Monday, July 19, 2010

Books I Wish I Had Discovered Sooner

There's just one, actually, by the ever-insightful Alain de Botton. Oh, how I wish I had browsed How Proust Can Ruin Your Life before I ever read that first paragraph in Swann's Way where the narrator describes the moment in which he falls asleep. How much more sleep would I have gotten in the six months since, and how much more in the next six months, because you haven't climbed Everest until you get back down (Most people who die on the descent), and I've just started Sodom and Gomorrah (which is volume IV of VI for my more provincial readers not yet familiar with Proust). It is nice knowing that I only have to read another two thousand pages, but I fear the damage is already done. Perhaps this proves correlation but not causation (my ham handed attempt to apply my profound insight to the matter using a long and difficult parenthetical clause--I know this--will add absolutely no value to this sentence), but the more Proust I read, the less ability I have to compose a coherent, readable paragraph.

6 comments:

carl duewall said...

ok, i've read your latest.

Martijn said...

Dave! First of all your 'old Dave--new Dave' photos really made my day. But now Proust. Is he worth the trouble of getting into or not? I'm on the brink of going down. I read the first and I think third part some years ago and slowly collected the other parts whenever I saw them. I think I'm now ready to read a few in a row, but if it will further ruin my already pretty delapidated life, I might just leave them altogether. I just remember really liking that third book ("Place Names; The Name" I believe it was called), but then again, everything I liked a year ago, I might not like again today. Hey Dave, good to see you're going strong.

Martijn said...

Hey, I see I'm in your favorite blogs now. Thanks so much... I'm still very insecure about it all and at the moment I'm even locked out of my own blog by the machinery, but this encouragement of yours is really appreciated.

Dave Mows Grass said...

Hey Martijn! I'm looking forward to interesting stories of your travels. I'm taking a short trip to the Cossatot in a few days. Might go for a tick march along Harris Creek or somewhere and spend the evenings reading Search and scratching at my chigger bites. Either way, the heat will be stifling and extremely theraputic. As for the Proustman, just do what I did and read the article "On Being Tentbound" by outdoor writer Jon Krakauer who says, "Indeed, why not use the unparalleled tedium of the stormed-in camp to at least get started on Proust?" Maybe you needed that unsolicited advice a month ago, but indeed, why not at least get started. As for me, my strategy is to knock the whole thing out in one year. Right now, I'm nearly halfway through volume IV, but since I've already bought volumes V and VI, I can start measuring my progress in centimeters read and centimeters left. So far, none of them have been stand-alone novels; they all build on each other. Reading just one or two of them is the height of folly. I'll be glad when it's over, though, so I can get on with my life!

Good to see you!

~Dave

Anonymous said...

Reading books is, I suspect, the worst thing a would-be writer can do. Me, I always end up writing like a poor imitation of the author I read last. That said, if I have to imitate somebody, I wouldn't recommend Proust or Beckett or even Thomas Bernhard--I'd go with E.M. Cioran. His prose is concise and poetic, and his sentences are eloquent sighs. I'm glad you're writing again, pal!

UF MIke

Dave Mows Grass said...

Good thing I'm not a would-be writer! Gogol has helped to bring me back (I've been getting a little something on the side!).