Thursday, January 26, 2012


We took a short skiing vacation this week, to a place without cell phone service.  What a great relief it was to spend a few days untethered to a smart phone!

I am going a bit off topic today, hoping that my post will entice some readers to put down their smart phones and read.  Knowing that most people never open a book anymore, nevertheless a literary book, well, let's say my hopes are really up there.   About 10 years ago I taught in the journalism school at a large university and I am astounded that NO ONE EVER READ A BOOK.  Can't imagine what it is like today, almost 10 years later.  What a shame.  People don't know what they are missing.

My very favorite author of all time is Somerset Maugham, called "Willie" by those who knew him.  Willie would have been 138 years old this past week.  He was a very famous English playwright who happened to become a great author but was not nearly as well known in his day as a writer.  He was probably the greatest playwright of his day in London.  He lived well on the French Riveria.  His best known books are Of Human Bondage and The Razor's Edge.  The Razor's Edge is my favorite book and the movie with Tyronne Power is worth seeing over and over again.

In 1947 he created the Somerset Maugham Award, awarded to the best British writer under 35 for a work of fiction published in the past year.  Winners included such writers are Kinglsey Amis, Martin Amis and Thom Gunn.  Writer George Orwell said that Maugham was "the modern writer who has influenced me the most."  He is very "dark" and does not have much faith in the character of most humans.  He died in 1965.

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