Brighten your day. Books are the perfect antidote for the gray and gloomy.

At Bill & Rosa’s Book Room, we have the perfect antidote for the gray and gloomy winter weather: books, a lot of them, to suit all tastes and demands! Iasmina has selected a few to help pass the time and brighten your day. All our books are pre-loved so you'll love the prices too!

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (4€), The Full Cupboard of Life (3€) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (4€) by Alexander McCall Smith

There’s nothing better to take your mind off the cold and the rain than a plunge into the world of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, a series of detective novels by Alexander McCall Smith. Travel far away from rainy days with this novel set in Botswana and featuring Precious Ramotswe, the founder of the first and only female-run detective agency in the country. With unique characters, a good dose of kindness and vivid descriptions of Botswanan life, these are detective novels like no other. These thre…

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The Statue of Liberty in France

The Statue of Liberty, whose full name is Liberty Enlightening the World, was one of the greatest gifts ever given. The original was given by the people of France to the United States in 1886 and was installed in New York's harbor but did you know there are lots of Lady Libertys in France today? There are at least 25 in France and even more throughout the world.

In Paris alone there are quite a few. The one you need to know about is the one on the Allée des Cygnes which was a gift from the American community of Paris to Paris to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. On her tablet is the date July 14, 1789, as well as July 4, 1776. Then there's the one in the Luxembourg Gardens, inside a private lobby on rue du Cirque, there is one on the roof of a peniche near the Eiffel Tower and one in the Musée d'Orsay. Yet another is very tiny and hard to see; it is incrusted in the torso of César's Centaure (place Michel Debré Paris 6th) near his le…

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Ma langue au chat, Tortures et délices d’un anglophone à Paris

Mon petit accent récit extrait de Ma langue au chat, Tortures et délices d'un anglophone à Paris (Seuil/ Points Editions, October 2017) Vous avez un petit accent, me dit-on. Tout le monde a un accent. Mais pas forcément un petit accent. D’ailleurs, s’il était si petit que ça on ne dirait rien du tout. On ne fait pas remarquer à une dame qui se promène avec un chihuahua Vous avez un petit chien, madame. On dit plutôt : Qu’est-ce qu’il est mignon, votre chien. Ou bien : Il me fait les gros yeux, celui-là. Quelque chose comme ça. C’est que le chihuahua a la taille conforme, alors que mon accent est hors norme, il n’a pas grand-chose de mignon, je ne sais pas s’il a des yeux, mais il est assez dur de la feuille. C’est une espèce de créature, de corps étranger enfoui en moi. Normalement, mon accent devrait rapetisser avec le temps à force d’imiter les sonorités françaises, se camoufler comme un phasme contre une branche, complètement disparaître. Mais c’est l’i…
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SOME OTHER PARIS – A totally different look at the City of Lights (Streaming on YouTube)

An unconventional look at current life in the City of Lights, Some Other Parisexamines everything from the Yellow Vest protests to the Parisian art scene through the eyes of expats, immigrants and French citizens. The documentary takes viewers far beyond the Eiffel Tower, past the fancy fashion houses and the haute cuisine. It is an immersive journey through the Paris of artists and intellectuals; inhabitants of a densely populated, expensive city, dodging around the cost of living, tightly packed public transportation, pollution and dog poop on the sidewalk.Directed by James H. Jewell III and executive produced by Kara Jewell, thisdocumentary film features twenty interviews with artists, musicians, poets,novelists, playwrights, radio personalities, a journalist, a real estate broker, a gamer, a charity worker, a costume designer/refugee worker, a sign language tour guide, and a rabbi. Residing in Paris is perhaps the only common denominator this diverse cas…

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BBI Boulogne-Billancourt Information talks about Bill & Rosa’s Book Room

BBI Boulogne-Billancourt Information - it's a pretty dull title for a magazine, but a really nice municipal publication just like Boulogne-billancourt is a really nice town. We read it every month to see what is going on in sports, culture, politics, business and best of all the history pages of our city. Julie Fagard, the journalist who interviewed us, clearly enjoys her job. She was lovely, interested and asked some great questions. She very much liked the concept we have put forth. The Book Room is rather unique in Boulogne as there are no English book shops and no used book shops in this town of nearly 110,000. The article has already brought in a dozen customers on the first day we were open after publication! I looks like we've hit a chord. We're happy to give back to Boulogne-Billancourt, the second largest city in Ile de France after Paris (and 30th largest in France), as it is a great place where people are friendly and smiling. There's great shopping on the vibra…

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International Bookstores in Paris

FUSAC's own Bill & Rosa's Book Room, is composed mainly of used English books. We also have a certain number of French language books. And when we also receive books in other languages Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Polish we are reminded what a cosmopolitan city Paris is. In fact we read recently on the city of Paris' website in carefully inclusive French that the population of the city is composed of 22% Paris-born, some place else we saw 26% foreign-born and the rest of Parisians are non Parisian French. The international community stems from 176 nationalities. And 3/4 of Parisians think the ideal city is multicultural. This got us to thinking that there must be bookshops that deal in other languages beyond English and French so we set out to see what we could find and composed this list. After the foreign language shops there's a list of English bookstores in Paris and a few of the historic French shops we thought we just couldn't leave out. If you love…

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A Passion for Complication

A slightly adapted excerpt from Demystifying the French: How to Love Them and Make them Love You, published by Winged Words Publishing, 2019. Copyright Janet Hulstrand, all rights reserved.

It’s best, whenever possible, to give the merchant exact change when buying something in France. “I do not know why, but I do know that French people really, really, really want you to give them exact change if you possibly can. They just do,” I tell my students.

This can lead to a confusing situation for Anglophones, because the word for “change” in French is monnaie. So if a French person looks at the money you have given them and says “Vous n’avez pas de monnaie?” you might understandably be confused. After all, haven’t you just given them monnaie?

But no, you see, you have not. You have given them argent, which means, literally “silver,” and is the word used for money. Or you have given them espèce, which means “cash”: but you have not given…

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BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS 

BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS (WORDS THAT LOOK ALIKE IN TWO LANGUAGES BUT HAVE DIFFERENT MEANINGS, SOMETIMES DANGEROUSLY SO) AND INACCURATE TRANSLATIONS! You’re the Chief Information Officer of the French branch of a sprawling multinational, and you’ve been told to upgrade the entire system. Everything. The Works. There are hundreds of thousands of euros to be spent on software, hardware, related staff training and, in conjunction with the Marketing Department, a glossy communication campaign to let the universe know how ultra-wired you are. With almost puerile excitement you grab the phone, call the most renowned supplier in the world and are transferred to an eager young French sales-rep delighted at the opportunity to practice his English. You explain what you’re after. The young man says he’s thrilled to help but his own system is out today. Could you call back tomorrow, he asks, when he’ll hopefully have access to the documents he needs for his pitch. You call the next day. “T…
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