I have a dirty little secret. I am a pusher. No, not drugs before you ask, books. In fact books, reading lists and the general encouragement of people to read. Here’s some classic literature, it will improve your mind, feed your soul. Going to an auction, here’s a book on current prices for first edition children’s literature. I fully appreciate that many of the people that I give books to or witter on to about my latest read, are not that interested, but maybe it will encourage a few of them to read more. I accept that my young nieces would probably rather have a pepper pig toy for Christmas than a book. Well they will get that, but also a copy of Aesop’s fables. You’ve got to start them young, especially nowadays. I even distribute reading lists to colleagues at work. They say they are interested in receiving a copy of it, although I am not sure how much of that is motivated by their desire for me to shut up and go away. The long, short and tall of it is that, I am a pusher. A book pusher. And I am proud of it.
I have just finished ‘Twenty Three Tales’ by Leo Tolstoy. A collection of short stories on a variety of subjects, aimed at a variety of people. Some were originally intended for children, but I am not sure how suitable they would be considered today. Anyway, it was a good read and now I will move on to the plays of Sophocles. I will definitely alternate that with some genre fiction. James Patterson I think.
Tell me, are you a pusher too?
Well I have finally finished Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’, and what a satisfying feeling it is. Satisfying for all of you that have been following my progress too, no doubt. There should be no more posts saying, ‘Still reading Proust’. I do have a great sense of achievement having completed it, but I feel that to fully understand it I would need to read it a few more times at least, and as much as I enjoyed it, that is unlikely to happen. There were many sections of this work that resonated deeply with me. Many times I read a passage and thought, ‘That is exactly how I feel’, or ‘That is how I view things’. Proust’s ability to identify and describe the way people deal with certain emotions and feelings was exceptional, in my opinion. Not knowing the narrator’s age or social rank was a little disconcerting for me though.
I originally began to read this series after a friend mentioned that he had just started reading it, mainly because he felt that it was something that he should have read. I thought that I would also try reading it, in a mildly competitive manner. Whatever our reasons for starting to read a particular book though it has no real effect on our ability to enjoy it, although preconceptions can of course colour our views. Sometimes something that we have always wanted to read disappoints, whereas something we would never have ordinarily considered turns out to excite our imagination and provides great pleasure.
Now that I have finished Proust I can get back to the plays of Sophocles and ‘Twenty Three Tales’ by Tolstoy, both of which I started some time ago but began to neglect more and more the closer I got to finishing Proust. After that I am going to have a little break from so called high-brow literature I think. I will probably read a few detective novels. I have some James Patterson sitting on the shelf waiting for my attention. Time to look at them I think.