Thursday, January 19, 2012

Books Books Books!

In my litterature class, as an introduction, our prof has been teaching us about how the literary world works in France.
Turns out, it is actually quite different than in Canada! Being a lover of books, I have found the first two classes very interesting. Basically, there are two different periods when books come out in France: September, and January. They also have slightly smaller entrances around Christmas for "les beaux livres" and June for summer/beach lit. Rather than stagger it throughout the year, all of the books get published at the same time. There is also a lot of importance placed on winning awards, such as the prestigious Goncours award, Prix d'academie Française,  and Feminine, to name a few. Similar to how critics create Oscar buzz around noteworthy movies, the same thing happens before books hit the shelves. So, if there is a book creating a buzz, everyone goes out and buys it! It is really very neat.
Another interesting note is the importance placed on small scale libraries. Now these aren't libraries in the sense of the english word; library is actually "bibliothèque" in French. A "librarie" is like a bookstore, except that the people who work in the bookstores, which are often local, are very knowledgeable about the books that they sell and are excellent at helping you choose what to buy. The libraries are protected by the "Loi Lang," a law whereby each book has a specific price as dictated by the publisher, that way big stores like Fnac (a combo of Chapters and Best Buy) can't sell their books super cheap and run the smaller libraries out of business.
Our prof recommended a few libraries to us, some of which we have already been to. One though was a children's librarie, so yesterday we decided to go on a little adventure to find it. We eventually did and spent a good 45 minutes in there perusing the selection. We found some great classics in French like "Guess how much I love you", "The Giving Tree", "Brothers' Grimm", and many more French language books. At one point I had about 6 books in my hand but I managed to narrow it down to just two...
Guess How Much I Love You

Le Petit Prince
These two made my final selection. "Guess how much I love you" because it is one of my favourite books, and "Le Petit Prince" because it is basically required reading if you understand French, and I have only read bits and pieces. I almost bought some of my favourite fairy tales (like Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel) and a book of short Quebec folk tales, but I managed to resist.
Overall I have really enjoyed learning about how books and the book market run over here. It will be hard to resist buying more books over here, but luckily I live in Canada (thanks Quebec!) and I have Amazon for the future (although don't tell the amazon thing to a bookstore owner...).
Oh yeah, and the librarie was called "Les Enfants Terribles" so I took a picture of my two friends at the board outside of it...
Terrible Children
Now, I think it is time to read!

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