More filters. Sort order. Aug 25, karen rated it really liked it Shelves: books-about-books-about-books , distant-lands. 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. View all comments. Jul 12, Kelly rated it it was amazing Recommended to Kelly by: Elizabeth. Shelves: bibliophilia , fiction , owned , tres-francais , europa-editions , 21st-century , grande-dames.
I would like to say before I begin this review that I am a liar. Those five stars above are in many ways undeserved. They are certainly not given for any objective literary merit. They are not given for superior plotting darlings, you thought I was that blind? But when I finished this, I gave it five stars. I was going to change it after I got some distance from the book, but I decided against it.
Because of something Orhan Pamuk once wrote: "Sometimes I sensed that the books I read in rapid succession had set up some sort of murmur among themselves, transforming my head into an orchestra pit where different musical instruments sounded out, and I would realize that I could endure this life because of these musicales going on in my head. Cosse, though. In A Novel Bookstore she brings that quote to life, and shows me why I actually wrote it down, what I recognized about it. I recognized so much of myself: When Van and Francesca go to the police and it becomes clear that they can only relate the backstory they are about to tell the investigator as a fiction narrative, I smiled.
When our two protagonists start to make lists of their favorite books- oh, oh! That was the best! I loved it! Ivan or Oscar or Francesca would stop the plot and talk about the book they read last night, which would lead to someone else doing the same, and then a scene where a man comes in breathless, sleepless with exhaustion and simply must have the rest of the love letters that author X wrote to his mistress right this very minute. The plot, the world, their lives changed, paused, took a different course because of the books, even if their lives went back to their original path later.
But it just can't get any bigger, unless it is forced to. I used to walk down streets reading a book. I nearly always prioritize finishing a good book over anything else I have to do- to my own detriment on many an occasion. I am sorry, everyone. I really am!
Cosse celebrates this kind of reading. I love this book for many of the same reasons I loved Orlando. She understands and celebrates, and shines a kindly, soft light on people and a culture that can be cruel, selfish, childish, escapist, all of it. She admits it, but she tries to reach for all the complexity of it. Now, she is in no way as brilliant at this as Woolf was, neither in perception nor in writing, but I can see her intention, and there are moments… well, I explained those already. I want a whole book of stories that focus on each of the people who came to read there late at night and why, I want to follow them back out the door again.
I loved her writing for that, too. Francesca is a case in point here- we end up knowing what is going on with her, some of it. What the lady chooses to tell us. But beyond that, well, not only is it none of your goddamn business, but why would you want to know something that could only ruin a character? Could only ruin a narrative? Why is it important that every mystery is solved? She does the same thing with Anis, in a way. I loved how Cosse was able to show the shifting of inner barriers from thick walls to diaphanous floating silk.
She created fragile moments that I winced to read where each of them exposed themselves and got smacked down. Either by themselves or by the undeserving man they showed a weakness to. I know a lot of women like this. I was able to the way that they withdrew, no matter how many times they wanted to move forward. I think Cosse was able to capture a truth here before she got over it at the end , about relationships vs. That could be about books too, I suppose. It probably is, too- in this novel one has to assume that.
Was this an old French conservative railing about Them Kids with their hair, and their music and especially their Twitter?
BOOK REVIEW: 'A Novel Bookstore'
Cosse should get absolute credit for that. I got lost in my own little world, just like the characters. Perhaps you can fault me for that. Perhaps Cosse was counting on that reaction to a certain extent. What can I say? You win. If at this point you are now inclined to read this book, I would only remind you that even though I thought some things were worth five stars, it was hardly all on that level. If you still read it and don't like it, well View all 23 comments. Oct 07, Richard Derus rated it it was amazing.
Real Rating: 4. Rebelling against the business of bestsellers and in search of an ideal place where their literary dreams can come true, Ivan and Francesca open a store where the passion for literature is given free reign. Tucked away in a corner of Paris, the store offers its clientele a selection of literary masterpieces chosen b Real Rating: 4. My Review : Well, okay, see, this is a French novel, and it's really, really hard for a Murrikin like me to disentangle what French novels are about, like what the author set out to do, because the French don't really have the same rules we Murrikins do for novel-writing.
So the rich lady does what rich people do best and unbelts with a big pile of gelt for the poor-but-smart dude to start this bookstore that will sell only novels, and only the best, the finest, the most ut of the lit'ry output of the planet, chosen by eight of the best French writers now writing. Hijinks ensue, which are frankly completely incredible in its literal sense , but are lots of fun. That's what it is. No more, no less, no different. So, in the end, the Philistine husband and the poor-but-smart dude part ways but the store must go on, and the book's narrator is revealed, though I have to say it's not a huge surprise, though I think it's intended that way.
See a Problem?
The end, happily ever after but sadder and wiser. I gave the book a generous 4. I'd recommend this book to all and sundry if only because of this passage, beautifully translated by the very talented Alison Anderson, on page of the Europa edition: Literature is a source of pleasure It must not be dissociated from reality. Everything is there. That is why I never use the word fiction. Every subtlety in life is material for a book Have you noticed Novels don't contain only exceptional situations, life or death choices, or major ordeals; there are also everyday difficulties, temptations, ordinary disappointments; and, in response, every human attitude, every type of behavior, from the finest to the most wretched.
