Party Going by Marcel Proust

Jim Holt and Inigo Thomas · The Books They Didn't Write

Think of a book. Then imagine someone other than the author who might – or could never – have written it.

Fear of Flying by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Across the River and into the Trees by Albert Camus
Present at the Creation by Richard Dawkins
Bleak House by Anna Wintour
Party Going by Marcel Proust
Indecision by Leon Wieseltier
Finnegans Wake by Maeve Binchy
Catch-22 by Gustave Flaubert
I Married a Communist by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Lucky Jim by Jane Austen
A Brief History of Time by Henry Luce
Fire in The Lake by Gordon Ramsay
Down and Out in Paris and London by Diana Cooper
On the Waterfront by Max Beerbohm
The Wisdom of Crowds by Elias Canetti
Tender is the Night by Mario Batali
Everything is Illuminated by Bill Buford
All The President's Men by Jacqueline Susann


  • 3 August 2009 at 12:58pm
    Jenny Diski says:
    My Family and Other Animals by William Jennings Bryan
    On The Road by Xavier de Maistre
    A Voyage Round My Room by Jack Kerouac
    White Teeth by Martin Amis
    The Colour Purple by John Milton
    The Man Without Qualities co-authored by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, translated into Italian by Berlusconi
    Journal of the Plague Year by Hugh Pennington

    Can we have movies?

    Speed by Robert Bresson
    Speed 2 by Tarkovsky

  • 3 August 2009 at 5:24pm
    ikp says:
    The Nice and the Good by Marquis de Sade
    The Waves by Vidal Sassoon
    Dubliners by Hugh MacDiarmid
    I Am a Camera by Jackson Pollock
    Ash-Wednesday by Tuesday Weld
    The Maximus Poems by Basho
    Under the Volcano by Mary Beard
    Living by Edgar Allan Poe

  • 3 August 2009 at 9:22pm
    Martin says:
    Diary of a Nobody by Salman Rushdie

  • 3 August 2009 at 9:43pm
    Martin says:
    One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by George Bush
    Green Eggs and Ham by Heston Blumenthal
    Where the Wild Things Are by Beatrix Potter
    Naked Lunch by Barbara Pym
    The Rules by Lord Byron
    120 Days of Sodom by John Major

  • 3 August 2009 at 9:54pm
    Martin says:
    The Rough Guide to Cape Town by Jenny Diski

  • 3 August 2009 at 9:58pm
    Phil Edwards says:
    Loving by Jackie Collins
    Women in Love by Sarah Waters
    Great Expectations by Samuel Beckett
    The Selfish Gene by Betsy Blair

  • 4 August 2009 at 2:13am
    pat.rosier says:
    Everybody's Autobiography by Montaigne
    Don Quixote by Dick Francis
    Apology for the Woman Writing by A S Byatt

  • 4 August 2009 at 7:41am
    Martin says:
    Long Walk to Freedom by Jeffrey Archer
    The Jungle Book by David Attenborough
    I Write What I Like by Peter Hitchens
    Tales of the City by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Fat Chance by Stephen Fry
    Portrait of a Lady by Jade Goody

  • 4 August 2009 at 11:52am
    JWA says:
    Little Women - Henry Miller
    The Good Soldier - Andy McNab
    Goodbye Mr Chips - Joseph Conrad

  • 4 August 2009 at 12:46pm
    Jim Holt says:
    Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
    Say that health and wealth have missed me,
    Say I'm growing old but add--
    Jenny Diski.

  • 4 August 2009 at 4:57pm
    mundodeclaudia says:
    Peter Pan by Vladimir Nabokov
    Autonauts of the Cosmoroute by Italo Calvino
    2666 by Dan Brown
    The Taming of the Shrew by Henry James
    Sex for Dummies by Benedict XVI
    The Discovery of France bt Julian Barnes

  • 5 August 2009 at 7:53am
    martincj says:
    The Wind in the Willows by Ian Rankin

  • 6 August 2009 at 6:43am
    Martin says:
    101 Uses for a Dead Cat by Christopher Smart

  • 6 August 2009 at 11:40am
    Moonrakerbooks says:
    King Solomon's Mines by Frantz Fanon

  • 6 August 2009 at 11:42am
    Moonrakerbooks says:
    Goodbye to All That by Marcel Proust

  • 6 August 2009 at 10:41pm
    Martin says:
    The 39 Steps by Tim Robbins and Deepak Chopra

  • 6 August 2009 at 10:42pm
    Martin says:
    Sorry, that should be Anthony Robbins

  • 7 August 2009 at 2:33pm
    Splinno says:
    I'm confused and stupid. I really can't work out whether Proust might, or could never, have written Party Going. Likewise Flaubert's Catch-22.

    I'd like to read All The Pretty Horses by Katie Price.

  • 8 August 2009 at 7:52pm
    Jim Holt says:
    I think the idea is that Proust's extensive experience as a party-goer/social-climber/fop-about-Paris might have been deployed in the writing of a more vulgar and racy (and entertaining?) novel than the one he actually produced.
    (Yes, I know--an explained joke is a failed joke.)

  • 9 August 2009 at 2:20pm
    Martin says:
    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen
    Lady Chatterley’s Lover by Mary Whitehouse
    The Tobacco Shop by Alberto Caeiro (if you allow poems)

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