Home > About reading, Personal Posts > Happy birthday, Book Around The Corner!

Happy birthday, Book Around The Corner!

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.



  1. April 27, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Congratulations to you.
    For me it’s pretty obvious that some posts get clicked more often because they are in the side bar under “Top Posts”. If I come to a blog I don’t really know, I’ve clicked on those as well. It’s not the only reasons and not for all of your posts but for some I’m sure.
    It’s the same i my case, the posts that get clicked the most are not necessarily of the books I liked. Maybe we should “Post I recommend” in the side bar. Or a page like that. I guess that should be feasible.
    Hmmm – I might actually do that.


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:02 am

      You may be right, I never thought about that.
      And a list of recommended posts is a good idea too. I’ll think about it.


  2. April 27, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Happy 5th Blogiversary, Emma! This is really wonderful! Thanks for telling us about Mafalda. I thought you had created the gravatar yourself. I just read your post on Mafalda. She is definitely fascinating! Makes me think of Pippi Longstocking. I love the name of her turtle 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your blogiversary!


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:04 am

      Mafalda is a wonderful character, very famous in France. There’s a famous comics & graphic novel festival in Angoulême and this year they celebrated Mafalda’s fiftieth anniversary.


  3. April 27, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Congratulations, Emma, I have been a regular reader of your blog for a long time now and I always find something to enjoy here.
    My French has improved too!


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:08 am

      Thanks Lisa. I should read more Australian lit and discover your country through its literature.


  4. Brian Joseph
    April 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Congratulations and happy birthday to Book Around the Corner Emma!

    I do remember that when I first began exploring the blogosphere yours was one of first blogs that I found. It remains one of my favorite places to visit on the internet.

    You put up a great post to commemorate the event.

    I love your idea of blogger being something of a middleman.

    It is interesting to see what posts garner the most hits. When I look at my blog’s numbers I fear that the numbers are driven my automated programs visiting my blog.


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:14 am

      Thanks Brian.
      I usually read your posts but rarely comment because I have nothing worth saying. You make me discover books I’ll probably never read but your posts are interesting.
      I prefer the word “passeur” to “middleman” which is more “intermédiaire”. In passeur you have the idea of accompanying the person through a journey. For example, this word is used for Charon, in the Greek mythology. It’s not very positive in this case but for books, it conveys the idea of recommending a book and taking time to lead someone through the forest of books around us.


  5. April 28, 2014 at 5:54 am

    bon anniversaire!!


  6. April 28, 2014 at 6:31 am

    4 years… doesn’t seem possible, does it?

    I finished the Gary–not all positive. There was a lot I liked, but some I didn’t. My top posts are on a Maugham novel and then also a crime non-fiction book about the Australian Pettingill family.


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:16 am

      I know, it seems I started yesterday.
      I still haven’t guessed which Gary you picked. I’m sorry you didn’t like all of it and I’m curious about your review.


  7. April 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Congratulations, and thank you for being one of my middlemen.

    My top posts aren’t the best ones either. It seems you’ve hit upon a common issue. Perhaps Caroline’s solution is the right one, though I’m not sure which I’d pick from my own.


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:18 am

      You’re one of my middlemen too.
      Perhaps we could set a page with the posts & books listed in the “best of the year” posts.


  8. April 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Happy anniversary. I’ve never met anyone in real life who could recommend a book that I didn’t hate or forget, but at least there’s the internet.


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:21 am

      I’m luckier than you. I have a very non-literary job and my boss reads more than me and only good stuff. That enlightens coffee breaks.
      That said, the internet brings a lot, especially once you’ve found like-minded readers.


      • May 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm

        Ah, see, I get offered terrible novels, and then I spend weeks dodging the person because they want to know what I thought of those terrible novels. It never ends well. So I envy you your boss.


        • May 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm

          I’ve had rare but lovely literary chats during business lunches. Once it felt like I was taking some literary test because the man kept asking me about Uk lit that is not that much read in France. Weird.

