Archive for April 30, 2012

Happy anniversary, Book Around The Corner!

April 30, 2012 45 comments

Two years ago, I started a crazy adventure: this blog. My first post was about Romain Gary. Of course. It took me hours to write it. Later, I published an entry about the difficulty to write in English and if it’s still not easy, it’s not as difficult as before.

Before Book Around The Corner, I’d never visited a blog or commented on a forum. I just typed how to start a blog in a search engine, found help on a French site and discovered that WordPress was mostly used by Anglo-Saxons. Exactly what I was looking for, so WordPress it would be. The first months, I didn’t talk about this new hobby. People around me don’t have a blog, an ebook or even a web phone. I knew they’d think I was crazy. Now I’m more open about it but when I explain that I blog about literature and in English, they look at me as if I were an alien embodied in a human envelope. They don’t know what they’re missing, the fun, the exchanges, the discoveries.

I even owe my new job partly to this blog as it improved my English so much that I had my “Frenchness” recently questioned during a business lunch because a) I don’t drink wine b) I can speak English properly. The puzzled man joked that he was at loss: what kind of a Frenchwoman that could be?

To English speaking natives reading this blog I’ll say that I love your language. I’ve always enjoyed learning it. I wasn’t even put off by the first semester of class that had us repeating endlessly fascinating dialogues such as: Where is Brian? Brian is in the kitchen. In the kitchen? Yes, he’s in the kitchen. (My husband remembers it too and a French humorist made a sketch out of it. Just to point out I’m not exaggerating.) OK, I have to admit George Michael did more for my knowledge of should-have/would-have/could-have phrases than my teachers. Now I’m thinking that Germany lacked of something in pop music and that’s probably why I never got past Bernd and his Moped. As a result, I can’t read in German and I still want to learn more about the English language. The French is more flexible in its syntax but I love the elasticity of the English to create new words and expressions.

That said, English-speaking bloggers need a word to name their articles, a special word that isn’t review. French bloggers have a nice one for their posts. They call them billet. (pronounce beeyay) I like this word. A billet doux is a love note you pass to your lover, a billet d’humeur is a column in a newspaper, always an opinion, not a professional review. So you’ll hear about billets now, no more reviews because sometimes I write love notes about books, sometimes I’m a little provocative and most of all, literature isn’t my profession.

I was thinking that some of you might come to France this summer and I’d like to suggest a visit to Metz, a city only distant from Paris by a ridiculous 1:15 hour of TGV (high speed train). It’s an old city, the Romans named it Divodorum. Its architecture shows the centuries: Roman baths in the basement of the Museum, a church and a square from the Middle Ages, a gorgeous cathedral with stained-glasses by Chagall, buildings dating back to the Louis XIV era, gardens in the city centre, the romantic banks of the Moselle river, a railway station as a witness of the German occupation from 1870 to 1918. I’m uploading pictures for you. This is the city I think of as my hometown, my favourite city, the harbour I need to come back to once in a while.

But enough about me. I thank you for reading my billets, commenting when you feel like to, following me in my little escapade from everyday life and for catching the little literary bubbles I blow from France to you, wherever you are.




Metz: the cathedral

Metz: the stained glasses in the cathedral

Metz: the banks of the river Moselle

Metz: Place de la Comédie (Theatre/Opera)

Metz: A quaint fromagerie (cheese shop)

Metz: a typical building

Metz: La Belle Epoque

Categories: Personal Posts
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