I read and loved Jerome's "Three Men in a Boat," so I picked up this series of his essays on a variety of topics. Pub'd in 1886, before "Three Men in a Boat," it was the intro by the author that sold me:
"One or two friends to whom I showed these papers in MS having observed that they were not half bad, and some of my relations having promised to buy the book if it ever came out, I feel I have no right to longer delay its issue. But for this, as one may say, public demand, I perhaps should not have ventured to offer these mere 'idle thoughts' of mine as mental food for the English-speaking peoples of the earth. What readers ask nowadays in a book is that it should improve, instruct and elevate. This book wouldn't elevate a cow. I cannot conscientiously recommend it for any useful purposes whatever. All I can suggest is that when you get tired of reading 'the best hundred books', you may take this up for half an hour. It will be a change."
I thoroughly enjoyed his humor and his insights into such topics as "being hard up," "furnished apartments," "dress and deportment," and "memory." Several times I laughed aloud. As you might expect, given the publication date, some of his ideas about women are a bit dated and sexist, but for a man of his era, I thought he was fairer than most.