Monday, October 5, 2015

Reflections on Place: The Little Paris Bookshop of My Life

I have come to know the streets of DC very well this past year. To date, I've run nearly 1,100 miles - almost all of them in DC or Arlington. And even having run past every monument on the mall, the White House, and the Capitol more times than I could ever count - I still think I have the very best place to spend my time. And that's a different feeling than when I was training for my first marathon last winter.

Starting with Cherry Blossom season, I made the jump to run with women I had met at the track. It was almost entirely inspired by my running friend and nearby neighbor, Courtney. I wasn't confident I could keep up with everyone, so every time one of them suggested I meet them on the weekend for a run, I made an excuse to avoid it. But Courtney was very persistent, and met me many times just to run with her. I was able to really push myself while she ran a comfortable easy pace, but she was so kind and encouraging, that eventually when she asked me if I was going to join the larger group run, I took the plunge.

And just as Monsieur Perdu floats around his perfect bookshop on a boat, healing hearts and doling out advice via books, my running friends and I do the same as we wind our way through neighborhoods on foot. Nina George's "The Little Paris Bookshop", has such beautiful descriptions of France, that I immediately wanted to relive my trip through the Loire Valley with Ed the year before Connor was born. But that's not going to happen anytime soon, so I started thinking about how my own city is perfect, too.

If I had to name a spot where good things always happen, I'd go with the Lincoln Memorial. The first time I ran with a couple of folks from the larger group, they asked if I wanted to run up the steps. Um, no, I will wait at the bottom. I had no idea that it was one of the runner's trademark moves - but I've since learned that if HJ is running, we run those steps. And now I can't wait to see Mr. Lincoln up close when I run, though I will admit to skipping the ritual if HJ isn't around. But I always look up at Mr. Lincoln and think - if you can be here on a Tuesday, I can be here on a Tuesday. And it's been many months that we've met every Tuesday, except when I've been out of town. (As a stone sculpture, he doesn't have nearly the freedom I do, so he never goes out of town.)

I love books with beautiful settings. This one lives up to that, just as the title suggests it will. And I'm so glad to have so many memories of my own beautiful setting triggered as I read this book.


Disclosure: This post was inspired by the novel The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, where Monsieur Perdu--a literary apothecary--finally searches for the woman who left him many years ago. Join From Left to Write on October 8th as we discuss The Little Paris Bookshop. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


  1. What a wonderful way to look at our city!

  2. The author was very descriptive as far as the scenery and the characters. I love that when I can create what I think the character looks like in my mind by reading the description. Monsieur Perdu got younger and hotter as the book went on and he developed a tan and muscles ! Manon seemed like a long sleek black cat to me.