          That said, I got my share of Patterson, Brown, Musso, Levy, etc from relatives. Now they’ve learnt not to buy me books unless they’re on my list. 🙂

          Isn’t it dreadful when you start talking to someone who gushes “I love to read”, you hope you’ll have a nice conversation and you hear “I just love Marc Levy, don’t you?” and you struggle to find a way to be polite and be true to yourself and say in a neutral sentence that you don’t read that crap. It’s worse when you’re a woman, you get cornered by chick lit readers and I suspect it happens less to men. I don’t have anything against chick lit readers except I don’t like bursting their bubble and be the snob who says they don’t like that kind of “littérature de divertissement” as they call it in bookshops these days.


  9. April 28, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    4 years, that’s great. Well done, many more.

    I think we’re coming to Lyon this summer. Maybe we can celebrate over a glass of wine and a plate of chicken livers.


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:23 am

      I hope we’ll find a way to celebrate in Lyon. Let me know when you’ll be there.

      PS: I hate to disappoint, but I don’t drink wine.


  10. April 29, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Congratulations, félicitations, happy bon anniversary to you, bon happy anniversaire for us, your readers. I dreamed of finding an English language blog that dealt largely in French literature, and here I found you (and got more than French literature in the bargain). A coupe of champagne to the next year and more.


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:27 am

      Thanks Scott. Excellent bi-language comment.

      I don’t read so many French books. Sometimes I think Stu from Winston’s Dad reads more French lit than I do.
      This year I’ll read a lot of American literature. Gallmeister publishes unusual American lit and I’m drawn to their choices.


  11. April 29, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Congratulations on four years of blogging! That probably translates into 50 human years or somethig in any case. I don’t get around as many blogs as I’d like at the moment, life being a bit frantic and fraught, but it’s always a great pleasure to read your reviews. You always have a really interesting perspective to bring to a book. I haven’t forgotten Romain Gary month and am still hoping to take part!


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:29 am

      Thanks Litlove.
      I’ve read your recent posts, I hope things get better soon.
      I hope you can join us for Romain Gary Literature Month. I know you’re a fan too.


  12. April 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Congratulations! I can’t remember exactly how I came across your blog (perhaps something to do with Kosztolányi and a comment you left somewhere else) but it’s been enjoyable reading you and getting some new ideas. I look forward to what’s coming next!


    • May 1, 2014 at 2:35 am

      I love your blog and the fact that it puts Hungarian literature in the spot lights. I save your posts for future reference when the book you review appeals to me.
      I’ll be reading Anna Edes in a couple of months.


  13. leroyhunter
    May 1, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Congratuation and happ anniversary! I love the billets and the discussions here, and there are books and writers I’d be totally ignorant of but for your carefully roving eye. Thanks for the enjoyment and here’s to many more years…


    • May 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks Leroy. I’ve discovered many authors by blogging around.


  14. May 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    And a belated congratulations from me also! Sorry I haven’t been around much of late…



    • May 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks. I hope you’ve just been busy and that everything’s all right.


      • May 12, 2014 at 9:01 pm

        Oh, everything is fine. Just usual busy-ness … And our daughter monopolising the only laptop in the house! (But she is revising for her final school exams, so ‘m not complaining…)


        • May 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm

          That’s the best excuse to monopolise a computer. Say her merde for me for her exams!


  15. May 22, 2014 at 3:32 am

    My blog just turned 1!!! happy anniversary to you too!

    here’s my anniversary post!

    Here’s to another Wanderlusting year! 🙂

    Deanna ( http://www.talkaboutbeauty.wordpress.com )


    • May 22, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Thanks. Happy first anniversary too. How do you enjoy blogging?


      • May 23, 2014 at 2:10 am

        I really enjoy it! It’s my travel resume! lol
        It’s my online travel diary, it motivates me to travel and do more of what I love .
        how about you?

        deanna ( http://www.talkaboutbeauty.wordpress.com )


        • May 23, 2014 at 1:19 pm

          I’m enjoying myself too. A lot. You’re not a book blogger, how did you find Book Around The Corner?


  1. May 5, 2017 at 10:30 pm

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