Fellow blogger O is hosting French February. Because I am feeling such a love affair with all things French right now, I am definitely going to participate.
Per the post, there are two routes to go. I'm going both routes, but with a twist, so I guess I'm doing option three--the Lori Option. Maybe I'll be disqualified, who knows?
The first option is to read Les Liaisons Dangereuses with the group. I'm trying to get better at reading nicely with others, so I'll do this one. I started reading it a number of years ago, in 18th century French lit. Needless to say that while I had the French copy printed out, I totally had my English translation next to me to help me along. Or to read if I started running short on time. Still have the English copy and I know where it is (it's the small things, really). I know that this is an epistolary novel and that de Laclos was kind of the pioneer in that genre. I can dig out some of my French notes (perhaps finding the French version that I would use if I had time to impress everyone with my French-reading skills) and impress everyone with my note-taking skills. And maybe my pack-rat skills because I still have class materials from five years ago.
I will also be reading The Vagabond by Colette. I don't know what it is with Colette, but I adore her even at the same time that I scratch my head by some of her writing. I really like the new woman-ness in her stories. I'd go back and be a flapper if I could. I read the back of the book and I like that this one is about a woman who must make a choice--love or the working life that she loves. I thoroughly enjoy books where people have to make those big decisions. It gives my decision-making capabilities something to aspire to. Though I am not a 33 year old divorcee, I think that I will be able to relate to this character in ways that I was unable to relate to her younger characters. But that doesn't mean I won't go back and read the stories about her younger characters!
This bit is where I get into my Lori option choice. After reading The Vagabond, which I intend on starting after finishing this post, I want to read a biography of Colette. Why? Because I think that however interesting and complex her characters are, the woman behind them is even more interesting. I am going to read Secrets of the Flesh by Judith Thurman. I've had this biography for a while. It was a Rory Gilmore purchase. Lorelai reads it in one of my favorite episodes. Anyway! I've started this one a couple of times and I really like the style. I think that it is good biography and good history. It's the kind of book that I would want to write someday. I'm not sure about whom though. Plus, I really like tying biography to the authors I enjoy (which is why my read everything by the author, THEN read the biography project is going to be difficult).
I think that these three are going to take me some time. Especially the 650-odd page biography. (But it will be a labor of love) My game plan is to read Les Liaisons Dangereuses throughout the month, starting tomorrow when I get to my copy. I want to split the month between the other two--The Vagabond first, then Secrets of the Flesh. Seems like a good idea to split up my Colette instead of reading it all at once.
If I wind up having way too much month at the end of my French February, I'll pick up Therese Desqueyroux by Francois Mauriac. I read this one quite some time ago, but I raced through it and I missed a lot of the subtle nuances. I really like the premise of the story--there's this woman who may or may not have poisoned her husband. The presentation of the woman changes throughout the novel and you have to reconsider your opinion about her because new information comes to light and all of that.
Therese Raquin by Zola is another one I'll add if I have enough time at the end of the month. For no other reason than I saw an article about the book and it sounds interesting. The main character truly evolves throughout the book--starting out quiet and stagnant, but growing into someone stronger as the action unfolds. This novel touches on the question of what lengths you will go to for love.
I have quite a few reading plans for the near future (including the Vanity Fair readalong in a couple of weeks) and there's that pesky matter of school and work having mandatory attendance and participation, so I do not know how many different books I will actually get to this month. I know that there will be some overlap and I am OK with that. Naturally, I hope I get through all of them because they all look SO good. Ah, I am looking forward to a spring filled with reading!