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This is the only other book about France that you should read this year: Finding Me in France is the blog-turned-book real-time true story of one woman’s search for a life less ordinary. Bobbi French is a psychiatrist from Canada (sorry: Newfoundland) who chucked it all (career, native language, daily access to Miracle Whip) to go live in Burgundy and test the outer limits of her capacity for change, adventure, and redemption. And today is her Pub Date!

I know Bobbi through her wonderful blog, www.findingmeinfrance.com, and her writing is fierce, funny, and totally frank. And the photographs of her so-called everyday life in the village of Semur-en-the-vineyards-of-Burgundy are drop dead gorgeous.

And even though the book is a Canadian import (I know! How cool is that?) it is easily available at Amazon.com for no extra cost for postage. Isn’t free trade great?

Bobbi is kind of a star in Canada, by the way, so she’s been given The Proust Questionnaire here:  

http://www.atlanticpublishers.ca/

Until yesterday I did not know that The Proust Questionnaire was actually a real thing, and not just some dopey list of queries thought up by a magazine editor at Vanity Fair or James Lipton at The Actor’s Studio. Marcel Proust actually answered a list of these questions (a popular parlor game at the turn of the 20th century, it seems) when he was 20 years old and it was discovered in 2003 and sold at auction for a couple hundred thousand euros. And since then, this questionnaire has been one of the most popular interview gambits in Europe and North America, not that anyone has ever asked moi not that I’m bitter.

For the record, here are some of Proust’s own answers to The Proust Questionnaire:

What is–

 Your favorite virtue? 

The need to be loved; more precisely, the need to be caressed and spoiled much more than the need to be admired.

 Your favorite qualities in a man? 

Feminine charms. 

Your favorite qualities in a woman? 

Manly virtues, and frankness in friendship. 

The thing you appreciate the most in your friends? 

To have tenderness for me, if their personage is exquisite enough to render quite high the price of their tenderness. 

Your idea of happiness? 

I am afraid it be not great enough, I dare not speak it, I am afraid of destroying it by speaking it. 

Your idea of misery

Not to have known my mother or my grandmother. 

Where would you like to live? 

A country where certain things that I should like would come true as though by magic, and where tenderness would always be reciprocated. 

Your  favorite color?

The  beauty is not in the colors but in their harmony.

Your present state of mind? 

Boredom from having thought about myself to answer all these questions.

*****

Obviously The Proust Questionnaire needs some improvement, because it doesn’t ask the really most important question of all, the one that scientists who devise compatibility tests for on-line dating sites have researched as the one most revealing question of all, the one whose answer, yes or no, will determine the utmost depth of soul-matey-ness between two people.

And that question is:

Do you like horror movies?

 Well? Do you?

(Go read  Finding Me in France, everyone, and no, I don’t, not at all.)

5 comments to The meaning of life, and all.

  • christine

    So, I’m asking you: what are your answers to the questionnaire?

    No, I don’t watch horror movies. The images stay in my head and I don’t want to watch them over and over. There’s enough true horror we can’t escape; why would I look for more? I try to fill my mind with beautiful images to re-live.

  • Ha! I don’t know if I’m a star but I’m a legend in my own mind! Thanks for this lovely post Vivian. And no, I do NOT like horror movies.

  • Shelley

    No, I don’t like horror movies either. There’s nothing enjoyable about being frightened and then remembering and dreaming about it for days afterwards.

    Yes, Vivian…I also would love to read your answers to the questionnaire, either Proust or Pivot (the one James Lipton uses).

    Thanks for introducing us to Bobbi’s blog and her France book too!

  • Deborah

    I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, but there’s a traveler’s tale I’m waiting to hear that just might qualify as a horror story: my husband’s sister, Pat, is the world traveler of the family, and she’s in Rome right now. She’s a Franciscan nun and the current president of the Leadership Council of Women Religious, the group being censured by the Vatican. I’ve always admired her courage, never more so than now.

  • Nadine

    So far it’s unanimous: NO to Horror Films.

    Why would anyone pay good money to be scared when real life is scary enough?

    AND: Doborah: I read about that in the New York Times., on real newsprint. I don’t trust any religion where men are in charge. To The Leadership Council of Women Religious, I say “You go, girls!”

    And I’m an atheist.

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