Posts Tagged With: books



It is what you read when you don’t have to
that determines what you will be
when you can’t help it.”


~ Oscar Wilde ~


Digitally enhanced image created from an original photo of a bas-relief “Le Livre” (1925) by Antoine Bourdelle taken in Paris in May 2012.

© 2018 nightpoet all rights reserved

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Good friends, good books
and a sleepy conscience:
this is the ideal life.”


~ Mark Twain ~


Digitally enhanced image created from an original photo taken in Paris in May 2013.

© 2017 nightpoet all rights reserved


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“Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt,
verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.”
“Where they burn books,
in the end they will also burn people.”


~ Heinrich Heine ~


Digitally enhanced image created from an original photo taken in Paris in May 2016.

© 2017 nightpoet all rights reserved

Categories: Paris, Perspective, Photography, Poetry, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment



“Pleasure is the flower that passes;
remembrance, the lasting perfume.”


~ Jean de Boufflers ~


000-le-visageDigital image created in January 2017.

© 2017 nightpoet all rights reserved

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“A book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements and clumsy hands. So the librarian protects the books not only against mankind but also against nature and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion.”


~ Umberto Eco ~


000 twist of fateThe book is from my personal collection. Photos taken in March 2016.

© 2016 nightpoet all rights reserved

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“So many books, so little time.”

~ Frank Zappa ~



000 timeless tomesPhoto taken in February 2016.

© 2016 nightpoet all rights reserved

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An article in the New York Times caught my eye today. It would seem that rumours about the death of printed books have been greatly exaggerated. E-books have not sent traditional books packing as many predicted just a few years ago. In fact according to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of this year and have been slowing down or leveling out for a while now. The sale of e-book reading devices has also taken a nose dive, with consumers preferring to use their tablets or smart phones. And lets face it, even the most hopped up digital junkie hasn’t completely forgotten the experience of reading a printed tome. Digital devices can easily become a source of stress, when things jumble up and don’t work properly, whereas a book is always a relaxing experience. No knobs to turn. No buttons to push. No technical glitches. If you think about it, when the power goes out, or the battery is empty, your smart phone, tablet, e-book reader or computer are just worthless pieces of over-priced junk. It’s hard to read an e-book on a device that is dead; you just sit in the dark holding an expensive piece of plastic. But, staying with the scenario of a power outage or a dead battery, if you have a candle and a printed book, you’re good to go, anytime, every time. Digital books have their advantages and their place in today’s world, but nothing beats the experience and pleasure of immersing oneself in a real book, turning the pages and holding something wonderful in your hands…


The New York Times article can be accessed here:


Photo taken in Paris in May 2013.


© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved

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Celebrated every June 16th, Bloomsday has become not only a celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses, but of his life.  If you think that Ulysses is hard to read, try Finnegans Wake. It’s like Gertrude Stein on acid and crystal meth. But if you listen to Joyce reading his own work, his experimental use of language suddenly becomes very understandable. Maybe it has something to do with his Irish brogue. There will be many readings of Ulysses and other of Joyce’s works today all over the world, but no one can read them like the master himself. You can listen to him reading a section of Anna Livia Plurabelle from Finnegans Wake on the link below:



000 BloomsdayAn album released by the James Joyce Society on Folkways Records from 1951 that contains a track of Joyce reading from Anna Livia Plurabelle.

000 Joyce SigThe title and  copyright pages of a specially issued edition of Anna Livia Plurabelle published in 1928, signed by James Joyce. From my personal archives.


© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved

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Breakfast January 3 2015



Good morning and welcome once again to another edition of Breakfast On The Blog, the first of this New Year. Today I have taken an illustration by Gustav Olms from a long out of print German book titled Unsere jungen Mädchen, first published in 1901 and written by W.K. Saffeini, and combined it with one of my poems. The book, a series of short essays on the “awakening” of young girls, was confiscated by the German state prosecutor at the time of its publication. In ten short stories Saffeini presented a kaleidoscopic image of the young women of his time, “as they grow up in the protective bosom of the family, as they thrive in the metropolitan mist and greenhouse air of modern social life” (“wie sie im schützenden Schoß der Familie erwachsen, wie sie in Großstadtdunst und Treibhausluft des modernen Gesellschaftslebens gedeihen” – quote taken from the author’s introduction). As one can see, bosoms were to be abundantly seen in the illustrations, which is probably why the authorities banned the book.

000 Neverness

Illustration by Gustav Olms from a long out of print German book titled Unsere jungen Mädchen, first published in 1901 and written by W.K. Saffeini.


© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved

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As our culture slowly begins to become addicted to electronic technology something dark and evil is happening. Like Monsanto’s attempts to patent, own and control the world’s food supply and like Nestlé’s blatant attempt to take over the world’s water resources with the philosophy that “human beings don’t have a basic right to water” (unless you buy Nestlé’s bottled regurgitated water), the huge sales and distribution giant Amazon has been quietly and sometimes not so quietly taking over the e-book industry, and I’m not just talking about the sale of e-books, though I have read that they control 90% of the e-book market. They have been manipulating prices for quite some time, but now they have upped the ante and are beginning to use tactics reminiscent of a fascist monopoly in discriminating against certain companies that don’t kowtow to their wishes, raising the prices of the publisher’s books, delaying shipment of these books and making it harder for customers to order them. It was bad enough that the Nazis burned books they decided didn’t meet their approval, now we have a worldwide corporation wanting to determine what you can read, when you can read it, how much you will pay for it, and if that isn’t bad enough, they also want to control who will get published and what those authors will receive in royalties. Eventually the scenario will become something like, if you don’t agree to their terms, your work will never see the light of day. The phrase “banned in Boston” will be rephrased to “banned on Amazon.” And the disturbing question is “What will happen to books when Amazon controls the entire industry?”

For years Amazon has marketed itself as the book buyer’s bosom buddy, selling books at fantastically low prices, delivering them with lightening speed, and being at the forefront in the development of new technologies to enhance the way we read. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven for the avid reader. But wait a minute. To quote a famous author, “There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.” It’s bad enough that Amazon has been the driving force behind putting thousands of small bookshops out of business, shops that simply cannot compete with the volume of books that Amazon moves, which in turn allows them to sell books much more cheaply than the Mom and Pop shops ever could. The closing of both the Village Voice and The Red Wheelbarrow bookstores in Paris in 2012 are good examples of large monopolies like Amazon tilting the scales against the “walk in put your hands on a musty old tome or a bright brand new book” brick-and-mortar type of bookstore. On the blog “Parisian Fields” that she publishes with photographer Norman Ball, Philippa Campsie perhaps put it best (and more eloquently than I could have, though I see the issue in the same light) when she wrote in September 2013:

“Books are objects, like typewriters, that once performed a function. And for many people, the function can be performed in other ways, through other media. But bookshops have a function too. They were never just about selling books. They hosted readings and launches, and they were places to go for conversation and news. At the Red Wheelbarrow, the people behind the desk recommended not just books, but the best boulangerie in the area. The staff weighed in on the merits of local cafés, and introduced us to other browsers crowding into the tiny space. You can’t get that on an e-book. In Paris, where sometimes it can be hard to find one’s feet and where much is unfamiliar, a space like the Red Wheelbarrow allowed us to feel on solid ground. Lost bookshops are lost friends. When a place like that disappears, it is not just the end of a business, it is the end of a friendship.”

The French are fighting back though. When the country’s 3,000 independent bookshops complained they weren’t able to compete with cut-price offers online, a new bill was proposed in the French Assembly in October 2013, supported by both the right and the left, that would prohibit companies like Amazon from offering the combined 5% reductions and free deliveries on books. The bill was approved by the Senate in January 2014 and became law. In another interesting take on the bill, the BBC’s Paris correspondent Christian Fraser, in an October 2013 report, said the bill “might be seen as payback” for Amazon’s practices of reporting European sales through a holding company located in Luxembourg, to take advantage of comparatively low corporate tax rates. In the past French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti has criticized Amazon’s practices, particularly the free deliveries and its rather blatant policy of “tax optimization.” In June 2013, in response to Amazon’s charge that the new bill would be discriminatory towards the online retailer, Ms Filippetti said, “Today, everyone has had enough of Amazon. (The company) slashes prices to get a foothold in markets only to raise them once they have established a virtual monopoly.”

Ah yes, there’s that word again, monopoly. Unfortunately in the United States, which these days would be better called the Republican Corporation Of America, the government isn’t about to take Amazon to task for its price-fixing. After all, Amazon aggressively pursued Apple over its e-book policies and price-fixing, persuaded the Department of Justice to sue them and then took Apple all the way to the bank. So Uncle Sam isn’t going to smack Amazon upside the head about their monopolistic practices anytime soon. Not like the French, who have always had a better attitude towards small businesses and who are proud of their local stores, considering them essential in bringing culture to both Paris and the small villages. And you can help the cause by boycotting Amazon e-books and by buying your paperbacks and hardbound books at a brick-and-mortar bookstore whenever you can. Let’s not allow technology to become the book burner of our future.

000 BookstorePhoto of a small French bookshop in Paris taken in May 2013.


© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved

Categories: Literature, Paris, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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