July 31, 2011

Paris in July 2011 - Au Revoir

I can't believe how quickly this month has flown (I know I keep saying this but it is just so true I feel it needs repeating!) - now here we are at the end of Paris in July 2011.
Tamara and I would like to thank each and every one of you who have embraced Paris in July and joined in for the ride. We are overwhelmed by the amount of interest that has been shown by the blogging community - we knew that there were many others out there who shared our love of Paris and all things French but we didn't realise it would be quite this big! We are seriously contemplating taking time off from our jobs next year to run this event!
Thank you for all of your posts and comments along the way. We would love to hear from you all about what you would like included for next years event so please feel free to comment away on this post - we are more than happy to hear constructive criticism and ideas - the more the better!
Once again Tamara has taken some time from her busy travelling and studying schedule in France to do a wrap up of posts from this final week (she stresses this might not be exhaustive):

- Lunch in Paris, Elizabeth Bard - A Bookish Way of Life 29/7/11 & Beauty is a Sleeping Cat 19/7/11

- The Vendetta, Honore de Balzac - A Work in Progress 19/7/11, & Book around the corner 19/7/11,

- The Virgin Blue, Tracey Chevalier - An Adventure in Reading 25/7/11

- Brodecks Report, Philippe Claidel - Another Cookie Crumble 29/7/11

- Writers in Paris, David Bourke - Beauty is a sleeping Cat 22/7/11

- Cheri, Colette - Bibliothas 25/7/11

- Pot luck, Emile Zola - Books and Chocolates 27/7/11

- Incidents in the Rue Laugier, Anita Brooker - Books and Chocolate 16/7/11

- Only Connext: Julia and Hadley - Books as Food 24/7/11

- The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, Bridget Asher- Books as Food 22/7/11, & Curling up 28/7/11

- the Chalk Circle Man, Fred Vargas - Books as Food 21/7/11

- The Suicide Shop, Jean Teule - Chasing Bawa 21/7/11

- Paris Album 1900-1914, Jean Cocteau - Chasing Bawa 30/7/11

- the Beast of the Camargue, Xavier-Marie Bonnot - Curiosity 22/7/11

- The Paris Wife, Hemingway - Dolce Bellezza 24/7/11

- 13, rue Therese, Elena Mauli Shapiro - Fleur Fisher 24/7/11

- Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, Simone de Beauvoir - Naked without books 24/7/11

- A Pedestrian in Paris, John Baxter - Packabook

- Madame Tussaurd by Michelle Moran - tell me a story 31/7/11

-Lunch in Paris, Elizabeth Bard - Adventure of an intrepid reader 30/7/11

- No and Me, Delphine de Vigan - the Novel World 25/7/11

- Man Ray in Paris, rin Garcia - Truth Beauty and freedom, 26/7/11


- Nouvelle Vague "dance with me" - Fleur Fisher 27/7/11

- Lucienne Deyle - Not sophisticated 30/7/11


- La Cuisine Francaise - Just one more thing, 30/7/11

- Paris breakfasts - adventure of an intrepid reader 23/7/11

- Pizza Baguette - the Novel World 30/7/11


- Delicatessen - Literary relish 21/7/11

- the Diving Bell & the Butterfly - Sawcat 24/7/11

- Midnight in Paris - The Story Girl, 25/7/11

- L'etaile de Mer, Directed by Man Ray - Truth Beauty and Freedom 26/7/11


- Inauguration of Poincare, Paris (Photo) - Curiosity 27/7/11

- French Beaches - Curling up

-Fraily and Endurance - Flowersandstripes 29/7/11

- more Hemingway - Lakeside Musings 21/7/11

- Day 7, Rue Montorgueil and Pompidou Centre - My cosy book nook, 30/7/11

- Au revoir Paris (review of food, movies, books etc) Only Orangery 31/7/11

- of weather, tour de france and other things - Third Storey Winder 24/7

And now on to our prize winners for this final week, they are:

Molly - My Cozy Book Nook
Caroline - Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

Congratulations to all of our prize winners - I hope to have the prizes out in the mail to you over the next couple of weeks.
For now it is au revoir from Paris in July - we hope to see you all back next year but until then - Happy Reading!

