Sunday, September 9, 2012

When One Book Leads to Another

Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France

" The manuscript room in the old Bibliotheque Nationale smells of leather and dust. The buttery scent of literature wafts out from shelves of thick calfskin-bound volumes arranged all the way down one long wall. A sharp whiff of history blows up from behind the decorative grilles that hide creaking iron radiators from both the eye and the broom. "
"You can imagine the great novelist over there, his coat tidily folded on the chair beside him, and his head bent so low to decipher Michelet's scrawl that his beard almost touches the table. And it here that you in turn, if your credentials pass muster, can examine Zola's manuscript for his 1885 novel, Germinal."
Madame Proust's Diary

" I have been trying to make my way through Monsieur Zola's latest. It is supposed to be the last in the Rougon-Macquart series, a summary of all its themes. Marie-Marguerite was teasing me that I have chosen it as my summer reading only so that I do not have to bother with all the preceding volumes, which is true enough. I gave up on Germinal half-way through."
That made me laugh as I've been constantly bumping into Germinal for months and each time reminds how much I want to read it - doesn't look as though Madame Proust would be offering a recommendation though! These latest mentions are quotes from Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen by Kate Taylor, a book sure to please anyone who loves literary allusions and one which has left me wanting to read so many more titles including biographies of Jeanne Proust and Marcel and then there is his novel - ' more than 3000 pages long - more than a million words' !! The challenge in that is like a literary carrot being dangled before my eyes!

So many wonderful books waiting for me to read them! 


  1. oh, I love this!! Great post, Cat! Must put this on my list :)

    1. I'll be writing a post on it later this month but I recommend - I loved it!

    2. Cat, my library didn't have this one, but I found a used copy :-)

    3. That was a lucky find! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. That is wonderful. I've been meaning to read more Zola ever since I read The Ladies' Paradise last year, but I waster ages dithering over which one and in the end I picked up Thereze Raquin for RIP. I've read a lot of praise for Germinal, and I'd love to read the Rougon-Macquart novels in sequence but I'm not sure they're all available in English.