Home > About reading, Personal Posts > Book Around the Corner: the age of reason

Book Around the Corner: the age of reason

Seven is the age of Book Around the Corner. Seven is also the age of first grade, the year we learn how to read. I remember being so excited to go to primary school because I was going to learn how to read books by myself. I’ve always loved stories and books.

When I launched my blog seven years ago, it was a promise to myself at the dawn of a new chapter of my life. My kids weren’t toddlers anymore, I had more free time and it was time to set free the part of myself who loved literature and never felt quite complete without books.

I’ve done several Blog Anniversary posts, like here in 2012, 2013 or 2014. Looking back on these seven years, how do I feel about book blogging? It might be disgustingly sweet but I just feel happy about it. I think I created my special little corner on the literary blogosphere. I mix my French background with the English language. I’ve introduced you to several French words that I adopted in my English blogging atmosphere. Seven words for seven years.

1. Billet. I’ve explained in my 2012 post why I use the French billet instead of review. “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.”

2. Libraire: A bookworm who works in a bookstore is not a book seller, it’s a libraire. It’s a noble profession and I never found the equivalent in the English language. There’s an implicit curtsey in the word libraire, the one you have in store for people who bow to literature and will recommend books with insight and passion. They work in librairies and here’s a lovely one in Périgueux.

3. Bouquin: A loving way to say book. When I visited the Père Lachaise cemetery, I came across a tombstone for the Bouquin family. How lucky they are to have such a positive surname!

4. Bouquiniste: A libraire who sells used bouquins. Tourists know the bouquinistes on the bank of the Seine river in Paris. There’s one at a corner of Central Park too.

5. Bande-dessinée (BD) It’s a neutral word that covers comic books, graphic novels and all books with images and bubbles. French people are great BD readers and France is the second market for mangas, after Japan.

6. Polar: a generic and affectionate word to call crime fiction books. This is why Lyon’s crime fiction festival is named Quais du Polar. (Quais means banks and it refers to the banks of the two rivers of Lyon, the Rhône and the Saône)

7. OVNI littéraire. It means Literary UFO. We use it when a book doesn’t fit into any category. It’s alien to all genres and since we need boxes at any cost, a literary UFO it becomes.

This leads me to another corner of my literary garden, the odd categories. Regular readers of Book Around the Corner know them. They are: Literary UFO, Beach & Public Transport, Sugar without Cellulite and the latest one Translation Tragedy.

There are also words that are useful to describe books but I think have no English equivalent.

Second degré: when things you read should not be taken at face value but have a subtle upper meaning. They seem plain or stupid but they aren’t because there’s a second meaning.

Rire jaune: The hollow laugh you’ll have when you’d rather go for a nervous laugh than dissolve in tears. Very useful in times of political horror.

Jouissif: The closest word I know for this is exhilarating but jouissif has another undercurrent meaning. Melissa wrote about it here and I love to use it when a book made me smile, gave me energy and makes me want to buy it to all my friends.

But enough of French words and enough about me. I wanted to mention these words because it is my way to bring a bit of France in your literary world. They’re part of my trademark, if I may say so.

Along these seven years, Book Around the Corner has found its readers. I know where the frequent commenters come from but I know nothing about the silent readers. Of course, WordPress has statistics but they say nothing meaningful. I don’t care about the number of hits per country. I care about you, who read my billets on purpose. So, let’s play a game. If you could all leave a simple comment with your first name and your country, I’d be glad to discover where the real readers of my blog come from.

Wherever you are, I’m happy to share my literary journey with you. Thanks again for reading my clumsy prose, for giving me part of your precious free time and for all the wonderful exchanges we’ve had. I have learnt a lot in the book blogging community. I discovered new writers and like-minded people. I learnt to stop hiding my bookworm side and my literary coming out made me realize I had book lovers around me, especially in the office. I also had the great pleasure to meet fellow bloggers in real life and it’s always been a fantastic experience. There’s an immediate connection between members of book lovers’ family. Really, don’t hesitate to contact me if you ever come to Lyon.

This literary adventure started with a Promise at Dawn and I hope that you, me and Book Around the Corner have a long Life Before Us. This life will probably full of lost battles against ever growing TBRs, of laughter, of admiration for writers and full of book-nerdiness.



  1. May 5, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Bon anniversaire! Peut-il y avoir beaucoup plus de billets!!


    • May 7, 2017 at 7:24 am

      I wish I had more time to write my billets (I have a permanent TBW) and more importantly, more time to read other blogs.


  2. May 5, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Congratulations, Emma!


  3. May 5, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    What a lovely post, Emma! I had always wondered about your use of the word Billet. How interesting! Happy 7th!


