A May 1st Bookish Mishmash

I’d promised I’d be around here a lot more now that I spend most of my days at home, close to my bookshelf. Instead of boring you with strollers, nappies etc., I’ll just sum up a few literary snippets:


After much hesitation, I eventually bought Virginia Woolf’s teenager diary in the new French reissue! The complete diary was more than 1500 pages, I somehow got scared when I had it in hand. The teenager diary (published in English as A Passionate Apprentice) is already 500 pages long, I guess it’s enough for a start. It runs from 1897 (when VW was 15) until 1909. I read the 2 introductions, one by French author and biographer Genevieve Brisac, one for the English original version by Mitchell Leaska. Apparently the diary evolves from the daily account of activities to a kind of daily practice of writing skills, as VW hones her observation and style to prepare for her future career as a professional writer (she starts being published in 1904). I won’t quote the diary itself as it’s the French translation but I’ll try to write updates of my progress.


Speaking of buying books, I was in a kind of quandary there. One of my plans this year is to patronize local shops (as more and more indie bookshops close down) even though the price is 5% higher and try to avoid big chains (my being slightly claustrophobic in these places really helps). Yet the said indie bookshops in my neighborhood are all managed by gruff old men who suspiciously peer at any customer through half-moon spectacles, keep their shop in a complete mess so you can’t browse or find anything… and they hadn’t received VW’s diaries long after all the big chains got piles of them. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your spirit of goodwill! I’d like to hear about your experience with weird indie booksellers.


I requested via Bookmooch Kate Walbert’s Gardens of Kyoto, because I have fond memories of her short story Playdate and Anita Shreve’s Fortunes Rocks, warmly recommended by Courtney. It may take some weeks before I do get them, but I’m looking forward to reading more of these great authors.


I also ordered Kate’s collection of short stories: All in together girls! Alright, I got it through Amazon and it’s not a local bookshop, but do you seriously think that grumpy old Parisian booksellers with half-moon spectacles have Canadian short stories? They probably never heard of blogs either…


And last but not least, I joined the Literate Kitten weekly writing challenge: ‘Fess up Friday. As long as the baby isn’t here yet, I have no excuse not to write all the fabulous stories (alright, maybe not all so fabulous) that clutter my brain.


Happy May 1st to all those who have the day off (and those who don’t, of course)!


One thought on “A May 1st Bookish Mishmash

  1. That early diary of Woolf’s sounds very interesting! I’d love to get a sense of her development from a teenager. I’m trying to patronize my local bookshops too, although mine are all used bookstores, so it’s only hit or miss with what they have. The owners are nice, though, so I’m in luck there!

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