Friday, February 28, 2014

A Novel Bookstore or My Life in Books

Imagine that you were given the task of compiling a list of "must read" books! What would you choose? This is the task given to a group of bibliophiles in Laurence Cossés book, A Novel Bookstore. 
The novel, of course, is a literary mystery translated from French by Allison Anderson.
A bookstore in Boston

When some of the individuals, who do not know the identities of the other group members, are attacked, the authors of the scheme to create a "perfect" bookstore impervious to publisher's hype recount the tale to a French detective. Who is trying to kill the great bibliophiles of France?

I have not finished the book and I will give you no spoilers but I recommend this as a read for bibliophiles everywhere. It was recommended to me by a bookseller in Fairhaven, a small village suburb of Bellingham, Washington. You might like to browse at Village Books and have a bowl of their delicious soup.

Whenever I travel, I visit every independent bookstore that I find. I look for local authors, some well known, some obscure. Occasionally, I purchase a small book of poetry as a keepsake. Bookmarks are small souvenirs to carry home.

I started my reading life as a "bookworm" at an early age. I loved historical fiction and mysteries. I still do! I loved faraway places and other times! A daydreamer and a bit of a romantic! I found that literature existed in languages other than English. What a concept!

As a Canadian with a French great-grandparent and a romantic, French literature became my passion. I'm not sure what my younger self thought that I would do with a Bachelor's degree in French Literature but I have one.

A Novel Bookstore, is not, I warn you, a fast-moving tale. It is rather a slow-moving work to be enjoyed by other bibliophiles.  It is a tale of the love of literature and of the book selling business. As a former??? bookworm who has worked in an independent bookstore owned by a Swiss bookseller, for a wholesale French book company, and in public and educational libraries, I recommend this novel.
And for any concerned young students out there, yes, there are interesting jobs for book lovers!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I have spent the last two months in hibernation. Did you ever think about the word? It comes from the Latin "hibernatus" which means to spend the winter. The Latin name for Ireland is Hibernia, a land of winter.

I love the quiet of home during the grey days. To read a book or to prepare a cauldron meal is so comforting to me! I do see my walking partner, my trainer, my mother, my daughter and my friends but I feel no attraction to general busyness. I have too many possessions in my apartment to consider buying anything else. I am charting my food intake so frequent sorties to restaurants are a waste of time.

Right now, I am engrossed in reading A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé. I have been watching French movies and BBC productions on Netflix.

This weekend, I am going on a silent retreat with members of the church. As I have said before, church-going is a new activity for me and I am always open to new experiences.

Next Friday, March 7, I fly to London with my light suitcase. Yes, I remember le valise diabolique! Never again! London, York, Edinburgh, Paris, Shetland, Cornwall and Devon! So many places to visit and experience... I guess perhaps I am wise to hibernate right now.

  Since retirement, I have become much more aware of my own biorhythms and preferences. Do the seasons affect you? What comfort activities do you choose for the colder, greyer days of winter?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finally February!!!

February is blooming.
I've been taking a little break from blogging as sometimes my life is just not that interesting. So many of us are dealing with ageing, acceptance of our own mortality, responsibilities for elderly parents and what to wear each day that I have not found it necessary to add my voice. But with chilly blue skies and the first signs of spring, my mood has changed!
And blooming…..
Maman and I visited LaConner for two nights this week. We stayed a very pretty Bed and Breakfast where each morning, we were served lovely berries, yogurt, granola, and fritatta. We could not eat it all but we very much enjoy the Wild Iris. We spent our days, touring, browsing in little shops (buying very little) and eating (the restaurant portions were much too large!)
We love to stay here!
I even found a French country store!
Tomorrow I am going to see an unfamiliar opera, The Florentine Straw Hat by Nino Rota. My opera companions are new to me as well so it should be an adventure.

I have now reached the third month without hair colour. As the stylist lifted colour from my hair, I really look more blonde that grey. One more trim before I go to Europe!

I am reading Une Femme for packing tips because I will be travelling on National Express coach in Britain. If you are over 60, a senior's card saves a lot of money especially if you travel on Tuesday. Maman just spoke to her cousin in Whalsay, Shetland and my bed is secured. There are no hotels on the island whose inhabitants are probably all related to me by blood or by marriage.

I love the chilly blue skies. Today, I will buy tulips to brighten the apartment. In a month, I will be in another apartment near Goodge Street in London. I faintly recall a song about the area.

Spring comes very early to the Pacific coast of Canada. Materfamilias' bright red Adirondack chairs look out on a chilly sea but the colours of February seem to signal a reawakening.