Category Archives: prose

How to read

In a chair, with a tea or a coffee,  on the sofa in the angle of a ray of sunshine, if possible, straight on a straight chair or before falling asleep. Never in the bath, rarely at the beach. Reading.

But also getting  books, a gesture whose meaning varies, according to where I get them.

The charity shop: I found only one book I wanted to read in the six charity shops I visited in Tenby. Most of the books found there (since Tenby is a vacation spot), are light books, detective novels (I prefer to see them on TV, I have too much imagination to read sinister detective stories Before going to bed), mostly in multiple copies. Ecological and cheap, not so good for authors (alive). It needs space (or I bring it back to the charity shop).
The second-hand (pre-loved) book shop: Tenby’s store is more of the compulsive collector’s hangar than of the trade. Its owner opens when he wants. It is therefore necessary to pass and return in front of the small house in the hope of seeing light. Entering it requires a certain amount of courage: books, pictures and postcards are stacked in a joyful capharnaum (but those who know him say he knows where everything is). The owner welcomes me with a certain mistrust, but when I choose Cervantes as bedside book, he tells me that it is a good choice (I passed the test but I do not advise for those who want to read Light). Always nice to find a good book, but obviously little news. In Nelson, there are fewer sharp writers. Ecological and cheap, not so good for authors (alive). Needs space (or I give it away).
Second hand (pre-loved) book fair: once a year, in Nelson. I bought a few books last year that I probably would not have bought in a bookstore, but it takes some courage to go among the messy book tables. Ecological and cheap, not so good for authors (alive). Need space (or I give it away).   
The library: a regular stop to see what’s new, but the Nelson system is done in such a way that you can wait months before you have access to a book. The library is not bad, but finally, not a very large library. Ecological and cheap, better for authors, does not need any space.
The bookstore: there are four bookstores in Nelson. Two are part of chains (Paper plus and Whitcoulls) and two are independent. I never bought a book at Whitcoulls or Paper Plus, I go to buy pens, greeting cards, sometimes the newspaper. There is no book that interests me. Independent bookstore, Page & Blackmore, is in the center of Nelson and once won the contest of the best independent bookstore in New Zealand, largely in my opinion, to the two excellent booksellers who left the bookstore when ‘It was sold last year. This bookstore unfortunately lost its lustre after their departure. For their part, the two booksellers opened another bookshop a little further on, in a less busy street, the bookshop Volume. The owners send out a weekly newsletter where they share their book reviews. They organize occasional literary events and reading groups for children. I hope that they can continue their activities for a long time and I will probably order my books in the future. But I am convinced they are having a hard time surviving as they are a bit out of the city center.Less ecological , more expensive, but contributes to the vitality of the city and both booksellers know their books. Better for the authors, but need space.
The e-book: it has some utility (for travel, for example ) but does not replace the hard copy  (I already mentioned elsewhere). It will allow me (once  I understand how to do it) to read more regularly in French, because bringing a book in NZ costs a fortune. Ecological, cheaper than the bookshop, better for authors and do not need physical space.
Different sources of supply, therefore, but pleasure (almost) always guaranteed and the need to weigh each and every time, the pros and cons of each of the decisions.


E-book or not E-book

I bought my first e-book in December 2016 when I was in Tenby. I had nothing to read and there is no bookstore in Tenby. So I bought my first ebook, which I did not read right away, because I had in the meantime found a book in a charity shop and later another book at a second-hand  bookstore that opened whenever its owner felt  like it. I made the decision to keep the e-book for the trip back to New Zealand, it would lighten my bag. The trip was more exhausting than expected, due to a one-hour race in Dubai to catch a 14-hour flight to Auckland. When I arrived in Nelson, I could not wait  to get  Proulx’s  book from the library and it was only a few weeks ago that I finally read my first e-book.

In fact, I did not really want an e-book, because I like not only reading, but books too. I like the paper, the smell, the object. I was also resisting the purchase of another gadget (Kindle or other), it seemed to me that I already had enough electronic toys, but I  more and more often thought that it could  be useful when traveling. When I was in Capri last year and saw the lady in front of me, who was quietly reading while waiting for the ferry to leave on her little gadget, I was slightly envious. I finally found Kobo, a platform that can be used for free and that’s where I was able to buy my first e-book.

