Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

How Proust Can Change Your Life

Posted by nliakos on October 6, 2012

by Alain de Botton (Random House/Vintage 1997)

I usually finish the books I start, but I didn’t make it through this one. Is it because I have never read In Search of Lost Time, or anything else by Proust? But surely, many of the people who made this a bestseller had not read Proust, either. They thought it was worth reading. According to the New York Times Book Review, it is “a self-help manual for the intelligent person.” Maybe I am not intelligent enough? I didn’t find it particularly helpful (it isn’t clear how it is supposed to help, or what it is supposed to help with) or interesting. I frequently encourage my students to stop reading any book that they find too difficult or that simply does not interest them (in the case of pleasure reading, that is); it was time to take my own advice. As I tell my students, life is too short to read bad books. This isn’t a bad book, but it just wasn’t for me–not now, anyway. So about halfway through, I gave up and returned it.

Perhaps you thought that I like everything I read, since I usually have only nice things to say about the books I’ve read. It’s true that I like most of what I read, but not everything. I considered not posting about this book since I didn’t finish it, but then I decided to post anyway–to give you a sense of what does not float my literary boat.

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