Author Topic: Novel Bookstore, A by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion  (Read 7564 times)

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Novel Bookstore, A by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« on: May 25, 2011, 01:55:15 AM »
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse
 
This book discussion will take place during July. Please post below if you will be joining us.  



  
The founding of a unique Paris bookstore triggers jealousies and threats in Cossé's intriguing follow-up to The Corner of the Veil (1999). Former comic-book seller Ivan "Van" Georg and stylish Francesca Aldo-Valbelli team to establish the Good Novel, a bookshop that will stock only masterpieces in fiction, which are selected by a secret committee of writers. At first, the warm welcome of the bookstore results in soaring sales. Then attacks in the press, the opening of rival bookstores, and attempts against the lives of committee members by persons unknown sour the atmosphere for the Good Novel's community of readers and writers. Cossé poignantly depicts characters who have turned to literature for solace against the pain in their lives, creates ongoing speculation as to the shadowy first-person narrator, and furnishes sly commentary about gatekeeping in the literary world.  --Publishers Weekly


Discussion Leaders BarbStAubrey and Marcie

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 09:46:33 PM »
Welcome everyone. I'm just starting to read this book. It promises to be very interesting. I hope you'll join Barb and me in July to talk about it.

JoanP

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 06:12:13 PM »
I read the book - when it first came out and definitely plan to be here.  This should be a very interesting conversation - just who decides which books are good and belong in such a bookstore?  Would you like to go into a bookstore, confident that these are only "good"  books from which to choose?

A surprising fact about the author, Laurence Cossé ...


marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 08:47:24 PM »
Yes, Joan, that was a surprise to me when I read the pronoun "she" in relation to the author in a review of the book!

Mippy

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 06:48:40 AM »
Just marking the place ... have not yet bought the book.   Enjoy, all !
quot libros, quam breve tempus

Frybabe

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 09:29:17 AM »
TaDa! I just put myself on the Library list for the book. It is currently out until 6/16 and I am the first in line. My library website says ebooks from Amazon will not be available until "later this year". I checked Amazon, but apparently it does not have it on ebook yet.

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 01:47:41 PM »
I'm glad you will be joining us, Mippy and Frybabe.

Mippy

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2011, 09:23:29 AM »
Sorry to say I'm backing out, Marcie.   
I should have read the reviews on Amazon first.
quot libros, quam breve tempus

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2011, 10:40:49 AM »
The book has received mixed reviews. Even some of those who find some faults with the book, recommend it. Mippy, You might want to (re)consider reading it with us. :-)

The Washington Times reviewer says:
"By the end of this often captivating book, I found myself wishing it had been shorter and that Ms. Cosse had not beaten me (softly) over the head with her main point so many times. I also found the ending both too sentimental and too predictable. But that’s not what stays with you. What is so powerful, addictive almost, is the love of good fiction that permeates most of the pages, whether it’s in the exchanges between Francesca and Van about beloved authors, or the descriptions of the customers who are still avidly reading and almost have to be pushed out the door each night at closing time. And of course, it’s all set in Paris, where so many wonderful ghosts still fill the pages of our imaginations."

JoanP

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2011, 11:46:49 AM »
I read the book - and enjoyed it so much.  I remember thinking a lot about what made some books "good" - and worth reading.  There were so many titles mentionned - good books - that I'd like to read - here with the group.  I wouldn't let an Amazon reviewer dissuade us from reading this book.  Really.  There is a lot here to talk about and to enjoy.

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2011, 09:11:20 PM »
Joan, I haven't finished the book but what I've read has kept my interest. I too am keeping an informal list of some of the books mentioned as "good" books.

serenesheila

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2011, 08:15:53 PM »
I juat tried to order this for my Kindle, and it is only available in German!  So, I went to Amazon, and found an English available and ordered it.  Looking forward to our discussion.

Sheila

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2011, 09:46:01 PM »
Sheila, I'm glad that you were able to find a copy in English! It's great that you will be joining us.

JoanP

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2011, 10:32:20 PM »
What interested me about Novel Bookstore in the beginning - the fact that it was written in French and translated by Alison Anderson - the same person who translated The Elegance of the Hedgehog. ( I loved that book.)  Maybe I just imagined it - but I heard the translator's voice  again in Novel Bookstore.  Maybe while reading it again, I'l see the similarities again.

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2011, 10:48:16 PM »
That's interesting, JoanP, that you heard the translator's voice in reading the book. I wonder if the author's understanding of written English is nuanced enough to be able to judge how well the translation portrays her work.

JoanR

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2011, 04:41:08 PM »
JoanP - There's an interesting article on translation and how it can sometimes alter an author's original meaning in Sunday's NYT Book Review section:

   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/books/review/the-pleasures-and-perils-of-creative-translation.html?_r=1&ref=books

As far as "A Novel Bookstore" is concerned, I'm having difficulty "suspending my disbelief" in the premise: namely, that publishers and large bookstores and chains would be so worried about one lone store selling "good books" that they would resort to mayhem.  We all know that mediocre or "bad" books will always outsell the good ones.  Just look at any best-seller list.

