This has been in blah weekend for reading… I cannot concentrate on anything, or not a single book I have tried to start in the past four day has really captured my attention, except maybe for Dany Laferrière’s L’art presque perdu de ne rien faire. This is a book of reflections about the world, often written based on childhood memories that tries to recreate the innocent way a child looks at the world, mixed with the incisiveness of the writer’s pen. It has Laferrière’s unmistakable style. While it is mostly written in prose, it contains some pages of poetry.
Besides that, I am trying to do some more serious reading, such as a book of sociology by Gilles Lipovetsky and Jean Serroy, L’esthétisation du monde. In this book, they analyze current trends in branding and design that are more and more embedded in mass consumption, which they called “artistic capitalism”, not that capitalism becomes more artistic, but that capitalism co-opts art to make money and uses art strictly for its monetary value.
I am also reading a book on change called Dangerous Opportunity. It defines three styles in which people react to change and the impact it has on how we can lead change efforts.
As far as fiction is concerned, I am slowly making my way through Mrs. Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, but there is nothing mysterious to it yet. Just the story of a man whose wife dies and who goes on a journey with his daughter in order to lessen the pain of their loss. On this journey, they meet a nice, helpful young man who joins them. They are travelling in the South of France, in Languedoc or Roussillon, near the Pyrenees. Since the references to this book in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey called it a perfectly horrid little book, one would expect at some point to be plunged in some gothic mystery involving malevolent spirits, but that is yet to come it seems.
I also started Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, but I couldn’t get into it. I’ll just have to wait for the appropriate mood to come.
I have pretty much gone through all articles on interest in Le Magazine littéraire’s April 2013 issue on “L’écriture de soi”, or “Writing the Self”. The theme covered some issues such as the difference between fiction, autofiction, and autobiography. One key question is “When is a novel a novel” if it is based on events lived or witnessed by the author, and where is there enough detachment or distance from reality to claim that the any resemblance to known individuals or events completely fortuitous.
As you can see, my mind is a bit of a scattered mess these days…
Laferrière, Dany. L’art presque perdu de ne rien faire. Boréal, Montréal, 2011.
Lipovetsky, Gilles et Jean Serroy. L’esthétisation du monde : Vivre à l’âge du capitalisme artiste. Gallimard, 2013.
Musselwhite, Chris with Randell Jones. Dangerous Opportunity : Making Change Work. 2nd edition. Discovery Learning, 2010.
Radcliffe, Ann. The Mysteries of Udolpho. From Gutenberg Project. 1794.
Flynn, Gillian. Gone Girl. Random House, 2012.