Oct 24, 2009
Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham
I am told the author's last name is pronounced as a single syllable, "Maum." If anyone knows better, please let me know.
I feel a measure of satisfaction over completing this book, not because it was arduous, or especially hard to come by, or historically revealing, but because I had procrastinated over a year by simply being otherwise occupied. Either work or other activities or other reading got in the way. And I have been looking forward to reading Ashenden since I first read about it. Maugham is a good author. I like his writing style and cadence and word choice(s). Another point of attraction is that my used copy off eBay is from the 1950s! Antique yellowed musty hardbacks carry a certain respectable aire to them, especially when in good condition.
I found Maugham in a collection of critically acclaimed English-language short stories, and looked him up at my local library, finding The Razor's Edge, one of his better known books.
Ashenden isn't too effective as a novel, despite my enthusiastic opinion of his writing style. It has a weak beginning, no climax, and no end. It reads like a collection of short stories, which may or may not have a normal story flow. Unlike 'stream of consciousness' or disjointed rambling books like Max Havelaar, I don't really see a method to the madness. Perhaps that's just my own limitation as a reader, but I am disinclined to think so.
I am currently reading The Horror and Fantasy Tales of Rudyard Kipling, a book I was excited to find at my local library, and which is the subject of my next blog (I am planning to write today).
I recently finished the newest-ish DS9 Relaunch Star Trek book, Soul Key by SD Perry. Star Trek is my light reading to relax between more taxing tomes (hey, that rhymed! Wait, that wasn't a rhyme, that was alliteration: oh, fooey; does it really matter?). I just ordered off Amazon Star Trek: Destiny: Book 1: Gods of Night and Salamanders and Other Wonders by Willy Ley. Their arrival and criticism is forthcoming.
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
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