photo by weyerdk, found on flickr and I hope she doesn't mind??
For the last month or so, I've taken up semi-permanent residence at the BNF. It is my new office. Every day by around 11 I get myself out the door, laptop bag strapped to my back, I take the number 6 replacement bus from Place d'Italie to Quai de le Gare, I get out across the street from where there was a horrible fire last year at 20, Blvd Vinccent Auriol, I walk along the quay until I come to the giant wooden ziggurat, I climb the stairs, I walk 'round the big open book of the Tour des Lettres, I descend at the west entrance, into the pit in the ground, I let the guard search my bag, I exchange my laptop back for a plastic box on a strap, I pass through the turnstile, push through the heavy steel doors, into a cement holding chamber, down two flights of escalators, and into the rez-de-jardin, where I joyfully join my brethren and sistren, all of whom are hunched over laptops in orderly rows of long tables, with piles of books next to them. I claim my spot (usually in salle U, littérature étrangère, or salle W, art et architecture), I go up to the desk and procure the books I've left for myself from the day before, I ask for "le truc anti-vol" which I use to attach my laptop to the desk so I can come and go as I please during the day without worrying about it getting stolen. I seceretly worry, though, that some malicious soul will come along and delete the file I'm working on, so I password protect my computer when I'm away from it. I know, I'm paranoid. I go hang out in the café at lunchtime and teatime. There's no wifi so I check my email on one of the three internet posts by the bathrooms-- there's usually one available now, in August, but I suspect by la rentrée it will be near impossible. Why they don't have Wifi is beyond me.
So if you're ever in the BNF, and you've paid the fee and passed the draconian interview process to win entry into the belly of the beast, come on by and say hi!
What I read this week...