I am reading Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin for probably the fourth time. Translations go by the same title. It is a wonderful portrayal of 1920s, pre-Nazi Berlin. It has been compared with James Joyce's Ulysses and filmed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1980 and said to be his magnum opus.

Personally Mark, i can't see a problem with that. I know there are people here who love to browse a bookshop and miss that in France.

I'm currently reading L'étrange défaite by Marc Bloch, officer and historian, about the defeat of France in 1940 and the reasons behind its capitulation. It makes salutary reading concerning the French and French society of the era, and how the army functioned. It also gives valuable insights into why France is in a bad state today.

Can I promote my second hand bookshop on here? Is that allowed?

Welcome to the group Margaret. Another group I host. Christmas is around the corner again. Could be a good time for members to recommend books that would make good presents. For me, they don't have to be recent publications. (By the way Margaret if you want to begin a topic, ie What do people think...' then Add to Discussion - see above - not comment wall.)

I loved that book a friend gave it to me for Christmas 2011 i saved it for my holidays in 2012 and couldn't put it down. It's such a difficult book to describe when I try to recommend it.. Hope you enjoy it

Currently reading "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghesse

May I recommend my Pilgrimage books on France and Spain? It's not everyone's style, so here is an sample, A Trouser Ecology, about the Marques (or french resistance) in Drome.

A Trouser Ecology.

In the morning, there are soft showers, cold cascades and ice, born on Venterol's sleeping slopes. Within hair's breathe of my cold weapon, I reach for my wife, breath of hair, a back to stroke - cheek of the Marque - only soil and single blanket nestling with me. Armpit reality, a whiff of shiftiness, brotherly air; when the microscopic invades your scalp, and Nazis your land, all shall itch. Brothers call for action, and leaders for patience.


We hid the refugee, the airmen and escapee; learning regimen and drill, pushing will up hills to cache and carry. Our legs bear us along our Baronnies path, driving my trousers to the world's end, blending with the local ecology, seeing wild boar take secret notes from the hillside tussock, trousers and I climbing, following the path of Free France of the farm, hoe and rifle, plough and gun, ready for some-day-soon. The years shall drive Nazi's ragged.


We are men and womenfolk of the trouser ecology, going where the enemy dare not, looking over the embittered valley, our doctor harassed and shot, teachers beaten before roses, our men conscripted to German factories, bloody oath. Fondly we look to Venterol and Valreas, the mighty Rhone groaning that liberation is borne of worn trousers and dirty socks. We have the upland of soiled reality, watershed before my eyes, lashes entangled in sleepy pining, swamp aromatics, upright nipples, forehead making the Alamo, spectacles of our selves, neckerchief surrounding me, imagining two Nostradamuses coughing and spluttering the future, their easy metaphor and empty promise a curse on tillers of soil. With only blades of grass, free peoples are made of standing tall.


In the presence of our trouser ecology, our leader speak of the springs that well beneath our shoes, that flow from the hills and into the valley, nurturing all the fruits of liberty. We farmers forbid optimism, the grace to fine words my offspring toes wiggling, knees a wildlife refuge, inner thighs full of gorillas and toads, stomach rapt in rags. Itchiness is spiky time, all of us thinking some-day soon, some-day-soon, my trousers bearing the years, as interlude to victory.

A Trouser Ecology is found in Pilgrimage 5, It's only US$1.99, PDF recommended.

I've just read through J. P. Donleavy's 1960s big titles. The world seems very different now though. Is it that a Sebastian Dangerfield cannot live today as he did then or that time has taken the ability to see through his eyes from me?

Just wanted to share my latest read :59 seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman. Has anyone else read this antidote to American self-help books? I bought it in frustration when I discovered the book I wanted to buy (NOT a self-help book!) turned out to be in Kindle version only. Bah, technology!
The deal is it’s based on scientific studies, which often fly completely in the face of … wouldn’t you know it, the self-help industry. Food for thought.

As a purveyor of pre-owned books here I have access to a plentiful supply of titles.

I like all kinds of genres from action to mystery to sci-fi. One of my favorite books at the moment is "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein.

Narrated by a dog called Enzo it relates the story of the ups & downs of a man in early life. Enzo is devoted to his owner but has to accept that change will happen. As A dog lover I cannot look at my old thing without a new respect for what might be going on in that head.

A moving book with a twist - Disney this aint!

Thanks for checking out my book, Jane and Glyn! What I'm reading this week: Beautiful Ruins. Beautiful writer! But I admit I was sucked in by the picture of the Cinq Terre on the cover. By the way, I checked out the book from my library in the states on my ipad, for the first time. Great way to get free books in France! (though of course I SHOULD be reading in French....)

Give us a review, Jane.

I’ve started reading it Lynn.

Good luck with book, Lynn. Sounds an original idea, and probably a book that some of us need here in France.

My new E-BOOK is out this week! How to Learn a NEW Language with a USED Brain.($2.99 at, also at or Please visit the virtual book release party at my blog at The book is a short ebook for adult language learners, full of ideas, the latest resources (specially on-lone), and tips from professors and students.

I'm an author and publisher, and I'm happy to have people buy books second hand. I have read many second hand books, some of them out-of-print and very old. These were some of my favorites. Now I read almost everything in e-book format. Yes, I'm one of those spoiled by Amazon, iBooks, B&N and the like. For me, it's a better value to buy an e-book and it saves trees. As a publisher, I also prefer e-books, and I've done several Freebie promos. Free books are good for authors. As one commenter noted, reading a free book may introduce you to a new author. I've read free e-books and then bought other books by the same author. When I lived in the States, I visited the library quite often, free, of course. When I found an author I loved, I would buy a new book by said author rather than waiting for it in the library. So, for me, second hand and freebies are not hurting, but helping authors and publishers. I have nothing against them at all.

Also collectors buy second hand books. I have many different editions of the same novel by CS Forester or Anthony Buckeridge.

Not to mention all the people who have jobs related to second hand books, especially in a town called Hay on Wye (pictured).

I'm becoming a TC Boyle fan. I recently read his book- "Talk Talk" which is about a case of stolen identity and now I'm reading " DropCity" which is about the counter culture in the sixties. If you're into characters that are a little off the wall Boyle is for you. He has an interesting web site too!