The Paris Bookshelf, Part II


I already blabbed on about some books about Paris, but I now present you with the books that actually came to Paris with me. As you might imagine based on the troubles I encountered packing my clothes, it was not easy for me to decide who was cool enough to make the trip. Books are heavy and, according to some outside sources whom I consulted mid-packing crisis, “non-essential items.” I of course beg to differ, and if the cost of bringing Borges and Wallace with me is a restricted range of sartorial options, then I shall simply have to look like a fashion-challenged but well-read slob while I’m here. C’est la vie.

Some books were no-brainers: the aforementioned Michelin Green Guide, Papa’s A Moveable Feast, and Marcel Proust’s In the Shadow of Young Girls in FlowerYou can’t come to Paris without both literal and literary guidebooks, plus I need Marcel to write my other blog, so he got an automatic berth. Being seen with either the Green Guide or the Hemingway in public would be a bit damaging to my attempts to seem like une vraie Parisienne (sometimes if I sense skepticism on the part of a shop clerk, I’ll choose to pay with my French bank card as if to validate my existence here, which now that I think about it, probably lowers their estimation of me given my terrible French, as if I’m telling them, “Yes, I live here but am making zero effort to speak your language properly.”), but they are consulted weekly in the privacy of my apartment.  (more…)

Found Objects & Books


It does not take a lot persuasion to make me buy a book. I love books and pile them all over my apartment like I’m preparing for an apocalypse in which printed matter will provide us with the only literal, rather than merely metaphoric, means of survival. However, there is one attribute of a book that categorically forces me to buy it. Very occasionally when browsing through the shelves of a bookstore, I will find that a volume contains an extra part that neither the author nor publisher put there. It could be a dedication or some thoughtful marginalia (notes clearly taken for a class do not count, according to the completely arbitrary rules in my head) or, as it was last night, a photograph. (more…)