Needle and ThREAD

The Start of a Reading List: P.G. Wodehouse

I’m being asked for recommendations for books/stories to read aloud during stitch-group meetings.

I keep suggesting that while we stitch bookmarks to encourage kids to read, and while we raise money to support literacy programs, we should all be taking time to model the behavior we want to encourage: we need to remember to read.

Mike and I have a history of reading and stitching together.


Mike reads aloud while I stitch. This pic was taken years before Funk & Weber Designs existed. We were winter caretaking for a lodge in the arctic 30 miles from the nearest neighbor. Our feet are on chairs because it’s too blasted cold to leave them down on the floor! We read about 30 books a winter this way during our 10 years of caretaking.

I would love to see stitching groups sharing books this way, but it might be a little harder since groups tend to meet weekly instead of daily. It would take a long time to get through a novel that way, but that’s not the main problem. As I see it, the main problem is remembering the story thread from week to week, maintaining enthusiasm for it, and tolerating the delay during exciting and suspenseful parts.

I think short stories are the answer, including short novels. My first recommendation for a collection of short stories to share during stitch group is jeeves.gifEnter Jeeves: 15 Early Stories.

Mike and I have read many of Wodehouse’s novels and short stories. The fact that “Jeeves” is synonymous with “gentleman’s gentleman” or “butler” is a testament to the widespread popularity of the character and stories. In Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, there’s a song about a butler and cook being thrown in jail with Joseph. The lyrics refer to the butler as “the Jeeves of his time.” Okay, so Andrew Lloyd Webber and P. G. Wodehouse are both British…still…have you heard of Jeeves? Well, there you have it, universal popularity.

We started reading the short stories about Jeeves as bedtime-for-Jen stories, but that didn’t last long. It’s hard to go to sleep when you have stomach cramps from laughing. Not exactly wind-down kinds of tales. But great for stitching, unless you tend to cry when you laugh, which makes seeing tiny stitches and symbols tough.

Jeeves is a proper, brainy valet, serving an endearingly dopey young aristocrat named Bertie Wooster. Bertie gets into ridiculous scrapes, and Jeeves cleverly gets him out. I’m not sure if we’ve read the Reggie Pepper stories in the second half of this volume (we have several different volumes), but I’d go a long way to with my hoop, fabric, and fiber to hear them read.

Another great feature of these stories is that there are enough of them to satisfy you for a long time.

Categories: Needle and ThREAD