La Două Bufnițe Library opened in 2016, at the beginning of December. It was the dream of two girls who graduated from the arts. Raluca Selejan and Oana Doboși have been lifelong friends, and the small bookshops in the Union Square area are their home… away from home. It is a warm and friendly place, where the books are carefully selected, mostly from Roman and world literature, humanities and art. There is also plenty of space for children’s books. Writers from Romania, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, USA, Iceland, Croatia and Portugal participated in the events organized here over time. Sunday is almost a day for storytelling, and libraries make recommendations on social networks.
Last year, when the pandemic began and nearly all businesses closed for several weeks, Oana and Raluca sold books at the window and delivered home orders to their customers. Even in 2021 it couldn’t be easier. exactly the contrary. “I think last year, and this year was really very difficult. Last year, when everything came chaotically, like a hurricane, we didn’t have time to wake up very loudly. We woke up a little bit this year and I think this year it was even more difficult. Last year I lit them automatically. This year wasn’t the same as automatic bonfires, I went through this stuff once and felt a lot more difficult. I really think this year was harder for the libraries and for us than last year.”says Raluca Sillian.
The library’s fifth anniversary meant five days of online and offline events, within the limits permitted by health status. There was a launch of books, discussions with publishers and, in fact, a farewell event with friends. Many of those who come to the library today have experienced the status of simple customers. Oana Dubuchi and Raluca Sillian explained; “Now we have more friends and it’s good to see how this friendship has grown with our clients. From people… I didn’t even know some of them, they came, they crossed our threshold, they asked for a book recommendation, they came on other days.. (.. .) Basically, that’s what we wanted in a library to create this dialogue about books. And how do you build a dialogue about books, in a bookstore, with people you don’t know? Obviously, talking about the books you like, the books you have in the bookstore.. And while you’re doing this dialogue, I don’t even know how, I think you’re honestly honest and enthusiastic.”
The bookstore is still a business, and the past two years have not been friendly to small business owners. The two young women had never considered giving up and kept saying, jokingly, and most seriously, that they wanted to move forward with the library for at least half a century. However, 2021 was full of trials. “It was a different kind of automatic fire, because last year it was all unpredictable and then we had to adapt from day to day, or stop, because they were all on lockdown, with days off, but this year we don’t have to stop anymore, just to save ourselves from last year’s losses. And then, perhaps, somehow, I worked twice, I don’t even realize it”in turn, Oana Dupuis.
What can be read in La Două Bufnie bookstore? In general, literature, but children’s and teenage books also have an important share. Ironically, however, the “two albums” have less time to read. Good luck with…friends. “Contrary to many people’s expectations, we read less than we did before we opened the library, because we work harder. I mean, we work in a bookstore and we read less. And these new friends we meet are reading more than we read, and then we exchange recommendations.”says Raluca Sillian.
Some may think it is just a joke. It exists and it is not. “Album” in the chorus: “It’s not a game, but if you forget to play and have fun, it can become more stressful than it is (…) We also know that every game has rules, so we also have some rules here, which we respect, even if we’re still playing. These are the rules of the book market.”.
She’s her “shiny friend,” Raluca says of Oana. In the summer, they both fulfilled a dream: they went to Naples and Ischia, following the story imagined by Elena Ferrante, the writer they both love. Their little bookstore has been “ongoing” for six years now. There are other dreams that must come true. with friends.