I borrowed the book on interloan since my own library (a large one) didn't have it and have read about 100 pages so far.

For book suggestions, I can rely on Michael Dirda's books & chats  and Harold Bloom's "Western Canon" at the end of which he gives a long listing of international books, not all western.  I picked Salman Rushdie   out of that list since I haven't read any of his books yet.

I may finish "A Novel Bookstore"  - I do like the writing anyway

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2011, 04:26:46 PM »
I've been wondering if the book is really a fantasy novel - Marcie assures me that it is simply the authors droll way of speaking but the dark beginning and so many improbabilities - I do not know - I have not read current fantasy novels although, my one grandson is heavy into the ones that deal with medieval knights and not only Harry P:otter but, the Lord of the Rings - this of course is not on that scale however, it reminds me of a fantasy that bookies could have that would have to include our dream activity picking and choosing books to read - the kind of books as a kid we could hide beneath the covers to read by flashlight or later in our life to slip in our purse to take out when no one is looking - we forget that side of us and where this is not that clandestine as to actually secretly reading a book there is mystery and fantasy woven into the story.

I think i need to look up and learn what are the ingredients to a fantasy novel. I guess I should look into mystery as well but having read so many 'cozy' mysteries and espionage stories from the WWII and Franco Spain era I think I know what is a mystery.

Now I have so many more titles to read - I think if I read every day for 6 hours I still would not be to the bottom of my to read pile in a year's time. Oh dear... my eyes just must be there for me - I am even taking herb combos especially for vision.

Frybabe

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2011, 01:44:41 PM »
I am still waiting on my book from the Library. It was due back on the 16th but has to travel to my branch. I don't know if they allowed the person who had it to renew. I don't know their policy on renewing when someone is waiting in line for it.

Frybabe

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2011, 07:08:20 PM »
Just got word the book has arrived. I can pick it up tomorrow. yea!

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2011, 12:27:28 AM »
Great news, Frybabe!

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2011, 02:03:02 AM »
An amazing story with several memorable lines and group of lines - certainly makes you think about the books we choose to read - with so little time in life and now that most of us are way past the half century mark the book makes me think about what I want to read, what I haven't read that is still in piles and on my shelves and how much time I want to devote to fluff reading. The story kept me glued to find out how it would end - have y'all found the online bookstore 'The Good Novel' - the web address is given in the book on the last page. http://www.thegoodnovel.com/

Frybabe

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2011, 08:00:41 AM »
Barb, I see that a Good Novel bookstore is in the works for Houston.

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2011, 10:53:01 AM »
That's an interesting web site, Barbarba. It's fun to see the selection of recommended books at http://www.thegoodnovel.com/?page_id=8.

I think that the SeniorLearn site here, also provides me with inspiration regarding books I want to spend my time reading.

bellamarie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2011, 07:04:21 PM »
I am getting my suitcase packed for a week vacation the week of July 4th and will be downloading the book into my nook.  So count me in!  Sounds like an interesting read.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2011, 07:42:00 PM »
A memorable quote a day...from The Novel Bookstore

Quote
"I have never dreamt of either success of money. I don't think about it. It is elegance that interests me. I mean elegance in the broadest sense - intellectual, moral, physical, elegance in one's relations with other people..."

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2011, 08:03:02 PM »
I think you will love this book bellamarie - tip - look at and find if you can the translations of the two Stendhal books mentioned in the first chapter. In many ways this book shadows those two books and it may be that some of the other titles have characteristics that are duplicated in this Laurence Cossé book.

The best I could find was a google excerpt of every other page of Mina de Vanghel and I did find a PDF of the entire 28 page book however, all in French - I used Babel which is not a good translator - it is very literal and for literature it misses the mark but page by page I translated and got the story - I do have both books in English coming from Amazon however, it took longer for the delivery even though I have the 2 day delivery service. - All in all Mina, whose options for conquest were limited, is a driven nineteenth century Francesca. And the other, Le Rose et le Vert, I have only read an excerpt and a review.

As we know the first chapter of a book is like a drop of water is a micro of, and contains, the whole ocean  - so too, the first chapter has all the elements of the story  :)

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2011, 04:58:54 PM »
A memorable quote a day...from The Novel Bookstore

Quote
"Our bookstore is more like a rebellious fashion designer who's had enough of shapeless rags and sinister colors-- so he launches a line of clothing which is all elegance and fun"

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2011, 05:17:43 PM »
elegant - el·e·gant - adjective

  • 1.tastefully fine or luxurious in dress, style, design, etc.: elegant furnishings.
  • 2.gracefully refined and dignified, as in tastes, habits, or literary style: an elegant young gentleman; an elegant prosodist.
  • 3.graceful in form or movement: an elegant wave of the hand.

