Proust – The Aftermath and Enid Blyton

Just because I have finished reading Proust doesn’t mean I will stop writing about him. Well it does really, but I needed some way to start today’s post. It is actually a little strange now that I have finished was was, for me, and epic task. My Goodreads 2013 Reading challenge took a serious hit and I am way behind where I should be, even having specified fewer books than I completed last year. As I have previously mentioned I am slowly reading some Tolstoy and Sophocles, but in an effort to improve my Goodreads numbers I have also been reading a few Enid Blyton books.

I have always been a fan of Enid Blyton, especially her children’s adventure stories, in particular the adventure series, the mystery series and the famous five. I have almost completed reading first editions of the adventure series. I am interested in the way that these books have changed over the years. I have heard a few whispers about changes to many of Enid Blyton’s books in later editions, as society changes.

Many of these books were written in the forties and fifties and would not now be considered to be politically correct. I think that many changes have been made to these books and after I have finished the first editions I am going to read the latest editions, from 2011/2012. As of yet I do not know the changes that may have been made, but I feel that with any books it is important to read them in context, appreciating the time at which they were written and the social and cultural norms of that period. A number of these books were written in wartime England and as such contained a degree of propagandist bias.

Anyway more on this when I have completed the first editions and also the latest editions.


Proust Defeated

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.


Just a short post today to try and keep up my goal of posting two or three times a week. I have a day out in Cambridge planned for tomorrow, ostensibly to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen for a while, but there will be some drinking involved, I have no doubt. Due to the appalling nature of the buses in the area I live I need to catch the 09:15 bus, which is the only bus that leaves all day (except the 07:30 one). This gets me into Cambridge pretty early in the day and so I should have the opportunity to visit a couple of book shops before I meet my friend.

After we meet up it will most likely involve a tour of the many pubs in town. I am going to take the advice given to me by shaunaborthwick and take along a notebook. I do usually try to do this but I generally never end up writing anything. On this occasion I think I will make an effort to use the notebook early on, rather than later in the day when there is a distinct danger of my never understanding what I have written. This should be the last weekend that I am out for a while. It always seems to be the way. You spend weeks without going out and then all of a sudden there is a glut of invites to go out, and after that nothing. I have enjoyed meeting all of my old friends recently, but now I shall be looking forward to getting a bit more order back into my life, more routine.

For those of you that have been following my progress with Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’, you will be pleased to know that I have almost finished, and depending on how I feel on Sunday I should be able to finish this weekend. More on this when I have completed it. Have a great weekend!

One Book or Two?

Just a short post today. If I don’t write something then I will start to get out of the habit of regularly posting. My posting schedule has already begun to spread out and posting has become less regular.

It has been a tiring week at work again, and my reading schedule has become more and more difficult to achieve. I suppose going out for a curry last night with an old friend, and my imminent trip to London tomorrow will not help with the reading. I suppose I will have some additional opportunities on the train tomorrow, at least on the way there. It is most unlikely that I will be able to focus on anything on the way back. It is going to be that sort of day. Lunch then meeting old university friends to spend the rest of the day trawling around a number of pubs until late evening. It is only once in a while, and always enjoyable, so I am sure it is ok.

Completing Proust has been held up of course, and it looks like I will not finish the last book ‘Time Regained’ and the series for at least another week. This is partly because I do not ever seem to be able to read just one book at a time. I tend to have at least four or five on the go at the same time.Unless of course I find something impossible to put down. I think I just enjoy the variety of reading multiple books.

What about other people? Do you tend to read a number of books at the same time, or do you like to concentrate on reading one book, then move on to the next? Let me know in the comments.

And Finally the Snow Comes

I thought I would get a good night’s sleep Friday night after my long week so I went to bed, read for a bit and settled down to sleep by about 23:00. Then, for some unknown reason I awoke at 04:00, wide awake, with a myriad of thoughts swirling around my mind. They were not even interesting thoughts being mostly about work. I was so wide awake that I got up and wrote for a bit until about 05:30 when I began to get sleepy. So back to bed for an hour and I was awake again. I spent the rest of the day Saturday feeling pretty groggy when I should have been nicely rested. C’est la vie!

And finally it is snowing here. With much of the rest of the country suffering from atrocious weather conditions, even to the extent of cars being completely buried by drifting snow, I have been poorly disappointed by the snow fall here. We had a little yesterday that finally settled, but only a couple of inches, and then nothing more until now, when the snow picks the moment that most of the previous fall has begun to melt. I suppose I should consider us lucky not to have been suffering with poor weather, but I do so enjoy a good covering of snow. At least until it is time to go to work.

Well it has been a relaxing weekend, as anticipated, and the reading has been going well, as has the writing. So, relaxing and productive. What more could I have asked for. I am just going to sit and stare at the swirling snow for a bit before I carry on with Proust.

Long Week

It has been a while since I have posted. It seems that after an initial burst of posting nearly every other day, things have settled down to a rate of maybe twice a week. Ideally I would like to post a little more often, but then I have enough trouble coming up with things to write as it is.

