- We are a mother and daughter blog team, fellow bibliophiles, and avid readers. We write about/review books that we read for pleasure. Frances ~ I love novels, and I read a wide variety of genres. I read the classics, Southern Lit, historical fiction, sagas, and contemporary fiction. Rose ~ I am a lover of everything from fiction to non-fiction, classics to fantasy. Many of the books/series I read are historical fiction, modern classics, and mysteries. I also enjoy world literature, especially from India and Scandinavia.
- Waxing Poetic: Water Lilies by Sara Teasdale
- The Art of Reading: Woman Reading By Pierre-Augus...
- Bookish Quotes #37
- Waxing Poetic: The Dream by Lola Ridge
- The Art of Reading: Woman Reading by Henri Labasq...
- The Children - Edith Wharton
- Bookish Quotes #36
- Waxing Poetic: Piano by D. H. Lawrence
- The Art of Reading - Study at a Reading Desk by Lo...
- The End of an Era in Publishing?
- Bookish Quotes #35
- Waxing Poetic: The Thought by Mary Webb
- The Art of Reading: Reading in the Garden by Susa...
- Christmas Holiday - W. Somerset Maugham
- Bookish Quotes #34
- Waxing Poetic: Like the Touch of Rain by Edward T...
- ▼ February (16)
18th Century Lit 1960s 2011 2012 2012 Challenges 2012 Olympics 2012 Reading Challenges 2912 A Farewell to Arms A Good Hard Look Ada Verdun Howell Adrienne Rich Agatha Christie Albert Joseph Moore Aleksandar Hemon Alexander Deineka Amor Towles Anita Brookner Ann Napolitano Attia Hosain Auguste Macke Austen Billy Collins Black Books Book Cover Art Book Covers Book Reviews Bookish Quotes Bookplates Books Boris Pasternak Carey Wallace Carl Holsoe Carl Sandburg Carol Ann Duffy Caroline Preston Challenges Christmas Holiday Classic Books Claude Andrew Calthrop Cooking Cooking School Czeslaw Milosz D. H. Lawrence Daniel F. Gerhartz Danielle Ganek Daphne du Maurier David McCullough Dean Cornwell Deborah Kerr Derek Jacobi Dezso Kosztolanyi Dia Frampton Dodie Smith Donna Tartt Dorothy Parker Dylan Thomas E. M. Forster Edith Wharton Edmund Wilson Edna Ferber Edna St. Vincent Millay Edward Docx Edward Hopper Edward Thomas Elizabeth at Table Elizabeth Bishop Erica Bauermeister Ernest Hemingway Eudora Welty Ex Libris Excerpts F. Scott Fitzgerald Fanny Burney Flannery O'Connor Food Frank O'Hara Frantisek Kupka Frenchman's Creek Garrison Keillor Gatsby Genevieve Taggard George Dillon George Plimpton Georges Pavis God Is An Englishman Grace Reading at Howth Bay Graham Greene Gregory David Roberts Guillaumin Armand Guy Gavriel Kay Harlamoff Alexej Harper Lee Haruki Murakami Hemingway Hemingway's Boat Henri Labasque Henry David Thoreau Henry James Henry Lamb Housekeeping I Go Back To The House For A Book Incidents in the Rue Laugier India Invitation to World Lit Iris Murdoch Italo Calvino J. K. Rowling Jack Clayton Jalna Novels Jamaica Inn James Joyce James Tissot Jane Eyre Jeremy Mercer Jodhi May John Donne John Keats John Lennon John Steinbeck Jonas Jonasson Joyce Sutphen Judging A Book By Its Cover Julian Barnes Julius LeBlanc Stewart Kate Morton Kathryn Stockett Ken Follett Kenneth Branagh L. P. Hartley Last Lines Leonard Cohen Librarians Library Loot Lists Literary Pursuits of a Young Lady Lola Ridge Lord Byron Lord Frederick Leighton Lorine Niedecker Louis Abel-Truchet Lovis Corinth Mademoiselle Guillaumin Reading Maeve Haran Maggie O'Farrell Marge Piercy Maria Mazzioti Gillan Marie Spartali Stillman Marilynne Robinson Mary Chapin Carpenter Mary Oliver Mary Webb Mazo de la Roche Meg and Dia Michael Ondaatje Michael Wallner Miklos Vamos Milena Agus Mississippi Monique Truong Mosses from an Old Manse Movie Adaptations Moxy Fruvous Muriel Spark Muriel Stuart My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors My Cousin Rachel Nathaniel Hawthorne National Novel Writing Month Nicholas Nickleby Ninette Aborde Les Haute Etudes Norman Rockwell Old Books Old School Olive Custance Oscar Wilde P. G. Wodehouse P.G. Wodehouse Paris 1920's Pascal Mercier Paul Hendrickson Paul Simon Paula McLain PBS Penelope Fitzgerald Penelope Lively Peter Cunningham Philip Larkin Photos Piccadilly Jim Pierre-Auguste Renoir Pilar Poetry Poldark Quotes R. F. Delderfield Race Relations Rainer Maria Rilke Reading in the Garden Reality and