What Book to Read in France

Jun 16th, 2004, 01:55 PM
  #21  
 
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Non-fiction, but fascinating: "Paris 1919," an excellent account of the peace conference at the end of World War I.

More non-fiction: "Paris to the Moon," "A Goose in Toulouse," and "The Cezanne Chase" (not the Peter Mayle book).
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Jun 16th, 2004, 02:05 PM
  #22  
 
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I LOVED The Debt to Pleasure! I even love the cover. It's a gem of a book.

A couple of others come to mind:

A Place in Normandy, by Nicholas Kilmer, not a novel but one of the better "I bought an old house in France" books.

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris's absolutely hilarious account of the time he spent living in Paris

French Dirt by Richard Goodman - one man and a garden to tame
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Jun 16th, 2004, 02:40 PM
  #23  
 
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Other's I have liked: the underrated "A Parisians Paris"by Philpe Meyer,
"The Ladies Paradise"and "The Belly of Paris" by Zola,
"The Fly Truffler" and Luminous Debris" by Gustaf Sobin,
"Paris was a Woman"by Andra Weiss,
"The Flaneur"and "Our Paris"bby Edmond White,
"Memories of Childhood" and "Times of Secrets, Times of Love" by Marcel Pagnol
All MFK Fisher,
"Windows on Provence"by Bo Niles,
"From here you can't see Paris" by Michael Sanders,
Secrets of the Seine" by Mort Rosenblum,
and "Caesar's Last Shost"by Laurence Durrall

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Jun 16th, 2004, 03:05 PM
  #24  
 
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It's non-fiction but A Moveable Feast by Hemingway seems like a natural. I really liked the Da Vinci Code, lost of fun.
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Jun 16th, 2004, 03:10 PM
  #25  
 
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Glad to see someone else has read the Goose from Toulouse, and the Edmund White books are good reading for the feel of present-day Paris. For those strange pre-WWII days, anything by Eric Maria Remarque--think Ingrid Bergman and rainy nights.
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Jun 16th, 2004, 03:13 PM
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That should be Caesar's Last Ghost!
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Jun 16th, 2004, 03:56 PM
  #27  
 
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Too much ugly repartee on many of these bulletin boards and I hate to add to it -- but if I may make a correction, to help the reader locate a splendid book about Provence: It's "Caesar's VAST ghost" (not LAST etc.)by LAWRENCE rather than Laurence Durrell
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Jun 16th, 2004, 05:01 PM
  #28  
 
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One more: Ian Pears' "The Dream of Scipio."

I'm also a fan of "French Dirt." Did you plant the seeds, StCirq? Did they grow?

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Jun 16th, 2004, 06:26 PM
  #29  
 
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I bought Cara Black's Murder in Belleville to read on the plane to and from France. I got half way thru it on the way over, but I just couldn't make myself read it on the way back. I was not impressed. I bought Murder in the Marais at the same time, and now I am sorry I did. I felt this same way reading Joanne Harris' Coastliners. I just had to make myself finish it. On the other hand, I loved all Peter Mayle's books when I read them ten years ago.

I am an avid reader and love reading about the place I love the most so I am going to try some of the many that have been posted here. This is a really good thread.
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Jun 16th, 2004, 06:30 PM
  #30  
 
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redgale, don't be so nasty. Last was a typo but I did mispell Lawrence Durrell's name. I knew his brother Gerald, who never would insult my mispelling but he would your response.
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Jun 16th, 2004, 06:49 PM
  #31  
 
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Crepes, Murder in the Marais is better than Murder in Belleville. Seems as though we're all saying the same thing about the latter; glad it's not just me!

Cigale, I forgot about Window on Provence, a wonderful, impressionistic account of Bo Niles stay in that area. She must have been very close to where my family and I stayed in the gite outside Gordes, and I suppose my recognition of the places added to my enjoyment.

And St. Cirq, the cover of Debt to Pleasure is a delight!
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Jun 16th, 2004, 06:54 PM
  #32  
 
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How about Proust's "A la recherche du temps perdu" in the original French?
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Jun 16th, 2004, 07:09 PM
  #33  
 
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Just thought of another about Provence: Nicholas Delbanco's "Running in Place".
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Jun 16th, 2004, 07:22 PM
  #34  
 
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Mary Moody (well known celebrity gardener in Australia) wrote two books about her running off to the Lot in France for 6 months, buying a house, eating way too much good food. Lots of local colour. Title escapes me at the moment, but the second book is "Last Tango in Toulouse" (? I think). Preferred book 1.
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Jun 16th, 2004, 07:25 PM
  #35  
 
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Alan Furst's intelligent thrillers set in WWII France, "The World at Night" and "Red Gold". Most of his other books take place at least partly in France as well.

And anything by Sebastian Japrisot.

Marcel Pagnol's lovely accounts of his Provencal childhood, "My Father's Glory" and "My Mother's Castle".
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Jun 16th, 2004, 08:02 PM
  #36  
 
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On a historical note: two by Barbara Tuchman

The Guns of August is the definitive chronicle of the start of the meatgrinder we call World War I, and what it cost the French.

A Distant Mirror traces the life and times of the Sire de Coucy, a medieval French knight and nobleman.

Both books make you look out the window of the car or train, pause and say, "this is where it happened, right here."
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Jun 16th, 2004, 08:15 PM
  #37  
 
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cigale, we were just browsing through Barnes and Noble tonight and the Yankee pointed out "JUSTINE, CLEA, BALTHAZAR, and MOUNTOLIVE" by Laurence Durrell. How super to have known his brother, who was a poet, right?
You have known some pretty cool people!
I almost bought Peter Mayles new book.. A Good Year..especially since that is one of my dreams, to inherit a vineyard in the South of France~sigh~
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Jun 16th, 2004, 08:22 PM
  #38  
 
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Hi Scarlett, That's the Alexander quartet. That was made into a film. No Gerald was not a poet in the verse sense but to me he was, he wrote books about his wild family and animals. He had a zoo on the isle of Jersey. He is not with us.
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Jun 16th, 2004, 08:24 PM
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Oh [email protected] A Distant Mirror was THE history book that got me hooked on France and the medieval period. What a wonderful, personal history of the period! It made history come alive for me for the first time, in conjunction with a very wonderful history teacher in high school.
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Jun 16th, 2004, 08:26 PM
  #40  
 
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Isn't it wonderful that a book made such a difference in a young life?
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