Read-Along 2013: Bonhoeffer and Proust

CLICK HERE to Bonhoeffer Read-Along Part 2 Wrap-Up: Ch. 19 – 31

CLICK HERE to Bonhoeffer Read-Along Part 1: Ch. 1 – 18

CLICK HERE for an updated post “2013 Read-Along Begins: Bonhoeffer”

Just because they’ve been on the shelf staring at me for too long. And I’d love some company when I tackle them.

My experience of Read-Alongs started serendipitously this year upon the suggestion of another blogger. Thus began the four months journey of Midnight’s Children. Finding the experience so rewarding, I later held another one, Anna Kareninajust in time to coincide with the film.

So anyone who has come along with me know I like to take things slow. If I can finish a long book, anyone can. So here we are, hope you will join me in the winter months of 2013:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas 

Bonhoeffer Pastor Martyr Prophet Spy-Eric Metaxas

In the top ten of Barnes and Noble’s Best non-fiction books of 2010, and on New York Times Best-Seller list, this Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography intrigues me greatly. Author Metaxas’s title makes me want to know more about this legendary figure whose books I had read in my youth, but now think I haven’t known him enough to fully appreciate his daring life, a man of faith and anti-Nazi in wartime Germany.

This slow reading plan allows you plenty of time to pursue your own reading and blogging. I’ve roughly divided it in two parts, posting twice:

Chapters 1 – 18 (277 pages): to post on February 15

Chapters 19 – 31 (264 pages): to post on March 15


And come Spring, I’d like to step into the world of Proust.

In Search of Lost Time Vol. 1, Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

My curiosity of Proust has long been latent. The movie Little Miss Sunshine is the trigger. Remember Steve Carell’s character Frank, the Proust scholar in the movie? He just got out of the hospital recovering from a failed suicide attempt… uh… Yeah, that’s when I told myself, umm… one of these days I must read some Proust.

So here I am, again attracted first by the appealing book cover from my favorite publisher: Modern Library.

In Search of Lost Time Vol

I understand Lydia Davis has a newer translation of Swann’s Way. You can chose whatever translation you prefer. It may be good to compare notes on the different versions too.

Again, we’ll post twice. According to the parts in the book:

Part One, Combray (264 pages): to post April 15

Part Two, Swann In Love (278 pages) & Part Three, Places Names, The Name (61 pages): to post May 15


So these are my Read-Along plans for 2013. Sure hope you can join me on either or both of them. Just leave me with a comment and a link to your blog below. If you’re not a blogger, you can read along too. As we post, you can stop by and share your thoughts in the comment section. As I like to say, stop by the pond and throw in a pebble or two, make some ripples.

On Ripple Effects, the Read-Along bandwagon is a slow ride, but just as convivial. Hope to see you hop on!


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

30 thoughts on “Read-Along 2013: Bonhoeffer and Proust”

  1. I would read Swann’s Way with you but I have already read it twice. Actually, I have been stuck in the middle of the third book, Guermantes Way for, well, let’s just say a very long time. Perhaps instead of Swann’s Way I will use your readalong as a push to get through Guermantes Way. I was planning on getting back to it in 2013 anyway 🙂


    1. Stefanie,

      You’re way ahead of me. Sure, join in anytime at any part of the book you like, but of course that means a reread. Of course you can just pick up where you left off. I sure like to read your thoughts on it. So if you like, do write a post come those dates. Hopefully this time around, you can finish it. Let me know once you’ve decided if you’d join us so I can include your link in the Read-Along.


  2. About a year ago, at the Atlanta Antique and Flea Market, there was a man selling books by the yard. You know the types – they are mostly Danish books with beautiful covers and come in different shades – decorators look for them to fill shelves to look “intellectual” and are not meant to be read. One woman near me was buying a yard of “green” covers.

    He had some books in French, but they were the old pale paper covered types. He sold 5 to me for $10 and I was not sure what I had bought – certainly not for looks. One of them was a bio of a Russian woman who had come to Paris with her family and met many authors, one of them Marcel Proust. It was strange to read “met Marcel today, he does not feel too well, his stomach is quizzy.” Or something like that as it was in French. So, when I was in Paris in May 2011 I bought the first volume from A la Recherche du Temps Perdu series in a second-hand paperback Folio edition. It is called Du côté de chez Swann. Then when I was in Nice last October I found, again second-hand, Albertine Disparue – but this is the 7th volume in that series. The 2nd is called A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, then Le côté de Guermantes I, followed by II, then Sodome et Gomorrhe, then La prisonnière, then the one I have Albertine… and the last one is called Le temps retrouvé. I don’t know if there are 7 books in English or if the work has been abridged. My two books are in the pile near my bed. I’ll try to start reading the first one in the spring. But I’ll have to find the volumes I am missing. It’s not easy to find them in French in the US, but I’d prefer to read them in the original – might as well as I understand it better than English for sure.


    1. Vagabonde,

      Nothing like reading books in their original language! I admire you that you can read Proust in French. Too bad I’ve to settle for translations. But if you’re interested, do read along and share your views in a post on the dates I mentioned above. And let me know so I’ll link your blog here. I’d love to have you join us to discuss and share. Also, I’ve replied to your comment about ‘Brideshead Revisited’ on my Dec. 8 Sat. Snapshot post.


    2. Vagabonde,

      I’m only attempting to read Vol. one, Swann’s Way. It’s already 600 plus pages. I think that’s all I’ll handle in two months’ time. I think it’s the Du côté de chez Swann that you bought.