July 27, 2011

Night Waking - Sarah Moss

A big thank you to Samantha for drawing my attention to this one - I agree with you completely about loving this book - what a find! Night Waking is the second book by British author Sarah Moss (I am now eagerly tracking down her first novel after loving this one so much) and tells the story of Anna Bennett, historian, academic, researcher, mother and wife who is currently spending the summer on an isolated Scottish island with her husband, Giles and her two young sons, Raph and Moth. The island is actually owned by Giles's family and has come into his hands following the death of his father one year ago. As an ecologist Giles is drawn to the island to study the puffin population while Sarah is struggling to finish her book on the history of childhood and institutions in eighteenth century Britain while caring for her two boys. The story is told from Anna's perspective with interwoven chapters told in letter format by May Moberley, a young nurse who came to the island in 1878 to try and reduce the high infant mortality rate. The narratives of Anna and May intersect when Anna and her son come across the bones of a baby buried in the back yard of their house leading Anna to start researching the local history - forcing her to look back at her own choices.
The strength of this book lies in Anna - she is a perfectly flawed, funny, intelligent character who I had nothing but empathy for. I am not a mother myself but I found her reflections on motherhood honest and believable.
I was interested to read on Sarah Moss's website about her interest in literature and place because the environment and the essence of the location is strongly present in Night Waking - the island is like a character all of its own and it clearly has an impact on the plot of the novel.
A brilliantly written and paced book - can't wait to read more from this author.

July 24, 2011

Paris in July - Week 3

Reflecting on week 3 of Paris in July - and I can't believe we are almost at the end of the month! I haven't "spoken" with Tamara today but I know she will be somewhere in Paris madly celebrating this win!
I must admit I have spent a lot of this past week dreaming of travel and thinking about when I might be able to get back to Paris myself - hopefully it will not be too far in the future. In the meantime I have had Paris in July to fuel my dreams. Tamara has sent me an email summarising what people have been doing during this week:


- La Traversee, Phillipe Labro - Kelly

- 13 rue Therese, Elena Shapiro

- The sweet life, David Lebovitz - Kristens booknook, my cosy book nook

- Paris was ours, Penelope Rowlands - Lakeside

- The belly of Paris, Emile Zola - Lakeside

- A moveable feast, Hemingway - Lakside

- Carmen, prosper merimee - Literary Relish

- My life in france, Julia Childs - my cosy booknook

- Mastering the art of french cooking - my cosy booknook

- Paris by the moon, adam gopnik - cosy booknook

- The gourmet rhapsody, Muriel Barbery - only orangery

- Leaving home, Anita Brookner - a book sanctuary

- The Chatelet Apprentice - a work in progress

- Quiet corners of Paris - Paris au Calme by Jean-Christophe Napias (2006), beauty is a sleeping

- L'homme aux cerdes blues (the chalk man) Fred Vargas (1996) - book around the corner

- Rue Laudier, Anita Brookner - books and chocolate

- French Leave, Anna Gavalda - books as food

- Monsieur Linh and His Child, Philippe Claidel - curiosity

- Biography of Louuis Pasteur (1882 - 1895) - curling up

- French Lessons, Ellen Sussman - curling up & kelly

- The sharper your knife, the less you cry, Kathleen flinn (2007) - elle-lit

- The hare with amber eyes, edmund de waal - gondal-gal

- My life in france, julia child & alex prud'homme - gudruns tights

- Gigi, Collette - gudruns tights


- A very long engagement - only orangery

- French Kiss (1995) Megan Ryan....- gabriel reads

- Aicha, cheb khaled - not too sophisticated.

