Books, Glorious Books!

Sunday was one of my favorite semi-annual events in Paris: the English-language used book sale!

Twice a year SOS Help holds a 4-hour extravaganza where eager Anglophones come to stock up on new (to them) reads.

I like that the money goes toward a good cause, but selfishly what I really like are the prices. All paperbacks go for 1 euro, hardcovers for 2.

Guess how many I picked up? 35!

My loot from the book sale

This was the limit of the cash in my wallet and the amount I could physically carry back with me on the metro. I always come equipped with a large bag to the sale, but what I really need is a rolling cart!

The scene: oodles of books spread across tables, scads of people hunting for treasure amid the stacks.

I myself squeal with delight when I run across great titles. A Visit From the Goon Squad! How has no one else spotted this multi-award winner? The Kite Runner. Ah-ha! I will finally get to see what all the fuss was about (I’ve already started it and can’t stop turning pages). Reading Lolita in Tehran, The Poisonwood Bible (one of my favorites).

In short, I got some really good loot.

It makes me think that no matter what happens with the rapidly changing publishing landscape, nothing will quite equal the thrill of discovering a physical book. As a writer I just want to have my words read, so if that’s online, on a digital device, or on the page, it’s exciting no matter the format. But as a reader, scanning ebook titles doesn’t quite give me the same pleasure as picking up a book with my hands.

As I ran my finger across all of the different spines searching for good reads, I couldn’t help but wonder whether one day some of my books would be found in such a pile.

I wasn’t sure whether I should say anything as it feels like quite an uncertain time for me right now but heck, you know I like to share: I finished my novel, folks!

Yes, after years of writing, revising, putting away, writing, revising, talking with beta readers, and revising again (did I mention revising?), that mysterious click finally happened where I said, this is it. The novel is done.

One of my revision techniques

Of course, I kind of agree with the old maxim that art is never finished, only abandoned. But let me say, I’m abandoning it in really good shape! I literally feel like I cried, sweated, and bled to make this book. Let’s see what happens now!

I’ve started sending query letters out to agents. I’ve been told to strap myself in for a very long wait. When I told Anne Marsella (who I interviewed recently) I had finished and was going to try to get published, she said “hang on for a wild ride.”


So, I will certainly report if and when I have anything to report. But, it could be months (hoping not years!) before I have breaking news.

But rather than be too anxious about this (yeah, right!), I need to remember to just bask in the glow for a little while. I mean, this is breaking news: I did it! I accomplished something vitally important to me, weathered bouts of self-doubt and despair to complete the largest creative project I’ve ever tackled.

I really hope I’ll get to share it with you someday.


35 Responses to “Books, Glorious Books!”

  1. 1 nataliaswritinganovel October 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Well done on finishing your novel! What’s it about, or are you not saying…


    • 2 paris (im)perfect October 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Oh yes, I *am* one of those writers who doesn’t like to talk too much about her work. But I know I’ll have to get over that!

      The book is set in the mid-twentieth century and is a story about secrets, shame, race, love, and family. With a segregated Southern town as backdrop, the novel explores the divisions in the human heart.

      That’s about all I can muster at the moment. Stay tuned for more!


  2. 3 tranceage October 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Two days back i completely raided a sale as well and ended up buying many book 🙂 I personally loved The Kite Runner, both the book and the movie. Did you ever read anything by Salman Rushdie?


  3. 6 Barbara Hall October 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Congratulations Sion on your wonderful accomplishment! All the best to you in this next phase. I will eagerly await the chance to read your novel.


  4. 8 BARB BEST October 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Congrats on finishing the novel! A Visit from the Goon Squad – you’ll love it!


  5. 10 Lindsey October 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I would love to read your novel!! And I hope now that it’s completed, you’ll have ample time to devote to reading all those books you bought! I’ll have to make it there next year.


    • 11 paris (im)perfect October 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks, Lindsey! Believe me, I want people to read it! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

      And yes, that is one really nice perk. I feel like I do have more time to read. Good thing as I have lots of awesome books to get to now!


  6. 12 olivial1001 October 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Congrats on completing your book! That must me a huge weight off your shoulders, good luck with the upcoming ride of publishing!
    I actually just bought a Kindle a few months ago for cheaper school books, etc. and I LOVE it, it’s amazing to be able to carry hundreds of books in one small package. However I completely agree about the magic of walking through books, and looking at them. Nothing can match that. I just have to remind myself while I do so that I have nowhere to put these books! I never can resist a walk through a bookshop though, it’s one of my happy places.
    I’m new to your blog, I found it recently while searching about information on Paris for my trip in January. I wanted exactly what you give, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. I want to see Paris, but not the Paris of the movies, or postcards, I want to see Paris as it is. And now that I’ve found your blog I enjoy reading just to read about your life. 🙂 So I came for Paris, and I’m staying because you seem pretty darned awesome.