  3. Arti,
    I am hoping that you may have me for at least one of these read-a-longs ~ gotta get the Proust book first. Yes, i remember “Little Miss Sunshine” with much fondness and yes, the brother who was the Proust scholar (so many lovable characters).
    Are there any rules and procedures about the “book read-a-longs” that i should know about?
    ps how do you get the snow to fall on your website?


    1. Hedda,

      No rules. Just read the pages on your own as noted above, and post your thoughts on those dates… the second post of each book is a wrap. Let me know which book (hopefully both) you’d like to join in the read-along. If you’re on Twitter, you can share short notes with me or anyone on there as well. But the blog posts are the main thing.

      As for the snow falling… well, WordPress said: “Let there be snow.” And there was snow. I didn’t make it. I can only stop it from falling if I want. 😉


  4. Well here’s a coincidence I started reading Bonhoeffer last week and I might be close to finishing the first chapter. It’s been sitting on my shelf for a long time and I decided it was high time to get into it…


    1. Ellen,

      Great! Take it slow, real slow… so you can join us all in posting and discussing it. But if you finish it way ahead of us, you’re welcome to come by the pond and throw in a pebble when I post Feb. 15 and March 15. 😉


  5. You know I was there with you for 2/3 of Midnight’s Children. We made it all the way through Anna Karenina, a most worthy read no matter how many times I read it. I just finished Surprised by Joy which is perfect for the season, and I’m already looking forward to Swann’s Way.

    I read Bonhoeffer’s book last Winter. I consider it a must read, not only for the Christian, but for those who are interested in history and courage as well. It is not for the faint of heart, and infinitely better than the praise which In The Garden of Beasts gleaned. Which I still don’t understand…


    1. Bellezza,

      Thanks for your support of my read-along’s, despite a false start at first 😉 . That’s something new for me, but after two books, think I’ll make it an annual event. Yes, look forward to reading Proust with you… although I must admit, I’m feeling a bit intimidated. Sure glad there are others coming along with me.

      And yes, I’m excited about getting Bonhoeffer off the shelf and actually reading it, and glad to have others joining me too. Thanks for your sharing. Have not read Garden, but heard about it. But just checked about it and that leads me to think of another brave ambassador and that’s in the movie Argo. Have you seen it? It’s real life story too… and closer to home.


    1. nikkipolani,

      I do hope you can join us. And thanks for the link to John Piper’s site. What coincidence that we’re all thinking about Bonhoeffer at this time. BTW, I’ve downloaded Piper’s Advent eReadings and they’re good.


  6. Hi, Arti — I don’t want to commit yet, but I must admit I would love to read Bonhoffer — I’ve heard much about him and find the story a fascinating one, an amazing life. We’ll see, but it certainly sound like you have a lot of good reading for cold Canadian nights!


    1. Jeanie,

      I’m glad to hear you’re a little bit interested. Think this through over the holidays or maybe get a hold of a copy of the book and flip it, look at the photos… then decide. No pressure. Yes, I’ve lots of TBR’s, these are only two of many boxes of them. Good companions through the winter months… for me, not much winter for you I suppose.Plus, there’s Downton Abbey S3, and the Awards Season come the new year. Keeping me busy. 😉


  7. My first Bonhoeffer read was “Letters and Papers from Prison”. Later, I learned a good bit more about the establishment of the Confessing Church and Bonhoeffer’s role there. I’m in with the Bonhoeffer read – it’s so relevant to our situation today it’s a little unnerving.


    1. Linda,

      Great! Love to have you join us reading Bonhoeffer. I can expect lots of ripples from you. Your cousin is most welcome too. Just stop by the pond and throw a few pebbles in on the two dates we post. I will also link to your posts. Looking forward to 2013! 😉


  8. I do hope you enjoy the Proust – it’s one of my favourite books. One thing, though: the seven volumes are sometimes entitled as ‘In Search of Lost Time’ and you have to be prepared to lose time while reading Proust. He doesn’t get anywhere in a hurry! But the long slowly evolving journey that you undertake has its own rare beauty if you conform to its leisurely pace. Apparently the faster our minds whirr, the more likely we are to suffer depression. So books like Proust’s that slow the mind right down can be great sources of happiness, I think!


    1. Litlove,

      Slow pace is no problem for me… it’s that I’m apprehensive about ‘getting’ the story idea, what he’s trying to convey. Hope it’s not way over my head. And oh, I’m just attempting Vol. 1, that’s already 600 some pages. I think that’s all I can handle in two months. 😉


  9. Ooh. I’m definitely interested in a little Proust. I have the Davis translations of the first four books. I also have the whole thing in another translation, but I don’t remember which. I think I’ll use the Davis one for this readalong. I’m looking forward to it!


    1. Jessica,

      Welcome to the pond! Great to have you join us in the Proust read. That will come a later in the spring but I’ll definitely remind you all earlier than that. Glad you’ve found your way here to Ripple Effects. Hope to hear from you again soon. 😉


  10. I would have loved to join the Bonhoeffer but can’t commit right now. Have house guests till the end of Feb! I want to plan a read along of East of Eden maybe for March and then a film review of the 1955 version. Would you be interested in that?


    1. Mrs. B,

      I’d love to, but I’m afraid the timing may pose a bit of a problem. As you can see here, March to May is my Proust’s Swann’s Way Read-Along. I think that will keep me busy since I’m such a slow reader. Don’t think I can handle Proust and Steinbeck, two heavyweights, at the same time. 😉


    1. Gavin,

      Great! Welcome back to another Read-Along! Love to have you join us… have appreciated your contribution in the past. I’ll post about it when we start come March.


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