Phew chers followers! What a time I’ve been having of it recently at the Granny Flat! After two years of pulling up my donkey and ushuring all my possessions over the threshold, the time has finally come to get my hands dirty, embrace and advance my fledgling DIY skills, and little by little peel back the layers to expose the old girl’s metaphorical undercrackers. Oh the history (plus lurid green paint, dodgy fittings and holes) I’ve been uncovering.
Gratingly, at the same time a cloud of insomnia has descended onto my hand-made Granny-fashioned roll-out bed, meaning that the ever-darkening nights have been spent tossing and turning beneath the covers, eyes firmly open, as if I’ve suddenly forgotten how this darn sleep thing works. Happily though there are infinite things one can do with an abandoned pallet and a few basic tools, so my rolling mind has been awash with ideas to turn my cute little palace into a modern temple of do-it-yourself, budget-conscious wonderment.
To stop me from getting totally carried away, my precious stack of books has also proved invaluable during those nights of broken sleep, and as you’ll recall from my last post, I’ve recently topped up supplies. But hoovering literature like it’s going out of fashion means my limited space is simply chocka with tomes that need new homes. Sadly the next SOS book sale isn’t until the spring, so what to do with those stories in need of recycling to free up precious space to accommodate my ever-growing tool box?
Paris has kindly provided some useful and financially rewarding options for off-loading spent books, though passing on via friends and the wider book community and giving to charity are always the most virtuous options. But, à la fin du jour, the crisis still lingers and sometimes a few extra euros weighing down our wallets can just make that all important difference in living a more comfortable life. Plus it’s not always easy to find a willing recipient with the same literary tastes.
So where to go? Well head towards the centre of Paris and you’ll find a collection of bookshops that sell, and crucially buy, secondhand English language books, including paperback and hardback fiction, travel books and various non-fiction titles. If you haven’t been to the hallowed Shakespeare and Company yet (37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005), then you’re well overdue a visit, especially considering that they’ve recently opened a café next door, meaning that you can nestle with your chosen pages in warm comfort as winter approaches. The tiny shop where you go to offer your wares is just nearby at 71 rue Galande.
The minuscule Canadian-run Abbey Bookshop not far at 29 rue de la Parcheminerie will also accept secondhand specimens to buy, and even if you’re not willing to part with them, it’s traditional floor-too-ceiling randomly stacked shelves are a joy to behold for any enthusiastic reader. Yellow-hued chain Gibert Jeune in the same neighbourhood has a dedicated bourse des livres (2 Place Saint-Michel, just next to the bigger shop at no. 4, and there’s also one on Boulevard Saint-Denis), and they’ll pay you in cash (like the others) once they’ve perused and valued the items you’ve brought.
We’re not talking big bucks here by any means (the last time I went to Shakespeare and Company I left six books lighter with 11 euros in my back pocket), and they won’t accept any old tat that you want to get rid of. But in these times of tight economies, it makes sense to recycle the things you don’t need and get a bit of cash in return, rather than keep them chez toi as handy dust magnets. After all, those screws and sandpaper don’t buy themselves you know. Parisian DIY-on-a-budget masterclass post coming soon…