There are books where, as you read, you wonder: What would I have done? It's a question you have to ask yourself. Listen carefully: it is a way to learn to live. There are grown-ups who will say no, literature is not life, that novels teach you nothing. They are wrong. Literature informs, instructs, it prepares you for life. If that passage rings you like the bell you wondered if you might be, then this book will speak to you and shape you a bit differently than you were before; if it seems tediously long, avoid this book like it's got herpes, because you'll hate it.
View all 9 comments. Jun 10, Greg rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-about-books , girls-girls-girls , europa , fiction. First things first, thank you so much, Elizabeth, for this book! I loved this book, and it wasn't just because I saw a little bit of Karen and myself and the ways we try to promote 'good' books over the onslaught of 'not-so-good' books. Of course we work in an evil corporate bookstore, but along with others at our particular evil corporate bookstore I think we do a fairly good job at fighting the good fight, so to speak.
Elizabeth already wrote an excellent review for this book, and it has the q First things first, thank you so much, Elizabeth, for this book! Elizabeth already wrote an excellent review for this book, and it has the quote I would use if I were going to review the book, so you should just go read her review. Instead of a review I'm going to share two of my favorite bookstores. This is my all-time favorite bookstore and sadly it's rare I ever get to visit it.
This is what it looks like: [image error] It is run by this man: He is quite knowledgeable about books and he eschews technology. When you buy a giant pile of books from him he will always add up the price of the order in his head and then afterwards check himself against a calculator. He's almost always correct, oh and while he's doing that he usually carries on a conversation with you about the books you have chosen to buy.
Out of all the bookstores I've ever gone to, this one is the closest to the one described in this novel. He only carries 'good' books. This is where I bought Infinite Jest! See he carries good books! The store isn't the largest used bookstore, it's actually a fairly small store, but there is no crap and all of the books are in great condition.
Oh, and the prices are pretty good too and each time you spend ten dollars at the store he gives you a purple dollar which is good for one dollar off another purchase, not that I think most customers need an incentive to return to this wonderful store. Here is what it looks like: And this is what the bookstore looks like from the inside with Asians, I've never personally seen any Asians in the store, but it's good to know that they weren't lynched by the hicks that live in the area.
He's super-friendly and has on more than one occasion stood on my back as I was kneeling over to look for books. What I love about this store is that some of the best stuff seems to turn up there.
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé: Fight Evil, Read a Book
The husband and wife that run the store have a good eye for picking up 'good' books even if they are not familiar with them. They also have a good selection of mass markets, all priced at one dollar. It's a great place to load up on not-so-good reading or to get cheap copies of just about any classic you can think of.
I love this bookstore and I try to visit it a few times every time I visit my parents. I think part of the greatness of this bookstore is that it is in an out of the way town so there isn't that much competition among book buyers to find the literary gems that pop up here. They also have a pretty awesome bathroom that has walls covered with advertisements for other used bookstores in the North East along with other 'bookish' things to peruse while you are doing your business.
View all 22 comments. Shelves: france , living-vicariously , books-for-book-lovers , favorites , europa-editions , not-your-typical-love-story. It is impossible not to love.
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If you are a lover of literature, bookstores, and well.. I was so pleased to see how contemporary it was. T "He is eager to deliver his letters rogatory, and is somewhat excited: a rather unusual matter, just imagine, the victim is literature. This only helped give the sense of how the main characters and bookstore founders , had such little intentions of creating a stir in the politics of the world how they were wrong! They thought that by opening a store that featured only "good novels" chosen by a secret commitee of contemporary [French] literary greats, they would create their own ideal bookstore.
However, the ramifications of their unexpected success turned the publishing world completely upside-down. Some direct results of their project, mirrored in the sales of the store and later slowly trickling outward, included out of print titles becoming increasingly popular, calling for reprints - and new titles from "pop" authors going largely unnoticed. This concept is incredibly interesting to me. Though I always favor printed books, I do own an ereader and occasionally stroll through the ebook sites for new reads.
Yes, I said it. Not all of it is, I'm sure. However, I can't help but wish there was some sort of "quality policing" out there. As much as editors can be fickle and miss out on some great works, I truly believe the filtering that is a major part of their jobs is a benefit to us fickle readers. I don't want to waste my time on garbage. There is simply not enough time in this world for me to read all of the Good Novels as it is. There is a quote that I am going to steal from Elizabeth's review that gives a great feel for the general theme of this novel and is a quote that so many can relate to: "We want necessary books, books we can read the day after the funeral, when we have no tears left from all our crying, when we can hardly stand for the pain; books that will be there like loved ones when we have tidied a dead child's room and copied out her secret notes to have them with us, always[ We have no time to waste on insignificant books, hollow books, books that are there to please.