- 'juste toi et moi' by Indochine - gabriel reads

- Also Paris, Mano Solo - gabriel reads


- a few of my favourite french things - Kelly

- croque-monsieur, french sandwich - only orangery

- pictures of PARIS - Rikkis teliedescope

- Paris Fashion - curiosity

- Top 12 French reads - curling up

- Bastile Day - Curling up

- Parisian Pillows - curling up

- Champagne - Flowers and stripes

- Gallic stripes (fashion) - Flowers and stripes

- Francophone Friday - Gabriel reads

Thank you to everyone for all your fantastic contributions and now onto this weeks winners, they are:

JoAnn - Lakeside Musing
Marg - The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader

I will pop over to your blogs to leave you a message and let you know how to get in touch with me to claim your prize!
I hope everyone enjoys the last week of Paris in July 2011 - please leave the links to your posts for this final week in the comments section of this post. Tamara and I would also love to hear your ideas, comments, suggestions etc... for next years event. We are so excited by how many people are interested in joining in this event that we really want to put some thought into making it even better next year.

July 23, 2011

No and Me - Delphine De Vigan

My read for Paris in July this week took me to another side of Paris - the side that as a tourist you might come face to face with but not necessarily think a lot about - or do anything to help - the issue of homelessness.
No and Me is the story of 13 year old Lou Bertignac - a bright Paris school girl dealing with the collapse of her family after the sudden death of her baby sister. Lou is extremely intelligent but struggles at school when it comes to making friends and fitting in. As part of a social sciences project for school Lou starts to conduct interviews with a young girl she has met at one of the metro stations. No is an adolescent who has been homeless for some years following the break down of her family life. She has established a tough exterior in order to survive on the streets but inside she is a teenager with hopes and fears. Lou and No tentatively build their friendship until Lou approaches her parents to ask them if No can come and live with them.
This was wonderful, if at times sad, story of the connection between the two girls but it also had a much broader message about the issue of homelessness in Paris (and the world in general) and through the character of Lou the social conscience of the book is able to come through;

I thought to myself that if everyone took in a homeless person, if everyone decided to look after just one person, to help them and be with them, perhaps there'd be fewer of them in the streets. My father told me that wouldn't work. Things are always more complicated than they seem. Things are what they are, and there are lots of things you can't do anything about. You probably have to accept that if you want to become an adult. We can send supersonic planes and rockets into space, and identify a criminal from a hair or a tiny flake of skin, and grow a tomato you can keep in the fridge for three weeks without it getting a wrinkle, and store millions of pieces of information on a tiny chip. Yet we're capable of letting people die in the street.

July 20, 2011

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer

I have to thank the lovely Claire for leading me to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - it had been on my reading radar for a while but I wasn't truly tempted to pick it up until I had read her review. This is an amazing book to read but it is also a work of art - the narrative interspersed with photos, drawings and print techniques which add, rather than detract from the story.
The main character of the story is nine year old Oskar Schell - a bright, intelligent and curious boy living in post 9/11 New York with his mother with his grandmother across the street. Oskar's father was killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the story focuses on Oskar's attempt to somehow come to terms with the loss of his father and the huge impact his death has had on his family.
The character of Oskar is really the key to the success of this story - this is a boy who you can't help but empathise with - his pain is so acute and yet his humour and intelligence are still thriving - you want Oskar to somehow survive this trauma and make it out the other side.
I finished reading this book so long ago now that my memories of the intricacies of the plot have faded a little - but what hasn't dimmed is the emotional reaction I had while reading this book - sadness at the story being told but joy at the reading pleasure I was experience. You have to read this one for yourself.

