Friday, June 21, 2013

Paris in July 2013



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?

10 comments:

  1. Ooh! Netflix has an adaptation of Du Maurier's The Scapegoat with Andrew Scott.

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  2. Thanks!! I'll have to look for it.

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  3. I read Marie Antoinette: The Journey a few years ago and really enjoyed it. You have a nice mix of books here. For Zola I would choose Nana, since it is the most famous, but The Ladies Paradise also sounds so interesting. I haven't read The Scapegoat, I find DuMaurier a little hit or miss; loved Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel but was let down by Jamaica Inn. Happy Reading!

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    1. Same here -- I really disliked Jamaica Inn but it's one of her more famous works. I love her short stories, too. The Birds is really creepy.

      And I forgot that I wanted to read Les Liaisons Dangereuses for the Back to the Classics Challenge! I need something 18th century or before, so maybe that'll be the one. It's not on my shelves, though.

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  4. What a great list! I may read The Ladies Paradise ... I know JoAnn and others liked it. And there's a sexy French man in Mr. Selfridge, so it counts! :)

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    1. I still haven't started Mr. Selfridge. I have the entire first season of The Wire checked out from the library but it looks so depressing!! Maybe Mr. Selfridge is a better choice for the summer, a little fluffier.

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  5. Excellent list--I love bios, royal and otherwise, and poor Marie Antoinette is an ideal subject for a thorough bio. Having been disappointed with Frenchman's Creek, I am eager to read a DMM novel that will restore her in my eyes--I've heard great things about The Scapegoat. Hope it's good.

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    1. I couldn't wait for July and I already finished The Scapegoat -- it was really good. I'll write a full review next week.

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  6. Spending all my time in Paris and so July, I'm not in for this challenge. I prefer London in July :)

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  7. Interesting book lists! I've been looking good books to read and these books seems great, especially Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser. I'm gonna look this on my favorite bookstore. Thanks much for sharing. :) Shakespeare adaptations for kids

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