Life of a Rooster

Memoirs of a psychiatrist, journalist and educator

Books and Bandes Dessinees

on November 11, 2013

Papa also loved books. He made sure to pass on this love to us. Apart from Uncle Lung’s fantastic books, we had a number of books from la Bibliotheque Rose (Pink Library), a series of books for young readers. The next series up was the Bibliotheque Verte (Green Library), and we already read a few of those by 1964.

The Pink Library included many books by an author named la Comtesse de Segur, a Russian noble lady married to a French count. Among her books, a large number depicted the life of two little girls named the Model Girls, Camille and Madeleine. They were aristocrats that lived in a chateau, and went on charity outings. I deplored ever being good enough to match those two. But I loved their cousin Sophie, who often got into trouble.

Years later, my French teacher said that the books by the Comtesse de Segur were not considered good writing because the conversations were written like a play, while the rest was written like a novel. That obviously did not matter at all to us.

Comics are called Bandes Dessinees (Drawn Strips) in French. The most expensive ones were the Tintin books. Very large and in hard cover, Papa would occasionally buy one for us, and we devoured it over and over again, taking care not to mess it up. He enjoyed those Tintin adventures as much as we did, or maybe more.  When I found them in English in Saudi Arabia many years later, when Papa was in his late sixties or early seventies, I bought him a few, soft cover by then, and he smuggled them back to Taiwan in his checked luggage. He refused to carry them by hand for fear he could not resist the urge of reading them in the plane and look childish. He definitely lived out the motto then printed on the Tintin book covers: for readers aged 7 to 77.tintin en amerique

Comics also came as magazines, and we loved Spirou, with its strange animal that hopped on its coiled tail, the marsupilami. Becassine was another one of my favorites. She was a maid who was daft and a klutz, so much like me! When told to whip the cream, she got a real whip and actually whipped the cream with it, which got it all over the kitchen!


We did not own a television though they were already invented because it was a luxury very few could afford then.  So reading was our favorite pastime.

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