Basilicata bibliomotocarro

Basilicata bibliomotocarro

Antonio La Cava, a retired school teacher, converted a quintessential Italian vehicle, the three-wheeler micro-van, into a travelling library.For 20 years he’s been visiting remote villages and hamlets in his home province of Basilicata to bring books –...
The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea

The finest book cover illustration I’ve seen for this slim, timeless, moving book, wrapping around the back cover and even into the back flyleaf.  Oddly, there is no mention of who designed the jacket.  The colours and lines are marvelous.And that font!...
A wilderness of books

A wilderness of books

This vast languishing resource was first brought home to me in Erik Reinert’s How Rich Countries Got Rich … and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor, which highlighted a lemming-level of group-think compounded by ignorance of an entire ‘other canon’ of...
Lettres de Mon Moulin – Daudet

Lettres de Mon Moulin – Daudet

These charming children’s illustrations of Daudet turned up at a flea-market, and I have several versions including this selection of his Lettres de Mon Moulin, and one featuring a specific story with it, ‘La chèvre de M. Seguin’....
Russian tales and legends

Russian tales and legends

There is a dark-forested haunting element to the illustrations in this French rendition of Russian stories. They are part of a series I’ve been collecting at the flea market, using a range of fresh and unusual illustration styles: see also the Tales from...
Greek Myths and Legends

Greek Myths and Legends

These enchanting, sunlit illustrations of a French children’s rendition of Greek Myths delighted me. They are part of a series I’ve been collecting at the flea market, using a range of fresh and unusual illustration styles. See also the Russian Tales and...
Reading as travel

Reading as travel

The Rat is a street-savvy kid in a barely known children’s book by the author of the infinitely famous The Secret Garden. I enjoyed the book and The Rat is one of the most endearing characters. He teams up with the noble-born lost prince to go and reclaim a...
Tales from Australia and Oceania

Tales from Australia and Oceania

This book cover and related illustrations are from a wonderful old French series of tales and stories from around the world.  I keep finding them at the flea market and second-hand bookshops.  Each country or region represented has a stunning set of illustrations and...
Intimate and familiar

Intimate and familiar

A striking idea, that in being true, a book will feel intimate and familiar to all men.  ‘True’ surely means authentic rather than fact-based. Some books feel intimate and familiar to some people, not all, and there is value in that too. It is probably...
The Saturday of Libraries

The Saturday of Libraries

When we moved to the town of Nyon, I joined the municipal library. The building itself is worth writing about – great thick walls, windows widened with painted wooden shutters, flowers on the sills and in stone pots; a child’s dream of a library, though in...
Beach books

Beach books

We recently enjoyed a month’s holiday – the longest we’ve ever had – to celebrate Luiz’s retirement.  One of the happiest elements in packing for a trip is messing about choosing which books to take.  Here’s the pile I took and read...
On the Elizabethans and book learning

On the Elizabethans and book learning

I have no idea if this is a fair appraisal of the Elizabethan stance on book learning, but I have an impression of a robust, exuberant, poetic spirit, capable of savouring sweetness even when regularly confronted with brutality. My impression itself may be overly...
Doors opening wherever she turned

Doors opening wherever she turned

Alan Bennett was born in Leeds and I liked this quotation chalked on a board in a café there.   It’s how I feel most days. ‘What she was finding also was how one book lead to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long...

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