Forget-Me-Notes, a bookstore born out of love between a writer and a translator


Anyone passing the 14A on Avenida Rovisco Pais close to Alameda will discover the change. Where there was once a stationery store now stands a blue signal: “Livraria Forget-me-nots”. Books glow within the small window. And there are those that peek to learn the titles on show.

Inside, you instantly odor that acquainted odor of books. New books with immaculate covers, outdated books stored in store home windows, are sure to cover from the passage of time. Behind the counter, a good couple.

She has curly hair and wears thick-rimmed glasses. He has a critical air, his hair and beard already grey. Their names are Adelaide and Steven Nikolic, and they’re the patrons of Forget Me Notes, a new neighborhood bookstore close to Arco do Sego.

“Forget-me-not is a flower whose that means is carefully linked to reminiscence”, explains Adelaide Nikolic, extending her wrist to indicate a forget-me-not tattoo. “For us, as a bookstore, forget-me-nots are the reminiscence of books that stay in reminiscence.”

So, it was the reminiscence of the books that introduced Adelaide and Steven collectively and laid the muse for Forget Me Not. It is the story of a translator who falls in love with the phrases she interprets, and the story of a writer who surrenders to translation.

A narrative of love and books

On one of the Nineteen Sixties wood cabinets, which Adelaide and Steven stored from an outdated stationery retailer that used to exist there, seems a guide written by Steven: A weekend in Faro.

It is an version revealed by Adelaide Books, a publishing home the duo based in 2017 beneath the auspices of the impartial literary journal Adelaide Literary Magazine. The publishing home was initially based mostly in New York however since 2019 has expanded to Lisbon.

Steven Nikolic was born within the former Yugoslavia, into a household working within the printing business, and because of this fell in love with books and phrases from an early age. “I grew up watching books being printed”, he recollects.

The guide that introduced Adelaide and Steven collectively and the tattoo of forget-me-not Adelaide on her wrist. Photo: Rita Anson

Later, he moved to New York, however his life can be made up of books. And seek for your story. It was Samuel Gabon’s Pentateuch, the primary guide printed in Portuguese territory (courting from 1485), that took him to Pharaoh.

The inspiration of town gave beginning A weekend in FaroA guide about an American in search of himself, which falls into the arms of Portuguese translator Adelaide.

Adelaide finds phrases in her native language to inform her future husband’s story. Only she did not know but.

Adelaide translated Steven’s first work. Photo: Inês Leote

They later met within the United States and have been shifting from there ever since, at all times related by books. Not solely the brand new books they publish, in spite of everything, the motto of the publishing home they created is “We do not publish classics, we create classics”, but additionally outdated books, even uncommon editions, which they now show of their bookstore. in change for a small fortune.

In one window, there are works which can be value greater than a thousand euros, uncommon copies of books which have managed to outlive the fireplace or blue pencils. “Anyone who has worth at all times finds a option to endure,” says Steven.

An older model of Fernando Pessoa’s message (and in Mirandese!). Photo: Rita Anson

The bookstore, which is the writer’s first and solely bodily retailer, additionally carries a lot of kids’s literature, some by North American authors that Adelaide Books works with and others by Portuguese authors, largely inexperienced persons.

A bookstore that’s nearly a “grocery retailer”.

It can be a assembly area, with a slate board the place kids can draw. Since it is vitally near the Colegio do Sagrado Coracao de Maria, there are already some kids who come to scribble daily.

The younger individuals of the Instituto Superior Técnico are additionally simply attracted by the books on the windowsill, however it’s not solely the younger individuals who open their eyes when trying on the books. “Last week, a neighbor got here right here to work as a result of there was no web,” says Adelaide.

And there are additionally individuals who ask to retailer their orders there. “It nearly looks like we’re a grocery retailer,” says the translator. The grocery retailer of tales.

In addition to Slate, Miosotis additionally has an exhibition room the place, till the tip of August, the work of Ukrainian painter Marita Vaskova, whom Adelaide found because of an article in Mensagem, are on show. It is the colours of Lisbon that carry the area to life.

“I actually preferred the area, it’s new, very contemporary and dynamic”, says Marita Vaskova herself, visiting its exhibition. “The work should be seen. It’s good to know there are individuals watching, an artist wants that vitality”.

The plans do not cease there: Adelaide likes to rework the bookstore with guide launches, live shows, workshops. But for now, watch with a smile as individuals be a part of.

And why Lisbon to open the primary bookstore, and not New York? “Life is a bit tougher there, not solely in phrases of costs, it’s extremely aggressive”, he says. “And that is what we would like: to not be too formatted, to be a little neighborhood retailer”.


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Ana da Cunha

He was born in Porto 25 years in the past, however has made Alfa Pendular his house since 2019. In Lisbon, he found a love of listening and telling tales on Avenida de Berna on the Universidad Nova de Lisboa.

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