It has been my first full week back at work for a while. It is surprising  just how tired I am now feeling. It has been a bit of a shock to the system. At least the next two weeks will only be four day weeks, with the Easter bank holidays in between. A fairly lazy weekend is planned. I want to relax for a bit. No real plans, just carrying on with my current reading tasks. I am getting on well with Proust’s ‘The Captive’, which I should finish tomorrow, before I then start on ‘The Fugitive’. I should also get a bit of time to do some writing. I have had a glut of small ideas lately and want to try expanding some of them a little to see if there is any mileage in pursuing them further.

So here’s to a relaxing weekend. I hope you all achieve what you wish this weekend.

The Fifty First Post

When I published my previous post, Another Title (and Scrivener), I noticed that it was my fiftieth post. That feels like quite a landmark to me. I started this blog in August 2009. Up until Jan 2013 I had made a pretty feeble 20 posts in 3 years and 4 months. Since then I have made 30 posts in two and a bit months. This is a lot better and I am positive, at least hopeful, that it will last. I have been enjoying writing these blog posts. Whether anyone enjoys reading them I am less clear on, but I do get the occasional like, so I suppose they must be of some interest!

I figured that my next major goal would be one hundred posts and then one hundred followers. So I checked my followers and found, to my surprise that they had already exceeded the one hundred goal. That one had kind of slipped by me. It feels great that so many people have, rightly or wrongly, decided to receive email updates of my posts. This fills me with joy, and not a little surprise. So thanks to everyone that reads my posts and especially those that follow my blog. I will try to keep posting and find some interesting topics to write about.

As for now I am still working hard on getting through Proust’s ‘The Captive’ and ‘The Fugitive’, along with brief forays into E.M. Forster’s ‘Aspects of the Novel’. I am going to have to start on a few easier to read books after I have finished the ‘In Search of Lost Time’ series (or cycle), otherwise I will not meet my 2103 Goodreads reading goal. I am currently quite a few books behind schedule. I am sure that ultimately I will complete it though. Still nine and a half months to go I suppose.

Book Four Finished

I had intended for today to be a highly productive day of  reading. I was up early writing, revelling in the vistas of the overnight snow. Snow was still falling gently, but was never going to settle. Most peaceful.

However, a trip over to my mother’s house for mother’s day (today being mother’s day in the UK) and then the inevitable lure of the television led to my being somehow totally side-tracked. It is still my goal to get the final part of Proust’s ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ finished today, so I will get off and try to get that done before finishing this post …

And I have finished, finally. Now to start on the 800 pages of the next book, the combined volumes of ‘The Captive’ and ‘The Fugitive’. I will be back at work tomorrow after a day and half off sick, then the weekend, where I was able to get a reasonable amount of reading done. Things will slow down again now I am back at work, so another few weeks before I finish this book I imagine.

Day off

I had the day off of work yesterday. This would have perhaps been enjoyable were it not for the fact that I had taken this day off for a hospital appointment. I was there to have a procedure that was supposed to be reasonably painless. I generally have a relatively high pain threshold, but I ended up needing gas to get through it. Today I returned to work and only lasted a few hours, and I wouldn’t have stayed that long if I hadn’t needed to get some stuff done in the absence of my boss. Still, now I am at home, albeit in a little discomfort and can get some reading done.

My reading has not been going great lately. I seem to keep finding things that I cannot put off, such as working late, and then other things like perusing many of the blogs that I follow, and indeed some that I don’t. Anyway, I am forging ahead with Proust’s ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ and I have high hopes of actually getting that completed by the end of the weekend. This should leave a little time to read some of E.M. Forster’s ‘Aspects of the Novel’, which I have sorely neglected during my lunch breaks as it seems so much easier just to gossip with colleagues, before I start on the next part of Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’, which should be in one physical book, ‘The Captive’ and ‘The Fugitive’.

So those are my immediate reading goals. Not much to speak of regarding any writing, but I am still managing to do a small amount of free writing each day, just random stuff.

Kick Start

Since being nominated for the prestigious Sunshine Award my mind has typically been devoid of anything resembling an interesting topic to post. Not only that I have found little to write about in other areas. To kick start the creative process I tried lying down on my bed in total darkness and just thinking of nothing. Mostly all I managed to achieve was to nearly fall asleep, followed by almost blinding myself when I did finally turn on the light and sit down to write. In fairness I did have a few ideas about how to proceed with my latest project, so some use came of it.

On another note, I subscribed to The Writer Magazine in a dull moment during my Christmas break from work and have finally received the first copy. I am going to peruse that during the adverts whilst watching television, as I find that watching television is pretty much all I feel like doing on a Friday night after a hard week at work. If it is any good I will let you know. Out of interest has any read this magazine before? Anyone found it to be useful?

Plans for the weekend? Mostly catching up on some reading. I am doing well with Proust. Then out for a meal and a few drinks with a friend in Cambridge on Saturday night. Sunday will be all about the Tottenham-Arsenal game.