books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
Christy
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents


Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham, is a book which had a tremendous influence on me from the first time I read it in my 20's.  Up until I read the book I realized that people had opinions which differed from mine, but I didn't understand that people had different realities.  I realize now that my understanding was like a diagram with "reality" in the center and a ring of names of people and their opinions around the outside.  I felt like we were all discussing the same topic but had different opinions about it.

The genius of Maugham is that he could create the character of Philip so intimately that I could see the world through the eyes of a repressed, timid, somewhat self pitying introvert.  Since I was the ultimate extrovert with the self confidence of youth I found myself screaming at Philip through half the book, "You idiot!  Can't you see how this is going to end?"  Ultimately, I began to realize that Philip didn't see what I saw.  His reality was different from mine.  I began to get into a world where the good things were temporary and that people couldn't really love him.  I could see a world where people were always going to use him and that he didn't expect to be treated fairly, so he accepted the unacceptable.

I've read the book several more times, but now after 40 years, I am reading it again with others and my focus is to determine Philip's reality and not impose my own on him.  If anyone is interested in joining the group, click on the book to the right and it will take you to the group.

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