Un peu de lecture

Mémé dans les orties

Another thing I love about the fall is the idea of curling up with a book as the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter. Not that I need a seasonal excuse – reading for me is a year-round occupation.

My favourite place to read is also where I write this blog: in bed. Mostly in the mornings. I also read before going to sleep, but my eyes tend to glaze over pretty quickly. I read for pleasure exclusively on paper, not e-books. Besides the fact that screens are not pages to me, anything electronic feels like work. And there is something about holding a book in your hands that I can’t imagine going without.

Although I speak French fluently, I read almost exclusively in English. French often feels like work, and until a few years ago, there were so many gaps in my vocabulary that I was always scrambling to look up words.

I’ve started reading a few French books lately. There was ‘L’élégance du hérisson’ (The Elegance of the Hedgehog) by Muriel Barbery. A couple of novels by Michel Houellebecq. And at the moment, a slice of French life called ‘Mémé dans les Orties’ by Aurélie Valognes.

It’s about a bitter old man who makes life miserable for himself and everyone else who has the misfortune to live in his apartment building. It’s about the pettiness and solitude of everyday life, and, presumably, although I’m only half-way through, how that can all change with the arrival of a few new faces.

I love very human stories like this that combine humour with the bittersweet. Dysfunctional families and quirky love stories. One of my all-time favourite novels is hiding on the bookshelf in this picture. Can you guess which one it is?

By the way, for those who are interested: the title comes from the expression ‘Il ne faut pousser mémé dans les orties.’ I had to look this up as I’d never heard it before. Essentially it’s a way of saying ‘il faut pas pousser’ – or don’t push, meaning don’t exaggerate, take advantage, go too far. At least not so far as to push poor Granny into the nettles!

Do tell me: what are you reading?