Monday, June 1, 2009

Revisiting Proust

We're reading Proust again, and we've already gotten farther than last time.

The tricks:

1. hubby is reading in German (his native language) while I read in French (my second language which just happens to be the original for this particular text!) - we take turns reading to each other and following along and when one or the other of us doesn't understand something in one of the languages we can refer to the other. So far we're doing well.

2. instead of trying to read at the same time all the time, and/or a whole bunch at a time (you like how Proust's eloquence has already rubbed off on me?), we read for five or ten or fifteen minutes at a time, whenever we can, wherever we can.

So yesterday on the buses and trains going to meet our friends Anja and Alexander for a fabulous Vietnamese lunch on the far side of town, we read to each other. 

(Actually, we read on the bus, sitting at the front top of the double decker, and when we got off a mother said to her little kids - you can go sit there now! and I felt guilty - we really hadn't been even looking out the window! - and then we read while waiting for the train but on the train itself it was too loud and tricky. And then, on the way home, sitting down to wait for the fast S-Bahn train at Alexanderplatz, just when we would have started reading, hubby asked the man who sat down next to me about Nicholson's Baker The Mezzanine, which he was holding in his hand. So we talked to him the whole time waiting for the train and then on the train till he got off two stops or so before us - he's lived in Berlin on and off for 17 years and makes music for commercials and writes reviews and it was fun and refreshing to talk to him about being American [from the way he spoke I assume he's American but he never said just where he was from] and being in Germany and German assumptions about Americans and vice versa - he was himself what he called a "farbiger Ausländer" - a foreigner of color in this country - and we talked about German insensitivities as we perceive them [hubby later said that this man, Shawn was his name, and I were ranting together though I didn't see it that way] but also about Nicholson Baker, which he and hubby had very much in common.)

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