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Bookish news in my small world

January 26, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

Over the last few weeks, I have gathered miscellaneous bookish things I wanted to share with you. They caught my attention during my daily life activities and stayed with me.

Literary events

Angouleme BD festival

This weekend is the Festival de Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême. It’s the 46th edition of this festival dedicated to BD, a French acronym that covers comics, graphic novels, manga… The Grand Prix of the Angoulême festival has been awarded to Rumiko Takahashi, the Japanese author of mangas. Did you know that France is the second market in the world for mangas? (After Japan, of course) 18 million of mangas were sold in France in 2017 and it represents 38% of the BD sales in France. We are unique in the Western world for this and it started with my generation. We watched manga cartoons on TV and we were hooked.

 Fête du Livre de Bron – a festival for contemporary literature.

It’s organized from March 6th to 10th, 2019. Oliver Gallmeister will give a lecture, Nature Writing, une tradition anglo-saxonne. I hope I can attend this as I’m curious to hear this wonderful publisher of American literature.

Quais du Polar – March 29th – March 31st.

I have my subscription to Quais du Polar! Nordic Crime will be celebrate during the 15th edition of this cime fiction festival. I received my badge, my two free books and now I need to browse through the writers that will be invited and see if I have one of their book on the shelf already.


Good news! Il reste la poussière by Sandrine Collette is now translated into English. It’s published by Europa Editions and it’s entitled Nothing But Dust. See Claire’s review here.

Other great news, La Daronne by Hannelore Cayre will be available in English in September. It will be The Godmother, in a Coppola sense, not the Disney one. It will be published by Old Street Publishing.

I also stumbled upon a German translation of Un certain M. Piekielny by François-Henri Désérable. I hope it’ll make it into English one of these days.

Economy and Literature.

When literature takes interest in economy and vice versa.

I’ve started to read the number 79 of the magazine L’Economie politique as it is about literature and economy and how the two interacts. Some articles are more difficult than others, I’m not done yet. I didn’t know that Robinson Crusoe was used in economy theories. I enjoyed the article about writers and the literature and book market. I’m looking forward to reading the one about economy and Zola.

I’m not going to post a billet about it. Sometimes I struggle to understand the content in French, so writing a summary of it in English is insuperable.

When the French tax law for 2019 favors independent bookstores.

When browsing through the tax changes voted last December, I stumbled upon an article about new tax exemptions for independent bookstores. Chain stores are not in the scope of this law and I’m happy our deputies voted texts to protect our network of independent bookstores.


America – A French magazine

America is a magazine founded by François Busnel and Eric Fottorino. It started when Trump was elected as president and it is meant to last the four years of his presidency. Each magazine has a theme to make us discover America. François Busnel is best known in France as the presenter of the weekly literary live TV show La Grande Librairie. It’s a famous TV program in France, one that managed to gather 841 000 viewers on December 11, 2018 and keeps getting high ratings for that kind of show.

America includes long interviews of writers, reportages by French and American writers, a chronology of events in Trump’s America, beautiful illustrations and pictures. It’s a gorgeous magazine, the right mix of long articles and news in brief, of contemporary writers and older ones, of literature, cinema and TV.

This quarter’s number is about race in America, it opens with a poem by Maya Angelou and includes a long interview by Russel Banks, a text by James Baldwin and other reportages and interviews.

Silence, on lit!

Quiet! We’re reading, that’s the meaning of Silence! On lit. It’s a charity devoted to developing reading in schools. The idea is simple: everyday students read at the same time during 15 minutes. The middle schools (collèges) have arranged their schedule around this new reading time. Any reading material is allowed: books, magazines, BDs…Anything. The whole school gets quiet during 15 minutes as all the students in all the classrooms are reading what they chose to read. The repetition helps improving at reading. It’s a real success where it’s implemented. New readers emerged and for the others, it’s a quiet time to settle down after other activities and be ready to learn something else after.

It’s a charity, and of course, they need money to buy more books for school libraries because they need a bigger stock of books if all the students read at the same time and want to borrow something from the library. I like their idea a lot, because 15 minutes is not long and I think that their small steps approach is interesting and takes reading down from its pedestal of intellectual activity.

Libraries Without Borders

Libraries Without Borders is a French charity whose aim is to help alphabetization and promote access to culture and education through libraries. They work locally in 30 countries.

