The French embassy in New York has a sign outside for the bookstore, Albertine. The first time I passed it, it seemed like a great excuse to check out an embassy so I went in. There is a cozy first floor with books in English and French.
The featured books looked like a unique selection with a perspective I might not find somewhere else so I looked for a book that might interest me. At the Existentialist Café looked interesting. I don’t know anything about existentialism but always wondered. It’s one of those words I hear but don’t exactly know what it means.
I didn’t buy the book but checked it out from my local library. I’m on a library kick these days and even if I’m not buying from the store I like the idea of finding out about new ideas from their curation of featured books. The book was great and I learned a ton. I’m not sure I could have just picked up a book by Sartre or Simone de Beauvoir and read it without some intro to who they are or that era of books; but At the Existentialist Café gave me an understanding of the people, in their historical context and the ideas in their books which opened me up to want to read books by these authors.
That was the first time I was in this bookstore. Yesterday I was walking by again so, might as well go visit French soil again to look at books! On this visit I noticed a staircase to a second floor that I didn’t see before. The second level is a beautiful reading room with a starry blue ceiling and soft couches with worn leather that you can sit and read in.
I decided to find another book that might interest me and that I can learn from. I didn’t find a book but did find a biannual collection of essays called Freeman’s which it turns out is also at my local library! So I’m looking forward to opening up my mind to some more new ideas and authors when I get it on Friday.