Thursday, December 1, 2011

Books & Bookstores

In an earlier entry we talked about our cooking class with Lalla. At the end of that evening she told us that she was catering an event the next night for the grand opening of a new bookstore and invited us to come.  When we arrived we found throngs of people both outside and inside the store.  It was obviously a big social event, and there was free food and Prosecco for anyone who happened by.  Despite the fact that we were clearly not part of the “in” crowd, we mustered the courage to step into the throng and help ourselves to the food and drink, and then Henry pushed his way into the store.  (We all know what a pushy guy Henry is!) Inside he found a copy of a book we have been searching for since we arrived.  It’s a book we used in our Italian lessons before we left Seattle.  We really enjoyed it and wanted to have our own copy.  Finally finding it was a cause for celebration.

Panchine is the word for benches and the essays are about sitting on benches and enjoying the world as it goes by.  This is a practice we have yet to perfect on this Italian adventure.  Till now we’ve been too busy!

Henry has been amazed over the last three weeks to see how many bookstores there are here, at least 8, including two large outdoor used book stalls, in a town of 100,000 people.  Despite the fact that this new store is part of a chain of stores, seeing such excitement over the opening of a bookstore makes Henry more than a little sad and wistful about the closing of Fremont Place Books.

Only a couple of days later Henry’s passion for books was excited again when he found the local independent bookstore called Il Viaggiatore Immaginario (The Imaginary Traveller).

He’d looked in the window a few times and saw that the selection was a lot like what he had in Fremont.  When he finally went in to order a book, he met the owner and mentioned that he was a former bookstore owner himself.  This prompted the owner to start talking about his bookstore and the book business in Italy.  All the while Henry wished he knew the language better so that he could have a more fulfilling discussion and it reinforced his commitment to improving his Italian.  Now that Henry has visited the store several times and made several purchases, he’s decided to stop in to volunteer his help during the busy month of December.  For sure the prospect is bittersweet.

"I was hoping to get books."

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