Monday, March 5, 2007

Magical "M"

Wendy at A Baguette on My Table gave me a letter a few days ago, and after some reflection, I've come up with a fairly satisfactory list -- quite a few things out there that begin with the letter M appeal to me...

In fact, I'm mad about:
  • Murakami ~ The one, the only. This one's a no-brainer; I've mentioned this genius here before, and his name keeps resurfacing in so many places in my travels. I've learned a bit about him since I started reading his books, and I'm always hungry for more... I think I will never tire of his work. I basically discovered him in 2004, but then I went on a Japanese literature kick for the whole summer and Murakami was one of many other authors I read... Most recent purchase: Le passage de la nuit, his latest French translation (actually, that's not quite true: my boy picked it up for me!). It will surely find its place in my luggage for Spain... What I find a bit odd is how Murakami's French and English translations are released at such different times -- I imagine there are different translators working on them, so that would explain the lapse between editions. But I just saw that Le passage is going to be released in English in a month or so, while I'm still waiting for the French translation of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. Again, I prefer the French translations to the English -- I can't quite explain why -- so I'm holding out 'til that arrives in French. I just feel that they're closer to the essence of his writing, but of course I can't read Japanese, so maybe I shouldn't even be saying that. You may disregard it if you like! I guess I should just say that I prefer the way Murakami "feels" in French than in English. It's a sensorial thing.

  • Max & Co. ~ My favorite shop in Paris -- at least for the moment! An Italian marque, the younger, supposedly "hipper" version of Max Mara. And there's only one address in Paris: 19, rue Montmartre in the 1st arrondissement (and a small stand at Printemps, but in my mind that doesn't count) -- while there are something like 300 addresses in Italy! Ah, they have it good, la dolce vita most definitely. I did some terrible damage to my bank account when in Rome two years ago -- thank God I only had a weekend! Who knows how dangerous a longer séjour might have been... I have to stay away from there if I don't want to take any financial risks. Their stuff is gorgeous, but quite pricey -- it's always best to hold out for the semiannual sales in January and July. But I love to go in and dream...

  • Muze ~ A somewhat new magazine published by Bayard Presse, a large French publishing company also responsible for quite a lot of children's magazines and books. I'm not providing a very good introduction to the mag, I'm afraid -- I need to give this some more thought before sharing the details in a future post. But this magazine has quickly become one of my favorite monthly reads. I even called up to order a back issue from October 2006, which I noticed in this month's pages, and I'm waiting (impatiently!) for it to arrive. Their cover by-line is "Culture-Allure-Littérature" and you'll find all of that and more. I couldn't pass up February's issue with, yet again, Murakami in a rare interview and a piece on amour in literature through the ages. There are book excerpts, short stories, movie and music reviews, and information about what's going on in Paris. In short, a relaxing yet stimulating read. I highly recommend it to any francophones out there!

  • Music ~ It had to be included here, of course... Music in all of its forms -- I have eclectic, eccentric taste, ranging from classical to French pop to alternative/indie and loads in between... And I'm always open to something new! A good song can alter my mood and lift my spirits in the darkest of times. I don't know what I would do without it.

  • Melons ~ But not, of course, in the same sense as Wendz refers to them on her blog! I love melon season, right in the heart of summer, when the canteloupes (as we Americans call them) are ripest, fragrant and sweet, the perfect complement to the saltiest of Italian hams, or the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of an excellent prosciutto... Ah, I can't wait!

  • Matisse ~ I'm a color girl; I LOVE color, and to me, Matisse is the king of color and color exploration. I'm only a novice when it comes to art history, but I know what strikes me, and his dazzling pieces have always left a strong impression on me, going back to when I visited Nice and the Côte d'Azur for the first time in June 1994 and discovered the Matisse museum... Which brings me to my next "M"...

  • Museums ~ I haven't been visiting them as often in recent times as I did in the past, and I'm determined to change that this year. I've missed out on too many good exhibits, including Yves Klein's at the Pompidou. So I'm planning on putting a few on my calendar in the near future. Nothing beats a quiet afternoon wandering around the galeries of one of my favorite museums -- I haven't been back to the musée de la Vie romantique in ages -- tiens, there's an idea!

  • Milan Kundera ~ The Czech author with the French heart... There's an article about him in today's International Herald Tribune! Shame on me, I've had Le Rideau on my bookshelf for more than a few months, and I still haven't gotten around to reading it. At least it appears that the English translation is just being released, so perhaps I can catch up... But one of my favorites will always be The Unbearable Lightnes of Being. A more recent discovery was L'identité.

  • Mo Willems ~ An extremely gifted and hilarious artist, cartoonist, illustrator... I fell in love with the Pigeon when I was working in children's books, and I bet if you check him out, you will too! Mo's webpage is good fun for adults and children.