    • 13 paris (im)perfect October 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      Oh wow, Olivia. Thank you so much for this amazing comment! I’m so glad you found what you were looking for re: Paris and feel honored that you’re sticking around for me. That is just such a sweet thing to say. I’m glad you’re here and glad you’re staying. Hearing these sentiments makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Thank you!


  7. 14 Mary Lonergan October 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Sion! CONGRATULATIONS on finishing the book! A HUGE accomplishment for sure! We’ll look forward to reading it 🙂

    Also saw that you picked up “A Visit From The Goon Squad”…I’m reading it now…it’s brilliant & you’ll love it! Set in San Francisco too 🙂

    Have a great day!


  8. 16 Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) October 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Hey Sion! Congratulations on that big finish — so, so proud of you for giving it that final big push. Yay you!! And WOW! BOOKS.

    Okay, we gotta have a book exchange once you have read all of those, or maybe start a new book club or something — you have picked up a few that I have been meaning to read for a while, too. I was so happy to read that you love The Poisonwood Bible. I finally got a chance to read it this past August and I really and truly loved it, too. I need to get my hands on the rest of Kingsolver’s books.

    So hey — this time next year, give me the heads up about the SOS Help book sale and I will go with you and bring my grocery shopping cart. 😀 (And yeah, I know you have blogged about it before, probably back in 2009 even when you first started writing. I remember you writing about it. But I forget stuff like this. So just think next October when the sale comes around again, “Karin.” Thank you.)

    Good luck with the next phase of novel producing. I think there are a lot of parallels between childbirth and writing the damn thing, but then after the novel is born, you have to raise it to adulthood. It’s certainly one of those things in which the expression “long haul” comes to mind. But also certainly not without its joys. 🙂 At least that is what I can probably surmise, based on what others have reported. Maybe one of these years we’ll both get to find out. You’re hella closer than me right now, though, lol! May all your dreams for this novel come true.

    Take care, Sion.


    • 17 paris (im)perfect October 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      Thanks so much, Karin. I can’t thank you enough for helping me through the final push. You most certainly were my doula. 🙂

      That’s a great way to extend the analogy, too. Writing the book *did* feel like childbirth. Now you’re right – I have to raise it to adulthood!

      And oh yes. Books! The sale is actually TWICE a year, so I can remind you in 6 months. You’re welcome to borrow some for sure!

      Thanks again for your support, Karin. And good luck with NaNoWriMo soon!


  9. 18 Franck October 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Would you say your book finished you?
    My feeling when a long shot is done at last!
    And I agree, you read a paper but you surf a picture or a frame, after three or four lines of a fiction I can’t read anymore a screen, I need the triangular object to please my brain.
    I hope you did a bull’s eye with your first creation!


    • 19 paris (im)perfect October 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm

      That’s a good way to put it, Franck. I do feel like the book finished me! I’m starting to bounce back a little, though 🙂

      Right afterward, though, I did feel totally exhausted and completely tapped out. I poured every drop of myself into creating it, so yes, I was almost done myself at the end! I hope I hit a bullseye, too 🙂


  10. 20 Tammee October 25, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    This is so great. Hope you find success sooner than later!


  11. 22 The Lady Dee October 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I wish you every success. Congratulations!


  12. 24 Paris Paul P October 25, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Go Sion! I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!


  13. 26 Amy Kortuem October 26, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Congratulations! You’re an inspiration. I can’t wait to hear more – and then can’t wait to read your book.

    I’m in harp playing mode from now until the holidays, but once January arrives, I’ll be back to writing my own book.


  14. 28 Buffy October 27, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Congratulation’s on finishing the book, and good luck getting it out here for us to read. I am sure they will love it. I went to a book sale at my library the other day, but only bought one book. When Border’s went out of business a couple month’s a go, I bought so many books that I can’t remember how many.

    Take care and happy reading!


  15. 30 writingfeemail October 29, 2011 at 1:09 am

    The finishing is enough reason to celebrate. You are definitely a girl from my own heart – reading and writing!


  16. 32 Sugar Daze (@sugar_daze) February 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I love SOS Help book sales! I didn’t know you were writing a book – congratulations on that!v It’s been a few months since you posted. Any news on that project?


    • 33 paris (im)perfect February 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks, Cat. And believe me, if I had exciting news to share, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops ; )

      The querying/agent process is often a very long road so I am learning patience. A few agents requested my full manuscript (which is already really good!), so I am hoping one of them says ‘yes.’ Keep your fingers crossed for me!


  1. 1 Books, Books, Books « An Alien Parisienne Trackback on March 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm
  2. 2 Books, Books, Books « An Alien Parisienne | The Book Sale Online Trackback on March 20, 2012 at 2:14 am

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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