Tag Archives: France

Review: The Madeleine Project

Clara Beaudoux

on Tour

July 12-18

with

Madeleine Project-Cover

The Madeleine Project

(biography/history)

Release date: September 12, 2017
at New Vessel Press

ISBN: 978-1939931498
288 pages

Website
Goodreads

MY REVIEW

As someone who just decluttered and moved (and needs to continue decluttering), this was an interesting book to read! Imagine finding a storage room filled with someone else’s belongings from a different era… and then imagine tweeting about it! It is an interesting way to glimpse into the life of Madeleine. At times, I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t “click” to enlarge a photo or “click” on a link that was provided (etsy, youtube!), so I did end up going online and finding the songs she linked to (listen while you continue to read!):

I didn’t look for the audio of her interviews with those who knew her, as I don’t speak French, but I am glad that the author went in search of those who knew and remembered Madeleine, as I loved their thoughts about her.  The common thread seemed to be “I wish I had asked her more questions, got to know her better,” which led to, “I wish I knew my own parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents better, had asked them more questions.”  And that made me grateful that in my family we bought both of my parents a Story Worth subscription** so they are receiving weekly emails with questions about their lives which will be compiled into a book at the end of a year.

Ultimately, this book was not fully satisfying to me. I love Twitter, so I am now following #Madeleineproject and the author (@clarabdx) and will check in occasionally.  This book takes you through Seasons 1 and 2 and currently the author is working on Season 4, so I have some catching up to do. I would have loved more of the interaction with other Twitter followers to more fully develop the story of Madeleine and Paris. Unfortunately I don’t read or understand French, and the Storify links don’t translate, so I probably will not delve too much further into the life of Madeleine.

But maybe with all my decluttering, I will create a time capsule of life in the early 2000s that can be discovered by grandchildren in their adulthood. And I will be more purposeful in asking questions and learning about all the people in my life.

**I really should work for Story Worth, because I love it so and recommend it to everyone I know! CLICK Story Worth for more information!

I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review.  I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.  Click below to enter a giveaway!

SYNOPSIS

A young woman moves into a Paris apartment and discovers a storage room filled with the belongings of the previous owner, a certain Madeleine who died in her late nineties, and whose treasured possessions nobody seems to want. In an audacious act of journalism driven by personal curiosity and humane tenderness, Clara Beaudoux embarks on The Madeleine Project, documenting what she finds on Twitter with text and photographs, introducing the world to an unsung 20th century figure. Along the way, she uncovers a Parisian life indelibly marked by European history. This is a graphic novel for the Twitter age, a true story that encapsulates one woman’s attempt to live a life of love and meaning together with a contemporary quest to prevent that existence from slipping into oblivion.
Through it all, The Madeleine Project movingly chronicles, and allows us to reconstruct, intimate memories of a bygone era.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeleine Project-Beaudoux

Clara Beaudoux
is a Paris-based journalist for the France Info news network.
The Madeleine Project has been wildly popular in France.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Clarabdx

In French: on Facebook, The Madeleine Project page,
and the author’s main website

Follow New Vessel Press on Twitter | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.

Buy the book: on Indiebound | on Amazon

***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to all
5 winners

 

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS

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My Wish List: A Novel

My Wish List cover
My Wish List

See below for the form to fill out to win an ARC paperback or ebook of this book!

In the midst of coursework, I took the time to read this book for a blog tour.  I loved the premise (who doesn’t dream of winning the lottery?) and it is a mere 176 pages, so it was a quick read.  I read it with a highlighter in my hand (a little bit of the student coming through?) because some of the sentences and passages called out to be reread and read aloud.  Wow.  I loved the language.

Jocelyne is a 47 year old woman who married a man named Jocelyn (“One chance in millions.  And it happened to me.”)  Jo and Jo have two children, they both work hard and have what they need but little more.  They were in that place in their marriage where they were happy, content.  Their children were raised, they were comfortable being together, and their dreams were small.  He worked for Haagen Daz and she owned her own fabric store (haberdashery) and started a blog.  He dreamed of a big screen TV and a fancy car.  She dreams of being happy and having her father with a failing memory well-cared for.

