Thursday, May 10, 2007

who'd a thunk it?

I wrote awhile back about my insatiable thirst for daunting literature. You know me, always insatiably thirsting for *something.* I'm a solid third of the way into War and Peace, and that's working out pretty good for me. And I was wondering how I'd top War and Peace in terms of daunting literature. I pretended to debate the merits of In Search of Lost Time versus Ulysses, but honestly, I wouldn't touch Ulysses with a ten foot pole, I just wanted to make it interesting.

I've wanted to read Proust for years, since the days when I was reading Henry Miller and Anais Nin, who both cited Proust as an influence, along with Dostoevsky, on their own work. That inspired me. Then last year I read Allison Bechdel's awesome graphic memoir Fun Home, in which she has woven scenes and images from In Search of Lost Time. That also sparked my interest.

I didn't know much about Proust's behemoth at that point and I remember the night we saw Allison Bechdel read at Powell's when she talked a little bit about Proust and his influence on her. I thought, "I'll have to check out this Proust fella," so on my way out that night, I cruised through the literature section looking for In Search of Lost Time. I imagined it would be fat, even dense and hard to read, but it never occurred to me that it would be SEVEN VOLUMES LONG.

There was a sort of confusion and disbelief as I scanned the shelves and couldn't quite understand why I wasn't finding a single book called "In Search of Lost Time" and why, instead, I was seeing something that looked like a mini-encyclopedia. When it finally clicked I was disappointed. My impulse to buy a book would not be satisfied and this Proust fella was going to stay a mystery.

Now that I've had lots of time for the idea of reading a seven volume novel to sink in, I'm ready to give it a go! But I have to say, it's still a little nerve wracking. So I decided to get help. I'm starting a PROUST BOOK CLUB! I know, dorky, but what can I do about it? At least it combines reading (which I love and usually do alone) with socializing (which I'm trying to do more of) -- it's a win-win situation.

Last weekend I posted a couple of craigslist ads to see if there was any interest in a "Proust Support Group" -- I imagined I would have to post the ad over and over again before I'd hear anything, but holy shit! I've had at least ten people write me so far and express interest. I never would've guessed there'd be such interest. Even my friend Waspy might join us, if she can tear herself away from the clutches of her demanding job and family for a little while.

The details on the club aren't hammered out yet, but it's pretty exciting. I think. :-) And it's more fun than trying to get a job, by far.


Blogger Zoe said...

Well I think that I can now say that I know someone geekier than me. And please know that I mean that as a compliment.

12:27 PM  
Blogger zuhn said...

Wow, that's pretty awesome. I thought you were joking but I guess not. This might even inspire me to pick it up again.

1:09 PM  
Blogger reasonably prudent poet said...

zoe -- thanks, i think.

zuhn -- i never joke about literature. EVER!

1:18 PM  
Blogger Zoe said...

I never joke about literature either. I don't know enough about it.

1:42 PM  
Blogger zuhn said...

hee @ zoe.

I think it would great to turn it into a competition or a dare.

3:36 PM  

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