Catching up on the Classics: Books on Paris (1)


This week my university studies have taken me far from Paris – all the way to West Africa.

And while the programme is demanding and the schedule is a bit tight – we had a respectably long flight here and have honorable slots of personal time – so what better to do than (of course apart from skype-ing family) read books that I’ve always wanted to read.

Of late I’ve had an itch to read ‘classic books’ – well, it’s not quite an involuntary impulse to read old books but rather than that I finally gained access to Amazon.com’s list of classic books published before 1923 that are now free of copyright and can be dowlnaded onto a kindle or ipad for free.

Naturally, I went wild on amazon and downloaded every classic that I’ve always wanted to read and never quite got round to getting hold off.

Among them is a stash of classics on Paris that I’ve been asolutely unable to stop reading – and a favourite thus far has been Thomas Okey’s “The Story of Paris”. Writtein the early 20th Century, the book is a fascinating insight into an old Paris that does not exist in the same state as it was a hundred years ago – it paints a picture of a city that emodies all of the historical positive and negative stereotypes that many of us would hold of the city> My personal favourite of his stereotypes is really that of being a s city of light in the sense of intellectual enlightenement. And here he writes one of hundreds of statements that prove just how deeply smitten with love for Paris Okey really was. He write how “There is something in the crisp, luiminous air of Paris that quickens the intelligence and stimulates the senses.” If that isn’t a love struck Paris-o-holic then I am not sure what is and even more, whether this luminous, wit quickening air is still as potent as it was a hundred years ago, is open to debate!

What I know is that this book, free on amazon if you own a kindle or an e-reader supported by Amazon is a great time travel experience back to an old version of that beautiful dame, Paris.

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