One of the best parts of taking a trip outside of the States is the easy access to new reading material in your source language. Sure, the internet allows for all sorts of international exchanges, but nothing will ever beat walking into a bookstore and browsing for something fresh and unexpected. While in Québec, these are some of the titles that I picked up:
- Petit guide du parler québécois, by Mario Bélanger. (3rd edition, 2011). An almost-comprehensive dictionary of words and expressions used in Québec. This was a great companion to my other reading material.
- Le brodeur, by Bianca Joubert. (2012). The first novel by the 2008 Radio-Canada Literary Prize-winning author. Written in two parts made of small sections that can stand alone, but together make a whole narrative recounting the romance between a Canadian gone to build a school in Burkina Faso and the local embroiderer. It’s quite popular right now, for good reason!
- Appalaches, by André Pronovost. (1992). I’m a huge fan of “road novels,” especially those set in mountains. I went to college in Switzerland and central Virginia; I’ve done my fair share of hiking. The Appalachian Trail is my Kilimanjaro, and I don’t pass up the opportunity to read other people’s experiences on it.
- Petit manuel d’histoire du Québec, by Léandre Bergeron. (1970). A piece of history in my hands. I feel lucky to have found it. This book begins with a pretty aggressive introduction: “The stories [the elite] have told us about our past were conceived to keep us, the people of Québec, outside of History.” It includes a general history of the province under the French regime, the English regime, and the American regime through a Québecois perspective. I can’t wait to see what treasures it holds.
- A ciel ouvert, by Nelly Arcan. (2007). Proof that sometimes you can’t judge a book by its [really stupid] cover. A rather violent look at beauty, femininity, plastic surgery, and Womanhood. I couldn’t put it down.
Have you read any good books lately? What’s your favorite type of souvenir from a trip abroad?