Idle thoughtsTitle: Idle Thoughts of and Idle Fellow
Author: Jerome K. Jerome
Genre: Classic Humor
Pages: 210
Rating: 4 of 5

This collection of humorous essays by the author Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) is entertaining right from the get-go as he dedicates the book to his pipe. As he covers topics like clothing, food and drink, babies, pets, and (of course) idleness, he occasionally flirts with trying to sound cynical and “wicked” like Oscar Wilde but mostly he swings back and forth between wry humor and Victorian maudlin sentimentality and ends up sounding like a real-life Bertie Wooster. As with Three Men in a Boat, it’s hard to tell whether the sentimental bits are intended seriously or sarcastically… perhaps a bit of both.

While not quite as funny as Three Men in a Boat, it is well worth reading for fans of wry humor. I had the added joy of reading it in the old copy pictured here that I got from my wife’s Grandfather. I’m not sure how old it is, but the gift inscription in it is from Christmas 1896.

Also, I’m using this for my 19th Century Classic category at the Back to the Classics Challenge.

9 thoughts on “Wry Humor & Maudlin Sentimentality

  1. I love Three Men in a Boat and really enjoyed Three Men on the Bummel (though not quite as much), and I’ve been meaning to get to this. It’ll probably happen this year. I just find him hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re into sci-fi at all, you should check out “To Say Nothing of the Dog” by Connie Willis. It’s a fun (but surprisingly complex) time travel tale that riffs on Three Men in a Boat.


      1. Oh, cool thanks for the recommendation. I’d heard of it, but didn’t think it had anything to do with the book beyond the title. I’ll have a look!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The connection is mostly in the form of multiple references, setting, and (bestbof all) in tone…which is surprising since her “Doomsday Book” set in the same universe is incredibly bleak and depressing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful copy you have there, and nice review. I actually enjoyed these stories MUCH more than Three Men in a Boat. I’m not sure why, but regardless…JKJ is a lot of fun.


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