Fiction and non-fiction

One of the peculiarities of the Anglo-American book cultures is, to my mind, the habit of dividing prose into fiction and non-fiction. As far as I know, no other cultural tradition does it. In French bookshops, books are categorised as literature (novels) – subdivided into French novels, foreign novels, youth/teenager novels, fantasy/science-fiction and detective/thriller/crime novels,…

In defence of books and bookshops: 1993

Nearly 25 years ago, the French novelist Jean d’Ormesson reflected on the future of books and bookshops in a world invaded by television and new technologies. ‘Books’, he wrote, ‘are a great blessing in uncertain times.’ ‘The modern world was built through books. The Bible is a book. The Koran is a book. The┬áDiscourse on…