WHAT? The Parisian Flair book club is a unique experience. There are a lot of ways to discover new book to read, new authors. When it comes to American authors, it is easy to come across new releases as well as classics. Bookstores, your friends and even the Internet are here to advice you. However, if you want to learn more about French writers and the amazing literature heritage “la literature française”, where do you go and who do you ask for advice?
WHY? We love our writers, our poems, and our novels that inspired so many others worldwide. From Hollywood, music, art, fashion and much more. Translations of French masterpieces have become better and better. It is obvious that you will lose some nuances, poetic structures and some time even the essence of a typical French trait. It’s never perfect! Nevertheless, is it better to stay ignorant? Not knowing some of the greatest classics of all time.
HOW? We have established two solutions for our dearest readers. If you are a true Parisian flair individual and already master the art of reading and speaking French, we definitely advice you to buy the French version of our recommendations. Otherwise, if you are learning French or just eager to read and explore French literature, we selected the best English version of our picks. Anyone who is able to read can take part in this enriching adventure. Not only will you read, learn, dream while reading our books, you will also have the opportunity to share. Share your feelings, thoughts, interpretations, insights, and so on. It is the best way to connect with other French lovers, French enthusiasts and French individuals. Our aim is not to make you buy any products and books. We thrive in bringing you the best we can find, the ones we would buy for ourselves.
TIPS We always give you the option to choose between a paper version (easier to carry around), a nicer, refined version (hard copy) to impress your guests and decorate, and an audio version (if you are traveling a lot). If it exists and is well translated, we will also recommend the “all in one” English and French version.In our opinion it’s not the best way to read a masterpiece but if you are learning French it will be a great way to improve your skills. We created a Facebook page called “The Parisian Flair Book club”. You are more than welcome to join and share your feedbacks. For now, it’s the platform we chose in order to discuss our book picks amongst all our dedicated readers. We are really committed to this book club. Our aim is to share our passion for our favorite French writers. We hope you enjoy our initiative and are always opened to any improvements and comments.
TRIBUTE TO MARCEL PROUST Our first Parisian Flair focus for the book club is Marcel Proust. His masterpiece “In Search of Lost Time” is our pick. Why did we choose this particular book? That’s a good question. We believe that there’s nothing that has more of ”Parisian Flair” than this masterpiece. It is the true essence of being Parisian, living with elegance and refinement. It is a hymn to the joy of small things, the glimpse at details. This renowned masterpiece comes in seven volumes. Who said we were going to start easy? The surprising thing is that it’s not difficult; it just takes time and concentration. Once you’ll open the first page of the first volume, once you will have started reading, we promise you that you will not stop. It is sad how this incredible activity, great hobby known as reading as faded the past decade. We can point the finger at the Internet and other media except we are the only one to blame. We have time to read before going to bed, on a rainy day, at the beach and even in the car now with the audio versions. Let’s start again or continue if you never stopped (you deserve a medal). Don’t be scared, the length cannot prevent you from reading a classic. Here is our own experience with this work of genius “In Search of Lost Time”.
Don’t wait until you have time to read before buying it. Just buy it! You can also buy it to someone who is still hesitant. That helps a lot! We got a harmonized edition, which came in a six-book set. It is rather tough to start as soon as you get it in the mailbox. We would advise you to just look at it first, get a feel, and flip the pages. You are getting familiar to this new acquaintance. You are ready to place them elegantly in a row next to your bed that’s where you’ll be more incline to start it or if you take a lot of long baths and there is a dry area, next to the bathtub. You don’t need to rush. Look at them for a while, not longer than a week though. We only have to warn you that when you’ll start reading, all your free time will revolve around it. In average, we finished it in about 60 days. That’s almost two months of your life. Can you believe it? You will have read a masterpiece in two months. You will feel lucky, enriched, enlightened, brave and happy to be able to share it with those who also went on that amazing adventure. But most of all, you will have earned a huge piece of French Art de Vivre and will better understand our goals, our passions and our culture. And will surely brag about it.
We are giving you insights on our experiences with Marcel Proust. We were overwhelmed let’s be honest, with its huge volume. Were we going to say goodbye to our social life in order to finish this book? Let’s face it, Marcel is going to be your friend for a while but it doesn’t mean you have to be exclusive. You will be intrigued, surprised, captivated and sometimes hurt. Throughout your read, you will disagree and get fed up in some occasions. You are more and more going to feel French because Marcel has a gift, he allows you to await, to immerge yourself into a French’s mind and also to contemplate. We were anticipating getting back where we stopped, an urge to read more, to learn more. That’s a true gift, a daily escape!
Why read all the volumes? Why not just pick one? Throughout the Proust readers we’ve met we can definitely draw an interesting conclusion: some just deeply fall for Marcel Proust on the first page of his first volume, others are more hesitant, less concentrated and struggle to get used to his fantastic prose style.
Parisian Flair’s Tips :
- The opening pages of the book are not the easiest ones. Do not get frustrated. The French writer may have done it on purpose, so that only true believers and lovers would continue reading. That’s just a thought.
- A lot of readers we’ve talked to stopped after a third of the first volume. They got distracted, lost interest and convinced themselves that they will start over again some day. Be aware, it is like a suspense movie. Proust’s art is to have you understand the opening of In Search of Lost Time once you read the closing.
- Do not stop reading. It’s a masterpiece only if you read the 7 volumes. They are all very different from one another. Marcel’s spirit changes, evolves. We will be different individuals from the start to the finish line. We will have lived more, encountered more, and experienced more.
- Proust’s style is interesting and very original. He loves long sentences, judges and meticulously describes his characters and his surroundings.
As we finish each volume, we will review and rate them individually.
For the entire masterpiece (7 volumes)
Start Reading French !
This is a list of all seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time:
In Search of Lost Time
1. Swann’s Way – (★★★★★)
2. Within a Budding Grove – (currently reading)
3. The Guermantes Way – (☆☆☆☆☆)
4. Sodom and Gomorrah – (☆☆☆☆☆)
5. The Captive – (☆☆☆☆☆)
6. The Fugitive – (☆☆☆☆☆)
7. Time Regained – (☆☆☆☆☆)
A la recherche du temps perdu (French translation)
1. Du côté de chez Swann
2. À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs
3. Le Côté de Guermantes
4. Sodome et Gomorrhe I et II
5. La Prisonnière
6. Albertine disparue
7. Le Temps retrouvé
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