Monday, July 13, 2009

Book notes

I've recently started reading W. Somerset Maugham's Cakes and Ale. Or rather I've gotten more serious about reading it since finishing Kanzi, the book by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh concerning ape language studies.

Anyway, I like Maugham's way of putting things that paradoxically make sense. Case in point, "He could use a man very shabbily without afterward bearing him the slightest ill will."

It's somewhat strange for me reading about the niceties of the British class system. I'm basically American, and asocial enough to ignore stuff like that anyway. My grandparents were English, and knew they were working class, and dealt with it in slightly different ways. So I sort of know what's being discussed here. But the social context of the story is one where a novelist's wife who used to be a barmaid might as well have been blowing sailors in front of the tattoo parlor. At points it's like reading dystopian science fiction.b

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