Friday, March 02, 2007

Bookmark of the Week: No. 3

This is the reverse side of a bookmarker promoting a book by French author Daniel Pennac, Comme un Roman, originally published by Gallimard in 1992. It is a book about books and reading. When I showed this bookmarker to my wife, she went to her bookshelves and handed me her copy of the english translation by David Homel published in 1994 by Coach House. Figures. As her Indextrious Reader blog shows, she is a certified book lover.

The english translation was entitled, Better Than Life. We both used to see the translator, David Homel when we worked together at a Montreal Library, for he taught evening writing courses in the office of the Quebec Writer's Federation which rented space at our old library. My wife said he was the most polite and interesting of all the teachers there. She also said that he is married to the Quebecois children's author Marie-Louise Gay . The bookish connections continue.

The editor of Coach House at the time of this translation was Alberto Manguel. That figured too. He is also a certified book lover. He probably read the book in french and sought out David Homel to do a translation for Coach House. All conjecture on my part, but it all seems to weave together.

The translation of number 6 does not have the weight of the french original, but the term 'bovarysme' has such psychological and philosophical resonance in the French language that there really is no equivalent.

The Reader's Bill of Rights

1. The right to not read.

2. The right to skip pages.

3. The right not to finish a book.

4. The right to reread.

5. The right to read anything.

6. The right to escapism.

7. The right to read anywhere.

8. The right to browse.

9. The right to read out loud.

10. The right to not defend your tastes.

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