I quickly concluded that is not my favorite way of reading, there is almost always an unpleasant reflection on the screen, I can not turn the pages, the division in chapter does not let me see where I am in my reading and holding a tablet is not as enjoyable as holding a book. In spite of myself, I am forced to see some advantages. First of all, of course, is the cost (almost half), and the obvious advantage when traveling. So far, I’ve always brought one, two or three books on a trip, but I probably will not do it anymore. On the other hand, what I had never thought of before but which now seems to me quite important, especially after reading Proulx’s book on deforestation, paper economy is not negligible and the -book represents a greener choice in this respect. The main advantage, however, for me, is that it will allow me, I hope, to read more often in French, because having  a book in French delivered in New Zealand is overpriced. I do not know yet how to do this, because when I try to go to a French site to get a book, I can not get the app to read it because I do not have a phone number of the country (but I will get there one day). Moreover, I already have hundreds of books in storage, and I do not know when I can relocate them on beautiful bookshelves  (of which I often dream). In the meantime, I am afraid of the moment when I will get my books back, because I do not know in which state they will be (and some of them are old). The purchase of e-books will perhaps allow me to wait a little more serenely for this moment, although I can not help thinking that these e-books will never be on my shelves (but one  may not have everything I suppose). That did not stop me from going to my local bookseller in Nelson to buy  a book of poetry (by J.R. Prynne), which I was very fond of. This book of poems is a sort of bible of poetry and I take great pleasure in reading one or two poems from time to time, which I would not at all like to read in e-book form. I also  want to support this independent bookstore, and its  two booksellers who work for their love of  books and not for profit alone, and I would like them not to be forced to close their doors because of a lack of customers. I will return to them, for books that I particularly like, or rarer. I will continue to go to book fairs (greener), or to the library (but the Nelson library does not have all the books I want). E-book will now be part of my literary life by giving me quick access to new, sometimes hard  books to have here, without taking the place of the traditional book.

Street Art in Nelson


I meant to take a photo of this, which close to a local supermarket. I just find it brilliant, but always  forgot my camera, or the light was not right. Last week I passed by at the right time with my camera and took a photo. I was not very pleased with the result and went back today to take a better one, but a large part of the poster had been destroyed. Such a pity, it never failed to make me smile.

Summer is here




  1. My  roots grow fast, when I love a place! This is certainly the case with Tenby, where I had the chance to live twice, in the same place (and, by the same token, plant my roots even deeper). I had difficulty leaving this magical place, its gulls larger than life and the Atlantic. But the thought of returning to the summer, of seeing the soft pastel colors of New Zealand, the turquoises of the Pacific, made the journey of return a little easier.

Disappointment on return, it was rather cold, it was raining and there was no sun. Then last Saturday, summer arrived.







To continue reading….





Tenby has a difficult  relationship with gulls. Many posters ask visitors not to feed them  under any circumstances, as they do not shrink from anything for a piece of food. It is probably in this spirit that  a city (or a village) in Great Britain has recently  fined a woman who had shared a chip  with a gull. I suppose not  everyone shares this view of them.  The fishermen of the port do not seem to mind  their presence and they even throw on occasions  some fish remains. As for me, the gulls of Tenby are one of the reasons why I like to come here. I never tire of watching them at any time of day. They head towards the smallest sign  of what can look like food in a joyful, often cacophonous but lively concert. I continue to take pictures of them, in case this one or that one would be more interesting, and this, even if one of them one day attacked my sandwich. More recently, while I was walking on Tudor Square, a furious man rushed out of a shop shouting against the bird that had taken the fish he had just bought. Okay, they’re nasty, sometimes,  scavengers who are happy to eat anything. Doubtless they are useful in the port, while they cleanse, somehow, the place. And they do not always have an easy life. As  Angus, the storm, hit a part of the country a few days ago, the poor birds were trying to fight the wind (or work it)  in order to feed themselves on what they could find, but they could not, and I suppose that on that day  they simply fasted. It is true that they lack manners, but can they be reproached for not being able to tell the difference between the fish that comes from the fish shop from that floating on the surface of the waters?

*A different take on the same topic on 25th January 2015 “Gwelen”