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How to Get Around to Reading Proust October 29, 2007

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Clubs, Books, Fiction, Literature, readers, Reading.
Tags: , , , , ,

This resurfaced as a concern of mine this morning while I was drinking coffee, doing a crossword puzzle, writing a draft for this blog, and thinking about ways to encourage people to read.  Not all at the same time.

I know that reading Proust, or not having done so, is a concern of many people.  If you don’t believe me, just Google the title of this post.  In my case, it’s both familial and social.  My mother had always intended to read Remembrance of Things Past.  Sadly, I know she didn’t get too far into the boxed set of hardbacks that I inherited from her. 

Then my book club friend Kathleen got inspired to read Proust by reading another, quite different author:  in Larry McMurtry’s book, Duane’s Depressed, a therapist recommends that Duane read all seven volumes of Proust’s magnum opus in order to get over his depression.

Well, Kathleen and I and a few other friends got together to read In Search of Lost Time (same collection of novels by Proust, newly translated).  I think I got through the first volume and part of the second and I have to admit we just pooped out. 

So I have this vague sense of guilt, or incompleteness, or lack of intellectual discipline whenever Proust comes up.  But I think I have found a solution.  By a circuitous route, I came upon this rather fabulous post on someone else’s blog:  Structured Procrastination.

You’ll have to read the post to get the full picture, but the general idea is this:  procrastinators will do almost anything to avoid doing whatever it is they’re really supposed to be doing.  So, instead of cleaning out the attic or finishing that report, you can read Proust!  (Disclaimer:  the Book Goddess would never encourage you to do anything irresponsible.)

An alternative idea would be to put reading Proust on the top of your list.  That would mean you could clean the attic or get that report finished in an effort to avoid this massive set of novels.  You will start to have a reputation for efficiency.  Unfortunately, this will not get Proust read, at least not until something more important comes along.


The Book Goddess


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