Monsieur Chariot

Monsieur Chariot
That Dazzling and Luminous California Metropolis known as The City Of The Angels, USA
June 08
Offering Discreet Tutelage in the Metropolitan Arts to Inquiring Gentlepersons of Variously Misguided Social Persuasions


MARCH 27, 2010 12:34PM

M. Chariot - 10 Utterly Captivating Books

Rate: 59 Flag

• Gentlemanly Book Selections •


01.jpg  The Cloud of Unknowing - Anonymous

As a person matures in the work of love, he will discover that this love governs his demeanor befittingly both within and without. When grace draws a man to contemplation it seems to transfigure him even physically so that though he may be ill-favored by nature, he now appears changed and lovely to behold. His whole personality becomes so attractive that good people are honored and delighted to be in his company, strengthened by the sense of God he radiates.


02.jpg  Berlin Stories - Christopher Isherwood

There was no mistaking his warmth. He had a large, blunt fleshy nose and a chin which seemed to have slipped sideways. It was like a broken concertina. When he spoke, it jerked crooked in the most curious fashion and a deep cleft dimple like a wound surprisingly appeared in the side of it. Above his ripe red cheeks, his forehead was sculpturally white, like marble. A queerly cut fringe of dark grey hair lay across it, compact, thick and heavy. After a moment's examination, I realized, with extreme interest, that he was wearing a wig.


03.jpg  The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles

He awoke, opened his eyes. The room meant very little to him; he was too deeply immersed in the non-being from which he had just come. If he had not the energy to ascertain his position in time and space, he also lacked the desire. He was somewhere, he had come back through vast regions from nowhere; there was the certitude of an infinite sadness at the core of his consciousness, but the sadness was reassuring, because it alone was familiar. He needed no further consolation. In utter comfort, utter relaxation he lay absolutely still for a while, and then sank back into one of the light momentary sleeps that occur after a long, profound one.


04.jpg  Hotel du Lac - Anita Brookner

But it was home, or, rather, 'home', which had become inimical all at once, so that she had acquiesced, rather frightened at what was happening to her, when her friends had suggested a short break, and had allowed herself to be driven to the airport by her friend and neighbour, Penelope Milne, who, tight-lipped, was prepared to forgive her only on condition that she disappeared for a decent length of time and came back older, wiser, and properly apologetic. For I am not to be allowed my lapse, as if I were an artless girl, she thought; and why should I be? I am a serious woman who should know better and am judged by my friends to be past the age of indiscretion...


05.jpg  The Art of Seduction - Robert Greene

The Rake. A woman never quite feels desired and appreciated enough. She wants attention, but a man is too often distracted and unresponsive. The Rake is a great female fantasy-figure -- when he desires a woman, brief though that moment may be, he will go to the ends of the earth for her. He may be disloyal, dishonest, and amoral, but that only adds to his appeal. Stir a woman's repressed longings by adopting the Rake's mix of danger and pleasure.


06.jpg  Chéri - Colette

Chéri turned round in a flash and ran as far as the Avenue du Bois. There he sat down. In front of his eyes danced the image of the electric globe he had been staring at -- a dark purple ball fringed with gold, against a black group of trees in bud. He pressed his hand to his heart, and took a deep breath. Early lilac blossom scented the night air. He threw his hat away, undid the buttons of his overcoat and, leaning back on a seat, let himself go, his legs outstretched and his hands hanging feebly by his sides. A crushing yet delicious weight had just fallen upon him. "Ah!" he whispered, "so this is what they call happiness. I never knew."


07.jpg  Enduring Love - Ian McEwan

The beginning is simple to mark. We were in sunlight under a turkey oak, partly protected from a strong, gusty wind. I was kneeling on the grass with a corkscrew in my hand, and Clarissa was passing me the bottle -- a 1987 Daumas Gassac. This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the map: I was stretching out my hand, and as the cool neck of the black foil touched my palm, we heard a man's shout. We turned to look across the field and saw danger. Next thing, I was running toward it. The transformation was absolute: I don't recall dropping the corkscrew, or getting to my feet, or making a decision, or hearing the caution Clarissa called after me. What idiocy, to be racing into this story and its labyrinths, sprinting away from our happiness among the fresh spring grasses by the oak.


