Proust and Charlus (You Know, the Turtle)

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time. —Marcel Proust

The main difference in coming to Paris for fun (moi) and coming to Paris for school (Zee Husband), is best illustrated by our dreams last night:

Mine – We found a giant turtle who was lethargic at first, you know, turtle-ey. After a spell he and Devil dog became best buddies and would frolic together on the golf course. We named our turtle Charlus and he was family forever.

His – There were snakes.

I guess this phenomenon could be explained by our evening entertainment. I am reading Proust. He is reading Berlitz French.

So, Proust.

I’m an avid reader but go mostly for the brain candy kind of reading; however, I decided to filter in a few classics here and there. Let’s call them the capers of an otherwise ordinary salad of life.

I tackled Tolstoy last year. But Proust. It’s a beast. Weirdly, I’m halfway through now (12,000 pages long—not kidding) and I’m already regretting it will be over soon. One of the characters is named Charlus. He’s not at all like my turtle. Sorry. Our turtle.

So, to recap. The Husband is in school for two weeks and I’m not.

Here are some photos taken yesterday after The Husband got out of school and just before he started dreaming of snakes:

29 Comments

    1. Oh, Berlioz is so scary for me. Four years of high school French and one semester of college, still Berlitz was intimidating to me. Hubs is amazing. Self-taught for the most part and infinitely braver than I when speaking.

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  1. Proust I can’t comment on knowing not enough to be even semi intelligent in my comment. Turtles however are my spirit animal. I love the slow life and look forward to people oooing and ahhing over me when in my hundreds and quite confident the slow and steady pace will get me there.
    But of much greater importance, why is there a a gear shift in that drink?

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  2. Aha! The classic bendy straw. Before I blew it up to a significant degree (I am at dialysis and reading this on my little tablet … and some people even watch movies on these things if you can imagine … where was I?) (oh yes…) it looked like the chair back behind the straw was actually a part of the straw. It makes a dandy looking gear shift that way. If I ever have a custom car made (which can also be phrased if I ever hit the Power Ball) I’m hijacking that idea.
    Sorry for the ramble.

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    1. Coming from you, I am very flattered. The clouds were letting in the sun so beautifully yesterday I went crazy with the camera so will post some of those next. Hope Carl’s recovery is going well.

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  3. My husband looks at my favourite book at 1152 pages and thinks I’m insane for reading that long of a book (The Stand – Stephen King, btw). I can’t quite imagine 12,000. How long do you think it will take you to finish?

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    1. It’s on my eReader which is great because I’m traveling (can you imagine the size of the actual book?). I’m afraid to wonder how long. I started in November! I love Stephen King but I read at night so he’s too stimulating for me.

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      1. It would be kind of amazing to see you walking around with a gigantic book, haha! Good luck and god speed on the remainder of your book.

        I’m one of those weirdos who can watch/read/listen to anything stimulating/scary right before bed and be completely fine, haha.

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  4. I’ve clicked on the “Like” button several times, but something in the blogosphere is blocking the displaying of my cute little mug shot. Not sure what’s going on with that.

    I cannot fathom reading 12,000 pages. Let me just say going from Proust to Where the Crawdads Sing is going to give you whiplash.

    To follow up on my earlier remarks about the Crawdads book… By staying up until 4:30 a.m. and then getting up at 7:45 a.m. and doing nothing but reading, I was able to finish reading it before it disappeared from my Kindle at noon. I loved the beautiful prose about the fauna of the marshlands in coastal North Carolina. I loved the story of Kya. What an incredibly strong female character! I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what was going to happen to Kya next (and I knew the book was going to disappear from my Kindle at noon.)

    The excessive Southern dialect and African-American dialect written by the author (who lives in Idaho) was a big negative for me. A little dialect flavors a novel and helps ground the reader in the place and time, but I found the amount of it in this book a negative. She also has a Confederate flag in a county courtroom in 1970. I don’t think that would have happened in NC in 1970. The Confederate monument would have been prominently displayed on the courthouse lawn, but the Confederate battle flag would not have been displayed in the courtroom. If not for the dialect and flag, I would have given it six stars out of a possible five. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. I hope I haven’t jaded your opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are the best. You haven’t jaded my opinion at all. Quite the opposite. I now know what I won’t like so I can let that roll off the shoulders. I trust your opinion very much since I’ve agreed with your book reviews (on books we have in common). It took 4,000 pages for me to get into Proust’s À la Recherche but now I see why all the fuss. Ps Sounds like sleep is still evading you?

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  5. Yikes, the top photo looks like a kaleidoscope!
    I’ve never tried Tolstoy and couldn’t imagine doing so… but when I was 14, I switched from reading Enid Blyton to Sartre… and Dostoevsky… and Hesse. The latter was a fave, the others not so much.

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    1. The pic is the dome at the top of the Printemps building. I was just telling David yesterday that I need to read some Sartre (as we were having a drink at Deux Magots). I only read de Beauvoir’s memoirs and really no other philosopher of note so I’ve got some catching up to do. 14? You little prodigy.

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  6. I tried to “like” your reply to me but nothing happened. I don’t have a clue what’s going on with WordPress and my mug shot. Shows up where I leave comments but nothing happens when I click on “like” buttons. Yes, sleep is still a major problem. I’ve been referred to a sleep coach but have put off calling for an appointment as long as I’m in PT for vertigo. I can’t handle but one thing at a time.

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    1. I want you to ‘like’ me! 😜. I’m sorry you are still suffering from lack of sleep. I’ve heard that vertigo is simply awful so I’m also sorry to hear that. Get better.

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  7. I am confused by your saying that the classics aren’t “brain candy” – I always called my non-serious reading “guilty pleasures” and what I liked most was the brainlessness of it all. Which Proust is it? I’m asking not because I have read anything by him, but because he is on my “Authors to Read Before I Die” list. And anyone saying “I didn’t want it to end” is about the highest recommendation a book can get. Tolstoy, now, I could talk about – that is if I remembered anything. I had a Russian phase way back in high school And no, I wasn’t a nerd. (Yes I was.) I just spent the summers up north with no TV.
    Always glad to hear you are dreaming. Much better than tossing and turning. Even if it is about turtles.

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    1. I am reading Proust’s A La Recherche… it is very complicated grammar (which, as you know I’m not good at math😜) so it was hard to speak the language at first. I think there’s a surprise ending from the few notes I’ve read about it. I’m just really weirdly invested in the characters now (none of whom are particularly likable). On Tolstoy I read Anna Karenina. I still have War and Peace to read. It’s a long list and a short life, sister. Get snappin’.

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