Dreams Rebecca Recommendations Rita Mae Brown Robert Browning Robert Frost Rules of Civility Rupert Brooke Sally Beauman Santa Montefiore Sara Teasdale Saturday Snapshot Sea of Lost Love Sena Jeter Naslund Shantaram Shirley Jackson Slings and Arrows Squirrels Susan Hill Susan Ricker Knox Sweden Tessa Hadley The Art of Reading The Beautiful and the Damned The Blind Contessa's New Machine The Book Group The Book Shop The Building of Jalna The Children The End of an Era in Publishing The End of the Affair The English Patient The Glimpses of the Moon The Grapes of Wrath The Great Gatsby The Guardian The Hand That First Held Mine The Help The King's General The Last of the Mohicans The Lord of the Rings The Painted Veil The Paris Review The Sandcastle The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt The Sense of an Ending The Sun Also Rises The Turn of the Screw Thomas Hardy To Kill A Mockingbird Tobias Wolff Truman Capote TV Shows Virginia Woolf W. Somerset Maugham Walden Waxing Poetic Why Did I Dream Of You Last Night? Why Read the Classics? William Butler Yeats William Carlos Williams William Orpen William Shakespeare Winston Graham Woman Reading by the Harbour Zelio Andrezzo
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Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 7:27 PM | By: GirlsWannaRead
While it might seem odd to read a novel titled Christmas Holiday in January, Maugham's book is as far removed from a feel good Christmas story as possible. That said, I loved it. Written in 1939, just before the outbreak of WWII. it was an attempt by Maugham to wake up the British to what was happening in Europe.
Charley, a 23 year old who has completed his studies at Cambridge and a year in his father's business, is given a Christmas trip to Paris by his father. It is his first trip alone and he sails off to have the time of his life in spite of the brewing political situation in Europe. He plans to meet up with his childhood friend, Simon Fenimore, who has a job in Paris as a foreign correspondent and intends to get some experience in Europe before returning to England to stand for Parliament as a Labour candidate. Simon, an orphan, has always been a surly loner but Charley finds that his has become a Communist and has no smaller goal than to take over the world. He has become contemptuous of Charley's middle-class life.
As an attempt to indulge Charley's desire for adventure, he takes him to a brothel where he introduces him to Princess Olga, a Russian immigrant, and proceeds to desert him. Charley, while wanting to stay with the girl, wants to go to the Christmas eve midnight mass. He tells her that he will be back in an hour but she begs him to take him with her. So begins a companionship that lasts for his five days in Paris.
He learns that she is really Lydia, a young Russian woman who was left homeless after the outbreak of the Bolshevik revolution and fled the country. In France she married Robert Berger, a rake who was later sentenced to fifteen years’ penal servitude for murder. Having covered the trial for the press, Simon is well aware of this, and knew exactly what he was letting his friend in for. She has since had to become a prostitute but it is not primarily in order to make ends meet but as a penance for her husband's sin. He brings her to his hotel where they live together for his stay, but the relationship is platonic. Over the course of his stay, she tells him the story of her unhappy life which fills up the greater portion of the novel.
Lydia's story and Simon's vehement radicalism disrupt Charley's complacent life and cause him to question the meaning of his life. His glimpse at a world formally unknown to him make him reevaluate his beliefs and priorities. The contrast between Charley's sheltered English life with the life of those he meets in Paris is one of the things Maugham does best. The essence of pre-war Paris is captured perfectly. The characters are also wonderfully well drawn.
What happens in Paris goes back with Charley and the cozy family he left seems shallow. The last lines of the novel are powerful and moving. I chose this novel without knowing much at all about it and it is now one of my favorite of Maugham's works.