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In the pause: What I learned about writing by reading The Little Paris Bookshop

“With all due respect, what you read is more important in the long term than the man you marry, ma chère Madame.” ~Monsieur Perdu in The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

I fell in love with the book The Little Paris Bookshop on page one. I suppose what Monsieur Perdu is saying is that the right books can stick with us for a lifetime on our own terms, longer than most loves. When I think of it that way, I guess it is true, at least for some people.

Monsieur Perdu owns a bookshop in Paris, a peculiar one on a barge in the middle of the Seine that he consider a literary apothecary. He’s a book doctor, or at least a book pharmacist, prescribing books to heal whatever ails his customers. I read the first few pages of the book while crossing the East River on New York City’s B train for a meeting in Brooklyn to chase a dream. In that moment, I moved Monsieur Perdu’s barge to the East River and for me, he prescribed a book to bolster my confidence and stoke my courage.

It’s clear in these few pages that Monsieur Perdu has lost someone he loved, that he spends his evenings in an apartment that used to be filled with love, laughter, and a cat. Now it’s just him surrounded by his familiar neighbors of 20 years whose lives echo through the walls. They’ve loved and lost, too. All of them.

Though the story starts on a sad note, I smiled while reading it because the connection to the characters and the emotions it evokes are exactly what I want my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, to do. I want readers to know Emerson as quickly as I came to know Monsieur Perdu. I want them to root for her to be okay, to be better than okay, to be her own savior. The Little Paris Bookshop shows me that this is possible, a goal worth striving for.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “In the pause: What I learned about writing by reading The Little Paris Bookshop

  1. Good post!

    Like

    Posted by dishwaryamil | June 20, 2017, 6:05 am

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Hope and tragedy aren't mutually-exclusive. We're seeing this now across the globe. But I can't just have hope. I have to actively create it. Anger, rage, and grief are powerful tools. Don't bury them. Use them. Here's a post about what I'm doing. Change isn't someone else's job. It's everyone's job. It's my job. We can't just say we're watching the news and crying over the pain and heartache we're seeing. Yes cry, but then get a tissue and get to work. Yes voting is incredibly important but voting isn't enough either. This has to go far beyond politics because our political systems are also broken. We need more on-the-ground community activism. Yesterday, I took more action. I signed up for a policy working group with @campaignzero & made a donation to their work. I signed up for & made a donation to @colorofchange which creates opportunities for online activism to fight racism and advocate for the civil rights of Black people. I went to a webinar hosted by @facinghistory titled Working for Justice, Equity and Civic Agency in Our Schools: A Conversation with @clintsmithiii. Facing History provides resources & training to history educators. The event was fantastic. I made a donation and signed up for more of their events. I also donated to @fndi303. First Nations Development Institute helps native tribes on whose homes we all live—a donation that is long overdue. The 5 largest hotspots for COVID are all tribal lands. New York would be 6th behind all of them. Please don't forget that COVID isn't just a health issue. It's a social and racial justice issue, too. I did all these things right from my home. Some people say they feel powerless in these times. We're not powerless. We're never powerless. But we've got to have the will to use our power. We can't just look away. We have to show up and do something whether that's in-person or online. There are millions of Black people who live this terrifying reality every day and have for centuries. Look at these protesters. So many of them have no safety and no security of any kind in any part of their lives. All they've got is their presence and so that's what they're giving. There's something we can all give.

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