In an otherwise uplifting New York Times story about the enduring love of books in France -- and the government regulations that foster independent stores -- was some sad news. The charming Village Voice Bookshop is closing.
I stumbled across the Left Bank shop a few years ago while visiting my daughter in Paris. I was looking for English-lanuage translations of popular novels, and they recommended "Have Mercy on Us All" by Fred Vargas as well as "The Interrogation" by J. M. G. Le Clezio.
(I wish my French was good enough to read the originals, but every time I try to speak, I get in trouble. On a train, some young girls asked me, in French, whether we were nearing the end of the line. I responded with what I thought was a good answer, but they only gave me quizzical looks, and asked someone else. Turns out, I had said something like: This is a suit of clothes.)
It's disturbing that the Village Voice could not survive in a nation that provides grants and no-interest loans to indies, and strictly limits discounting by retailers such as Amazon. But thankfully, there are many other options for bibliophiles, including the fabulous Shakespeare & Company and the bouquinistes who sell used books along the Seine.