- This is third challenge book of the year for books that have been languishing unread on my own bookshelves for over a year. As I am reading them, I am wondering, Why did it take me so long to get to this? This book is really as good as I hoped it would be when I first bought it!
- And even though Proust was a coffee drinker – I’ll quote a description of his breakfast in a moment – I am drinking mint tea. We are home from work with our
- 2nd snow day in a row – yes, actual snow! In Memphis! And it hasn’t been above freezing since the snow began, so the roads are sill pretty icy and dangerous. So I am staying home, and drinking lots of pots of various teas.
- I had to actually go back and read a little about the life of Proust after I was one chapter into this book. I couldn’t tell if the author was being serious or tongue-in-cheek (actually a little of both). I really enjoy the tone and the language de Botton uses – I’ve put several other of his books onto my ‘to read’ list.
- I enjoyed this book – how can I not like a book with a chapter called “How to put books down” ? Or an author who uses words that I have to look up, like quotidian, etiolated, feuilleton, or munificent (which I did know, but hardly ever see in writing!)
- And of course food is mentioned in Proust’s seven volume ‘Remembrance of Things Past/In search of Lost Time’, including a famous scene about a madeleine and memory. de Botton notes that as well as the importance of food to the author himself: “What did Proust have for breakfast?….two cups of strong coffee with milk, served in a silver pot engraved with his initials. He liked his coffee tightly packed in a filter with the water made to pass through drop by drop. He also had a croissant, fetched by his maid from a boulangerie which knew just how to make them, crisp and buttery, and which he would dunk in his coffee.”
- De Botton says “Food has a privileged role in Proust’s writings; it is often lovingly described and appreciatively eaten. To name but a few of the many dishes which Proust parades past his readers, we can cite cheese soufflé, a string bean salad, a trout with almonds, a grilled red mullet, a bouillabaisse, a skate in black butter, a beef casserole, some lamb with a Béarnaise sauce, a beef Stroganoff, a bowl of stewed peaches, a raspberry mousse, a madeleine, an apricot tart, an apple tart, a raisin cake, a chocolate sauce and a chocolate soufflé.
- I really did enjoy de Botton’s book and his view of Proust – not enough for me to actually want to read the 7 volumes of Proust’s life work, but enough to do a little more reading about Proust’s writing and his perspective on life, and the influences his works had on twentieth century literature.