What I’m reading

What I’m reading

“We read to know we’re not alone.” (William Nicholson, Shadowlands)

Without reading, without books, where would I be today? Maybe I would have survived, but must less optimistically. Opening a book, I plunge into another world and then surface with more perspective and courage to face this one. Here’s what I’m currently reading.

After reading Zadie Smith’s latest novel, Swing Time, I returned to my Somerset Maugham project. I skipped to his memoir The Summing Up, which he wrote at age 64, to elaborate on the ideas that had driven him and his writing. (He thought he was approaching his old age at 64, but lived to age 91.) I am always intrigued by people’s life stories, and Maugham is an incisive and honest storyteller. He is an interesting personality: curious about human nature, accepting of people’s flaws and inconsistencies; a keen autodidact and a “doer” (medical doctor, British spy) as well as a writer. He was always slightly detached from others, always too self conscious to fully let himself go. I bought this book as a used paperback years ago, but never finished it. In July, due to its compactness, I took it with me to California. But I found little time to read amid friends, family, and a yoga workshop. Now, in August, I’m home and resuming normalcy, including reading.

Books read in 2017

  1. Theatre, Somerset Maugham
  2. Up at the Villa, Somerset Maugham
  3. The Inner Game of Golf, W Timothy Gallwey
  4. The Razor’s Edge, Somerset Maugham
  5. Swing Time, Zadie Smith