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“I love Paris with mawkish tenderness.” #ParisInJuly

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Knowing how busy July was likely to be, I think I may have been overly optimistic in my end of June post; I should have realised that I would be struggling to get to all the reading events and would just end up going for comforting reads or following my reading muse! I *have* managed to read one book for Spanish and Portuguese Lit Month, though I haven’t got very far with my many Parisian books for Paris in July. However, I”ve not completely failed with that one, as I’ve been dipping into a lovely poetry collection during the month, and it’s turned out to be a real joy.

The book is an Everyman Library Pocket Poets edition, “Poems of Paris” and I picked it up at the start of the year, from Bookshop.org; I have a couple of books in the Everyman series, and they’re beautifully produced little hardback collections which are a pleasure to read (I definitely have a Baudelaire and a Russian collection!)

I know Pound can be a bit dodgy, but I find these two lines very evocative…

As with my Russian volume, this is divided into sections, and features a really dazzling array of poets. There are French writers, in translation: Baudelaire, Verlaine, Soupault, Prevert, Villon, Breton, Mallarme, Gerard de Nerval – well, I could go on listing them, but my goodness what a lot of stellar talent. Then there are the visitors, the exiles who passed through or stayed in the City of Light or those who left their hearts there – ranging from Wilde, Pound, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Elizabeth Bishop and Langston Hughes, to poets like Henri Cole, whose work speaks so eloquently of Paris.

Another short but effective verse, this time from Langston Hughes, some whose work I really want to explore more…

“Poems of Paris” succeeds in being a joy to read on so many levels; it’s a lovely object in its own right, a gorgeous little hardback that sits easily in the hand, with the poems printed on creamy paper and with a ribbon bookmark bound in. But most importantly, the contents are stunning; the works selected roam far and wide over the city in all its guises and over centuries. Whether exploring the ‘Food and Drink’ of Paris, ‘Tourists’ and their viewpoints, ‘The Arts’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Love’ or many other aspects, the poetry selected is moving, evocative and often unforgettable.

A beautiful work by Osip Mandelstam

I’m trying to pace myself with this anthology as it’s so enjoyable, so I won’t finish it before the end of July, but it’s keeping me daily company and I’m loving it. So I’ve shared some images of a few of my favourites (which you may need to click to see a bigger version), although it was hard to choose; and if you want a selection of verse that really gets to the heart of Paris, I can highly recommend this book!!

Finding books in Pound shops…

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Since stumbling upon books by Doris Lessing and about Rebecca West in the local pound shops, I’ve been keeping an eye on stocks locally in case anything else interesting turned up. I certainly felt the need of some (cheap!) retail therapy yesterday, after Friday’s news, and so I did the full round of the three Poundlands and one Poundworld we have locally – if nothing else I could pick up some nice stationery and craft items to distract me. However, in the Poundworld I found a single solitary copy of this:

vermes

I read Vermes wonderful and troubling book in a library copy, so to find a hardback edition for £1 was not to be sneezed at – though with all the xenophobia floating around at the moment, I don’t think I can face a re-read for a while. However, the find *did* set me thinking about whether it would be possible to read only books from Pound shops… I think it would be possible, though difficult, and only if the stock changed frequently enough. There have been books I’ve considered picking up over recent weeks but haven’t, because I’m trying to clear books from the house not amass too many more. But should things continue to go financially awry in the country, I could at least make do with cheap books and the library…

And of course the charity shops. A nip into the Oxfam turned up these two lovelies this weekend:

mandel berger

Berger is a fairly recent discovery for me, and he’s not an author whose work I’ve come across in the charity shops before – and G. was only £1 so it would have been churlish to ignore it. As for “Hope Abandoned”, I’ve had Mandelstam’s two books on my wishlist for absolutely donkey’s years; so even though it’s the second one of the two, I wasn’t going to pass it up. Of course, now I’ll just have to look for the first one online somewhere…. 🙂

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