Cotentin, Normandy, France: this is the region where my family is from and where I’ve been for two weeks this August. The tower in the picture is called the “Tour Vauban” (Vauban Tower) after the name of its architect. It was build in 1694 to protect the bay you can guess behind. Today, there is a trail on the walls around the tower with the sea on one side and the fort moat on the other. I used to do this walk every year when I was a child. I just love it so I thought I would share this photo with you!
Also, one of the things I did during this trip, along with visiting family and friends and eating way too much delicious seafood, is rush into every single bookstore I could find. Oh my, I had missed french bookstores! In the small town where we stayed, there was this tiny two-rooms bookstore. The shelves were literally bursting out with books, from floor to ceiling. The owner was hidden behind piles of books on his counter. It was the cutest shop ever!
Furthermore, books are not expansive in France, as long as you get what’s called “pocket book”, the rough equivalent of mass-market paperback (although French “pocket books” come in better quality, I find, than North American mass-market paperbacks). Since almost every fiction book is published in this format at some point, you can always buy them for a few euros. Look at this!
- Cinq Semaines en Ballon and Le Tour du Monde en 80 Jours by Jules Vernes: I collect Jules Verne’s novels in this red cover edition. I love it because it contains drawings the book was originally published with!
- Ceux qui sauront, Ceux qui Rêvent, and Ceux qui Osent by Pierre Bordage: remember him? I reviewed Pierre Bordage’s Porteur d’Âme for the Science-Fiction and Fantasy World Tour. This is an alternate history trilogy in which the French revolution failed.
- Faute d’identité, by Michka Assayas: already read this one since I’m back. The author tells the story of how the French administration gave him a hard time getting a new passport because both his parents were born abroad. I guess there would be no book had he been more careful with his papers (he had lost the proof showing his parents had became french citizens). Anyway, the book was more about him bragging about himself and I found it pretty boring.
- Longues Peine by Jean Teulé: actually, this one was bought by my Beloved. It’s by the author of The Suicide Shop, which was made into a (great) animation movie.
- Les identités meurtrières by Amin Maalouf: an essay about the concepts of identity and belonging, and how it sometimes lead to rejection of other cultures.
- La littérature pour ceux qui ont tout oublié (Literature for those who have forgotten everything): I am so glad I found this book! It’s been a while I have been wanting such a reference book. This one covers French literature from the Middle-Age up to our time, with some insights on each century’s most remarquable events, art movements, major authors and works.
After coming back, I had some hard time to re-adjust. The jet lag hit me worse than usual. I felt lost and exhausted. I guess the trip was short, it’s always too short when it’s the only time in the year you can hug your family. But I’m back, and get ready for some good Canadian book reviews!