December 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Paris Prose in NYC...

Books on Paris galore...

When I’m in New York, I love visiting the Strand.  Between the Christmas market at Union Square and my old stomping grounds in the Village, this bookstore from the 1920s is my favorite place to spend the precious few moments I have in the city.  Far from a pretentious hipster or some literature lover, I browse the books, soaking up the often-cheap prices and the diversity of English prose unavailable in Paris. 

Sure, we have Shakespeare & Co. by Notre Dame, and yes, Amazon delivers globally.  Still, there’s something unique and reassuring about browsing shelf after shelf of titles.  The selection reminds you that the written word lives on through secondhand copies of classic works or obscure titles that you can’t find elsewhere.  Plus the tote bags are excellent.  I digress.

While browsing bookstores this year in New York City, there was a rampant theme in many of the sections that I never really noticed before.  Paris.  I know, this isn't new, but, just, wow.  Now a hyper-sensitive expat, I was struck by how many genres feature the City of Lights, from cooking to memoirs  from fiction to history, and from parenting to tourism.  Every shelf, every display, every section seemingly was pushing Paris as this year (century’s?) most popular character.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

5 Paris 'Cold and Effects'...

Got glove?
It’s no surprise that at the end of the year, things get a bit colder, though like Christmas, the spring, the rentrĂ©e, and the new monthly Rihanna song, we greet these evergreen occurrences with ever-theatrical and amped up shock, bewilderment, and frustration.  "Oh my word, it's so cold in Paris..."  Tweets and Facebook status ensue.

Fortunately, I like the cold.  Never was there a better reason to stay inside in my PJs, and when I do venture out to go running, there’s no fear of heat exhaustion or sunburns.  And who doesn't love snow when it makes the rare appearance?

But in Paris, after four winters, I’m realizing now what makes these colder months in the City of Light a bit more aggravating than life in New York or suburban Philadelphia.  Here's a top 5:

1. Going to the market: In years past, I avoided the market in the winter, which meant I often suffered from scurvy-like symptoms and a lack of adequate nutrition.  This boy needs his clementines.  But browsing the merchandise, carrying kilos of produce, and lugging it back up five flights of stairs is not a pleasant task in freezing temperatures.