Archive for April 27, 2014

Happy birthday, Book Around The Corner!

April 27, 2014 38 comments

Hi everyone,

Mafalda_50Despite the image, I’m not fifty. April 2014 is Book Around the Corner’s fourth anniversary. I can’t believe another year has already flown by. 2014 is a special year for this blog as it is the centenary of Romain Gary’s birth and the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of Mafalda by Quino. May will be Romain Gary Literature Month, but more of this in another billet. And who’s Mafalda? She’s the little girl on my profile and if you don’t know how fond of her I am, have a look at this.

That said, blog anniversaries are a time to think about reading and sharing. I have a literary calendar at work and once I started my working day with that quote:

L’accès au livre, plus que tout, réclame des passeurs : on vient au livre parce que quelqu’un vous y conduit. Et cela durant toute la vie. Combien de fois avons-nous lu, et souvent aimé, un livre parce qu’il nous venait de quelqu’un que nous aimions, en qui nous avions confiance ? Mieux : qui nous avait fait, dans tous les sens, le don de ce livre.Danièle Sallenave (« Nous, on n’aime pas lire » 2009) The access to books, more than anything else, requests a middleman. You come to books because someone leads you to them. And that’s for all your life. How many times have we read and often enjoyed a book because it came from someone we loved, someone we trusted? Better, someone who had in every sense, turned this book into a gift.Danièle Sallenave (We don’t like to read)

This is how I see blogging. I’m a middleman between the books I read and you. I don’t always carry good news –negative billets— but I always try to convey my enthusiasm when I fall for a book. I’m not an academic, I just write my thoughts and I have a casual relationship with literature and author. A writer may be a literary genius, if their work didn’t work for me, I’m not ashamed to say it. I enjoy our exchanges and our cross-recommendations, the stream of conversation between our blogs.

Now that I’ve been blogging for four years, I was curious to see which billets got the more hits since the beginning of my blogging journey. (Statistics courtesy of WordPress) *drums* Here are the Top Ten posts at Book Around the Corner:

I’m disappointed by this list, to be honest. These are not the best books I’ve read since I started the Book Around the Corner. Except for Charming Mass Suicide, most of them are classics or books you imagine picked by a teacher, like Lullaby or Sexy. I hope students know what they do if they use my billets for their assignments. Well at least, I don’t write like a literature teacher, there’s a good chance they won’t get caught if they smuggle bits of my billets in their papers. I also hope they wandered on the blog for something else than mandatory essays and that another book caught their attention. I’d love to be their middleman and give them the urge to read. Just because:

La baguette de fée du romancier abolit les distances et le temps, se joue de la logique et ordonne le hasard. En somme, le roman est la clé de nos songes au prix d’un effort minimum : la lectureMichel Déon (Lettres de château. 2009)  The novelist’s magic wand destroys time and distances, plays with logic and sorts out fate and coincidences. All in all, novels are the key to our dreams with a minimum price to pay: reading.Michel Déon (Letters of a castle)

SAMSUNGThis sounds like Thomas Hardy’s brand of novelist’s magic. Nowadays reading is in competition with video games, computer time, tablets and all kind of electronic devices. Will the good old book survive this? I think it will, just like radio survived television and the internet, exactly for the reasons mentioned by Michel Déon in this quote. Books bring you to someone else’s world but allow you to remain close to yours. When you watch a film, you’re in someone else’s imagination. When you read a book, part of the imagining is done by you. Characters are described but you see your mental vision of them, not the actor that was cast for the role. It’s your version of the character. Perhaps I’m too optimistic, but like Romain Gary, I can’t give up on hope.

Thanks a lot for following, reading and commenting. Along the way, I’ve spiced my English with French words like billet, explained the word libraire, invented with Guy the word humbook and translated quotes by Romain Gary with Erik McDonald’s much appreciated help. Aren’t we living in a much civilised and friendly book blogging world?

I feel privileged to share that corner of the blogosphere with you and books. See you around.



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