    • May 7, 2017 at 7:27 am

      Thanks Melissa.

      I imagined that readers like you who came aboard later didn’t know why I used some French words and I wanted to write a little glossary.

      Billet is an interesting word because of it broad meanings.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. May 6, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Bon anniversaire, Emma! I wasn’t familiar with the word ‘bouquin’ so I’ve learnt something new today.


    • May 7, 2017 at 7:29 am

      Thanks Jacqui.

      “bouquin” is a word we use all the time.


  5. May 6, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Loved those useful French words. I’m silent reader Caroline from UK


    • May 7, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Hello Caroline, I’m happy to hear from you.
      I love putting a little French touch in my English. 🙂


  6. May 6, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Congratulations! I think my blog is around the same age. Connecting with other readers has also been a joy for me.


    • May 7, 2017 at 7:30 am

      Thanks. We live in a great reading community, it’s a great pleasure to discuss books with other readers.


  7. May 6, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    How I love your summary of French bookish terms! I was wondering why you used the term ‘billet’, but it is indeed much more evocative than ‘post’ or ‘review’, and I do have to think of billet doux, so it is the love of books which is the clear theme on your blog.
    Well, as you know, it has been a real pleasure reading your blog for the last few years and then meeting you in person, especially since we share a love of French literature as well as a despair at some Translation Crimes!
    Here’s to many more years of blogging and sharing your love of reading, without any formal constraints.


    • May 7, 2017 at 11:31 am

      I know, I think billet is really the right word for what I do. I don’t have enough of literary background to pretend writing reviews. I’m mostly writing my thoughts, with my filter.

      I loved our time at Quais du Polar, we had a lot of fun together.
      It’s been a pleasure to read your blog too. I hope you’ll keep writing it too.


  8. May 6, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Seven years… it doesn’t seem possible.


    • May 7, 2017 at 7:31 am

      It sure reminds us we’re not getting any younger. 🙂


  9. May 7, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Salut et bon anniv! This is Anna from Australia. I just discovered your blog recently and I love reading your billets. I’m always on the lookout for good French/francophone literature, and I have added quite a few of your suggestions to my TBR. 😊😊


    • May 7, 2017 at 7:35 am

      Salut Anna! Good to hear from you.

      I’m happy my blog brought you new reading ideas. Which ones caught you attention?

      We have something in common: we both have an avatar coming from a BD series.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 8, 2017 at 1:35 am

        I really want to read Eldorado after reading your review!


        • May 8, 2017 at 7:18 am

          I’ve recommended it to a colleague and she says it’s beautiful. Let me know what you think about it.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. May 7, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Bon anniversaire! I’ve mostly been lurking on book blogs lately rather than actively commenting, but I really enjoy your posts. To the next seven years!


  11. May 7, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Congrats on 7 years, Emma, and thanks for introducing me to some new French words. I always wondered why you used the word “billet” and now I not only know why I also know how to pronounce it 😊


    • May 7, 2017 at 11:21 am

      I guessed not everyone knew why I always use the word billet. Is there an English equivalent? French bloggers also use the word “chronique”.


  12. May 8, 2017 at 7:17 am

    I was not wondering about “billet” since I have been reading you since the beginning!

    Congratulations on the long run of writing. In the last two or three years, especially, you have written a lot of terrific stuff.


  13. May 8, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Congratulations. My 7th is upcoming as well. I’ve never wrote about any before but I feel like seven deserves it.


    • May 8, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks Caroline. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on your seven years of blogging.


      • May 8, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        It also means that we have “known” each other for seven years as you were one of the first blogs I commented on. I’m glad you’re still enjoying your blog so much.


        • May 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm

          Yes, exactly. You were one of my first followers with Max & Guy. The three of you are still there, I must be doing something right 🙂


  14. May 9, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Fantastic, congratulations Emma. How time passes!
    I see so many books here I don’t see elsewhere, not to mention your “specials” on art, festivals, places and theatre. I am in awe of your multi-tasking and dedication….


    • May 9, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Ian, thanks a lot for your kind words.
      I’m glad you enjoy the specials as well, I always wonder how other people could be interested in this.


  15. May 10, 2017 at 11:39 am

    En parlant d’utiliser des mots dans d’autres langues, j’aime bien blogiversary. Joyeux Blogiversary!


    • May 10, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      J’aime bien les mots-valise et blogiversary en est un super.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. May 24, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Ah, blogs grow up so fast these days. I remember when you were an unruly newborn. Before I know it, you’ll be going to college 🙂 Bon blogiversaire!


    • May 24, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Well I get to be an angry teenager first 😉 thanks for the good wishes.


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