Friday, August 03, 2012

Weekend Roundup: Built in Brooklyn, Five Myles, Calabar, and Proust!

Lots to do this weekend on Franklin:

- The latest edition of the Built in Brooklyn Craft Fair runs 12-6pm at LaunchPad.

- Five Myles Gallery is showing Veit Stratmann's video work "A Hill" from Friday-Sunday.

- Calabar Imports, formerly of Washington, has reo-opened at 708 Franklin. Swing by and check 'em out.

- Finally, check out this invitation from the always-creative owners of Little Zelda, who've already brought sing-alongs to the Avenue:

My name is Michael de Zayas, and I want to read In Search of Lost Time. I want to read it from the first sentence to the last word. And I want to start now.

Maybe you have wanted to for a long time, too. Or, maybe you'd like to re-read it.

And yet: Where do we find time for Lost Time? How do I not wander off track amid the ways of 4,211 slow-reading pages? 

I suggest that the answer lies in embarking on this journey together. And so: 

Welcome to the Franklin Avenue Proust Society!

We will be meeting every Sunday night for the next two years. 

By collectively sharing week by week the joys of small, incremental readings, we live the novel together, slowly.

Our first meeting is this Sunday night, Aug 5, 8-9 p.m. 

Here are the basics.  

We will meet every Sunday night from 8 to 9 at Little Zelda, which will be closed to the public especially for our gatherings. We will read 40 pages a week. (40 pages x 104 weeks/2 years = the whole book.) A manageable weekly amount, and yet a challenging amount. I imagine our get-togethers more or less along the lines of this: a dozen of us will be there this Sunday night. This is a quiet group. We will talk. We will share our favorite parts of the week's reading. We will have a general talk about what's going on in the plot, review the characters, and share countless instances of beauty. 

There will be also occasional special events. Specialists will talk on occasion about other things going on during Proust's era; other authors that mattered to Proust, painters who played a role. I myself have a great book called Paintings in Proust with images from all the paintings mentioned in the book. I have a postgraduate friend who wants to read one night a book of Baudelaire's prose poems, "Paris Spleen," that he finds integral to Search for Lost Time. Sharing along those lines.

This Sunday will be a gentle introduction. Purchase and bring Volume I, Swann's Way and read 10 pages of it. There are many translations -- the standard bearer is the Modern Library edition. It's excellent.  (there will be plenty of time, and many more volumes to switch to a different translation; it and it does not matter if everyone has a different translation). 

I vaguely recall a passage where Proust says something like: if only we read the great books as frequently as we read the day's newspaper; and the newspaper as infrequently as the great books. 

Well, we start Sunday.


  1. Proust said that way back then, long before the days of CNN, constant news feeds and twitter? Before people mostly stopped reading, except on screens, and book sales plummeted? Sounds like Little Zelda's Sunday nights could be a sufficient antidote for our contemporary attention span. Bravo!

  2. don't forget the Farmers Market on Dean.

  3. Farmers Market 8-2 on Saturday mornings on Dean between Franklin and Bedford,

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