thirty-two

Read IN BED: Paris To The Moon

Words & Image by Hannah-Rose Yee

“We love Paris not out of ‘nostalgia’ but because we love the look of light on things, as opposed to the look of light from things, the world reduced to images radiating from screens. Paris was the side of the most beautiful commonplace civilisation there has ever been: cafes, brasseries, parks, lemons on trays, dappled light on bourgeois boulevards, department stores with skylights, and windows like doors everywhere you look. If it s not so much wounded – all civilisations are that, since history wounds us all – as chastened, and overloud in its own defense, it nonetheless goes on…. I see the moon these days from Paris because I once saw Paris from the moon.” Adam Gopnik, Paris to the Moon

 

If you love Paris: read this book. If you love New York: read this book. If you love travel: read this book. If you love non fiction that feels like fiction: read this book. If you love romance: read this book. If you love fish-out-of-water humour: read this book. If you love Paris: read this book. Oh did I mention that already? Well, read this book. It’s so good.

I think this book might be one of the most
important books I’ve ever read.

I picked it up because it was on a sale table at a great little bookstore in Leura, the Blue Mountains. I had heard of Adam Gopnik – he’s a journalist and writer from the New Yorker – because I had studied his essay on the death of his daughter’s goldfish in my longform journalism class at university, but I wasn’t that familiar with his style (his award-winning style, which is the kind that all conversationalist creative non fiction writers try to emulate, that is to say, it’s the best). Why did I pick it up? Good question. Maybe because it had Paris in the title. Maybe because it’s the kind of thing I like to read, meaning, it’s the story of people trying to articulate the strange, frustrating, wonderful ridiculousness of loving something – or someone – who knows that they’re so damn beautiful. Maybe because it was $2.

I guess I think this book is important to me because Adam Gopnik is the kind of writer that I would like to be and this book is the kind of book that I would like to write. I guess I think this book is important to me because it put in words exactly how I feel about Paris: the beauty of it all, the intermingling of history and the personal, its studied casualness, its frisson of sexual excitement, its love of pleasure (Paris is a place to smoke a lot and drink a lot and eat a lot of cheese and bread and not care at all). I guess I think this book is important to me because Paris is important to me. I haven’t got anything else to say. Just read it.