She wins a large sum of money (18,000,000 Euros) and doesn’t tell anyone.  She hides the money in a shoe and then creates lists – lists of things she needs, lists of things she want – and she worries about how the money will change her life.  And change her life, it does.

Being rich means seeing all that’s ugly and having the arrogance to think you can change things. All you have to do is pay for it.”

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the care that the translator took with the language – I loved the writing, period!  The chapters were short, but for example, one chapter was infused with “I dreamed…” sentences.  Another is full of “I am happy with Jo” sentences.  I love that.  I love that the things on our “need” lists are called our “daily little dreams” that keep us going.   There was so much of the language of the book that really was beautiful.  It was spare but meaningful.  But the book does have a surprising twist which packs a powerful punch, so it is not without plot.

There is much I could highlight about this book in this blog, as is shown by the highlights in my book!  Whoever borrows the book from me will have to contend with the orange highlights throughout. But as the book uses few words to make its point, so will I.

This book would lend itself to great discussion and would be a great book club book.  Who doesn’t like to dream of winning the lottery?  Who also doesn’t want to dream about how money would change their life?  And it sounds like it’s going to be made into a movie!  French or American, I’ll see it!

Good stuff.  And this good stuff can be yours!  I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY!  Tomorrow I’ll give the details on how you could win an ebook or Advanced Readers Copy paperback of this book of your very own (you won’t have to see my highlights!).  Stay tuned!

Thanks Emma for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour!  More info can be found by clicking here:

My Wish List banner
http://francebooktours.com/2014/01/21/gregoire-delacourt-on-tour-my-wish-list/

Fill out this form to be entered in random drawing for a book of your own!

SYNOPSIS

A cathartic, charmingly tender, assuredly irresistible novel, MY WISH LIST (Penguin; ISBN: 9780143124658; On-sale: March 25, 2014: $15.00) imagines one answer to the question: If you won the lottery, would you trade your life for the life of your dreams? With sales of more than half a million copies in France alone, rights sold in twenty-five countries, and a major motion picture in development, this slim yet spirited tale has sewn up the interest of the literary world.

Jocelyne Guerbette is a forty-seven year old who runs a modest fabric shop in a nondescript provincial French town. Her husband—instead of dreaming of her—wants nothing more in life than a flat-screen TV and the complete James Bond DVD box set. And to Jocelyne’s two grown-up children, who live far from home, she’s become nothing but an obligatory phone call. Perpetually wondering what has happened to all the dreams she had when she was younger, Jocelyne finally comes to terms with the series of ordinary defeats and small lies that seem to make up her life.

But then Jocelyne wins the lottery: $25,500,000! And suddenly she finds the world at her fingertips. But before cashing the check, before telling a soul, she starts making a list of all the things she could do with the money. While evaluating the small pleasures in life—her friendship with  the twins who manage the hairdresser next door, her holidays away, her sewing blog that’s gaining popularity—she begins to think that the everyday ordinary may not be so bad. Does she really want her life to change?

MY WISH LIST is an essential reminder of the often-overlooked joys of everyday life and a celebration of the daily rituals, serendipities, and small acts of love that make life quietly wonderful [provided by the publisher]

***

 

Release date: March 25, 2014
at Viking and Penguin BooksISBN-13: 978-0143124658
176 pages
PRAISE FOR MY WISH LIST

“A runaway bestseller that looks set to follow the success of The Elegance of the Hedgehog.” — Elle (France)

 “Delacourt has hit the jackpot… [He has a] knack for finding exactly the right words and for evoking feeling” — Le Nouvel Observateur

 “Delacourt has a keen eye for everyday life and for the extraordinary challenges that ordinary people face” — Le Parisien

***

Grégoire DelacourtABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grégoire Delacourt was born in Valenciennes, France, in 1960. His first novel, L’Écrivain de la Famille, was published in 2011 and won five literary prizes. MY WISH LIST has been a runaway number-one bestseller in France; publication rights have been sold in more than twenty-five countries. Delacourt lives in Paris, where he runs an advertising agency with his wife.

