I was feeling much better this morning, a-leaping out of bed with great ambitions to do things, maybe even to edit Trust! That lasted until I had to do difficult things like stand upright and eat breakfast. But even then I, ever the optimist, was thinking I might be able to engage in a demanding mental task (like editing Trust!). To test this, I picked up Marcel Proust. Five pages later, I acknowledged defeat.
Yes, I am reading Proust--I'm up to the third volume of Remembrance of Things Past (now more accurately translated as In Search for Lost Time). Rargh! I fear no Serious Literature!
I've been on a quest over the past few years to read works of literature that are so well-known that they've affected the culture I live in. Mainly that's led to my reading a lot of pop books that are merely OK (Valley of the Dolls, Mommie Dearest). I've also had to force my way through some real stinkers, like Flowers in the Attic and The Fountainhead. Seriously, if you are tempted to read Ayn Rand, I would suggest you read Starship Troopers first. They're both simple-minded political screeds masquerading as novels (so if you like the one you'll like the other), but Starship Troopers is several hundred pages shorter and somewhat less offensive. (I do not consider Heinlein's enthusiasm for, say, child abuse to be any less offensive than Rand's enthusiasm for rape. However, Heinlein spares the reader lovingly-detailed scenes of violent abuse, followed by the victim falling in love with her abuser, because being beaten and not experiencing any sensual pleasure was the best thing that ever happened to her. Honestly, I feel incredibly sorry for Rand.)
Anyway, after reading all these books that are famous but not very good, I decided to reward myself by reading Proust's massive novel, which is famous for being good. And difficult, although The New York Times makes the case that a good chunk of that difficulty is due to the fact that the first widely-available translation into English was simply not that great.