Thursday, June 23, 2011

Paris in July

I'm so excited about the Paris in July read hosted by Karen at Bookbath and Tamara at Thyme for Tea!  I'm packing for my vacation, and I've resolved once again to work my overstuffed TBR bookshelf.  If nothing else it has narrowed down my choices somewhat.  First, some French classics:

It's a little hard to read, but from top to bottom:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant
Nana by Emile Zola
Germinal by Emile Zola
The Drinking Den by Emile Zola

(And by the way, I bought that copy of Hunchback at the actual Notre Dame gift shop a few years ago. Which is in Notre Dame.  Halfway up the 300 bazillion steps!!  I feel sorry for the woman who works there, the only bathroom is on the main floor, so if she has to go up and down about 15 flights every time.  She must have amazing legs!)

I also have some slightly more contemporary fiction by English and American authors, but all set in France:

France in Mind edited by Alice Leccese Powers
The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier

I'll definitely be reading at least one book about food:

My Life in France by Julia Child
The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater
Cooking For Kings: The Life of Antonin Careme by Ian Kelly

I also have some other nonfiction about France:

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser
La Belle France: A Short History by Alistair Thorne

I'm hoping to get through at least one from each stack but I'm definitely going to read Germinal, which is the July choice for my real-life classics book group -- we thought it would be so appropriate for July.  Right now I'm also leaning towards The Scapegoat, My Life in France, and Cooking for Kings.

So what do you think?  Good choices?  Which ones have you read and loved?  Should any of them be skipped and donated to the library sale?


  1. Oh, I have been meaning to read My life in France for ages (since reading Julie and Julia - pre the film) - I must try to track down a copy for your month.

  2. So many wonderful options! I read Germinal for a university course on French cultural history and adored it, though I've yet to follow it up with any of Zola's other works. Paris to the Moon is a family favourite, one of those books I've given to almost every relative, all of whom have loved it, and Rosy Thornton is quite delightful. If you're considering books about food, I'd definitely recommend Elizabeth Bard's Lunch in Paris, which was one of my favourite books last year, if you haven't already read it.

  3. I have been fascinated with everyone's choices for Paris in July! I really want to read The Dud Avocado.

  4. good choices

    I had a crazy inkling to try and read the Les Rougon-Macquart cycle but most of them haven't been translated so that put an end to that

  5. Verity -- My Life in France is at the top of the list. I also want to read the new book about her pen pal Avis who's also in the film. I think it's called As Ever, Julia.

    Captive Reader -- I did read Lunch in Paris last year and liked it. Lots of great recipes!

    Reviews by Lola -- I know I'm going to add a lot more books to the TBR list! I think
    the Dud Avocado is going into the carryon too -- if nothing else the name intrigues me.

    Damned Conjuror -- I want to read all the Rougon-Macquarts also. I probably won't read them all in order. I know there are some new translations, so maybe someday they'll all be available.

  6. You will love The Scapegoat if you have never read it before! In fact, I think I'll re-read it soon. Thanks for mentioning it.

  7. The Scapegoat is one of my favourite du Maurier novels, so I'd definitely recommend that one! I really enjoyed The Tapestry of Love too. Whichever books you choose to read, I hope you have a great July!

  8. I will look out for your thoughts on the Marie Antoinett book. And I loved! The Dud Avocado.

    I like you devoted your reading to the Paris in July event. I'm looking forward to it very much, too.

  9. I loved The Dud Avocado and very much enjoyed Paris to the Moon. You've got some great stacks there! I read my first Zola earlier this year (Therese Raquin) and really liked it. I haven't read anything else of his yet but do hope to get to Germinal soon, so I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

    If I could suggest a French title, my very favorite one has got to be Bonjour Tristesse. If you happen to run across it, I'd pick it up!

  10. I'm hoping to read Paris to the Moon, too (I loved his book about New York). And I've done such a good job of saving My Life in France for a special treat that I still haven't read it! Looking forward to Paris in July too.

  11. P.S. Lunch in Paris was one of my favorites last year, too.

  12. GirlsWannaRead -- I haven't read nearly as much du Maurier as I would like -- I also have My Cousin Rachel on the TBR shelf.

    Helen -- I have so many to read, I can hardly decide. I counted 15 on those stacks and I'm sure I have more on the bookshelves that I've missed somehow.

    Sabrina -- I want to read all of them but I'm afraid Marie Antoinette might be at the bottom of the list. I want to watch the Kirsten Dunst movie in July.

    Amanda -- I hope I finally get through more Zola and The Tapestry of Love, I know how much you enjoyed it.

    Brenna -- my library has Bonjour Tristesse, I might try to get the movie also.

    Audrey -- I think I've waited much too long to read My Life in France! I'll have to have good food on hand when I read it. Last year I read Jacques Pepin's biography on a plane which was a terrible idea -- I got so hungry reading it and the food was just awful. It was tragic.

  13. Another vote for My Life in France. I was glad I'd read it before I saw Jule & Julia. I had the book of correspondence with Avis out from the library but had to return it without reading it - and I forgot to put it back on the reserve list.

  14. What a selection! I plan on participating also, but only have about 4 books to choose from. I am definitely going to read My Life in France - I've owned it for a while and see this as the perfect opportunity to get it off of my TBR. See you in Paris!

  15. Yay! So glad you are joining in on Paris in July - I guess I will see you there :) And it seems like we may be reading some of the same books - My Life in France and The Tapestry of Love. I won't be able to read as many as I want to for this challenge, but I'm really looking forward to reading everyone's posts! Can't wai!

  16. My Life in France was on of my favorites last year - listened to the audio and absolutely loved it it! You have so many great choices, it will be hard to choose.

  17. What a wonderful selection of books. Zola is calling me too, and I warmly recommend both The Tapestry of Love (though it is set in the country, not the city) and The Scapegoat.

  18. I've only read My Life in France, it is so great. But wow, this sounds like a great mini-challenge. I'll have to save the French novel I have on my desk for another week...

  19. Well, I loved Bel-Ami, The Drinking Den (is that L'Assommoir? If not, ignore me because I haven't read it!), Tapestry of Love & Antonia Fraser's Marie Antoinette. Excfellent choices, I wonder how many of them you'll be able to get through?

  20. Have a great trip! I just recently finished My Life in France and loved it.

  21. Depending on which one you choose, you could make your Anita Brookner novel count for Paris in July.

  22. Haven't read much from your stack--My Life in France is excellent and I'm a big duMaurier fan--I love the idea of the Paris in July theme--Les Mis is on my personal reading list, and Hunchback is a classic,so you can't go wrong there!

  23. The Rosy Thornton one is the only on I can comment on! wonderful treat.

  24. I just finished Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame last week-I loved it-perfect book for July in Paris-like you I am also into Zola