Librarie (And an Excerpt From the First Draft)

Librarie des Alpes

“What are you going to read now?”

“Something with words,” Mirette said, smiling.

“Can you imagine if that’s how discerning I was in selecting art? ‘Something with paint.’ Though to be honest I think that’s how some galleries are doing it these days,” Sylvie said, sipping at her coffee. Her lipstick left a red semi-circle on the outside of the cup. “Why are you walking all that way? There are bookshops on this side of the river. Christ, there’s one next door.”

There was, it was true, no shortage of bookstores of varying sizes and inventories closer than crossing a bridge, into a different neighborhood[…]The bookshop a few doors away was painted a brilliant shade of blue, narrow inside, with books stacked to the ceiling in teetering, uneven stacks, with no immediately identifiable system of organization. The owner was a sweet older man who wore big sweaters and kept the door open year round (there seemed to be a cause and effect at play there), and had a sleeping cat in the window –it might have been taxidermied, Mirette thought one day; she’d never seen it move. Tiny bookstores and the challenges they presented –if she happened to be searching for a specific title and not just browsing for the sake of it, content to soak up the dusty, old book smell and the hushed, contemplative quiet that was inevitably shoved into the back corners of each small shop– were one of her greatest joys. Like museums, bookstores were reverential, a place of endless promise and potential, only they had the added benefit of rarely being crowded with tourists wielding giant cameras. She also appreciated that in bookstores, touching wasn’t against the rules. There were no shin-height barriers keeping you away from the books, no guards finger-wagging at you when you leaned too close; you were encouraged to pick up, to touch, to flip through (to sniff, even, as Mirette loved to do in the used bookstores. The smoky paper smell was almost too heady for her to take in without feeling dizzy and nostalgic for every place that particular volume had traveled, how many bedside tables it had rested on, how many shelves). It was a deliciously tactile and sensory event for her, going to bookstores, and she knew how strange that must make her seem.

I’m writing a novel. You can read more about that here.

28 thoughts on “Librarie (And an Excerpt From the First Draft)

  1. erin: this is delicious, a savory aperatif! i love your descriptions that are so vivid, i can almost feel and smell the inside of that bookshop. you are on a wonderful track and will be happy to read your book one day.

    1. Merci, Lucinda! I’ll take any compliment that includes the word “savory.” You are so sweet! I’ll set aside a copy for you when the day comes. xoxo

  2. i love the photo that accompanies this scene. i love teetering bookstores and smelling the dusty, the new and the in between pages in books too, so mirette doesn’t seem strange to me at all.

    exciting!! can’t wait for more. xoxo

  3. What do I say? And not sound…… Well, not sound classy and intelligent enough.

    OK, I’m me. So I will simply say, that I enjoyed this peek. I want to know more, about these people. I want to view their lives, through their eyes. All of which, I will be able to do, when your book is published!

    And gorgeous photo!!!

    Thank you.

    1. Oh Tessa, hush, you could only ever sound intelligent! But you are so sweet and encouraging. Thank you so much!! xo

    1. Okay, okay, get all the “bride” stuff in while you can. In 10 days I’ll be a wife and no one makes that a cutesy saying.

      But thank you :) xo

    1. Haha, well that makes two of us, Erika! And unfortunately, the “whole” thing is a bit elusive for me. xo

    1. Gah, that would be a dream come true, to have it turned into a real, printed book. One day! Thank you, Char. xo

  4. absolutely lovely. i really felt i was there for every word. and i’m not just saying that – you’re great. and it helps that i can (can’t we all?) totally relate to this character and her love of books.

  5. Smelling used bookstores – completely something I share with Mirette, although I may be more surreptitious about it. Can’t wait to read more Erin!

  6. 1. Your writing is extraordinary!
    2. The bookstore’s name is Librarie des Alpes, but it should be renamed heaven on earth. I can’t imagine what the rest of the store looks like if that’s just the entrance. I adore the quaint mishmash.
    3. Your book can’t get here fast enough.

    1. 1. Thank you so much!!
      2. Girl, you haven’t even seen the half of it. This bookstore is quaint, sure. But there are others that blow this one out of the water. I didn’t think it was possible either!
      3. Man, tell me about it! If you see my inspiration anywhere, tell it to pay me a visit, will you? ;) xo

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