June 30, 2012

What is it about Paris...

As we move closer and closer to the start of Paris in July it looks like we have about 40 bloggers joining us for the event this year which is fantastic. It is never too late to join in the fun just head to this post and add your name to the Mr Linky post page. We will be adding other Mr Linky pages or comments pages to our weekly wrap up posts for your reviews/writings from that week.
I have been doing some thinking about what I would like to read and watch during this years Paris in July event but I have also been thinking a lot about Paris itself - and what exactly is it about this city that captures the imagination of so many of us...
Unlike my co-host Tamara (who was lucky enough to be in France this time last year) I have only been to Paris once - but it was a trip I remember with great fondness and I can't wait to re-visit there (hopefully one day soon). Before my first visit to Paris I have to admit I wasn't one of those people who dreamt about the city of lights constantly (Italy actually holds that place in my heart) but after seeing the city for the first time I can definitely say I feel in love. I have been looking back over my travel journal from our trip trying to recapture those first impressions;

The majority of the day spent in airports, planes and buses but it was definitely all worth it when our bus took us through the city of Paris to our hotel. The trip from the airport took over 2 hours but I didn't care - every turn saw a more beautiful street or building or famous site come into view. It felt like something out of a novel - stunning! Even more amazing than I had dreamt it would be. I can't wait to explore further. I can already tell I will not want to leave...

And I didn't, when our time to leave Paris came only a few short days later I was devastated - that's the way Paris captures you I think.
What are some of your favourite memories or dreams of Paris - and how is Paris in July going to help you re-live them in some way? I would love to hear your thoughts...

June 22, 2012

Miles Franklin Award

Congratulations to Anna Funder for taking out the 2012 Miles Franklin Award this week for her brilliant novel All That I Am. I read this book last year, see my review here, and just loved it but all the press the book has been getting of late has made me want to read it all over again...

June 11, 2012

The Painted Bridge - Wendy Wallace

The Painted Bridge was one of those books that spoke to me as soon as I saw it on the shelf - a gorgeous evocative cover, a setting in Victorian England (one of my favourite reading/historical periods) and a topic area covering women's mental health and the treatment of women in asylums.
The book starts by introducing the reader to Lake House - "a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature" as the back cover blurb tells us. A resident of the asylum is having her photograph taken as a method of diagnosing and treating her particular  "illness" by a young and experimental doctor, Lucas St Clair. The reader is taken from this scene to one where the main character, Anna Palmer is first bought to the asylum - without her knowledge or consent - by her husband.
The book follows Anna's journey through the various treatment models used by the asylum and it's staff and her determination to prove her sanity and be released. Along the way many other characters are introduced, some in quite a lot of detail, and I felt this was one of the down falls of the book. There were so many different characters and back stories to take into consideration it was hard to know where your focus as a reader should lie.
Anna interacts with the other residents of the asylum and comes to know their stories for being there and she also begins a tentative friendship with the young daughter of the owner of the asylum which leads to one of the main adventure scenes of the book. We are also taken into Anna's childhood (much as a psychiatrist or therapist might take a client) and learn of the important events of her life including the death of her father and her marriage to a man who is not what he first seems.
The book is definitely a page turner - there is plenty to keep a reader interested and occupied but, as I have said above, Anna's story probably could have been a lot tighter without the distractions of so many others competing for the reader's attention.

June 10, 2012

Paris in July 2012 - Mr Linky Now Available!

Hi to all the Paris in July 2012 bloggers out there!
We are trying to modernise our event a little bit this year and jump into using Mr Linky - which a lot of you suggested would be a good idea in the post event feedback last year.
Now, please be patient as anything technical to do with blogging is usually a little beyond me (although you would think having a computer programmer as a partner would make things a little easier!).
I am going to start a Paris in July 2012 Mr Linky below - could everyone who has already said they would like to join please add their names/blogs to the list and anyone from now on in who would like to join us please add your names also.
Please let me know if you have any problems with this and I will do my best to fix things!

June 05, 2012

Paris in July 2012 - We're Back!

Tamara from Thyme for Tea and myself are excited to announce the third “Paris in July” event – a month long blogging experience celebrating our love of all things French and Parisian. Tamara and I really enjoy the experience of hosting and being treated to the many reviews, stories and photos that transport us all to Paris and all things French. First held in 2010 with 39 participants, by popular demand, we were compelled to go again in 2011 with even more participants. Now we’ve heard your requests and we’re off again - on a new journey “Paris in July 2012”.
For those of you who participated last year the guidelines for the event will be pretty much the same (we reserve the right to throw in some surprises now and then). Paris in July will run from the 1st - 31st July 2012 and the aim of the month is to celebrate our French experiences through reading, watching, listening to, observing, cooking and eating all things French.

There will be no rules or targets in terms of how much you need to do or complete in order to be a part of Paris in July - just blog about anything French and you can join in. Some ideas for the month might include:

- Reading a French book - fiction or non-fiction

- Watching a French movie

- Listening to French music

- Cooking French food

- Experiencing French art, architecture or travel (or remembering travel experiences)

- Or anything else French inspired you can think of...

If you are interested in being a part of this experience leave a comment on this post and we will put together a side bar showing all of the participants. Feel free to use the buttons from this post on your own blogs. There will be weekly French themed prizes during the month for which we will randomly draw the winners from all the French themed posts of that week that link back to us. We will be writing weekly wrap up posts for you to link your posts to.

In the coming weeks Tamara and I will both post some links you might find motivation from – and I invite others to do the same...

Happy Paris in July once again!

June 03, 2012

Review Overload - Please help me!!!

I have been out of action from the blogging world for so long now I almost feel as though I need assistance just to type a post! This lack of action on my actual blog hasn't meant that my reading has slowed down though - the photo above is of all the books that I have read since the beginning of this year but haven't gotten around to blogging about for one reason or another.
And that's where you come in...
I'm not sure I have the energy to write full reviews on each of these books that will give them justice so I would like you to vote for the one you would most like to read a review about. I will choose the 3 books with the most votes to do reviews on in the coming week or so.
The rest I will add to my 2012 reading side bar and let go into the review ether (as much as it pains me to do!).
Thank you so much for your assistance in advance!

I know this photo is difficult to see so here are a list of the books (from bottom to the top) for you to choose from:

Various Pets Alive and Dead - Marina Lewycka
Let the Right One In - John Lindqvist
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
The Submission - Amy Waldman
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
Good Evening Mrs Craven: The War Stories of Mollie Panter Down
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Paul Torday
The Univited Guests - Sadie Jones
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
The Children of the King - Sonya Hartnett
Charles Dickens: A Life - Claire Tomalin
Foreign Bodies - Cynthia Ozick
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
The Painted Bridge - Wendy Wallace