July 19, 2011

My Last Duchess - Daisy Goodwin

Series 1 of Downton Abbey has just finished in Australia and I am already suffering withdrawal symptoms. The costumes, the sets, the language, the pomp and ceremony were all filling my Sunday nights beautifully so in trying to keep the feeling alive I turned to My Last Duchess. The book is set a bit earlier than Downton Abbey but it had a lot of the same elements in terms of characters and situations so I was kept pretty happy!
My Last Duchess is the story of Cora Cash (not sure if the author was going for the pun with that name but I loved it all the same) an extremely wealthy only child of American industrialists and New York society try hards in the 1890's. Cora has just come of age and her society climbing mother is determined to see her married into the English upper classes so that her money can be joined with a family title. They travel to England and the obligatory Duke is found - all Cora has to do is fall in love it seems and the deal will be done. Of course it isn't quite as easy as all that and there are some love triangles and a side story that focuses on the love life of the ladies maid to get through. There are definitely elements of The Shuttle present in this story but I didn't feel My Last Duchess was quite as dark and foreboding in terms of the outcome for the American heiress.
I'm not sure if it was just the fact that I was hungry for any story that slightly resembled Downton Abbey but I really enjoyed this book. For me it was the details that did it - the story and its setting felt genuine and authentic and while Cora wasn't always my favourite character I don't think that necessarily mattered all that much. Looking forward to more from this author if it focuses on the same time period.

July 17, 2011

Paris in July - Week 2

 Well, here we are at the half way mark in Paris in July 2011 - I can't believe how fast it is going! I have included in this post some photos of French themed things I have been engaging in this week as part of my Paris in July celebration. Head over to Tamara's blog to hear about her adventures.

Thank you to everyone who is participating in Paris in July this year - I have said it before but Tamara and I are just blown away by the many amazing people and bloggers who are interested in being a part of this event. I encourage you all to stop by the blogs on the list to the right and check out the variety in posts - there is so much inspiration to be had!

 Now, onto the winners for this week. There are actually 3 winners this week - Tamara has chosen a winner from last week and we have each chosen one for this week and they are:
- Jeanie - The Marmelade Gypsy
- Ellie - Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
- Bibliolathas

Congratulations! I will be heading over to your blogs to let you know how to receive your prizes.
Have fun during week 3 everybody - you can leave your links to your week 3 posts in the comments section of this post.

July 13, 2011

Therese Raquin - Emile Zola

My second read for Paris in July was much more successful than my first (see below). I had actually purchased this copy of Therese Raquin for last years Paris in July event but did not get around to reading it - I am so glad that I managed to get to it this year.
Therese Raquin is the infamous novel of adultery by French author Emilie Zola. The book was first published in 1867 and caused quite a bit of a scandal because of the content it portrayed (having read it I can't really see why - I think it paints such a horrible picture of adultery - so much so that surely people would be turned away from it!!).
Therese Raquin is sent to live with her aunt and sickly cousin, Camille, as a young child. She grows up in the shadow of Camille's illnesses and neediness and it is arranged by Camille's mother that the two will marry - with the absence of love or devotion on behalf of Therese. The family move to Paris and take up residence in a dingy apartment where Therese starts to drown in misery and hopelessness. Enter Laurent, a work colleague and friend of Camille's who soon starts to spend a great deal of time at the Raquin's home, taking a fancy to Therese - more as a distraction and a bit of fun as opposed to a great love. Therese and Laurent start a passionate, physical affair which leads them to believe they are madly in love and in need of only each other. Decisions are made by the two that lead the story in a particular direction that seals their fate as a couple and as individuals.
I simply loved this book - the story and the characters were completing absorbing and the way the narrative flowed made the reader feel as though they were inside the heads of Therese and Laurent - not always very nice places to be but it made for fantastic reading! The book reminded me a lot of another French favourite, Madame Bovary and apparently Zola was a huge fan of Flaubert.
Now onto my next Paris in July read - I only hope my next read will be as good!

