the perfect vacation read for a lover of books.

New York City Schools take a February break the week of President’s Day.  Obviously, this is a huge perk of my job.  I didn’t plan anything, really, for the week and it turned out perfectly: hiking upstate twice (once by train, once by car, both poetic in their own ways) with great, old friends, pancakes at Maggie’s Krooked Cafe (the best pancakes in the world that I usually only get once a year in the fall), an amazing driving soundtrack, baking a Guinness cake with Bailey’s icing, making dinner for one of my best friends who happened to be in town for work, finally getting to Tom’s for brunch.  Sigh. And, of course, a lot of time reading.

{a February Friday, on vacation, midday}

I spent a the past few days getting lost in A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse, which turned out to be the best vacation book ever, meaning it was a sheer joy to read–though not what I would call saccharine.  It is about a man and woman who meet by chance in a French mountain town, discover their mutual passion for literature and open a bookstore in Paris that only sells good novels.   This book was thoroughly readable and a celebration of literature as art, igniting passion in all those involved.  I felt as though the characters were my friends and I am left with the sadness that their story has ended.  I will leave you with this, from page 279:

We want books that cost their authors a great deal, books where you can feel the years of work, the backache, the writer’s block, the author’s panic at the thought that he might be lost: his discouragement, his courage, his anguish, his stubbornness, the risk of failure that he has taken.  We want splendid books, books that immerse us in the splendor of reality and keep us there; books that prove to us that love is at work in the world right next to evil, right up against it, at times indistinctly, and that it will always be, just the way that suffering will always ravage hearts. We want good novels.” 

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