La vie en rose, Mode d’emploi – life in pink, a user’s manual

This is an interesting and fun (sometimes silly) compendium of aphorisms and pseudo-sayings about how to lead a positive life. I’m using this for teaching French as it’s a great source of vocabulary! vieenrose

Quote from Amazon.fr:

“Ce petit livre à l’apparence si modeste cache bien son jeu. Un tout petit ouvrage de forme carrée, à la couverture d’une couleur rose chatoyante, illustrée d’un petit bonhomme déployant des ailes de papillon… Et pourtant, il recèle un projet bien ambitieux. Le choix du papillon n’est pas un hasard. Il fait référence à la théorie connue sous le nom de l’Effet Papillon : le battement des ailes d’un papillon au Brésil pourrait déclencher un cyclone à l’autre bout du monde. Quel rapport avec le livre ? Le but de l’auteur est simple et pourtant extrêmement ambitieux : faire un peu avancer le monde, même d’un milliardième de millimètre. Comment ? Dominique Glocheux propose à travers 512 items d’améliorer son quotidien en retrouvant la joie des choses simples et pourtant si évidentes, mais qu’on oublie souvent du fait des pressions imposées par la vie moderne, les contraintes sociales, les règles de bienséance, etc. On trouve ainsi plein de petites idées toutes bêtes pour faire plaisir ou se faire plaisir, des pensées pour rendre la vie quotidienne plus gaie, plus agréable et parfois aussi matière à réflexion.

Tout n’est malheureusement pas bon à prendre dans ce livre. D’une part, car on trouve quelques redites. D’autre part, ce qui est plus gênant, il existe quelques contradictions. Ces propositions sont à l’image des proverbes : pour chaque proverbe, on trouve souvent son contraire. D’autres propositions encore me semblent assez discutables sur ce qu’elles peuvent apporter.

Malgré ses petits défauts, « La vie en rose » est un petit ouvrage très frais qui n’atteint pas pleinement le but escompté, mais permet de s’en approcher en apportant un peu de fantaisie au morne quotidien. Pour ma part, il a trouvé sa place à mon chevet. Je l’ouvre de temps en temps quand mon cœur est triste à une page au hasard et lis la 1ère proposition que je vois. Ca me permet bien souvent de retrouver un peu de gaieté et me met du baume au cœur.

Voici un petit échantillon des propositions qu’on peut trouver pour vous mettre en bouche : 17. Prenez un risque par jour. Même tout petit au début. 21. Relisez Le Petit Prince de Saint-Exupéry. 28. Faites ce que vous aimez le plus. Faites-le souvent. Et trouvez vite des moyens de vous faire payer pour le faire. 30. Quand on ne sait où l’on va, on risque d’arriver n’importe où. Ou pire : nulle part. Choisissez VOTRE direction. 32. Offrez beaucoup de cadeaux. Même tout petits. 43. Gardez toujours une bouteille de champagne au frais. 63. Appelez les gens par leur nom -ou prénom- : quoi qu’ils en pensent, c’est pour eux une des plus agréables musiques. 76. Apprenez à traire une vache. 90. Ne commencez jamais par « Je ne devrais pas dire cela, mais… » Tenez votre langue. 95. Faire LA bonne chose vaut 1 000 000 fois PLUS que bien faire les choses : soyez efficient, jamais efficace. 150. Avancez votre montre de 8 minutes. 211. Prenez un chaton dans vos bras. Ecoutez-le ronronner. 233. Prenez ceux que vous aimez dans vos bras. Surtout sans aucune raison spéciale.

Et beaucoup d’autres encore…”

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Currently reading Montaigne.

I’m currently reading Sarah Bakewell’s book on Montaigne.

What Bloggers Owe Montaigne
November 12, 2010 | by Sarah Bakewell
Reprint from the Paris Review

The weekend newspapers are full of them. Our computer screens are full of them. They go by different names—columns, opinion pieces, diaries, blogs—but personal essays are alive and well in the twenty-first century. They flourish just as they did in James Thurber’s and E. B. White’s twentieth-century New York, or in the nineteenth-century London of William Hazlitt and Charles Lamb. There seems no end to the appeal of the essayist’s basic idea: that you can write spontaneously and ramblingly about yourself and your interests, and that the world will love you for it.
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Aymé – Le passe muraille

This book is a collection of short stories by Marcel Aymé – who writes in a fantastic Parisian realism – that is at the same time evocative and realistic, and another fantastical. I love this collection. Read it enthusiastically in grad school – even though it is rarely read in an acdemic context (not “serious” enough maybe).


A man named Dutilleul lived in Montmartre. Having just begun his forty-third year, he discovered that he possessed the strange ability to pass effortlessly through walls. This new-found ability bothered him a bit so he went to see a doctor, who prescribed intensive work and medicine as a cure. Dutilleul led a rather inactive life, however, and a year later still retained his ability to pass through walls, although he had no inclination to use it. This disinclination changed, however, when his new boss at the office began to make the his job unbearable. Dutilleul began using his power to pester his boss, who went mad after about a week, and was taken away to an asylum. Dutilleul then began to use his ability to burgle banks and jewellery shops. Each time he would sign his pseudonym “The Werewolf” in red chalk at the crime scene, and his criminal exploits soon became the talk of the town. In order to claim the prestige and celebrity status “The Werewolf” had gained, Dutilleul allowed himself to be caught in the act. He was put in prison, but used his ability to frustrate his jailers and escape repeatedly. Eventually, he grew tired of his fame and changed his appearance so that nobody would recognize him. Finding even the thickest walls too easy, Dutilleul dreamt of going to Egypt to try the more challenging walls of the pyramids. He then fell in love with a married woman, and lost all interest in leaving. This woman’s husband went out every night and left her locked in her bedroom. Dutilleul used his power to enter her bedroom and spend the night with her while her husband was away. One morning, Dutilleul had a splitting headache and took two pills he found in the bottom of his drawer. His headache went away but later that night, as he was leaving his lover’s house, he noticed a feeling of resistance as he was passing through the walls. It turned out that the pills Dutilleul had thought were aspirin were, in fact, the medicine his doctor had prescribed for him a year earlier. As he was passing through the final outer wall of the property, he noticed he was no longer able to move. He realized his mistake too late—the medicine suddenly took effect and Dutilleul ended up trapped in the wall, where he remains to this day.

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