I’ve been studying French since eighth grade, which means that I’ve been studying French for nearly a decade, and yet somehow, in all that time, I’ve never read an entire novel in French. (Le Petit Prince doesn’t count.)
Now that I’ve realized I’m capable of watching French movies without subtitles, I figure it’s time to get around to reading an entire book in French. My wonderfulamazingfantastic boyfriend is coming in a week, so I had this really cute idea that we should have a one month long book club where only members of our relationship are allowed to join. Our selection is Muriel Barbery’s Une Gourmandise. I’m reading it in French and Jeffrey is reading it in English. (The English title is Gourmet Rhapsody. It’s the prequel to The Elegance of the Hedgehog.)
It’s slow going—I’m a slow reader even in my native language—but I really like it. Just check out this delightful passage about pastries:
Plus personne n’avait faim, mais c’est cela justement qui est bon à l’heure des pâtisseries: elles ne sont appréciables dans toute leur subtilité que lorsque nous ne les mangeons pas pour apaiser la faim et que cette orgie de douceur sucrée ne comble pas un besoin primaire mais nappe notre palais de la bienveillance du monde.
For those of you who don’t read French, the gist is that it’s best to eat pastries when you’re not hungry. Their orgy of soft sweetness doesn’t fulfill a basic need; it drapes your palate in the goodness of the world.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
And on that note, I just thought I should make you jealous of the pastries that Caitlin brought over on Valentine’s Day.