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For the Love of Books

Our Valentines' Dinner and a Movie Series starts today. We're serving up a five-course meal with our favorite French-themed romantic comedies.  (The series has been sold out for weeks, but you can still join us for our next group of French movies in March.) Tonight we'll show French Kiss; tomorrow night, Amelie; and our final movie will be Sabrina.  

For weeks now, there has been a raging debate (between Pascal and me) about whether we should show the classic Sabrina film with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart or the updated re-make of the film with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford. I watched both movies back to back and weighed the pros and cons of each. Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford won out. Why? Primarily because the newer film actually takes the viewer to Paris where we get to see cafes, the Eiffel Tower, the Pompidou Centre and other landmarks; the classic was filmed on a Hollywood stage set and shows only a window with a very fake Eiffel tower in the background. But, I personally prefer the Sabrina re-make because of my love for books.

I saw the 1995 version long before I saw the Hepburn version, and much to my dismay there was another important scene missing from the original. In the new version, one night Sabrina comes home to her father's living quarters. He lives over the garage of a billionaire's estate where he works as a chauffeur. Sabrina's father is reading a book when she walks in, and the camera pans around the carriage house to overflowing bookshelves and stacked books in every nook and cranny. Sabrina says:  "I love many things about you, Dad. But do you know what I love best of all? You decided to become a chauffeur because you wanted to have time to read." As an avid reader who treasures my books, this struck me as a most romantic idea. Imagine choosing your profession so that it allows you to indulge in your favorite past-time! I absolutely loved that moment, and over the years I have re-played the scene in my mind dozens of times.

It's true that I love books so much - the way they feel, the way new books smell, the emotions they illicit - that my respect tends to border on compulsion. I will not write in books (unless it's to inscribe one as a gift); I will not highlight text in books; I only dog ear pages under the rarest of circumstances; and I read books from cover to cover without ever cracking the spine. Even my most well-used books often look new. That's why I found this blog entry depicting ways to use books (other than for reading) simultaneously fascinating and horrifying. I actually could appreciate most of the pieces featured, but I especially enjoyed this chair which gives new meaning to the idea of arm-chair reading. 

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