08.jpg  The Birds (BFI Film Classics) - Camille Paglia (discussion)

In his technically most difficult film, The Birds (1963), Alfred Hitchcock directly addresses the theme of destructive, rapacious nature that was always implicit in his fascination with crime. Federico Fellini called the film an 'apocalyptic poem'. I place The Birds in the main line of British Romanticism, descending from the raw nature-tableaux and sinister femmes fatales of Coleridge. Overwhelmed by the film when I first saw it as an impressionable teenager, I view it as a perverse ode to woman's sexual glamour, which Hitchcock shows in all its seductive phases, from brittle artifice to melting vulnerability.


09.jpg  The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

"Oh, I can't explain. When I like people immensely I never tell their names to anyone. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one's life. I suppose you think me awfully foolish about it?"

"Not at all," answered Lord Henry, "Not at all, my dear Basil. You seem to forget that I am married, and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties."


10.jpg  The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

Thinking has become a disease. Disease happens when things get out of balance. For example, there is nothing wrong with cells dividing and multiplying in the body, but when this process continues in disregard of the total organism, cells proliferate and we have disease.

The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly -- you usually don't use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.

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Hotel du Lac, oh la la!
Your post makes me want to read these all. And it took effort to post excerpts. Nicely done and thank you.
Your choices teach me there is still ways to go on my schooling.
Literary pedigree indeed. And such graphic integrity and grace here.

Your selections tell me so much about why I was drawn to you, instantaneously.
Well aren't you the cat's meow, Monsieur. Even your book list is a pleasure to look at. Great selection--much higher brow than mine; I bow to you :)
You are such a gentleman and your titles are superb! I love how you did your post. Much thinking and reading will ensue. I tip my figurative hat to you.
I've always wanted to read the Cloud of Unknowing. Thanks for reminding me. I try and TRY to read Eckhart Tolle and find him so difficult to read!
Berlin Stories presents a fantastic look at that brief period of hope and decadence and dread before hell descended. Glad to see it on your list. And Dorian Gray is one of the all-time greats! No wonder you recently wrote about the seven deadly sins!
I knew I shouldn't have read your list, now I feel stupid and "unread." Guess I'll have to go read some!
Thanks very much for the new items on my "to read" list and for such thoughtfully crafted explanations, or perhaps more accurately, enticements to read your selections.

It is reassuring to know that I share more than a few favorite authors with a gentleman such as yourself.
Okay, I've got to read THe Power Of Now. Soon.
Wow, now I have some new reading to add to my burgeoning list. I bet I ought to get away from the keyboard more!
Letting works like The Sheltering Sky, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Enduring Love is a brilliant method for not just crafting but explaining your list. It makes me want to read those items I haven't yet encountered. Beautifully done.
I knew your list would be unique. Both Collette and the Cloud of Unknowing affected me deeply.
Monsieur, your list an ooohlalalala! What a fine definition you are of wit, civility, humanity. xox
No Jorge Luis Borges? Yes, I agree on Isherwood and Bowles, but I'm not much of a fiction reader. But if I ever have the time....
Except for the Hitchcock film, haven't read any of these. Rated for making me feel totally inadequate.
I thought for certain I'd see Kristin Lavransdatter here.
Dorian Grey is a deliciously evil little novel. I loved it. I once became obsessed with great mysterys and horror novels, Shirley Jackson, Dr Sardonicus, etc and this one. Everything so perfect, so perverse, with only the portrait to tell the tale. As I recall there is that first moment, when Dorian sees the change and wonders, could it be? A slight shadow, the merest hint of evil. Marvelous choices.

I don't think I've ever heard of the last book, but I'm going to put it on my To Read list, along with Enduring Love. To run from a perfect moment to hell. compelling choices.
You've already seduced me. Would you consider running away for a weekend and reading some of these aloud to me....?
Great selection, M.Chariot, and bragging I've read all but two: the Camille P. and "The art of Seduction"... and I love you but do not have a crush on you, so that's a double whammy from Paris. Just got the new Brookner at a GREAT store here: Galignani--I think the best book store in the world. Title: "Latecomers."