See more on his French website: Grégoire Delacourt
Follow him on Facebook  | Goodreads

 

Paris Was the Place

Paris Was The Place

Storytelling.

“Paris was the Place” is a story about a poetry teacher, Willow (Willie) Pears, who moves to France to be near her older brother and her college roommate.   It’s 1989 and she teaches poetry at a University and begins volunteering at an immigration center where girls who are in France illegally are kept while they await their asylum hearings.  She works with the girls to find the words to tell their stories which they will tell the judge.

An integral part of the story is the relationship that Willie and her brother, Luke, have with their mother and father while growing up, and the relationship she has with her brother in the present.  She is still hurting from her mother’s death and feeling estranged from her father.  Luke is her connection to the past and her reason for being in France at the present.  Willie navigates Paris streets and neighborhoods, the Paris immigration system for the girls whose stories she elicits, a new relationship with a divorced immigration lawyer with a young son, and her brother’s mysterious illness.  She becomes entranced by the lives of the girls seeking asylum and goes a little too far to help one of them.  It jeopardizes her new relationship with Macon, the lawyer, and her friends, but she is forgiven.

Her brother’s illness is a pall that hangs over the entire book and sometimes paralyzes Willie.  But Willie is awarded the opportunity to go to India to meet with the daughter of the famous poet, Sarojini, in the hopes that she will be trusted to write a book about her story, and she is able to make the trip reluctantly.  Willie loved the poetry written by this Indian woman and is honored that she is able to take the words home with her study.

Willie has always been enamored with words and their meanings.  In this book she gives words and meaning to the lives of the girls at the immigration center, to her mother’s life and death, and to her brother’s illness.  Storytelling.  This book is about a teacher and storyteller.  It’s about the power of words in relationships and it’s about forgiveness and hope.

SYNOPSIS

With her new novel, Paris Was the Place (Knopf, 2013), Susan Conley offers a beautiful meditation on how much it matters to belong: to a family, to a country, to any one place, and how this belonging can mean the difference in our survival. Novelist Richard Russo calls Paris Was the Place, “by turns achingly beautiful and brutally unjust, as vividly rendered as its characters, whose joys and struggles we embrace as our own.”

When Willie Pears begins teaching at a center for immigrant girls in Paris all hoping for French asylum, the lines between teaching and mothering quickly begin to blur. Willie has fled to Paris to create a new family, and she soon falls for Macon, a passionate French lawyer. Gita, a young girl at the detention center, becomes determined to escape her circumstances, no matter the cost. And just as Willie is faced with a decision that could have dire consequences for Macon and the future of the center, her brother is taken with a serious, as-yet-unnamed illness. The writer Ayelet Waldman calls Paris Was the Place “a gorgeous love story and a wise, intimate journal of dislocation that examines how far we’ll go for the people we love most.” Named on the Indie Next List for August 2013 and on the Slate Summer Reading List, this is a story that reaffirms the ties that bind us to one another.

Release date: August 7, 2013.

Pages: 354

Publisher link: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/204489/paris-was-the-place-by-susan-conley

ISBN: 978-0-307-59407-5

Buying links:

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/204489/paris-was-the-place-by-susan-conley

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Was-Place-Susan-Conley/dp/0307594076

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Was-the-Place-ebook/dp/B00BVJG4CM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paris-was-the-place-susan-conley/1113784351?ean=9780307594075

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paris-was-the-place-susan-conley/1113784351?ean=9780385349659

https://itunes.apple.com/be/book/paris-was-the-place/id623835456?mt=11

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780307594075/susan-conley/paris-was-place

 

Susan Conley2Author bio

Susan Conley is a writer and teacher. Her memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf 2011), chronicles her family’s experiences in modern China as well as her journey through breast cancer. The Oprah Magazine listed it as a Top Ten Pick, Slate Magazine chose it as “Book of the Week,” and The Washington Post called it “a beautiful book about China and cancer and how to be an authentic, courageous human being.” Excerpts from the memoir have been published in The New York Times Magazine and The Daily Beast.

