Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Reading Assignment

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis is the funniest academic comedy I've ever read.  Jim Dixon works as a junior professor at a second-rate college in England.  His career must be sustained by constant sucking up to a senior professor, which means attending a weekend party, which leads to drinking too much, which leads to a description of the aftermath that is possibly the funniest passage in all of English literature.  That scene alone makes the whole book worthwhile. 

I hesitated to include Lucky Jim in my Friday reading assignment, after reading an author's thoughts on rereading novels.  Some books, when reread, provide  more insight and pleasure, while others are disappointing the second time around.  The author specifically mentioned Lucky Jim as a book in the second category.  Now I'm afraid to reread it myself.


  1. Funny you mention him. I have "The Old Devils" on my shelf RIGHT NOW.

  2. I've put it on my list. "Straight Man" by Richard Russo, set in a fictional college in Pennsylvania, is an enjoyable send-up of academia, too.

  3. Read it years ago and enjoyed it. Laugh out loud enjoyment, but I never read it again, and like you I'm a bit apprehensive about doing so, in case it falls short on the second read.

    I still think that Tom Sharpe at his peak, wrote some of the funniest and iutlandish scenes in English, ever. Try "The Throwback".

  4. My current "to read" book stack, should I manage to get through them all, implies that I will never die. And now I have to add this one...