Well, once again I have signed up for the Paris in July blogging event -- I think this is the third year in a row!! Naturally, I have a long list of books I'd like to read, but this year, I'm going to try and be completely realistic. I'm going to try and read only books from my own shelves, and I've narrowed it down to just three:
Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser
This has been on my TBR shelves for awhile, and I've really been excited about nonfiction lately. After reading Catherine the Great, I'm even more intrigued by royal biographies. Plus the library has an audiobook copy, so I can get ahead while driving to and from work.
The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier
This was a birthday (or was it Christmas?) gift a few years ago -- I put a bunch of du Mauriers on a wishlist and my husband bought this for me. This one is about a man who meets his doppelganger at a train station. He's English and his double is French. The other guy takes over his life and so the Englishman has no choice but to step into the Frenchman's shoes.
One of these books by Emile Zola -- this will be third July in a row that I've included Zola! Last year it was L'Assommoir and in 2011 I read Germinal. Here are my choices for this year:
The Ladies' Paradise -- about the rise of a Paris department store and commercialism among the French population. It includes some of the same characters from Pot-Bouille, which I really enjoyed. And I still have the entire series of Mr. Selfridge saved on the DVR, which might behoove me to choose this one.
Nana -- the story of a Paris courtesan. The title character is the daughter of the ill-fated Gervaise, the laundress from L'Assommoir, and the sister of Claude Lantier from The Masterpiece and Etienne Lantier from Germinal. It's considered one of Zola's best in the Rougon-Macquart series.
La Terre (The Earth) -- I've read that this one was Zola's favorite among his works. It's about a rural family and is reminiscent of King Lear.
La Debacle -- a war novel about the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune of 1870-1871. I've heard this has some of the most realistic descriptions of war in literature.
Le Reve (The Dream) -- a gift from my good friend Amanda, who is the one responsible for my love for Zola. She says this is unlike any of his other books. And it's short, a little more than 200 pages.
I have several other books by French writers or set in France, but I'm going to try and be completely realistic and stick to three books off this list -- one (or more!) by Zola; a nonfiction book; and a more contemporary mystery/thriller. I think it's a good mix and hopefully I'll be able to finish all of them!
What do you think, bloggers? Good selections? Which Zola should I read? Has anyone else signed up for Paris in July? What are you reading?