Susan’s writing has also appeared in The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Gettysburg Review, The North American Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. A native of Maine, she earned her B.A. from Middlebury College and her M.F.A. in creative writing from San Diego State University. After teaching poetry and literature at Emerson College in Boston, Susan returned to Portland, where she cofounded and served as executive director of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing center. She currently teaches at The Telling Room and at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program.

Contact Information

www.SusanConley.com

Facebook

Twitter

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I’m thankful to be part of the France Book Tour!

Paris Was The Place Banner

“The Promise of Provence” e-book Giveaway!

What a treat it was to review Patricia Sands’ book for the France Book Tours!

You can read that review by clicking here!

France book tour
France Boosk Tours

And it’s my pleasure (plaisir) to provide one of you with an e-copy of the book for yourself!

France book tour
The Promise of Provence

Please comment on this post OR the post with the review and you will be entered to win an e-copy of the book from the author.

In your comments, let me know either

a) a place you loved that you’d like to revisit,
b) your favorite kind of summer read,
or c) anything you want me to know.  🙂

On Sunday evening a winner will be selected randomly from all who enter (think name in a hat!) and will be announced on this blog on Monday.

Bonne chance! 

Danette

***********************************************************************

Read more about France Book Tours by clicking either of the links below, and look even further to see a synopsis of this book and more info about the author!

http://francebooktours.com/
http://wordsandpeace.com

**********************************************************************

The Promise of Provence Synopsis

             June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.

Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?

“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.”     Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma

Publication Date: May 30, 2013

457 pages,  ISBN 9780991931316    Published through CreateSpace

Available on Amazon worldwide     USA   Canada   UK    FR and may be ordered at any bookstore.

Patricia Sands
Patricia Sands

Author bio:

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010.

Her second novel, The Promise of Provence is an Amazon Hot New Release as of April 2013.

Pop in to visit her at:

http://www.patriciasands.wordpress.com

http://www.patriciasandsauthor.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patricia.sands.9

and https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPatriciaSands

Twitter https://twitter.com/patricia_sands

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4381348.Patricia_Sands

 

The Promise of Provence

France book tour
The Promise of Provence

When Emma at Words and Peace asked if I would review this book for her France Book Tours ,   I wasn’t sure, as I’m not much of a reviewer.  I love to read and I love to give my feelings about books.  But to dissect them and truly “review” them?  Well, I will do my best.  AND, if you read to the end, you will learn how YOU can win your own e-copy of this book!  Woot!

France book tour
France Boosk Tours

I don’t have too much in common with Katherine (Katica, Kat):  she is a research assistant for a specialist in the study of pain.  She has her PhD and loves her job (no PhD for me, but do love my job!).  She thinks life is going along as normal, and then on her anniversary her husband drops the bomb:  he is with someone else and going to be having a baby.  Her life is forever changed and she feels that her past was a lie.  Anger, betrayal, sadness.  She moves in with her mother who reminds her of Nietzsche’s philosophy, which is also her own, that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Thought this related
Thought this related

So, thankfully I haven’t been betrayed in such a terrible way by a person in a relationship, but I have had the experience of “starting over” and re-evaluating life a few times.  When my daughter went to college, I remember feeling so sad that I wasn’t even able to face the empty house after drop-off day.  And then suddenly I recognized that I had freedom – and my motto became “I can do whatever I want!”  It was a great year of being foot-loose and fancy free!  For the first time since forever.

And then the flood happened and took our house and personal belongings and rocked our world a little bit (understatement?).  I highlighted a line in Patricia Sand’s book that reflected my feelings after that time:

“How is it, when my heart is so broken, the world can still be such a beautiful place? It isn’t right. It isn’t appropriate or fair. Everyone and everything should be suffering like I am.”

Going to work, watching people mow their lawns, seeing that life was “normal” everywhere else, was hard to bear some days.  But life does go on.  And on and on.

