I’ve been thinking a lot lately about real books versus e-books, traditional versus independent publishing. The digital explosion means new possibilities for writers and readers in so many different ways. I’ve loved creating a cyber community that feels just as strong as my on-the-ground network (hmm, does that say something about my social skills?).
This blog and you lovely readers are now such a happy part of my life; I’m thankful for the Internet, for new technology that has revolutionized the way we communicate, how we stay in touch. So much information streaming at me from one little screen.
I dream of seeing my words in both print and electronic formats now.
Still, I love books. The kind I grew up with. What would we lose if they all ended up in a computer or on a wireless device? Ink on paper. Another person’s mind and imagination captured in a concrete creation. A book you can hold in your hands.
Besides the stories inside them, I just like looking at books. I love how the colorful spines of copious volumes brighten up my apartment. A room filled with books makes me feel warm, safe, cozy; they seem a necessary part of a living space to me. Is this because my mother is a librarian, because I grew up in a house with overflowing bookshelves?
Probably, but I know I am not alone.
Café Livre in the center of Paris (just in front of the Tour Saint Jacques) uses books as mood-setter, decoration, too. I went recently with a friend off on her first mission to Congo-Brazzaville with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (good luck, Hayley!)
The café is casual classy. The leather armchairs and carefully placed wine bottles don’t hurt, either, as well as friendly service. Our waiter happily spoke English with us (not in that condescending way, and not that we needed it) and we lingered over one pot of tea for four hours without being rushed.
It’s actually more chic than cozy, a surprise as when I picture books, I picture myself curling up in a corner somewhere. Lounging. There was no lounging and no one seemed to be looking at the books. But the books were there, surrounding us, and that is something no Kindle, Nook, or iPad awesome as they may be, can compete with.
If you prefer a wine bar with your books, try La Belle Hortense, also off the same metro and located at 31 rue Vieille du Temple.
In other “I love books” news, the semi-annual English-language booksale held by SOS Help is this Sunday. All hardbacks are 2 euros, and paperbacks are just 1 euro. It’s a *very* dangerous place for me. This year I’m just donating books as I’m trying to make space and will have to fight not to look at the offerings lest I just replace my old books with new books.
English-language booksale – Sunday, March 20
12 pm to 4 pm
Orrick Law Offices
31, avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie
All proceeds go to SOS Help, a good resource if you’re feeling down in Paris (yes, it happens) and need to connect with someone who will lend an ear.
For a more regular book sale, the American Library of Paris holds a monthly used book sale the first weekend of every month.
For a little live-action bookshelf love, here you go:
Other book/cafe places in Paris you like?