I am not bragging,since I read often instead of living. In static times, a book a day/night and I never stop like most feel about films. However in Paris, I was just in heaven seeing all the wonderful titles in various languages. xxoo WO
Excellent choices all. I love Wilde, Bowles and Isherwood in particular.
Deborah, the only way I found to read Eckhart Tolle is when for any reason I'm in a panic-like state. Calms me right down. Not that I wish that mood on anyone. He really can bring you to calm and present.
Aaah, Monsieur! What a great list...I'm running down to the used book store with your list. The Sheltering Sky is the only one I've read; how could that be?
*adds Dorian Gray to the read list*
Impeccable taste you have, as always.
Ahhhh...Eckhart Tolle and Ian McEwan. Excellent choices throughout, but these two resonated with me. I only left Eckhart off my list because there was one other book which outshined it for me, but he still ranks right up there.

I see a few here which are very intriguing indeed. Thank you Monsieur.
Chéri - Colette ahhhhhh. i'd forgotten this book. lovely. now i must go find it to read again.
What a sensual and cerebral list! Rated rated rated.

*Off to the used bookstore now.*
I have so much reading to do. _r
Ah monsieur, your list is indeed thoroughly captivating. I am moved to read them all (except for The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I have read 20 times already - fabulous!). R!
I've read only a couple of these titles. Thank you for the reading list, Monsieur!
A few thoughts...

My dears Mme Stellaa and Mlle Orange ~ I too have read all of Brookner's work, starting with Hotel du Lac. Her books have transformed and expanded my ideas about solitude.

My dear Mlle Young ~ Eckhart Tolle is not difficult to read. But one must start at the beginning of the book and pursue it according to the author's intent. The Power of Now, which I read perhaps 10 years ago? had a transforming effect on me.

My dear M. Procopius ~ A most concise synopsis of Berlin Stories!

My dear M. Libertarius ~ It just seemed easier to excerpt than to review! I let the books speak for themselves.

My dear M. OldNewLefty ~ Have never read Jorge Luis Borges. Can you recommend something?

My dear Mlle ConsnantsandVowels ~ Never heard of Kristin Lavransdatter - can you recommend something?

My dear Mlle FoolishMonkey ~ Oooh, I like the implied tastes in your comment. Curious about the other "perverse" novels you mention. You should adore Enduring Love.
I just want to say that this Open Call, hosted by the wonderful
Silkstone, has been Open Salon's most satisfying exchange of ideas in months. So many unique and fascinating literary tastes and perspectives, revealing hidden treasures.

I expect I will be reading and rereading all of the submissions!
Haven't read a single one of them, I am mortified to admit, but have been utterly captivated by each of the excerpts you've provided. This causes me considerable distress, as I don't know when the hell I shall be able to fit any of them into my reading shedule (pronounced without the "c"). But, heavens to Betsy, I shall try! (r)
I LOVE this list. And how you listed them. A few of my favs on here as well as quite a few to add to my "to read" list.
What beautiful writing you've collected here! And what a brilliant way of proving your point that these are worthy books: let them speak for themselves.
I sent your list to myself as a reminder to find some of these - thanks!
What an excellent post!
Nice to see Ian McEwan on a list, my fave contemporary novelist.
Book number one looks extremely interesting to me. I'll try to read that one. I read most of book number 10, but like many books, I never completed it. The Art of Seduction caught my attention because it reminded me of a book I read for class called, THE ART OF LOVING by Erik Fromm. I like your list.
A very eclectic yet classy collection from a man of letters and sublime taste. R
My dear Monsieur Chariot ~ I am way behind in my reading schedule, but you have a wonderful collection here that I will keep in mind for the future. A beautifully designed post you have presented here!
some good leads, lovely reminders. Everything but Camille and Tolle for me. Merci, Monsieur!
I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read any of these, but mon cher monsieur, you make me want to!

