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Penguin Classics: A to Z

The Ambassadors - Henry James, Philip Horne, Adrian Poole

I collect Penguin Classics, black spine edition. They are readily accessible, and I really love the way that they look on my shelf (someday I will post a pic!). There are, believe it or not, more than 1300 titles in the series, spanning centuries and continents.


So, I have a small, but growing, collection of their titles. In an effort to start reading my own library, I've decided to do my own version of the A to Z challenge, using the first letter of the first *real* word of the title (i.e., not A, An or The) to pick my books. Of those, X & Z are going to problems - I've decided in advance to accept a book that contains those two letters in any part of the title or author name (which opens up Zola, for "Z").


In any event, I will now get to the point. My first book was The Ambassadors by Henry James.


I am not particularly a fan of Henry James, although I've read very few of his books. I recall reading, and rather enjoying, The Portrait of a Lady. I think I've possibly read The Bostonians. To me, his work is reserved to the point of impenetrability, and nearly completely emotionless.


Which is exactly how I felt about The Ambassadors. No one ever really does anything - the writing is bloodlessly beautiful, and unaffecting. There were moments, for me, where it felt like the characters might consider doing something crazy, and then they never did.


Henry James makes me feel like I am missing the point. It's not unenjoyable. I may read more, just to see if a deeper understanding of his writing helps me to get him.