Saturday, August 15, 2015

Paris in July Reading


Do you remember that I thought I might have bitten off more than I could chew with these reading goals for my Paris in July? Well, I have made it - albeit 2 weeks late. I have had quite the visit to Paris with these great wintertime reads...

My reading journey to Paris started with 'Ransacking Paris'. Patti Miller, an Aussie women who's dream to discover Paris and France was postponed while she raised two boys in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. But when the chance came for her partner to work in Europe and she could spend a year writing in Paris, she couldn't resist. This was a great book for me to read - I associated with Patti's Australian, far from the rest of the world, rural life experiences, and also to her dreams. I loved that the journey she took me on was a personal story, discovery, and also a piece of literary education. She introduces the reader to some of Paris most loved classic authors and memoirists over the years.

I couldn't put this book down until I finished it.

My next step was the Red Notebook. A novel with a simple and yet dreamy storyline. A wonderful man discovers a lost woman's handbag, and the red notebook. While she recovers from the robbery, unawares to the events happening in her apartment, he is searching for her - to return the lost property. A story with some interesting twists, it kept me captivated - probably hopeful that this 'romantic Parisian male' finds the unknown heroin and makes all her dreams come true.. I did love that the story was set in Paris and involved bookstores, cafes and apartment buildings.

While searching for the mysterious women who owned the handbag, I started to read David Lebovitz's book "My Paris Kitchen". While 'Ransacking Paris' was a mix of visiting the Old Paris and the New Paris, My Paris Kitchen was about today's markets, recipes, and the comparison of the Paris of today with the images of Paris of the past. David speaks openly about his Paris life and his American roots. I skimmed over delicious recipes, but spent time with his descriptions of products, markets, techniques...

On a different path - reading "the Paris Apartment" was a tour through the Belle Epoch with April, the American with a specialty in French Furniture and Auctions. This story took me back and forth to the Paris of Victor Hugo's daughter and the society of artists around Pablo Piccasso and Boldini, and the mixed up marriage of April. Paris for her was an escape from difficult memories and difficult relationships - as it was for the other leading lady of the Novel 'Marthe'.

While experiencing some of Sydney's coldest days, I made my way to Paris through the eyes of five authors, and the stories of Patti while she finally got to discover the Paris she'd dreamed of in her youth, Laure & Laurent whose lives became entwined in Paris, David who's love of great food transported me to markets and cafes of Paris, and with April, who found rest and reflection in Paris.

The fifth author, Julie Kraulis, took me to Paris with Arlo, the Armadillo. Arlo discovered the classic highlights of Paris on his journey to meet the Iron Lady. It was a grand finale for my Paris in July. Simple, elegant and romantic. Paris means different things to everyone. Through the magic sights of the Sacre Coeur, the Seine, and the Iron Lady, or the lane ways, the Louvre, the view from the Galleries Lafayette, and the stories associated with the grand characters of the past - Boldini, Picasso, other artists, and Montaigne, Rousseau, de Beauvoir, and other memoirists - the journey to Paris this July was complete for me with Arlo - who fulfilled his grandfathers wish for him to visit Paris. 
 For me now - it's time to head to Japan... for Dolce Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge 9.

6 comments:

Arabella said...

Still adding to my reading list, really like the sound of Ransacking Paris.

Tamara said...

Oh you will love it. It's my highest recommendation from this July...

Jeanie said...

Tamara, just when I thought I was getting my Paris reading under control -- a new group of books I haven't read! On the list!

I'll email you about the bicycle trip through Canada. I can also connect you with Rick's email if you are interested in more specifics! It was terrific!

Brona Joy said...

Unfortunately moving house got the better of my Paris in July intentions this year, but I did enjoy seeing what everyone was up to.

I'm glad you enjoyed An Armidillo in Paris; I thought it was delightful too.
Now that we're unpacked, I will hopefully see at Dolce Belleza's JLC :-)

Louise said...

I have Ransacking Paris in the house and would love to get to it soon. Great to hear that you liked it so much. I've read some David Leibovitz, but not that one, I think I read his Sweet Life in Paris. Glad you got through your books, even if a little late.

Teddyree said...

I've got The Paris Apartment and one of David Lebovitz's books for next years Paris in July but I've added Ransacking Paris to my list thanks to your review and interview with Patti.