Some time ago Vicky Archer, Australian author and blogger of this wonderful and provençal blog, spoke about the new ways of buying and consuming books. I have been confronted with these questions since my farther passed away last november. My farther, a great lover of books and reading, had constituted during his whole lifetime a magnificent and very varying library. His tastes were ecclectic and he never missed a chance to look at, consult and buy books, wherever he went. His library is not an investment though he had some old books, but a passion reflecting all his interests.
In my family's present conditions I might not be able to keep the appartement in Finland housing the collection and living abroad I don't think I can take all the books with me. So, though it brakes my heart to give the books away, in preparation for it I contacted a nice, young guy from the Finnish Bibliophiles' Society. He kindly offered to survey the collection and take to their yearly auction those books he felt would arrouse most interest. At least in that way they will go on living their lives, loved in somebody else's library. But for that reason I need now to take a look myself of the collection first to put aside those I want absolutely to keep. Quel chantier!
Talking with this young man we came to discuss the multiplicity of books in our lives. He told me his bold opinion that some books were better burned than kept since we had all the time more and more books, but less and less of them were really of value. An idea that first horrified me since I have been brought up in the love, nay, the adoration of books and have started a kind of collection myself, in a small way. I have been living for a long time in suitcases, moving here and there which has held back my collecting, since now and then I have been forced to give books away.
But this conversation and later Vicky's post started me thinking this dilemma and the new ways we have of acquering and reading books: e-books, internet bookshops and such. I have to admit that in the books we all posses, me, my parents and my daughter there are many of those which in some time will have no interest: travel books with old data and no beauty values, cheap paperbacks of more perishable literary value, school books and such. Thinking about the weight of all those books I would like to keep for informative reasons but without any artistic merit I started to think that in the end having such books that one reads just once or needs for their information only would be so much better in a digital form. But there will allways be - at least I hope - a lot of books that we love to look at, browse, smell the pages, wonder at their images and keep to return to them over and over again.
It is evident that these new developpements will have a profound impact on the book industry and the bookshops. I am one of those who love to spend my time in bookshops and leave much too often - considering my purse, my reading time and my frustration caused by all those not yet read books - with a few more new books in the bag. I really hope that the bookshops find a way of not only surviving this bend but better yet finding a new way of flourishing, nursing our curiosity, quest for knowledge and love of books. I wouldn't want to loose the pleasure of visiting old favorite bookshops and discovering new ones.
Some of my favorite bookshops:
the name of the one in London, the oldest I think, I can't remember but I loved its stairs and old woodwork and when visiting I kept thinking that my farther had preceded me there;
in Helsinki : Akateeminen kirjakauppa, the biggest and housing also a nice cafe in the second floor, called after the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto;
in Aix-en-Provence: the English bookshop, Book in Bar, for the books of course but also for their tea corner;
in Arles: La librairie Actes Sud, they are also publishers, but they keep a very well stocked bookshop,
and Harmonia Mundi, who also sell music.
in Nyons: Librairie de L'Olivier, a good stock of regional books.
In memory of my farther, Armas Aarre Savelius,
an eternal book lover
J'ai écrit ce petit texte en mémoire de mon père, Armas Aarre Savelius, un amourex des livres, décédé en novembre dernier.
J'ai hérité de mon père une collection magnifique de livres. Malheureusement, puisque je ne pourrais peut-être pas garder l'appartement finlandais qui abrite ses livres, je dois me resoudre à me séparer d'une partie. En vue de trouver à ses livres une nouvelle maison et des nouveaux amoureux de livres j'ai rencontré un gentil jeune homme de la Société finlandaise des bibliophiles qui s'est chargé de revoir la bibliothèque de mon père et d'emmener aux enchères annuelles de la Sociéte les livres qui attireront le plus des intéressés. Je dois donc passer du temps maintenant à voir les livres de mon père pour me décider lesquels je veux absolument garder. Quel chantier!
C'est en discutant avec ce jeune homme et plus tard en lisant ce blog de la fameuse auteure et bloggeuse australiènne, Vicky Archer, sur les nouvelles formes d'acquerir et de consommer les livres que j'ai commencé moi-même à réflechir sur la question. Le jeune homme s'est déclaré pour des bûchers de livres, une idée au départ révoltante pour qui, comme moi, a été élevée dans l'adoration des livres. Mais en y réflechissant je reconnaîs que ma famille - moi, ma fille, mes parents - possède beaucoup de livres dont l'intérêt à long terme est minime. Et tous ces livres que je ne lis qu'une fois où que je veux garder uniquement pour leur contenu informatif, ce serait tellement moins lourd de les avoir en format digital!
En même temps je me confesse d'être une amoureuse des librairies. J'adore regarder, toucher, sentir les livres, m'émerveiller devant les belles illustrations et je pars bien trop souvent - vue les limites de ma bourse, mon temps et ma frustration devant les livres toujours pas lus - avec encore de nouveaux bouquins. J'espère donc que les librairies trouveront de nouvelles façons de survivre ce changement radical de l'industrie de livres et surtout de cultiver notre amour des livres. La visite des librairies est un plaisir que je ne voudrais pas perdre.