I'm looking forward to reading these - Eckhart Tolle keeps croppin up, so I'll take that as a sign. Beautiful post, Monsieur.
O, mon dieu! Monsieur, I love your posting. The Cloud of Unknowing I had not heard of till now. Thank you for sharing. The Sheltering Sky in film format I've viewed perhaps 20 times. Ashamed to say I had not read it, and will do so when able. Merci beaucoup! -R- for the beauty of its content and the grace of the style in this blog. Dashing!
Ah, not a surprising list, or thematic thesis, Monsieur Chariot! Just wonderful!! (And your description of Now makes me think of Hal...) I Love the way you read -- and think!!
Oh -- I meant your excerpt, of course! (Not to imply anything else!) (I'm going on a little too little sleep here! Sorry about that!)
I share your enthusiasm for this open call. Stands to reason that those who like to write first liked to read and the admiration is evident in all these enthusiastic posts. Your list is entertaining and has prompted me to get busy with some authors who have held a place on my "One-of-these-days" lists for too long.
Random responses:

Kristin Lavransdatter was one of my mother's favorites, but I never read it and am now even more curious. An author who can appeal to both my mother and you is awesome indeed.

"The Birds" was, as you no doubt know, filmed in Bodega and Bodega Bay. When I lived in Bodega Bay, an elderly gentleman at a party told me he was the accountant on "The Birds" and "Hitchock's worst problem was bird droppings on the camera lenses." High art is challenging in so many ways.

Dorian Gray left me wanting to see the portraits in all our attics. Probably not an Open Call we dare answer: What does the portrait in your attic reveal?

And last, re Tolle, I suspect our brains are in a way analogous to radios, but receive information from, as some theoretical physicists posit, outside spacetime. Brains must, obviously, filter out much that is available in order to cope inside spacetime so that we do not, for ex., get run over crossing the street. Too many people tune in to the wrong sources.
I'm adding many of these to my Kindle list...sometimes it takes a nudge to get them done...thank you for the nudges.
To revise my earlier comment, it's not that people "tune into the wrong sources," as I wrote. We need a good education, good genes,and/ or other route to thinking clearly (making the most of our brains). Krishnamurti and David Bohm are my favorite sources for real worlding it.
Will you still not marry me?
Wow, I could learn a lot from you. Most of these are authors I am not familiar with, and using your clever method of introduction, it's impossible for me not to be intrigued. However I have read Enduring Love, and it was silly and scary and ridiculous, just great. Lucky for me, I know of a Goodwill where they stock the books alphabetically by author (not all of them do you know). I will have to go looking for the first 5, I think. I started reading the Power of Now, and I think I pretty much got it after the first few pages. Marry Delia if you must, but you and I can carry on as before, no?
Honestly, I haven't read one of these fiction titles. They look great! I like Tolle well enough. But your Fiction picks look great. R.
From Paul Bowles to Sally Bowles, spot on. And that deliciously scary balloon scene, the best of McEwen's many such set pieces. I approve of Monsieur's choice. Would have found Tolle suspiciously self-help-ish on an aesthete's list had I not been intrigued by some late-night broadcasts once - a strangely soothing, slightly accented voice that seemed to talk a lot of sense. Reader, it was he.
I don't think I've even read Dorian Grey, though I know the basic story. I did favorite books a few days back.
I've only read three of the books on your list. But your excellent review makes me want to read them all. Taking notes.
Merci, Monsieur Chariot. Merci, Silkstone. Monsieur, have you considered Dame Iris Murdoch?
I've been reminded my literary choices have gone downhill from the books I chose for pleasure in my teens, it has been awhile since I've visited these partially familiar reads...I've slapped myself! with the gauntlet of challenge.
Nice post--
You really do have wonderful taste in books (in my humble opinion). rated.
Ditto on the Power of Now. And if u got trouble reading it, I suggest listening to his audio CDs - in fact that's what I did. He has a very soothing, pleasing, if a tad monotone voice to listen to. ALso, he recommend stopping to digest his material after a chapter instead of continually reading and analyzing it.