The annual Sofia Book Market is a fact. From 7th to 12th of December the National Culture Palace becomes the center of a reading fever. All publishers and bookstores are there, presenting their most famous bestsellers and trying desperately to make the ever so poor Bulgarian reader spare some money on a new book (s). Of course, there is 20% off on every novel you purchase, which is a very good reason to at least think about improving your library.
I do not need to mention that I was there the first day the market opened. I spent 2 blissful hours going around it, checking out new and old books, making a list of all the novels I wanted to buy, smelling new books, asking questions. Basically, I has having the time of my life. I was pleasantly surprised by the initiative of the French Institute. The latter created a reading cafe in the middle of the market, where one can sit, go through some of the contemporary (and no so contemporary) French pieces of literature and just read. Basically, you can sit there the whole day, surrounded by the smell of books and read with no fee at all. You don't have to buy a book or pay anything; you are entitled to read as much as you want. I took advantage of this opportunity and that is how I stumbled on a book, which I bought afterwards.
Laurent Gounelle's L'Homme Qui Voulait Etre Heureux (The Man Who Wanted to be Happy) attracted me firstly with its title and then with the description on the back. Gounelle is a French psychologist and writer, who explores the problems of human happiness and mental equilibrium. As my mom says lately I am more and more into psychological books, novels that explore the nature of human content and stability, novels that help you discover who you really are and what you want out of life. By exploring so many different aspects, I get closer to understanding myself and my dreams. I also realize I am not the person I thought I was. I realize the dreams I thought would make me happy upon achievement do not bring anything but mere resentment and disappointment because I am still not happy. That is why I am determined (and actually fascinated by the possibility) to read as many self help, self understand, or whatever those books might be called. Some are very good (Eat Pray Love) some do not work for me (Froth on the Capuchino) and others just transform my world view completely (Ayn Rand's literature, although she is not really a self-help type of writer). I can't wait to see what Gounelle has to say about the subject since once more I will have the chance to touch the Buddhist culture and way of thinking through exploring L'Homme Qui Voulait Etre Heureux.
Of course I didn't want to limit myself to only buying one book but unfortunately due to budget restraints I had to. I nevertheless made a list of all the books I wanted to buy eventually (so that I do not forget) and I attempted to convince my mother that I absolutely desperately need all of them. She was not that sure at all, given that my room starts to look more like a library than like a living space ( I literally have no space to accomodate my books already) + she doesn't really believe in buying books. She is the type "I will borrow from the public library" type. I am different, so I am determined to own these novels one way or another. So here is my wish list for next couple of months:
1. Anne Heller - Ayn Rand and the World She Made
2. James Clavell - Shogun
3. Ray Bradbury - All
4. George Orwell - Animal Farm
5. Arthur Clarke - A Space Odyssey
If you still haven't visited Sofia Book Market, I urge you to do so. We must support this amazing initiative and prove that Bulgarians still read and are still ready to spare some cash for a good book.