Thursday, 19 December 2013

2013 Top Ten Best Reads - Number 1

W. Somerset Maugham
My Number 1 Best Read of 2013 is by an author I had not read previously, W. Somerset Maugham. I found the book in Kingston early this year while the missus and I were visiting with my daughter in Kingston (on our way to London, Ontario to see the World Figure Skating Championships). We decided to spend an afternoon wandering around downtown. We saw an antique store on Princess Street, Turks, that was in the process of closing down. I found a couple of books there and one of them was my ultimate Number 1 Best Read, The Razor's Edge. There is a photo of the edition I purchased at my Blog entry for March 2013. It is an excellent edition, published in 1945 by Blakiston, just had a very nice feel to it.

Maugham was born in the UK Embassy, Paris, France and lived from 1874 - 1965. He was probably noted most for his novels, Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence and The Razor's Edge. I loved The Razor's Edge. I pretty well read it while we stayed at our B&B outside London. The story drew me in, I loved Maugham's smooth, flowing writing style and his use of language. The story basically tells the story of Larry Darrell, an American pilot who is traumatised by World War I and who begins a search to find the meaning of his life. The story follows Larry and his friends from the US to France, telling of their interactions with Larry. It's probably a simple story, but at the same time, it's enthralling, the lifestyle, the people, the stories of their lives. Maugham has a wonderful style and I could not put the book down.

This is the review I wrote for my Goodread's bookshelf and was written while the book was still fresh in my mind. "I'd never read any Somerset Maugham before and really had no desire to read anything by him either. However recently I saw The Razor's Edge in a antique/ collectibles shop and I liked the look of it. Since one of my Reading groups was reading Modern English Classics as this month's genre, I decided to read it. I must say that I was most pleasantly surprised. Maugham has a way about him of telling a story. His writing style is very fluid and eminently readable. The story was interesting, the dialogue flowed nicely and I found myself waiting anxiously to get back to the book when I put it down. Did a lot happen? It was a tale of people, specifically friends of Maugham's, as he is the narrator and a character, with whom he spends time and observes. I liked the characters and I liked Maugham as well. He's an observer of humanity and expresses his observations so very well. Anyway, I loved the story, it's one of my favourites of this year. Will I read any more of his books? Well I purchased The Moon and Sixpence yesterday, so I hope so."

I have to say that since I signed up in Goodreads and joined the groups of which I'm a member, my reading tastes have expanded and I've enjoyed the variety of books I now read very much.

So there you have it, my Top Ten reads of 2013. Once I finish the final books of 2013, I'll provide a summary of them, sorting through my various challenges. Overall, it's been a productive excellent year of reading. I'm definitely looking forward to 2014.

If I don't write another Blog before Christmas, Happy Holidays and the very best for 2014. Be safe!

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