Saturday, 19 July 2008

The bookseller of Ferney Voltaire

We whiled away time in our wonderful local bookshop this morning, you can visit the Librairie Central website here.
Of course we don't really need any more books but I had the excuse of a book token. It's a wonderful proper independant bookshop, (France has not yet abolished the equivalent of the joint book agreement which has seen the demise of so many independant bookshops in the UK - but even here changes are afoot) and it is run by the brilliant, cheerful, dynamic and incredibly well-read Anne. This morning while I was browsing in the back room she gave a gentle bravura performance, talking a customer looking for a summer read for a friend through 20 or 30 books.
She reads the books in her shop, she listens to customers' comments on what they're reading and she puts people in touch with one another. Once a month she organizes a café littéraire for local authors and readers. The favourite is always "livre sous le bras" - bring a book along and say why you like it. Anne has made the shop into a wonderful and essential local resource. The huge bookshop chains in nearby Geneva cannot begin to match this kind of service, and often don't have the breadth of choice you can find in the Librairie Centrale. And in the garden pictured here you get armchairs to laze in and free coffee as well. Isn't there something in the Bible about the kingdom of heaven being like a bookshop where you can drink coffee?