Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

It's lovely to pick up a book with great expectation, and, within the first few pages, sigh with contentment. It was lovely to be immersed in several of my favorite things: books, friendship, love, and the French country-side. As none of those things ever flow 100% smoothly, it's only natural that my level of contentment varied at points in the book.

It's been a few days since I finished The Little Paris Bookshop and when I sat down to write my impressions, the first thing that came to mind was one of the characters talking about how best to arrange your bookshelves: not by color or title, but by subject, so that Hemingway's Old Man and the... was with other books about the sea. That notion delighted me and imagined putting my own bookshelf together so that novels and nonfiction nestled together by subject. I quite liked the thought that Chocolat could nestle next to Julia Child.

There are other delightful moments in this book. And some completely mournful, with a French soul. Overall, though, the moments blend together into a well-told tale of love, longing, forgiving, and ultimately, moving on in life.Jean Perdu sells books from La Pharmacie Litteraire (The Literary Apothecary), his barge on the Siene. He begins a journey on the river to help resolve something that has kept his life from moving forward for the past twenty years. The journey, like the novel, is languid at times, tumultuous at others. One of my favorite quotes is “Books are like people, and people are like books, I’ll tell you how I go about it. I ask myself: Is he or she the main character in his or her life? What is her motive? Or is she a secondary character in her own tale? Is she in the process of editing herself out of her story because her husband, her career, her children or her job are consuming her entire text?”. Along with my imaginary rearrangement of my bookshelf, I say now try to place people as characters in the book of their life.

And the idea of secret tango milongas? Makes me want to learn to dance the tango and go travelling again.

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