Andi hit the nail on the head in this comment. Even though she’s talking about Ulysses, I feel like it applies to Proust as well. In the hour and a half a day I have to read (before bed, no less), there is just not enough time or energy to get through Swann’s Way on my own. I need external motivation! I need encouragement! I need a book group!
But then again, see above as to time to read. I don’t have time to be in a book group, not really. Which does not necessarily mean I will never have time for Swann’s Way — it definitely means that I don’t have time now. Also, the library wants their copy back…
But I am still committed to the idea of reading books that scare me — just maybe slightly shorter scary books. I’m thinking that I might switch gears and head for Northanger Abbey. As a confirmed Austen fan, who lectured not two weeks ago on her fabulousness, I am ashamed to admit that I have not yet read (or even seen the movie of) it.
Why does it scare me? Well, I’ve been told that it requires a lot of knowledge of the period. What I know of the period, I learned from novels, primarily Austen’s. I have never read Mrs. Radcliffe, for example. Will I get the jokes? Will I like the characters, even though it is a very straight-forward satire and pretty far from her other novels? Of course, all of these fears are founded on hearsay. Who knows! Maybe it’s as bitingly witty as all of her other amazing books, and I don’t need to be a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism to get the jokes. And it’s significantly shorter than Swann’s Way, so that fits it well into my time-crunched schedule.
Will I manage to finish a dangerous book? Will I like it? Stay tuned for more!