This morning the river was full of sun and sparkle - it started off very mild, but now, nearly four o' clock, there's mist and drizzle. Very peaceful, though. It's a quiet day.
And it's the first day of February! Already a month has gone. January was a good month, it passed without any calamities, in fact it was on the whole unremarkable, but in a good way. A gentle start to the year. And I met my goals, stuck to The Faerie Queene, and read more than usual. A very good month.
February, however, will not be unremarkable - just five days from now I'll be in Paris! I've always wanted to go to Paris; I'm so excited now! And, what a great way to begin French February!
I've got lots of books lined up, as you can see. A guide to Paris, which arrived this morning (a surprise from my mother), as well as various French authors in honour of French February, and a few other challenges as well. From the top:
- The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I have just three books left for my Penguin Greats challenge, and this is one of them. The second -
- Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin. Not a French author, but it's set in Paris, which is good enough! And the third left of my Penguin Greats is The Seducer's Diary by Søren Kierkegaard. So, it looks like I'll finish this challenge this month.
- Candide by Voltaire. I have already read this many years ago, and I remember disliking it, but I can't remember why. Quite possibly because I found it boring, I'm not sure. I'm looking forward to finding out!
- Underneath is L'Assommoir by Émile Zola. I'm going to read this in Paris! Before I get to it, though, I need to read -
- His Excellency by Émile Zola, the fifth of the 'Rougon Macquart' cycle. This is the book I'm most concerned about. Firstly, the translation isn't terribly good (the past two I've read haven't been particularly good, which is why my reviews have been a little flat) and secondly, I do think there's a possibility that it may be unreadable. It's a facsimile, and the quality of print is dreadful.
- Below L'Assommoir is The Faerie Queene. I'm back on track having been a few cantos behind schedule, and I hope before Paris I'll finish the third book (I think I only have two or three cantos left of Book III), and write about it (not so easy).
- Next, Les Liasons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos. I'm really looking forward to starting this later this evening and I know a few of you are joining me for a group read!
- Finally, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. This is for French February, and also my 100 Greatest Novels and Ought to Have Read by Now challenges. At the moment, I'm eight books away from finishing the 'ought to have read', however some of those eight are pretty dense, so it may still be a while off completion. And for the 100 Greatest, I'm eleven away. I'm hoping I finish by the summer, but we'll see. Again, there's some big ones left.
It may be ambitious, but if I manage to squeeze in The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and The Confessions by Rousseau, I'll be most pleased, however February is set to be a busy month, what with Paris and a ton of work to do before spring.
And spring, I have to say, is one thing I'm really looking forward to! I went for a walk this morning (pictures on Facebook) looking for some signs of new life, and I saw these new shoots in the forest. Very much looking forward to spring! February is always a difficult month for so many people because it can be so dreary and the warmer weather seems so far away, but I'm glad to see some signs of life already.
So, there it is: my February plans. I hope everyone is looking forward to French month!