In France, they were recently involved in La nuit de la lecture. (Reading night). Libraries Without Borders gave book bags to a group of migrant children. French children from Alsace prepared personalized book bags for each child, as a welcome to France and the French language gift. For my Australian readers, have a look at what they do for Aboriginal communities. (Here)

Why this billet? you might ask

I know there are tons of initiatives to foster reading, to improve literacy or to build bridges between communities. There are also tons of book festivals everywhere in France. All the events, actions and news I shared are just drops in this ocean of literary-oriented activities. But they were the drops that brightened the world news I heard every day.

  1. Marina Sofia
    January 26, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Ah, some lovely news to counteract a rather grim week, both personally and politically.


    • January 27, 2019 at 9:26 am

      Pointing out comforting things was also my intention, to focus a bit on positive events and news.


  2. January 26, 2019 at 11:23 am

    I used to do what we called USSR – Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading with all my classes when I was a classroom teacher. I would start the year with kids who couldn’t settle down with a book for any time at all, and we would build up to half an hour. The rule was that (obviously) they couldn’t speak, that I would read too, and that they could not get up out of their seats to change a book (a great time-wasting strategy that’s a disruption to everyone else as well) So they soon learned that if they chose something short, they just had to read it over and over again. All my students made great progress in reading, always:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 27, 2019 at 9:29 am

      That’s great, your students must have loved it. I’m not surprised to hear it works.

      Imagine doing that in a whole school, not only in English (for us French) class and everyone at the same time.


      • January 27, 2019 at 9:43 am

        Yes, that was the idea here too. In some schools it’s called DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) and the whole school does it at a scheduled time.


        • January 27, 2019 at 9:47 am

          I love the DEAR acronym, it’s great.
          I wish DEAR had been scheduled in my children’s schools. They might be readers by now… We’ve started it at home.


          • January 27, 2019 at 9:53 am

            One of its important aspects is that the adults are reading too. It’s especially important for boys because they don’t often see male role models reading, and tend to think that reading is something that girls and women do.


  3. January 26, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Why this billet? Because we enjoy reading you on the subject of reading. And three cheers for Libraries without borders. Getting children anywhere to read when their parents don’t is a major ongoing struggle. With the advent of speech-driven computing we could easily end up with a situation where only a privileged minority read (a bit like now really).


    • January 27, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Thanks, Bill.

      And yes, cheers for Libraries without borders and also Silence on Lit. They work in the same direction, only with different paths.


  4. January 26, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    A lovely post Emma – thank you for sharing. Bookish news is always welcome!


    • January 27, 2019 at 9:32 am

      Thanks! Yes, they are welcome and soothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. January 26, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    What exciting events you brought to our attention! I would also like to mention something I found out this week, although it is not French, and perhaps you already are aware. Boekenweek is a literature event running ten days in the Netherlands and Belgium with an emphasis on Dutch books (from March 23-31). I plan on reviewing, and hosting three give-aways, during that time as Dutch authors are not terribly familiar to me.


    • January 27, 2019 at 9:45 am

      I didn’t know about Boekenweek, I’m not very familiar with Dutch literature. I do recommend the classic Max Havelaar by Multatuli, very educational.

      The Diner by Herman Koch is totally different but worth reading. (it’s creepy) And of course, there’s Cees Noteboom.


      • January 27, 2019 at 1:33 pm

        I will never forget The Dinner! I liked it much bettee than his later book, The Swimming Pool. Thanks for the recommendation kf Max Havelaar, whom I do not know.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. January 26, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks for linking to my review of Nothing But Dust and for sharing all the fabulous news and literary events coming up!


    • January 27, 2019 at 9:39 am

      You’re welcome, I hope it will get Sandrine Collette more readers. If only one person buys her book after your review and my reminder, I think our job is done 🙂
      I’m looking forward to the literary festivals in Lyon. I’d like to go to the Paris Book fair,

      Liked by 1 person

  7. January 27, 2019 at 4:00 am

    Thanks for all these great news!


    • January 27, 2019 at 9:48 am

      You’re welcome.
      Un peu de douceur dans ce monde de brutes. 🙂


  8. January 28, 2019 at 12:20 am

    Such a nice list of events to look forward to! A bit far for me but we did have a Budapest version of the Angouleme BD festival in Budapest last Saturday. It was called Angouleme sur Danube! Comics are not at all as developed in Hungary as in France.
    I’m really interested in that magazine on literature and economics, I think my local library might even have a subscription so I’ll look it up, thanks for mentioning it.
    I love Lisa’s USSR, both the idea and the acronym.


    • January 28, 2019 at 10:37 pm

      I imagine it’s a bit far for you.
      French readers really have a thing for BDs, don’t they?
      You really have a lot of reading material in French at your library. I’m amazed at what you can find there.


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