How Proust Can Change Your Life

Registered by BookGroupMan of Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on 10/30/2004
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This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Saturday, October 30, 2004
I've been looking at Proust recently, but his book is too big and scary. This looks like a good, light introduction to the man, the books and his philosophy

(12/11) Review to follow. Book reserved for MrsPotage. Does anyone else want it as part of a bookring??

Journal Entry 2 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, November 15, 2004
What a fascinating man Proust was, and how well Botton has captured his shambolic unfulfilled life, his genius as a philosopher & psychologist, and his unique writing style. This is not a traditional birth-to-death biography, nor a self-help guide (as the title suggests). What Alain de Botton has done is craft a number of chapters with titles like ‘How to suffer successfully’, ‘How to put books down’, with insights from Proust, novel extracts, quotes from his acquaintances, and some biographical details. The depth of Botton’s research & erudition is breath-taking; be warned the whole thing, even in this condensed form, is quite a challenge to read. I’ve already promised this to someone, but have now decided that I would like to share it with whomever is interested, with the hope of getting it back (eventually) to read again.

There really is too much in here to pick out specific quotes or passages (and do the book justice), but a few things have stuck in my memory;

- Someone has found the longest, of typically convoluted ‘snake-like’ Proustian sentences, measuring some 4 metres long if stretched end-to-end! He also famously wrote 30-pages about going to sleep. “I fail to see why a chap needs thirty pages to describe how he tosses and turns in bed before falling asleep” This becomes part of the evidence, in Proust’s defence, in the chapter ‘How to take your time’!

- Virginia Woolf was a great fan of Proust’s, even going as far as considering giving up writing for fear that she could never match his masterwork. “Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence. ‘Oh, if I could write like that!’” In light of her well-documented depression and suicide, she also poignantly says of the trepidation she has of starting to read In Search of Lost Time, “I’m shivering on the brink, and waiting to be submerged with a horrid sort of notion that I shall go down go down go down and perhaps never come up again”

- Lastly, a few quotes for us readers : )
“In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self “ Marcel Proust
“Reading is on the threshold of the spiritual life; it can introduce us to it: it does not constitute it” MP
“Even the finest books deserve to be thrown aside” Alain de Botton

Journal Entry 3 by BookGroupMan at on Saturday, November 27, 2004
Released on Saturday, November 27, 2004 at about 6:00:00 AM BX time (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) at Caffe Nero in Ipswich, England United Kingdom.


Picked up at our first Ipswich meet-up, and a fine occasion it was too :)

Journal Entry 4 by Semioticghost from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Sunday, November 28, 2004
I was talked into picking this up by BGM - it wasn't that difficult, since I always admired the concept of a man who never got out of bed if he could help it. I have hopped in already, and it's less scary than I thought so far :)

Released 11 yrs ago (4/12/2008 UTC) at Caffe Nero IP1 book-crossing zone in Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom



Journal Entry 6 by Semioticghost from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Saturday, April 12, 2008
This has now lingered in my to-be-read pile for too long and I have not got around to it. I believe that it should travel, rather than catch more of my dust. Sorry for holding it back for so long.

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