A physicist loose among the liberal arts

My Favorite Bookstore 

Whenever I’m in Paris…  OK, that sounds really pretentious, so let me make it clear that a “trip to Paris” for me means that I’m in France visiting my in-laws, and I’ve escaped from their house in the suburbs for a day. Still, going to Paris is always awesome. Everybody should do it as often as they can.

At the end of a day pretending I’m a flâneur, I always arrange to wind up at my favorite bookstore, “L’Écume des Pages” on the Boulevard St. Germain. Don’t bother trying to translate the name – it doesn’t mean anything without you have read a book called L’Écume des Jours by Boris Vian If you like beatnik surrealism, I highly recommend that.  Come to think of it, that website is lame.  Listen to this instead.  (Lyrics in English here, but they should have said “systematically” where they said “automatically”.)

Anyway, this is my haul from my latest trip:

Books purchased on my latest trip


Learn to Philosophize with Bourdieu, by Adelino Braz; Vian and ‘Pataphysics by Thieri Foulc & Paul Gayot; and The Roman Empire through its Menus, by Dmitri Tilloi D’Ambrosi.  Bourdieu may have said the most intelligent things of anyone we had to read in the Literary Theory course I took last winter, but he writes in such an elevated style that I’m grateful to have a pedestrian commentary to clarify exactly what he was talking about.  The ‘Pataphysicians are always fascinating. They appear to be doing nothing but jerking people’s chains, but underneath may be completely serious. And I always love to read about ancient Rome. I could never pass up a book that contains a recipe for rose petals with fish sauce.


The Physics of Street Signs


What the One Ring Does


  1. Fish sauce? We talking garum here?

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