Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I found Proust on Flickr!

Three ways of reading Proust
What would Marcel, the narrator think of e-books and the Kindle?  

My novel of technology and desire, The Shadow Warriors, just came out on the Kindle for $2.99.  Below is the link.  The novel is framed by an "Info War" that is disrupting life world wide after malicious software agents penetrate computer systems.  My sleuth is a computer security sleuth, and she bites off more than she can chew, romance-wise as well as with some scary new technology.  

Here are some excerpts from reviews of the trade paperback and a link to the Amazon Kindle website.  This book marries technology, story-telling, international travel, even food.  What's not to like? 

All of the characters are believable and richly crafted, and the plot is something you might find in an Ian Fleming novel: taking us to foreign cities and cultures, rich with language and cuisine that are reflected delightfully within the prose.”  Odyssey Reviews

“A techno-thriller for men AND women.”  Al Past, Reviewer

I found the description of computer sleuthing and the development of soft-ware weapons that would bring the cyber universe to its knees hit the right balance between technology and a rip-roaring good story.”  Scott Kimmich, Reviewer

“. . . I could believe in each of the characters and their interrelationships and also because Copek's Raymond Chandlerish repartee is witty without being wearing.”  Lowell Thing, WhatIs

This is an excellent fast-paced cyberthriller, full of deceptions and high-tech intrigue.”  Kestrel

End of BSP, i.e. blatant self-promotion, and back to Proust and the Guermantes and the Verdurins and Cottard and all of our French friends.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Recipe for Madeleines

I found my madeleine molds, so there is no longer an excuse not to make them.  The molds are so petite, and the cookies will be extremely delicate.  Hope my cooking skills are up to the task.  The spirit of Proust will guide me.  I think this is an old recipe from the Sunday New York Times, possibly under Craig Claiborne's reign.

4 eggs at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

1.  Grease well and flour pans for for dozen madelines.  If only have as many pans are avilable, cut the recipe in half and make the second batch after the first is completed.  This is because the butter, on standing, settles and causes a heavy rough bottom layer.  Place racks near the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

2.  Beat the eggs with the salt, adding sugar gradually until the mixture is pale and very thick.  The mixture drops from the beaters to form a rope that gradually disappears.  Add vanilla. 

3.  Sift about one-quarter of the flour at a time over egg mixture.  Fold it in until no more flour show. 

4.  Add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time and fold it in as quickly as possible.  Fill the prepared pans about three-quarters full, place in oven immediately and bake until brown, about 10 minutes.

Yield:  About four dozen. 

Somewhat intimidating, no?  We shall see what happens. 

Reading Proust On Trains

I am still plowing through the Verdurin's dinner party at Raspelier, the country place high on the bluffs overlooking the Atlantic not too far from Balbec.  So far I've gleaned the menu partially consists of a) bouillabaise,  b) a fish and c) a strawberry concoction for dessert.  Mme. Verdurin is as always, vain and cunning and cruel as is her mate.  They haven't changed much since they savaged Swann.  

A comic moment was when the hostess mentioned Elstir's wife-to-be was a common "streetwalker" and Elstir, the painter, fell out of favor.  Odette, of course, was a courtesan whose favor they shamelessly curried at the expense of poor Swann.   Ah, the irony. 

We are reading and blogging Proust in Foxborough, and here is a gentleman who reads Proust on trains, maybe even in Arkansas, a state not normally on my radar, and  one I do not associate with Proust. 
Take a look for yourself.  Reading Proust on Trains  

I see the blogger has used the same photo of Proust that I have.  Hmmmm.  Must put Proust and blogging on the back burner for some Christmas cookies.  More anon


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blogging Proust for the Holidays

I've been reading Proust before bedtime, and somehow, now we are at an endless dinner party at the Verdurin's rented house  in the neighborhood of Balbec, at least close enough for a short train ride (with complications).  The Verdurin's decorating is critiqued.  A fish is served for dinner.  The food is seldom mentioned.  I guess that is because the conversation is so scintillating or that everyone is jockeying for social position and might as well be eating cardboard.

Except that these people are FRENCH!   Can you believe it?  I would so love to know what is served?  Of course Mrs. V. doesn't cook it herself, mais non!  Charlus is there and Cottard and the part of the "little clan" that summers in Balbec or environs.  It is amazing sometimes, that Proust can write so freakin' many words and yet neither the house nor characters are not offered much physical description.  Everything is in the head.  Not how we write today.  No talking heads allowed.  Nope.  None. 

A couple of blogs have caught my eye and you might want to check them out.  And I haven't forgotten my promise to publish the Madeline recipe.  Bear with me.

I am looking forward to progress in Sodom and Gomorrah and then on to the rest of the books, because the last one is the best but one has to "earn" it by reading the whole work.  



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Proust and Long Sentences

One of the reasons reading Proust is such a challenge is the length of his sentences, and no quotes and paragraphs that go on for pages.  Not easy for today's reader.  You just have to get into the groove as this blogger points out so well. 

Proust's Sentences

It's the time of year (and a cold winter already in Europe and New England) when Proust's bundling up in scarves and overcoats seems positively sane.  

Stay warm!  


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Review of Proust's Overcoat

You might consider giving Proust's Overcoat to your literate friends for a holiday present.  Here is a review to ponder. 

Proust's Overcoat

By the way, this is the season to whip up a batch of Madelines.  I'll post the recipe soon.  Stay tuned.