Reading is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (London, too!)

Alison Morris - May 14, 2010

Gareth and I have just returned from a blissful two-week honeymoon — one week in Paris and one in London. I’ve got lots of blog fodder to share with you in coming posts, but for now let me just say that EVERYWHERE we went in our travels we saw people (of all ages!) reading — and very often reading BOOKS. On the plane. On trains. In parks. At cathedrals. Standing in line. Sitting on benches. EVERYWHERE.

Reading Comics in Paris

I finally decided I ought to snap a few photos of readers, as it was weirdly reassuring to see so many of them.

Reading in Paris

These days I often feel inundated with speculations about the decline of reading and the demise of books, so it was heartwarming to head off on this trip and find myself face-to-face with so many people who are still connecting with the printed page. And with physical books too!

Reading in Paris

Of the several hundred readers we saw in our travels, how many of them were accessing their material of choice via eReaders? Surprisingly, just TWO.

Reading in Paris

We saw one Kindle in use on the flight to Paris and one iPad on the Tube in London. C’est tout.

Reading in Paris

I’m not drawing any conclusions from this, mind you, just sharing an observation.

Reading in Paris

Most of these photos were taken in parks where, of course, a backlit screen isn’t going to fare as well as traditional print material.

A young fan of Where's Wally? (a.k.a. Where's Waldo?) on the train from Paris to London

Readers on the Tube in London

We were in London during election time, so that may have had something to do with the number of newspapers being read in the photo above.

At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

Stay tuned for more posts about our book-related discoveries/experiences in Paris and London. (YES, we were honeymooning, but no, we couldn’t/wouldn’t completely leave literature behind!) Gareth will also be posting sketches on his blog, so there will soon be fun things to see there too.

12 thoughts on “Reading is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (London, too!)

  1. chrstopher

    how nice – reassuring indeed. i lived in london for a couple years and the photo on the tube brings back great memories of tube rides with everyone’s head buried in a book. i own a bookshop in trinidad (a country almost completely caught up in american trends) and am trying to dispel the misconception that people don’t read, or read books, anymore. there’s this fallacy that reading on a kindle is somehow progressive, but i think that after the novelty wears off the reality will be that most owners of e-readers will still be doing 90% of their reading on books

  2. Cerise DeLand

    In Washington, New York, London and Paris, people who read abound. They must to survive professionally and psychologically. Divine to see children reading and teenagers, because that way is our literate future.
    Thanks for the photos. Refreshing!

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  6. Kelli Allred

    Congratulations on your marriage. What a wonderful honeymoon! I follow Gareth’s blog, because I’m a Hinds, as well.
    The Japanese are avid readers as well. Your observations of Western Europeans reading echo mine from three years of living in Japan. Everyone reads, everywhere and everything they can. It’s so cool!
    I see you work for a book publisher. I have written two books, and currently have two under construction, all non-fiction.

  7. Baran

    It is because of you French people that book and the passion beyond it will never die. You have done too much to your own language and this huge literature. Be proud of that!!


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