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In my grandmother’s room, the books were lying down; she used to borrow them from the lending library and I never saw more than two at a time. These trashy works reminded me of New Year sweetmeats because their shiny flexible covers seemed to be cut out of glazed paper. Bright, white, almost new, they served as an excuse for petty mysteries.

Each Friday, my grandmother would get dressed to go out and say: ‘I’m going to take them back’; when she returned, and had taken off her black hat and veil, she would take them out of her muff and I would wonder, mystified: ‘Are they the same ones?’ She used to ‘cover’ them carefully and then, having chosen one, she would settle herself by the window, in her winged armchair, put on her spectacles, sigh with pleasure and weariness, and lower her eyelids with a delicately voluptuous smile which I have since discovered on the lips of the Mona Lisa.

Jean-Paul Satre, Words (1964).

I, too wonder, what dear old granny Satre might be reading that can elicit such pleasure and contentment, and not to mention the ‘voluptuous Mona Lisa smile’? 😉

And what about you, dear readers? When was the last time you caught yourself settling down with a book, with such visible pleasure? And what might that book be, if I may ask?

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8 thoughts on “Friday Feature : On A Frenchwoman & Her Books

  1. I believe the answers to your questions would be “this morning” and “Sheila Pim’s Common or Garden Crime”–I just discovered her, and I am loving this book! It’s a very cozy story (despite the murder!) and I can hardly tear myself away.

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  2. Probably the last book I read which was ‘Prodigal Summer’ by Barbara Kingsolver. BUt I think I get this feeling often after a long slow read, one that might have taken a couple of weeks, that next book is always one I choose that I know won’t take so long and should be a guaranteed pleasure. Have you read Ray Bradbury’s short story ‘The Smile’? I recommend it.

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    1. No, I have not read any of Ray Bradbury’s works so far but I do have a keen interest in short stories. Will definitely keep an eye out for ‘The Smile’. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

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  3. My dog loves to sit outside and watch the world go by in the evening, and last night the weather was fine enough for us to finish our walk in the park. She settled for a good half an hour and I read a good bit of The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart.

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    1. That sounds like a blissful way to spend an evening. I have a copy of The Ivy Tree too, but yet to read. How are you enjoying it?
      By the way, I had always thought that Briar was a he. Sorry for the mistake! 🙂

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      1. Briar has a good Jack Russell friend of the same name who is a he, so the mistake is very understandable. The Ivy Tree is lovely, but a book for relaxed, uncritical reading rather than close analysis.

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