In The Promise of Provence, Kat is encouraged by her great friends, friends whose relationships she began to nourish and cherish as never before.  If you know me, you know that I believe in and value the power of friendships – I’m so glad that it was part of this book!  Kat also discovers the world of “home exchanges” and her life is never the same.  She chooses to swap homes with a family in Provence, the land of Peter Mayle novels.  She has traveled to France in her younger days and is glad to revisit.  During her first visit she finds that it is OK to be alone.  OK to embrace change.  She discovers the life of plaisir – pleasure.  

Mirella:  “You know, Katherine, we are masters in the art of plasir.  It is the underlying theme of life here.  In spite of the many negatives in our society today, the French continue to strive to be artful, exquisite.  It is a legacy we do not want to lose.

“It combines with the art of seduction… la seduction,” Joy interjected, with a knowing smile.  “It’s a virtuous skill here to seduce and touch all the senses with fashion, cuisine, wine, scent, words…

Also the world of pastis (an anise flavored liqueur and aperitif of France) and petanque (a French game of boules, which is like bocce ball)and panier (a basket for carrying provisions) .  She meets Philippe and Picasso and hopes to someday return.  Not long after, an opportunity arises and she goes – for longer this time, and during her second home exchange she discovers that she truly is self-reliant and feels at home.  

Katherine: “Anyu’s words to me about being alone, about finding strength in being alone, live inside me all the time.  They’re empowering.”

I thought the end of my marriage was the door slamming on my life but instead it turns out to have opened the door of opportunity.”  

Isn’t that the way life is?

The Promise of Provence is full of popular culture references (Downton Abbey!) and also things that I had to look up.  One thing I looked up was quite a treat!  In Cap d’Antibes, Katherine speaks with Philippe about La Grande Nomade, which she can see from her windows.  The art feature is by artist Jaume Plensa and Philippe tells Kat about the artist’s philosophy:

“I read an interview with him that touched me deeply. The feeling he expresses through this work is that letters are like bricks.  They help us to construct our thoughts.  He described his belief that our skin is permanently and invisibly tattooed with the text of our life experiences and then someone comes along – a friend, a lover – who is able to decipher these tattoos.”

I had to see what this art work was so I went to Google…

English: Nomade sculpture by Jaume Plensa, tak...
English: Nomade sculpture by Jaume Plensa, taken in Antibes, Provence-alpes-cote d’Azur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and lo and behold, I have a photo of one his pieces – the same piece – not in Cap d’Antibes, but in Des Moines, IA!  How fun.  We loved discovering the “Letterman,” as we called him, in the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden one spring day.

des moines sculpture garden
Plensa’s “Nomade” in Des Moines

From Wikipedia: Plensa says, “Telles des briques, les lettres ont une potentialité de construction, elles nous permettent de construire une pensée”.  (Such bricks, letters have the potential to construct, they enable us to construct a thought.)

I received this book as a gift from the author, and although there were times that plodded along for me, it truly was a gift – a reminder that it is always good to seek the plaisir in life, enjoy each moment, savor your friendships, and to be ready for adventure.

“Each day is a gift, Katica.  Try to live your life knowing what matters most and always, always, remember… what doesn’t kill us… ” 

***************************************************************

And now, as promised, a gift for you!  

Please leave a comment below and you will be entered to win a copy of The Promise of Provence in e-book style!

Winner will be drawn at random and announced on Tuesday, July 9.  

Also click through below to learn more about the book, about the author!  I know that I’m putting her first book The Bridge Club in my TBR list!

The Promise of Provence Synopsis

             June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.

Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?

“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.”     Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma

Publication Date: May 30, 2013

457 pages,  ISBN 9780991931316    Published through CreateSpace

Available on Amazon worldwide     USA   Canada   UK    FR and may be ordered at any bookstore.

********************************************************************************

Author bio:

Patricia Sands
Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010.

Her second novel, The Promise of Provence is an Amazon Hot New Release as of April 2013.

