Books a la Parisienne

August 18, 2014

How badly did I mangle that phrase?? What does it even mean?? Feminine Paris books? That sounds weird.

Hey, I'm pretending to be French again! Got some fun books to satisfy your inner Audrey Tatou. Or Juliette Binoche. Or Marion Cotillard, my French woman of choice. Some for you, some for the kids.

 I'm super excited about these first three books! 'Mastering the Art of French Eating' sounds amazing, about the real-life story of a woman who has to learn to navigate through a year of living solo in Paris after her husband is sent abroad for diplomatic work. Ann, the wife left behind, is lonely and on the shy side, but she finds a job that enables her to travel around France trying to unearth the origins of famous French dishes. A travel and food journal all in one.

'Nicholas' by Goscinny & Sempe is a book I've had on my shelf for years, waiting for Julia to be old enough to enjoy it. These tales of a French school boy who constantly gets into trouble OVER AND OVER AGAIN while endeavoring to be helpful, are supposed to be supremely entertaining. The simple ink drawings of Nicholas' world are hilarious and charming. I've flipped through it many many times, just waiting until Julia was about age 8, so she could fully appreciate the humor. It's going to be our next read aloud!

I'm can't wait to get 'The Girl With No Shadow' by Joanne Harris into my hands!!!! It's the sequel to 'Chocolat'!!!!!!!!!! The story picks up with Vianne, the heroine of the first tale, a few years down the road - opening a new chocolaterie in a new town, with her daughter Anouk, and a new baby girl in tow. When Vianne wants to hang up her magical talents and find safety in a marriage of convenience, she finds resistance from pre-teen Anouk (who befriends beautiful Zozie, a mysterious character who might not be as charming as she appears). I'm ALL IN.

My mom has 'A Paris Apartment' by Michelle Gable, and I'm going to borrow it as soon as I can. The bottom line is that a furniture appraiser is sent to Paris to investigate a recently discovered apartment that has been shuttered up for 70 years, and in the process of unearthing the life story of the previous owner of the apartment, she ALSO FINDS HERSELF. I can hear my husband HOWLING with laughter. STOP LAUGHING ANDREW. Personally, I think this book sounds super fun and it's going to be the next book I read.

Ok, have you all read 'A Year in Provence' by Peter Mayle? Have you? Are you ready for some extra gushing from me? This is one of my favorite books of ALL TIME. I've read it over and over and over. Now maybe some of you are saying, 'No, I don't want to read about some wealthy Brits who go buy an old chateau and eat amazing food all the time and have a rough road getting renovations done on their house. That's just a pass, thanks.'

WRONG. Do NOT give this classic a pass. This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. Seriously. I can't tell you how much this book will lift your spirits. My only tiny wee caveat is that after reading this book, you will think twice about getting any renovations done on your French country house. Sorry if that's a prob for ya.

M. Sasek's travel books for kids are classics that I've mentioned before on the blog. The bold graphic art seems like they would be well suited for the preschool set, but they're better for school-age kids, as the text skews older, best for grades K-3. There's a fair amount of actual history detailed. 'This is Paris' (and all of the books in the series) are great for giving a basic introduction to famous cities of the world.

Vive la francaise ma petites! No idea what I just said.


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14 comments:

  1. Sigh. The only book on your list that I've read is The Girl With No Shadow! (I need to get Peaches for Monsieur le Curé - book 3!) I'm not even sure we've checked out This is Paris yet. (We have This is Hong Kong right now. I think it's due back soon. Maybe today. I should check on that...) Nicholas sounds great. Actually, they all do! :)

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    1. oooh I would love to see This is Hong Kong!!! gotta go see if my library has it!

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  2. I dream of Paris. *le sigh*
    Since I can't see it yet I tend to avoid books that will make me long for it more. Sad but true. Some day when I do get to go, I'm going to go Paris book hog wild.

    Thanks for the lovely recs.

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    1. maybe you can read these books after you go to Paris someday!! to keep it fresh in your mind....:)

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  3. Oh, I loooooved 'A Year in Provence'!!! I read it years ago and I absolutely loved it. It made me want to own a French chateau of my own. xoxo

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    1. SO FUNNY that book. Mine is all bent and beat up, from being read so much!

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  4. Fabulous book list. My husband would laugh at it though. He stayed 2 years in Paris for because of his job and hated the city so much that he refused to take me there even for a short vacation. I heard many good things about these books and you make me want to get one right now! (Mastering the Art of French Eating)!

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    1. HA HA HA HA! I've been to Paris 2 times. And on the 2nd time, I went into some store and tried to speak some really awful French and the sales lady answered me in English. She clearly was not in the mood to hear my terrible terrible French! :)

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  5. You must read French Lessons, also by Peter Mayle- I read it and was literally drooling through it. It's all about food! Also- have you read Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France? It made me wish that I lived in Paris. In 1949. Just lovely. What else to add? The Paris Wife, about Ernest Hemingway's first wife- so wonderful! I'm off to buy Mastering the Art of French Eating now, thanks Melissa! Great list!

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    1. I havent read that one! I've read A Good Year, and Toujours Provence, but not that one!!! And I have not read Julia's memoir, I think I would love it ~ Thanks for your tips!!!

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  6. erma! thank you so much for all these recs. i have read none of them.

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  7. We recently read A Walk in Paris! Loved that one...the children learned a lot!! We especially thought this tidbit so neat...the word "souvenior" means "a memory" in French...isn't that sweet??? We read this book in anticipation of my sister's trip to Paris!!! Lucky ducky, huh?!! She had a wonderful time...visiting the Louvre and all the sites. *insert jealous glare at said sister* Anyway...she brought me back tea, a scarf, and a Paris Starbucks mug, so I sorta forgive her. ;)

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    1. sigh, I hear you on the travel envy -- my mom went to London a few months ago! But she brought back souvenirs as well, so that was all good!

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