Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It Was The Year Everyone Was Reading and Blogging Proust

Another Proust reader and blogger:

And yet another:

This reader liked the first and last volumes, Swann's Way and The Past Recaptured. Have to admit these are my faves, too. But one has to merit The Past Recaptured, which is won, so to speak, by reading the whole WORK.

The blogger above, booksinnorthport, has an interesting post. When does one actually abandon a book? When I was younger, I would pursue the book to the bloody end, no matter what. This is how I actually got through Moby Dick and others classics. It was how I got through Proust the first time as an undergraduate, that and the fact that I was writing a senior thesis on a group of writers of whom Proust was one.

I had a bunch of false starts with War and Peace and then one Christmas vacation I read it from cover to cover in about a week. Wanted to weep at the end. No, not from relief, but from the final passages about history.

I am having trouble getting through Three Trapped Tigers, but I will. Works of so-called popular fiction, i.e. genre writing, I abandon after 50 pages if it doesn't grab me. Have a whole shelf of those. Some of the authors are famous.

A book I read recently that I would heartily recommend if The Poisonwood Bible. Just knocked my socks off. Kingsolver gets better and better, and I would love to read her latest non-fiction about growing your own food.

Now I have to make a mad dash through my own latest oeuvre, before sending it off to a publisher who will maybe even like it. One gets so close to one's writing that the perspective just disappears.

In the meantime, I am enjoying the narrator and Albertine and the little band at Balbec. With winter approaching, Balbec seems desireable, non? The sun, the sand, the dining room, the snobs, the parading up and down. Does Balbec have a Strand Promenade? I feel I know these people. That's what a great writer does.


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