Elegant literature is listed as Belles-lettres

Belles-lettres - belles-let·tres /Fr. bɛlˈlɛtrə/[Fr. bel-le-truh]  - plural noun

  • 1.literature regarded as a fine art, especially as having a purely aesthetic function.
  • 2.light and elegant literature, especially that which is excessively refined, characterized by aestheticism, and minor in subject, substance, or scope.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2011, 02:05:30 PM »
A memorable quote a day...from The Novel Bookstore

Quote
"You have just confirmed to me that one of the most fortunate purposes of literature is to bring like-minded people together and get them talking "

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2011, 03:35:18 PM »
A memorable quote a day...from The Novel Bookstore

Quote
"How many great novels exist in French, do you think? Thousands, but how many? Let me formulate the question yet another way: we needn't be afraid of being arbitrary, for our choice of books will be. Let's be downright arbitrary. We'll settle on a number that seems a good place to start, and we'll take it from there."

That quote begs the question - How many great novels exist in English, do you think? Thousands, but how many?

marcie

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2011, 01:04:05 AM »
That's an interesting question, Barbara. How many great novels exist (in xxx language)?  I found a list of "1000 novels everyone must read" (at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/1000novels). Is that the same thing as saying those novels are great? I've seen other lists of 100 best/greatest novels.

I can see how people can get into trouble positing their own views of the greatest novels.... as they do in "A Novel Bookstore." I think our discussion of this book will be fun!!

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2011, 02:59:34 AM »
In some ways it is subjective isn't it - we have our guides of what to consider when evaluating a book but then, our individual life experiences come into the picture - that is why I think the bookstore in the story had 8 folks offering their lists and then the two owning the shop added where they thought the holes existed making it really a committee of 10.

With a few more quotes from the book to help us understand what the author means by a 'good' book we will be in a better position to share our thoughts - if we are looking for a definitive list I think we are lost before we start - if there was such a thing we would not have so many lists available - put together by either a critic, lit professor, a list from a University, a library, well known authors - the list of those who offer lists goes on and on...

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2011, 02:07:50 PM »
A memorable quote a day...from The Novel Bookstore

Quote
"We want necessary books, books we can read the day after a funeral, when we have no tears left from all our crying, when we can hardly stand for the pain; books that will be there like loved ones when we have tidied a dead child’s room and copied out her secret notes to have them with us, always, and breathed in her clothes hanging in the wardrobe a thousand times, and there is nothing left to do; books for those nights when no matter how exhausted we are we cannot sleep, and all we want is to tear ourselves away from obsessive visions; books that have heft and do not let us down …"

serenesheila

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #33 on: June 29, 2011, 06:58:05 PM »
I began reading this book, today.  My initial reation is that there are so many different characters, that I am not able to keep them straight.  I am beginning to wonder if my brain is half gone!  LOL

Sheila

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2011, 07:40:13 PM »
Sheila - The beginning is a different approach - it will all clear up - you will be fine - just read for the enjoyment of each chapter for the first few chapters and don't look for how it ties into anything - which is what we typically do  - we are so used to reading for information we forget that literature is an art form - so slow down and enjoy each chapter like looking at separate paintings in a gallery. This kind of reading will all be explained when we start and have the main heading with a few links to help us - most of the information about the author and this book is in French and so for the past couple of weeks we have been busy translating and what a gold mine we found. You'll love it...!

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #35 on: June 29, 2011, 07:44:04 PM »
A memorable quote a day...from The Novel Bookstore

Quote
"We have no time to waste on insignificant books, hollow books, books that are here to please. We want books that are written for those of us who doubt everything, who cry over the least little thing, who are startled by the slightest noise.

winsummm

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #36 on: June 29, 2011, 08:19:41 PM »
only if It is available on Kindle. I need to enlarge the print. and not too expensive.
claire
thimk

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2011, 05:02:25 PM »
So far, so good. I am about half way through the book and no one has placed a hold on the book after me yet. Looks like I will be able to renew it.

In the meantime, I decided to look up several of the authors mentioned in the book. Never heard of most of the French authors or their works. I've decided to take an online cruise around Paris to check out some of the streets, etc. that were mentioned too.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #38 on: June 30, 2011, 05:56:02 PM »
Oh fun Pedln - I love that feature of Google maps - this read will be a travel-log as well as a mystery and a fantasy and what ever else -

Researching the author we have much to learn of the elegant novel which is defined as Belles-lettres - I am fascinated - we so often read for information or for a story and forget the novel is an art form with various styles just as we accept that in a museum of art there will be paintings of various styles and if we attend a concert it could be rock, orchestral, Gregorian chant, a choir or a balalaika group from Kazakhstan - foremost on my mind when I read a book has not been that the author is offering us an expression of art to read rather than one more book filled with more than information.

I have on the way Lectures On Rhetoric And Belles Lettres by Hugh Blair Pedln if you have access to a library that may have something about Belles-Lettres would you consider borrowing the book and sharing with us some of your finds. To me this is so exciting to read something in a style we have typically not explored -

BarbStAubrey

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Re: A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse - Prediscussion
« Reply #39 on: June 30, 2011, 05:57:36 PM »
A memorable quote a day...from The Novel Bookstore

Quote
"By definition, confusion is beneficial to mediocrity."