Jan 3, 2010

Happy New Year from M. Proust

In an unscheduled book-browse a week ago, I had found How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton. I have not read Proust, but I had bookmarked De Botton on my Ted Talks favorites and I grabbed it when I saw his name. This book turns out to become a Christmas and New Year surprise gift sent from Above.

It was the perfect read to kick-off 2010 - with chapters titled How to Suffer Successfully (the title alone made me laugh!), How to Express your Emotions and How to Take Your Time. All good, but my favorites are How to be a Good Friend, How to Open Your Eyes and How to Put Books Down. De Botton made me think and laugh and have a meaningful Saturday afternoon with a light, easy read. Chapter titles notwithstanding, this is not some cheesy self-help book though. Can anything that references Proust be cheesy?

It took 37 years, but original Nona will be happy that
I'm finally going to pick up In Search of Lost Time.

Oh and, Marcel Proust himself gives an explanation to one of my own "maladies" of sometimes preferring the company of books to people, certain people at least. Apparently, this is okay and not weird at all, but that yes, at a certain point we must put our books down. Because, sorry this is kind of a spoiler, but I have to say, Proust will not change your life. You will.

I will. So, this year I will be more accepting of myself. Also, adjust my expectations of others. It was a relevant reminder as the holidays did highlight some strange and not-so-kind behavior from certain-personalities-who-need-not-be-named.

But in life there is always some bad, so I should really not complain. We are not entitled to perfect lives and people treating us perfectly all the time! That's me being Proustian and opening my eyes, and it's only day 3 of year 2010. The point is I am grateful to be blessed with much, much more of the good than the bad. There is a chapter called How to be Happy in Love, and I will toot my own horn (it is a new year) to say that I have that down pat. See photo....

Bragging rights. Happiness in Love achieved.

Thank you to those who blessed the start of our 2010 with their warm wishes... and to the constant cheerleaders who add to the good. You know who you are. Now I say... happy new year to ME!


Barni said...

Dearest - I know you love Packy, but I swear, sometimes I think you should have married Mark. We had merienda with friends two days ago, and -naturally - he was talking about Allan de Botton (pretty amazing guy, who's about as young as Mark only - 41 yrs old)

My resolution is to be a Canon bookworm this year, so I just picked up Catcher in the Rye - light way to begin. Mmmmmmwah!

Barni said...

"We are not entitled to perfect lives and people treating us perfectly all the time"...rings so true for me this week. I was meant to read this post tonight. Thank you!

Nana said...

Happy New Year, Nons! You also ROCK in the "How to be a Good Friend" department. Naks!

Love the family pic too!

Nona said...

Barn, I love de Botton. If it takes me a whole year, I will go through Proust's In Search of Lost Time, so help me God. But de Botton is so cute, he says his girlfriend herself has not read Proust and prefers Marie Claire on a difficult day. Haha!

The holidays tend to bring out the best and unfortunately the WORST in some people, I have observed. Gory details I'll provide in person. Anyway, I was grumbling about that, then had a free day to read the book... then boing! It hits me on the head. As for the reading, 2009 I finally started hitting more of the books again. I think post childbirth my brain was incapable of sustaining reading anything other than baby center type articles, my kids' development profiles and Ken Robinson... then it came back : ) Reading books again, yay!

Naks talaga Nana! Haha! But actually, picked up a thing or two I should apply from the How to be a Good Friend chapter. Boing! See ya soon... and may we all rock this new decade!

Cely said...

Another book added to my list. 2010 will be a year of reading!

By the way, I love your family picture! ♥

Nona said...

Thanks again cheerleader Cely! Hope you enjoy De Botton. And maybe Proust's In Search of Lost Time? Or should I say À la recherche du temps perdu? 7 volumes!

Cely said...

I've read In Search of Lost Time (all seven volumes!!) when I was in High School. But I think I should read them again now that I'm older... OK, I guess now I have something to do during those long winter evenings, haha!

Nona said...

But of course... required reading for you! Did you enjoy it in high school? The book may read differently to you now. De Botton gives an anecdote about Virginia Wolf. When she read it she could not write for a year or so... because she was so moved by it, what else can any other author write? All else will be "insipid and worthless."

Yup, Proust, Albertine et. al. can keep you company during long winter nights! Not bad company : ) Enjoy! hahaa!