  • Mushrooms ~ Especially morilles! Probably some of the priciest ones around, so I don't get to eat them very often, trust me, but a nice chicken with morilles in a cream-based sauce is to die for...

  • The Muppets ~ They bring back such great memories (I even had Muppet bedsheets, with Miss Piggy and Kermit floating down the front and sides), and anytime I hear the theme song it makes me smile. Check this out -- if it doesn't make you laugh out loud, you have probably lost your inner child...
  • Maitresse ~ One of my favorite bloggers, she has a sharp eye and an even more convincing way with words. I look forward to her posts on a daily basis -- but I know she's balancing a heck of a lot in her life! More power to her, I say...

    And last but not least:

  • My goddaughter Maëva and her twin sister Moéa, little angels who have a constant sparkle in their eyes. I don't get to see them nearly as often as I'd like!

13 comments:

amy said...

Matisse is wonderful. Did you catch that big Picasso/Matisse exhibit that was floating around a few years ago?

Also, who doesn't love morilles? ;)

The Late Bloomer said...

Nope -- as a matter of fact, Amy, that's another one of the great ones I missed... ARGH. I was working lots back then, though, and couldn't find much free time to visit the museums. Now I have a bit more free time, but I still haven't inked the exhibits into my schedule... Which definitely calls for a change!

Linda said...

I like all of your "M's" except for the Japanese authors. That is one country whose literature I've never ventured into. Hard to beat mushrooms too.

scribbit said...

How fun. I'm partial to Ms myself.

Wendz said...

Oh dear you are way too cultural for me...I like magazines and chick lit and murder mysteries and films not museums...pah! I shall have to pull myself together before I visit here.

I do like Matisse though and mushies. ;)

Aralena said...

I read the link to your Murakami post and thought it funny that we both seem to have found him in 2004. That's when I discovered "Norwegian Wood" (I haven't tried him in French - yet!) and quickly returned to snatch up his other works. I think we have similar reading tastes, as we were both salivating over "What I Loved" on Amy's blog, as well as praising Auster.

Les grands esprits se rencontrent!

ColourMeCrazy said...

I love Murakami as well - though never tried him in French - will have to do that sometime.

The Late Bloomer said...

I've been away for a week and was unable to stop in to post anything while en Espagne, but just wanted to update a bit before sharing some photos here...

I'm going to have a lot of reading to catch up on all my favorite blogs!... And I may just have to do some work too -- yikes!

Linda, you know, I never really tried Japanese literature 'til the summer of 2004, but after my first taste, I was hooked -- if you're not sure about it, definitely give one of Murakami's books a try -- like I said, Norwegian Wood is unforgettable!

Wendz, now that you mention it, silly me I didn't even think of movies -- what an obvious M that I left out! I'm a total film buff as well, and I like everything from thrillers to comedies to chick flicks to independent-style films. I'm partial to romances, I guess, given my nature, but I'm pretty open too... I'm honestly not that cultural, trust me! I guess we come across a certain way on our blogs, but if you met me, you'd see how down-to-earth I am, honest! That and neurotic...

Oh, and how could I forget something like mashed potatoes? Another fave... That I honestly don't eat often enough.

Aralena, I love reading your blog posts, and I remember how we seemed to click literature-wise too on Amy's post -- I'm going to have to go through more of your LibraryThing entries to see what you've been reading recently! I didn't do as much reading as I thought I would on holiday last week -- I had my nose in the Guide du Routard the whole time! My boyfriend was giving me a hard time about that...

But I highly recommend Murakami in French, if you do like to read novels in French. There's something about his style, I don't know... I admit that I go through phases -- I can read French books for 6 months straight and than go through a year of only reading in English. I can be pretty moody!

And Colourmecrazy, maybe you could consider his latest in French? Le passage de la nuit is not as long as the rest of his novels; I haven't started it yet myself, but it has been getting pretty good reviews...

jchevais said...

Dude. Glad to see you're back.

Tori Amos, June 2nd. Shall we go?

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh absolutely, Jenn -- I'm hoping that it may be a big girls-night-out kind of thing... I gathered that something is perhaps being put together (amongst bloggers?), although I'm not clear on the details yet. We definitely need to catch up -- I'll drop you an e-mail!

maitresse said...

hey, count me in for Tori!!

and thank you for including me on your list of M's :) you made my day.

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh, of course Maitresse -- I probably should have e-mailed you to let you know! But as I said, it's always a pleasure to read your posts.

I have to touch base with Kyliemac regarding ticket purchase for Tori, because I know she mentioned that it would be happening soon -- we need to figure out who all will want to attend and somehow organize things. I think it's a nice-size group at this point... Great girls' night out: Tori fans unite!

La Page said...

What a great list. I just love Murakami as well, I picked up The Wind Up Bird Chronicle a couple of summers ago and couldn't put it down. I want to read Norwegian wood also.