“My Mother and the Books” Colette

coletteThrough the open top of the shade, the lamp cast its beams upon a wall entirely corrugated by the backs of books, all bound. The opposite wall was yellow, the dirty yellow of the paper-backed volumes, read, re-read and in tatters. A few “Translated from the English”—price, one franc twenty-five—gave a scarlet note to the lowest shelf.

Halfway up, Musset, Voltaire and the Gospels gleamed in their leaf-brown sheepskin. Littré, Larousse and Becquerel displayed bulging backs like black tortoises, while d’Orbigney, pulled to pieces by the irreverent adoration of four children, scattered its pages blazoned with dahlias, parrots, pink-fringed jellyfish and duck-billed platypi…

My Mother’s House and Sido, by Colette

Subscribe to Podcast