We have no time for those sloppy, hurried books[ We want books that are written for those of us who doubt everything, who cry over the least little thing, who are startled by the slightest noise. ANY book that I have an inkling of interent in must pass the tests of the faithful Goodreads reviewers. The best part, however, is that I can get a feel from your tastes to gage how I will take your review. Someone with completely different interests as mine will not have a review that I take as seriously. This was my first reading of this novel and I was so completely absorbed that I couldn't possibly stop to note all of the titles that I wanted to look into or all of the quotes that I wanted to save.
In fact, I was completely surprised that more quotes weren't listed on the title's Goodreads page. This book definitely deserves a second reading. There is just so much to take out of it for us book lovers to devour. View all 5 comments. Jan 02, Jenny rated it it was ok. I don't know. I didn't get this book at all. Really, the plot is very simple: a wealthy woman and a bookseller decide to open a store called "The Good Novel" where they sell only, wait for it, good novels.
A Novel Bookstore Settles Down - Dispatches - Gustavo Arellano - Alta Online
This is supposed to be some kind of revolutionary movement that will change society for the better. Then they, and the famous authors who decide what constitutes a good novel, begin to be attacked. Because this store is so threatening. Also there are random love affairs. And then midway throug I don't know. And then midway through I realized I had no idea who the narrator of the book was because it switched from third to first person.
And all of this takes many, many more pages than you would think, and yet after I finished it all I had no idea what all those pages were doing. I also don't buy for a second that anyone would care if one snobby bookstore opened, and I found it irritating that the author seemed to have no awareness of cultural capital or hegemony or reception theory or any of the million critiques of the notion of a "good" piece of art. I don't think opening snotty canonical bookstores is a "movement" Occupy Barnes and Noble? But more importantly, I don't think anybody else on the whole planet would be threatened enough to physically harm someone who did open a snotty bookstore.
So the whole thing made no sense to me really. Maybe because it's a French novel? Maybe people in Paris really do have this kind of time and resources on their hands? Anyway, the book jacket describes it as being like an Agatha Christie novel and I suspect the person who wrote that blurb has never READ an Agatha Christie novel because the two things are in no way related. Also, wouldn't Agatha Christie be a little lowbrow for the snotty bookstore? Dec 14, Felice rated it it was ok. Part of the premise of this novel is that the bookstore of the title only stocks the best novels available.
All I need to tell you is that they would not stock A Novel Bookstore. View all 6 comments. Mar 05, Paula rated it liked it. Well,now, what to say about this literary non thriller set in Paris. Let's see, it has a terrific opening that led me to believe it would be a mystery about books and book lovers.
But that hope was dashed when the owners begin telling the tale of the Novel Bookstore to the police. Convoluted to say the least and really not all that riveting, but I was charmed by the idea of a bookstore devoted only to great literature. The problem being, of course, who is to decide what constitutes great. The ow Well,now, what to say about this literary non thriller set in Paris. The owners form a secret committee to create a list.
Why this need for secrecy eluded me. The store is a great success and problems begin. The writers and publishers who are not included get huffy. So huffy things become dangerous. Actually this sounds more interesting than it was. Too much detail, an uninteresting love story, and the "who dunnit" aspect is completely lost. In fact it gets tiresome. Books are discussed but not in a particularly compelling manner. I wanted better book talks, I guess. The idea of the book seems to be that people want a return to selective bookstores.
Many of us are tired of mega bookstores where you have to wade through tons of schlock to get to the good stuff. I love small bookstores where the stock indicates selectivity by the owners. I love whimsical displays suggesting "Here are some books you might like". Mega bookstores tend to overwhelm me by offering too much. So I congratulate Mme Cosse on the idea behind her book but wish her execution had been better. 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.
At its heart, however, A Novel Bookstore gives the reader an opportunity to reflect upon the process and purpose of reading. As you read this novel, you become part of The Good Novel's clientele - following Francesca and Ivan through the shop's establishment and feeling both the elation of their success and the pain of their victimisation. We want good novels. We want books that leave nothing out: neither human tragedy nor everyday wonders, books that bring fresh air to our lungs.
And even if there is only one such book per decade, even if there is only one Vies miniscules every ten years, that would be enough. We want nothing else. Running this blog has inevitably thrown up questions I have never thought to pose. I have done little to adapt my reading habits, believing that an honest reflection of the type and number of books I read is best. This is something I still maintain. Yet, The Book Habit has inevitably forced me to consider my literary habit more deeply.
Reading is something we take for granted - for me, it is as natural as breathing.
A Novel Bookstore is a novel that throws much-needed light back onto the importance of literature. Because what this blog has taught me to-date is that we often celebrate the impact of literature on human history and culture, at the expense of forgetting its impact on the human soul. Perhaps that is a grand claim but it is, in my experience, an accurate one. As The Good Novel grows in size and reputation, the centrality of reading as a means to overcome pain and celebrate joy becomes clear.
Francesca's use of literature to deal with the suicide of her daughter is perhaps the most poignant example. A Novel Bookstore reads as a love poem to literature. While my literary fire requires no stoking, I closed A Novel Bookstore having been reminded of exactly why it is that I turn to reading. He talked about it often. We hope to create and foster a space of diversity and inclusivity, and want to help our customers fall in love with books, either for the first time or the millionth.
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