is “Mulliner’s Buck-U-Uppo,” collected in Meet Mr Mulliner (or in The World of Mr Mulliner).

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