Books for Francophiles.

I bet you’re wondering how the write-up of My Weekend in Paris is going. Très lentement, I believe, is the phrase. I’m up to 5000 words and I haven’t got through dinner on Friday night. C’est fou!.

While you wait, I thought I might catch you up on what I’ve been reading. You’ll notice a francophile theme. In fact, the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a preponderance of books set in France in recent months.

Coeurs a la Creme and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

I compiled a list of great love stories set in France which you can find HERE. Les Liaisons Dangereuses is an old favourite, and certainly bore a second reading but my most beloved on that last has to be A Tale of Two Cities. Is it the best of books or the worst of books? I’ve never found anyone who loves it as much as I do. I think it’s one of the most romantic stories ever told but then, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for a bit of unrequited love. I happened across an ancient copy, in French, in the library of Shakespeare and Company which seemed to me like it could have magical powers. It seemed to weigh more in my hands than the weight of the pages. Does that make sense?

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Back in August, I followed Hemingway to Paris in this article about A Moveable Feast, complete with a fine recipe ( if I do say so myself) for crabe mexicaine, a dish which Hem and Hadley had as a great treat after a big win at the races. If you missed that, it’s HERE.

Beatrice Colin’s To Capture What We Cannot Keep was my holiday reading. I couldn’t resist the beautiful cover. My review is HERE.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep. Beatrice Colin

I’ve spent this past week with my head stuck in the glorious, inspiring and very moving history of Shakespeare and Company– The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here’s a tip if you’re contemplating Christmas gift shopping: buy it from the Shakepeare and Company, online, and they will add the legendary shop stamp for you along with customising your gift in the sweetest ways.

Anyway, we made a pretty picture, the family glued to Bake-Off while I sat in the corner with tears streaming down my face. Ethan Hawke made me cry, not for the first time. He can write.

Shakespeare and Company

I stole an hour extra in bed this morning to begin Julia Child’s My Life in France. Already, I adore it. From page one it is warm and funny and self-effacing and fascinating and lovely.

With Julia’s voice in my head, the day has been spent cooking. I’m testing/reviewing Rory O’Connell’s new book– by golly, we are eating well!

Sicilian Cassata Cake. Rory O'Connell.

There’s a slice of Sicilian Cassata cake with my name on it waiting patiently so I will bid you adieu and a good weekend,

Lynda.

18 thoughts on “Books for Francophiles.

  1. I have a passion for French literature with Zola being my favourite. I spent many years collecting old editions of his, scouring Charing Cross musty second hand book shops for good trnslations. Now in France and learning the language hopefully I can read them in French.

    Dickens Tale Of Two Cities is still an all time great; Les Miserables I have read many times; Laclos, Balzac, Fleubert, Guy De Maupassont – it was my way to indulge in France long before I dreamed of actually living here.

    And did you scour the Paris book stalls along the Seine? Heaven!!

    Looking forward to your Paris tour.

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    1. And you must read all of Dumas’ Musketeer books…a journey of love, loss, ambition, jealously and redemption. And the great Count Of Monte Cristo…revenge was never so destructive!!

      As an aside, I adore Amelie the film and found a very good book about the director, the making and the themes behind the film. Great read.

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  2. Some great books there, and a good tip about the Shakespeare and Company book, that would make an excellent gift for someone I know. In fact it would make an excellent gift to myself… Well done on your travel writing, I shall very much look forward to it. CJ xx

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  3. ‘A Tale of Two Cities’? Oh it is the most romantic and glorious of stories … but I have a bittersweet soul as you know. I’m taking your tip on Shakespeare and Co. This year, in all likelihood, I am facing Christmas (as I did my birthday – and survived somewhat triumphantly, I may say) on my own. The gifts I send, the gifts I give to girlies coming to visit the Mamacita in December (and the one journeying back from 4 years in South East Asia and attempting to live with me for the month of February whose gift will be sent to Malaysia where she too will be on her own – the heartbreak of seeing her through the break up of 8 years of what she thought was forever) S et Co. surely will be the answer to all. And my girder-made mother who I still wish would brave it on the train and come stay. We could meet in Paris …. ah, me – what is it with you that you release all these bubbling thoughts. You do. Thank you.

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      1. This made me laugh out loud, Lynda. I will have to motor through one or the other then (the book or the socks)! (Or failing that, convince him to leave the book at home when he goes back to university after this Thanksgiving/birthday weekend as he won’t have time to read anyway.) Funnily enough, I just finished reading a book I gave to my son for his LAST birthday. (Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.) My son stopped reading it *just* before it got good (he left his bookmark in place); I’ll have to tell him he really should pick it up again. I absolutely LOVE reading the same books as my kids 🙂 .

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  4. Oh Lynda, I am so enjoying your Parisian adventure and yet more book recommendations to add to my list. The Shakespeare & Company book can definitely be a present for the husband, so thank you for the tip I don’t know what it is about Paris but I love it!

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    1. Thank you, Deborah. I feel the same. The place has some magical quality about it. There is nowhere else the same. The S&Co book is an ideal gift but take a look at their website – they have a whole section on Paris. I’ve been drooling over it!

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  5. Oh my I have been over on line at the Shakespeare and Company…I have a full basket of goodies for my daughter for her birthday….LOL I love your blog, so many good books, lovely pictures and love from your writing….Paris holds a candle in my heart….love stories from France, my heart skips a beat….XXkat

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