Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some deep thoughts

though not mine this once. Remember that book I got this weekend? L'elegance de l'herisson (The elegance of the hedgehog, La elegancia del erizo) by Muriel Barbery.

From here
Well I am here to report that I am very happy with it. I am not even halfway and I can not stop reading. I love reading so much that I tend to "suck" books in really fast, but I want to enjoy this gem  little by little so I am only reading it in the train. Believe me I have to force myself. It is some kind of masterpiece. Maybe, very probably, you read the book already, it was a big hit when it came out and has been translated and reprinted many times already. When it first came out, I thought the title was catchy and was very curious about it but for some reason I never picked it. I don't want to spoil it for you (not that I can, because I am in the first third or something) but you can go in the brains and lifes of a 54 year old "concierge" and a 12 year old girl that both live in the same elegant building in Paris. So here's a taste (from the english translation, if you like I can copy the original french lines, so let me know):

Says Paloma, our 12 year old in her "Deep thought number 1":

"All our family acquaintances have followed the same path: their youth spent trying to make the most of their intelligence, squeezing their studies like a lemon to make sure they’d secure a spot among the elite, then the rest of their lives wondering with a flabbergasted look on their faces why all that hopefulness has led to such a vain existence.

People aim for the stars, and they end up like goldfish in a bowl.* Even for someone like me who is super smart and gifted in her studies and different from everyone else, in fact superior to the vast majority-even for me life is already all plotted out and so dismal you could cry; no one seems to have thought of the fact that life is absurd (...)  But one thing is sure-there’s no way I’m going to end up in the goldfish bowl. "
And now from Renee, our 54-year-old concierge:

“Like Okakura, I know that tea is no minor beverage. When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?

That's quite some food for thought isn't it ?

* Oh, but this phrase does seem to say much more french, there is a subtility that is lost in the translation process, so here goes: 

"Les gens croient poursuivre les étoiles et ils finissent comme de poissons rouges dans un bocal"


  1. Nice. I'll bookmark it for next year, when Luka and Zoe start going to the nursery :)

  2. oh, I know what you mean about sucking books! :) do you believe I need to take breaks from reading? yes... cause when I fall for a book it feels like I can't stop reading, and every break I can't help but dive in it. And I do have other things to do, you know... :D I also tried that only-read-on-the-train thing, and it kind of works. But sometimes I have to say: no books this month! So that I can breath out and do things other than books!

    This one looks really good, and you may be surprised that I haven't heard about it before. Till now, that I've seen it twice in two different blogs the same day! :) Now it's on my list!

  3. @ Marcela, I think you will like it .

    @ Ines, I know, I used to go to the FNAC and stay there for hours, just reading and deciding which books I was actually going t get. Sometimes I did not even buy anything. Just went there for the fun.

  4. Hehe, I rarely buy clothes, or shoes or anything girly...but don't leave me alone with a computer with internet connection and a credit card because all I will think about is ;) I have a 21 page wish list, just to give you an idea hihihi. I guess I should get a kindle, it would make moving easier!

  5. yeah, a Kindle would be great for traveling and will definitely downsize your library! But there's something about books on shelves and on the nightstand... and the touch of paper.

  6. @ Marcela and Ines, Wow a 21 page wish list? I do often go to amazon and look. And yes that's why I am afraid of credit cards. All the money would go to them. And to Kindle or ot to Kindle? Mark has been wanting to get me one, but for some reason I resist.
    and like Ines says, I like the touch and feel of books. I like to physically remember in which part of the book a certain phrase is. But it sure is practical.


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