July 12, 2011

Paris Times Eight - Deirdre Kelly

 Paris Times Eight is my first completed read for Paris in July 2011. As I said in my post yesterday I had started out reading Consolation by Anna Gavalda but I just found it way too depressing - it wasn't helping me enjoy the Paris in July ride at all! So, rather than push on I decided to change tracks.
Paris Times Eight is Deirdre Kelly's story of her connections with Paris through the eight very different visits she has made there from a young woman just leaving school to a mother with two children of her own. This book was definitely a lovely trip through the main tourist areas of Paris told from the viewpoint of the author but it didn't really seem to go too far beyond that for me. The author clearly had another agenda in writing the book - to explore and review the complex relationship she had/has with her mother but it was hard to see how this fitted into the author's experiences and love of Paris.
The writing was solid and the parts of the book that looked directly at Paris were enjoyable but the rest for me felt like a poor mother/daughter memoir. Nevertheless, good to be back in Paris!
My next read, Therese Raquin, is looking at a different time and aspect of Paris - and so far I am loving it...

Please leave your links to your posts for this week in the comments section of this post - looking forward to seeing and hearing about what you are indulging in...

July 10, 2011

Paris In July - Week 1

We are already into the second week of Paris in July - time flies when you are travelling!
Thank you so much for all of your links and posts - it sounds like everyone is having a wonderful time - not only with their own Paris in July journey but also reading about what everyone is is doing to celebrate the month. If you would like to read some of the posts from the first week please see the comments section on the this post of mine or just go to the sidebar to the right and work your way through the wonderful blogs participating this year.

I have had an email from Tamara this morning - she is in France and having a wonderful time but is having some trouble with internet connections and posting/blogging - she will join us just as soon as she can. I know she has been reading many of the participants blogs and soaking up all the thoughts and reflections on Paris.

I started out my Paris in July adventure with the book Consolation but I have to say I have abandoned it for the moment (just way too depressing I'm afraid!). I can handle sadness but depression for my first read for the month was just not what I was looking for at all!

I moved on to Paris Times Eight: Finding Myself in the City of Dreams which was a lot lighter - my review will follow soon.

Now, onto the prize winners for this first week - Tamara and I will both choose a winner so we will have to wait to hear from Tamara for her choice but the winner from me for this week is Her Royal Orangeness from Only Orangery - if you haven't already please head over to her blog to read her reviews on the movie Midnight in Paris (which, thanks to many of you I am now dying to see) and the books Suite Francaise (one of my all time favourites), Just Like Tomorrow and Flowers for Mrs Harris.

Thank you to all of you for making this a great first week of Paris in July - now onto week 2!

July 03, 2011

Paris Memories

Paris in July has given me the opportunity to reflect on my one and only trip (so far!) to Paris in 2009. To say I fell in love with the city at first sight is an over used cliche I know - but it is oh so true! I was completely blown away by the architecture, the style, the food, the art - even the light seemed amazing in Paris. I actually cried when we had to leave after four days (even though we were going to London - another one of my favourite places in the world). My trip to Paris helped to open up a whole new world of literature for me as well - I had never really been interested in French literature before my trip but I find myself drawn to it now - and even though my knowledge of the language is virtually non existent I feel that my knowledge of the history and culture is growing all the time with my reading.

So, I will be using this time during Paris in July to remember my first time in Paris but also to discover new ways of experiencing the French capital from my eastern Australian home.

July 02, 2011

Bonjour! Welcome to Paris in July

It is finally here - the month of French festivities and blogging that we have all been waiting for - Paris in July! We now have over 60 people signed up and ready to read/watch/cook and listen along - Tamara and I are really excited by the amount of interest there has been this year and we are looking forward to a fun filled month.

If you post about your Paris themed reading, watching, listening or doing over the next week please leave a link to your post in the comments to this start up post to be included in the prize draw for the week. It's also never too late to join in so if you would like me to add your name to the list on the right please just let me know by commenting to this post.

I still haven't chosen by very first read for the month (I know - I'm leaving it a little late!) but it will come from the selection in the photo above, Metrostop Paris, Paris Metro Tales, My Life in France and Consolation.