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Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Lot of Luck and a Little Book Mending



I was on my way to a used book shop in an effort to track down a volume of a series of books called Los Premios Goncourt de Novela which contain the winners of France’s highest literary honor and published by Plaza & Janés beginning in 1964. The novels have been translated into Spanish and, to my knowledge many have not been published in Spanish in any other editorial. I happened upon these by chance when I saw the volumes on a crowded bookshelf in the home of a friend.

In particular I was interested in the 5th volume which has the 1942 Prix Goncourt winner Pareil à des Enfants by Marc Bernard, my great uncle. The Spanish translation, Semejantes a Niños, is by Luis de los Arcos. I read the book in the original French a while ago but it was a lot of work as my French wasn’t great and the novel is not an easy read. I didn’t want to borrow the book because I don’t really know the people that well and I didn’t want to impose. I immediately started to hunt down a copy.

After a quick internet search I learned that the books have been out of print but there are used copies available. I checked with one of Valencia’s big booksellers and I was told they had a copy in rather bad condition for 15€. I thought that I could do better elsewhere. Elsewhere happens to be a cool used bookshop in my neighborhood where I was willing to pay just about anything for a copy. One the way there I stopped by a used furniture shop where I go from time to time. I haven’t been very diligent lately about looking for old books as I have more or less surrendered to the eBook world. Instead of poking around for hours and finding a book that I’m really not that interested in I can find just about anything I want in eBook form but for some reason today I decided to look through the scattered bookshelves in the flea market.

I hate to be such a braggart but I purchased the five volume series for a whopping 2.50€, or fifty cents apiece. A couple of them needed a bit of mending but the rest are in good condition. I plan to start reading my great uncle’s book today.

P.S. In the background of this picture you can see another of my great thrift store finds: a cool organ bench.  

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