Let’s Spring to Proust

Here we are, almost spring. According to my 2013 Read-Along plan, it’s time for Proust: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1, Swann’s Way.

Proust Book

Before we start, check this out. An excellent intro of Proust from The Guardian:

“So, Proust. Have you made it past the first 50 pages?

I’m guessing that a healthy proportion of people who pick up the book don’t even get beyond page 51. Within a similar word count, Raymond Chandler could have got through two murders, six whiskies, half a dozen wisecracks. Raymond Carver could have described at least six suburban households descending into despair. And Hemingway had almost finished The Old Man and The Sea. Yet, in pure plot terms, pretty much all that happens in those first pages of Proust is that the young Marcel struggles to fall asleep.” 

Right. But I do urge you to finish this very helpful Guardian article on Proust.

Those who are familiar with Read-Along’s on Ripple Effects know, we go slow. Ah… go slow on Proust? Well yes, that just means you can read Chandler and Hemingway while you’re watching young Marcel struggle to sleep.

Here’s our very simple plan. You can read whatever version you like, if you’re so inclined, the original French edition will even be better. We can compare notes and thoughts. I’ll stick with the Modern Library version in the photo above, just because of the enticing cover.

Here are the dates for the two posts:

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

Two months to finish In Search of Lost Time Vol 1: Swann’s Way. I’m sure with our mutual support, we can all go past page 51 and even reach the end.

Interested? Do let me know in a comment. I’ll be sure to add and link your blog in the following list. If you’re not a blogger, you’re welcome to join in as well. Just come by on the two posting dates and share your thoughts.

So far, here are the participants who have confirmed with me:

Bellezza of Dolce Bellezza

Janell of An Everyday Life

Gavin of Page247

Tuesday of Tuesday in Silhouette

Jessica of Bluestockings.com

Alison of Chino House

Hope to see you join in.


Previous Read-Along on Ripple Effects

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

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie


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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.

26 thoughts on “Let’s Spring to Proust”

    1. Gavin,

      Great! I still remember how we ploughed through Midnight’s Children and enjoyed the experience. Whatever edition you pick. I look forward to our reading together again. 😉


  1. I confess, I have never read Proust, and I think I’ll give it a pass for the time being. My life is moving too fast to slow it down with Marcel’s sleep issues. But I’ll be curious to follow the conversation along!


    1. Bellezza,

      Thanks for joining me … have enjoyed the camaraderie of reading with you Anna K. Thanks for bringing a friend too. I’ll be sure to link you both. Looking forward to this.


  2. You asked in one of your comments in my blog what type of camera I used. Lately I have been using two, my Nikon D40 and my little Panasonic Lumix. I used photos from both in my posts. I’ll read Proust sometime in the future, may be when I have all 8 volumes in French, but since I have only 3, I think I’ll wait for a while. Right now I am reading “We’ll always have Paris” by John Baxter, an Australian. I like it – it is funny. Have you read it?


    1. Vagabonde,

      I use a Nikon too. But I feel it’s the lens that’s more important… esp. for me, a birder. I also have a little Panasonic Lumix. It has served me well before I got this Nikon D5100 last Christmas. As for the book your reading, interesting title… parody of Casablanca (?) 😉


  3. Hey Arti! I was inspired to start Proust after seeing the Guardian readalong as well!
    And yes, I’ve already started because I plan on going slowww. For now, I’m reading the Moncrieff, but I might switch to Davis or another translation for the later volumes 😀


    1. tuesday in silhouette,

      I’m also reading the Moncrieff translation. And yes, since I’m a slow reader, I’ve started too so I can finish that first part to write a post by April 15. You know we’re just getting a little first taste of Proust, just Vol. 1 I think that will do for the time being. 😉 Thanks for joining us!


  4. Oh you’re very brave. I read 20 pages or so at some stage in the past. Would love to try it again, but I know that this year isn’t the year. I have a couple of books about reading Proust, I’m sure I’ll get to those first….


    1. Louise,

      We’re just going to read the first volume of In Search of Lost Time, not all of them. So I feel it’s a doable thing. Now I’ve passed page 50, and, to my surprise, quite enjoy it. 😉


  5. Arti,
    Thank you one thousand times for responding to my blog post “Georgia on My Mind” you made my day! And I want you to know I look forward to and faithfully read your blog when it arrives in my email box. I wanted to be a part of the Proust read-a-long, but i am caught up in “another project” which is exciting and hopefully when i know more i will share it with you. That is why my blog posts have dwindled to one a month – sometimes there is “only so much of us” that can go around. Keep on keeping on with your greatness. . . Hedda


    1. Hedda,

      All the best with your project, and you’re welcome to stop by the pond and see what we have when the postings come. Thanks for your interest, even though you may not have time to take part in this read-along.


  6. I can only commit to a tiny interest at this time. I need to let that sit and simmer for awhile. I only recently became aware of how to pronounce this guy’s name. Best to you – a fab group to read with! (Is there a movie?)


    1. Care,

      I thought nobody would have dared to make a movie from Proust’s work but just to check I went to IMDb, guess what, there’s one on his life. You know, it’s not as intimidating as I first thought. I don’t pretend to grasp everything on the page, but I totally enjoy his writing and memories of childhood, despite having to plow through page-long sentences. 😉


  7. I finally ordered this book today. I have wanted to read it forever, but I might have not made it more than 50 pages in myself at one time in college when I picked it up.

    So trying again! 🙂


    1. Alison,

      So glad you can join us! You know, I don’t think any of us would go past many pages on our own. However, I must say having read about 150 pages so far, I find it less intimidating than I first thought, and, despite a lot of times Proust has lost my attention with his long sentences, I quite enjoy his recollections of his childhood town Combray, and all the folks there. His writing style of course is beautiful, albeit through translation.

      And remember, we’re only doing the first part (264 pages for my edition) to post April 15. So, we still have a few more days to go, lots of time. Looking forward to reading your thoughts. I’ll add your link to the group list.


  8. Arti, due to life and all it holds I am behind on my reading. Will post on Combray when I actually get through it and will be sure to read everyone’s thoughts on and after the 15th.


    1. Gavin,

      I totally understand. And Proust definitely needs extra time too… so, post any time you’re ready. You’re most welcome to stop by the pond and see what the ripples are about. The most important thing is, take it leisurely and enjoy your read. Thanks for letting me know. 😉


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