I love to read. No matter what time I go to bed, even if I’ve pulled an all-nighter working and don’t get to bed until after the sun comes up, I still have to read for a while before I go to sleep. When I moved to France from Berkeley, California, I had boxes and boxes of books in my studio apartment to deal with. I was good and got rid of most of them, but still had a couple of boxes left over to put in storage. Berkeley sucked in some ways, but it made up for that with its independent bookstores and food scene, two of my passions. I got used to finding great secondhand books, so it was difficult when I moved to Paris and saw how expensive foreign-language titles are here.
My solution was to join The American Library. For 100 Euros, you can check out 20 books at a time for a year. I probably made up the membership fee by the second month. I’m interested in almost everything too, so the fact that there are more than 120,000 books means I’ll probably never get bored. Being interested in lots of things can be funny though. It seems that, when most people find an author they like, they stick with that author for a while and read their other stuff. I have such eclectic tastes that I tend to skip around, so it’s hard for me to have an in-depth conversation about a certain writer.
One of the best things about the library is that I can walk there. It’s a good 30 minutes, but if I took the métro, I’d have to change lines, so it would probably take as long. It’s a great walk; along the side of École Militaire, where I often see students riding horseback, to Avenue de la Bourdonnais. When you reach the intersection with Avenue Rapp, all of the sudden the Eiffel Tower looms up in front and off to the side. It’s one of my favorite views in the city. The library itself is nondescript, but I like how the tower peeps over the tops of the buildings on its street. Walking there is even prettier when the streets are decorated for the holidays with blue and gold lights.
Today I finished "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” by Tom Wolfe, which gave me some mighty strange psychedelic dreams, lemme tell ya. The other night I dreamed I was taking care of a good friend’s horse. I do have a close friend with a horse, but in my dream, the horse could talk and was small enough to sit on the couch next to me and watch TV. It even crossed its hind legs when sitting. I have Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice” on my list, and I imagine the dreams I have then will be less wacky. Although they may be filled with incredibly catty women drinking endless cups of tea and making devastating remarks about me. I think I’d rather have the talking horse.