Books & Writers

I have heard a lot of my friends saying that they would like a library like that of the Beast's library in Beauty and the Beast. I must admit that I dream of the same.

I have spent my life and education reading British classics from the Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic, and Victorian Periods. My specialty is in Medieval Romance. However, recently I have developed a fascination for modern classics after looking at Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time and the diaries of Anaïs Nin. So I have decided to start to get acquainted with the Modern Period as well.
I would like to share how I became interested in looking at Proust. I was listening to a brilliant podcast by Parul Sehgal on jealousy, which mentioned Proust and In Search of Lost Time. So I looked into this literary work, which I had known before to be extremely lengthy. This may sound a bit superficial, but another attraction about the piece was its length. I cannot help but feel a sense of accomplishment when I have finished a voluminous piece. I also like that In Search of Lost Time is about philosophy, a field that I love! I became fascinated (some may say obsessed) with In Search of Lost Time after that. I heard that In Search of Lost Time actually has fairies--which is my dissertation topic--in some childhood scenes, such as in lanterns! I get so excited whenever I come across someone that is acquainted with Proust. I have not yet started reading In Search of Lost Time, but it is next on my reading list after Anaïs Nin's diaries.
Anaïs Nin said in a commencement address in 1973, "By beginning a diary, I was already conceding that life would be more bearable if I looked at it as an adventure and a tale. I was telling myself the story of a life, and this transmutes into an adventure the things which can shatter you."
I looked into Anaïs Nin's diaries, which span over sixty years, remembering a recommendation of my friend from a while back. It is quite coincidental that Anaïs Nin is influenced by Proust and references him several times in her diaries. And in the introduction to the first diary, it is mentioned that the publishers thought that her voluminous diary would fall along the lines of Proust among other writers. I guess that you can say that the length also partially attracted me to Anaïs Nin. I also love the artistic quality of Nin's journal (I am currently reading the 1st volume) and her philosophies about the field of art (i.e. writing and acting). I like that Nin also works with the psychological division of selves, being both interested in psychoanalytic theory and different selves. My friend directed me to her literary work, Cities of Interior, which is a story about each different woman that embodies a part of herself, something that I am interested in incorporating into my own creative writing. Cities of Interior is also on my reading list.

Additionally, after reading the official diaries of Nin, I will read the unexpurgated versions, which reveal her most intimate secrets. I will begin with her early diary, which was begun at the age of eleven and was originally written in French. Unfortunately, the introduction states that it was edited, yet there would be an uncut version in French. I would have loved to read the uncut version. However, first of all, I do not know if it ever ended up being published. Second of all, I do not read French. I think that it is amazing that Nin kept a diary for a span of sixty years! I started keeping a diary when I was eight years old, but have not written in it regularly over the years. I need to get back to writing it regularly. After all, it is what immortalizes my life and makes it worth living.
I am also very impressed by Anaïs Nin's extreme bohemian lifestyle. I choose to engage in a conservative lifestyle, but I would like to become educated in the bohemian lifestyle as a writer and actress, which I would like to do by reading the entirety of Nin's diaries.
The Bohemian
Nin had an open marriage (actually two clandestinely) and engaged in love affairs with many famous people, such as Henry Miller, Antonin Artaud, and Otto Rank. My friend mentioned that Anaïs Nin was a coquette and detailed that aspect of herself in her writing. Anaïs Nin was so charismatic that when she went to the famous Otto Rank for psychoanalysis, he ended up falling in love with her and engaging in an affair with her (uh-oh). I have found that some people with gift in the arts have a weird sexual dimension to themselves. I am fascinated by this quirky side to geniuses. '

Another voluminous work that appeals to me is the Srimad Bhagavatam along with the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is said that the Srimad Bhagavatam is the most complete Hindu scripture. I especially want to read it since it is about my favorite God, Sri Krishna. I had a dream one night that I was in the middle of a very active story in the Srimad Bhagavatam. And one story that I like from the Mahabharata is how Draupadi wished for a husband with five ideal qualities, but instead received one husband with each quality in the Pandavas since her wish was not practical.

I posted on Facebook for modern classic recommendations. I received an amazing list of 1001 books to read before I die in response from an expert in English literature as well as a long list of Spanish literary works from a Spanish major. I am especially excited to read the picaresque genre, which she recommended and said originated in Spain!
I am interested in reading literature from different cultures so that I can grasp each culture. It would be ideal if I could read the works in their original languages. However, I can only read some of Spanish and Hindi so I do not know what I will do. I will begin with Don Quiijote in Castilian Spanish.

One beautiful love story that I have been meaning to read is Gone with the Wind. I do know the story and read the first 100 pages, but have yet to read it in its entirety. After reading the book, I will watch the movie, which is also a masterpiece. There are so many allusions to Gone with the Wind in literature and contemporary culture.

I also had decided to embark on a project with my friend two years ago of reading books and watching movies in all different genres. The genres include fantasy. romance, thriller,
mystery, horror, superhero, historical, fiction, realism, science  fiction, adventure, action, wetern, experimental literature, education fiction, comic novel, literary fiction, metafiction,  picaresque, philosophy/philosophical Fiction, autobiography/biography, absurdism, and literary nonsense. I had been mostly attracted to fantasy and romance, two genres that were born out of my focus of medieval romance, before, but now I would like to read a range of genres to expand myself as a writer and actress.


I am especially interested in getting acquainted with the horror genre. I have a funny story of how this is so. It is because I remember the purple stickers on the horror books in the library! I have already read the two horror classics that began the horror genre, Frankenstein and Dracula. Frankenstein is a famous classic, which many people feel is a definitive part of literature. And the vampire motif is very popular in literature, symbolic of sexual aggressiveness. There was even a panel session on vampires in a pop culture conference that I attended.
I am considering whether I should also include erotica in my genre project. I used to be a prude before, but now I would like to come out of my shell for my growth as an artist and person, to add dimension. I have already bought two illustrated editions of the Kamasutra of different translations (one by the famous Sir Richard Burton). I would like to read the bold erotica of Anaïs Nin. I am debating over whether I should read the first pornographic novel, Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, an 18th century classic. The fact that it is a classic appeals to me. I was delighted to find that there is a beautiful edition of it along with its modern equivalent, Fanny by Easton Press and am considering buying it. There was a time when I would wash my hands of all pornography. I still would not want to be associated with any kind of pornography, of course. However, this book might be harmless since it is a classic. And its stance as an origin appeals to me. Maybe I can just get a glimpse of pornography without ever actually getting into it. After all, I am trying to shed my naïvete while holding onto my innocence.


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