Pop in to visit her at:

http://www.patriciasands.wordpress.com

http://www.patriciasandsauthor.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patricia.sands.9

and https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPatriciaSands

Twitter https://twitter.com/patricia_sands

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4381348.Patricia_Sands

Audiobook: My Life in France

My Life in France
I just finished listening to the audiobook as I pulled into book club (to discuss “Loving Frank“) and realized that it’s Thursday and Words and Peace has her weekly “I Love France” meme on Thursdays!  Once again I’ll participate!  So at the last minute on Thursday, I’ll post about Julia Child and her memoir about her life in France.
Listening to a book is always a much different experience than reading a book, and I think this would have been good to read.  There are recipes recited and French words and phrases spouted without definition and I think I would have taken more in with my eyes than my ears.  But I liked the general feeling that I got from the book.  I liked hearing about the love that Julia and her husband had for each other, the support that Julia got for finding her passion in cooking, and the fascinating process they went through to get “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” published.
Now I want that cook book, although Julia realized at the time of its publishing in the 1960s that it was already pushing the limits of what the American housewife would tackle, in the time and care that the French pour into their food preparation (and eating!).  But yet the book and its successor were popular, as was the television show that she began filming.
I will have to look up episodes of her TV show and think about tackling some simple French meals!
Off to read!

Books: Lunch in Paris – A Love Story, with Recipes

Cover of "Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, w...
Cover via Amazon

by Elizabeth Bard

I LOVED this book!  And how perfect that I finished it late last night (an UNPUTDOWNABLE?) and today I can post a few words for Words and Peace’s “I Love France” meme!

Elizabeth Bard was an American living/working/studying in England when she saw a man at an academic conference and on the last day exchanged emails with him, which led to a flurry of flirty emails and eventually a weekend trip to Paris for a lunch date.  This book chronicles their life together – from this first date – and tells the story through food.

This book is quite like another book I love – Molly Wizenberg’s “A Homemade Life” – which owns space on my cookbook shelf.  Early on in “Lunch in Paris,” (after I started dog-earing recipes that I wanted to try in chapter one, chapter two, etc.) I realized that I would be purchasing this book for the same reason.  Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes, Mamy Simone’s Tabouleh, Eggplant Stuffed with Quinoa, Lemon Sorbet and Vodka (inspired!)… the list goes on and on.  Some of the recipes look a little complicated but most simply enhance the flavors of whatever is being served (wild boar or haricot verts – I love haricot verts!).

Elizabeth Bard is able to simply and beautifully write about what it means to be an American living in France.  I don’t even know what else to say about that!  She writes eloquently about what it’s like to have parents in US who wonder what she’s getting herself into, cultural expectations of Americans and French, how cultural differences impact relationships and attitudes towards work and happiness.

It is an excellent little book filled with intelligent insights.  Adriana Trigiani (one of my favorite authors) has a blurb on the back that says “It’s Eat, Stay, Love with a side of spiced apricots.”  I thought about that as I read the book.  One of my pet peeves is when people set out to do something amazing with the sole intention of writing a book at the completion of the amazing feat.  It feels contrived and unnatural.  I felt that way about “Eat, Pray, Love” and “The Happiness Project.”  I didn’t feel that way about this book at all.  And in the last chapter she writes about how the “cookbook” idea came to be – during a New Year’s Eve feast that lasted for eight hours.  Yes, they stopped eating at around 4AM.  Can you imagine?  Each hour a new course was brought out to be savored and enjoyed.

This book is a joy.  Savor it.

Off to read!

The Art of French Kissing

Eiffel Tower, seen from the champ de Mars, Par...
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Not a how-to manual, but a cute little read about a girl, almost 30, whose life appears to be crumbling around her – her fiance’ cancels the wedding and kicks her out of their home and she loses her job in PR with a Boy Band record label. So when her friend from college offers her a temporary job helping her out in Paris, she jumps on a plane and attempts to forget the worries she is leaving behind.

A cute, easy read. I supplemented the experience by watching Craig Ferguson for the first time, because his show was shot in Paris for the week! I hear good things about the Ferguson but as a Fallon lover it’s hard to convert.  So I relied on the DVR for the week and listened to Craig Ferguson. It really did add to the reading experience, and make me want to go to Paris!

After I go to Ireland, in search of that wild Irish man. 🙂

Off to read!