Paris in July 2012

Paris in July was one of the events I enjoyed the most last year and I’m really glad that Karen from Book Bath and Tamara from Thyme for Tea are organizing it again.

The rules are very simple. If you’d like to join all you have to do is review a French book or movie or write about something French. Music, art, cuisine. Anything you like. It’s not a challenge so you don’t need to commit to anything. Details can be found here Book Bath and here Thyme for Tea and here is the sign up.

I’ve been reading quite a lot of French books recently which I haven’t even reviewed yet, so this is certainly something I’m going to do.

While we are free to choose any French books we like, I will focus on books set in Paris. Possible choices are

Zola’s The Belly of Paris – Le ventre de Paris

Fred Vargas’ Have Mercy On Us AllPars vite et reviens tard. You cannot go wrong with Fred Vargas. She is one of the best crime writers writing today. If you haven’t read her yet, just pick any of her books.

Tatiana de Rosnay’s The House I LovedRose. While she is known as a French writer, this is one of the books she has written in English. It’s a historical novel set in 19th century Paris during the time when the city was undergoing major changes.

I hope to review a movie as well but I’m not sure yet which one it will be. Maybe it’s time to re-watch the movie which is possibly my favourite French film.

I know I will not be able to be as active as last year as July is also Spanish Literature Month.

Are you going to join? Do you already know what you will read?

69 thoughts on “Paris in July 2012

  1. I guess, strictly speaking, I will actually be in Paris in July, for as long as it takes to get from the airport to the train station that removes us from Paris.

    I suppose I fill find something French to write about when I get back from France. June has been and will continue to be all French. Maybe I will be sick of it all.

    • Why do I doubt that you will ever be sick of it?
      I hope you will write about French things once you are back.
      I’m not sure about the Zola I will pick, I’m suddenly tempted by Nana at the moment.

  2. This sounds like fun! I’ll consider re-reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway about his time in Paris in the 1920s. It’s been years since I read it and I’ve been meaning to delve into it again.

    That said, The House I Loved sounds very intriguing to me. I’m not familiar with Tatiana de Rosnay, so I’d like to add this one to my TBR list.

    • I love A Moveable Feast. It’s such a wonderful book.
      I have started The House I Love and in the beginning I had a few reservations but it grew on me and the period is fascinating, the reconstruction of the city. It’s quite good.

  3. Hmm. A while ago my elder daughter bought me a French version of Shopaholic and Baby on a business trip to Paris. I haven’t read it yet – maybe I should for this. Would it count?

    • Hmm That’s tricky. If you look at it too strictly, I’m not sure but with the right angle, why not. You could write about the translation and how it was to read it in French.

      • A more sensible idea. Re-read Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan (my old school copy is in French so I might struggle) or Le temps des Cerises by Zillah Bethel -which is in English but set in Paris in the days of the commune – late 1800s.

        • These are wonderful choices. I love Françoise Sagan. I went through a phase when I was quite young and aways menat to go back to her. I’be got her biography as well.
          It’s not a long book, Bonjour Tristesse.

          • Yes, it is but the event “rules” state any French book. I did narrow it down to books set in Paris for me personally because I thought it went better with the title of the event.

  4. Paris in July is a wonderful event! I love the books that you are planning to read! That movie looks wonderful too! I have read Tatiana de Rosnay’s ‘Sarah’s Key’ and liked it very much. I will look forward to hearing your thoughts on ‘The House I Loved’. I have a book on the Shakespeare bookstore in Paris which I would like to read sometime. I also want to read ‘The Princesse de Cleves’. And Gustave Flaubert’s ‘A Sentimental Education’. There are too many wonderful French books 🙂 I have never done ‘Paris in July’, but I am getting tempted now! Happy Reading!

    • I don’t know what happend, you got spammed and the comment appeared twice. I deleted one.
      It is a wonderful event, I agree, I enjoyed it a lot. I think i did at least 6 posts last year and even won something. 🙂
      I have an older of de Rosnay’s books which she wrote in French. I think Sarah’s Key was also written in English. It was reviewed last year and people liked it. The book on the book store would be interesting.
      L’Education Sentimentale, is another French classic I haven’t read yet… Too many great books.
      It would be wonderful if you could join.

      • I tried submitting my comment and it disappeared and then I tried again and the same thing happened. When I tried a third time, it said that it is a duplicate comment! That is when I realized that my earlier comments must have gone into spam. Hope you are able to post a review of ‘Le Quai des brumes’. Would love to read your thoughts on it.

        • It’s odd, I don’t know why it did that.
          It really is one of my favourite movies. Jean Gabin is my father’s favourite actor but I like him as well. He has done many more which are great.

  5. I just got a Fred Vargas novel out of the library, called Ceux qui vont mourir te saluent. I’ve never read anything by her before, but it looked quite straightforward French.

  6. I haven’t read much French literature, just a few classics. I’ve seen loads of French movies though, so I may review one of those.

    Weren’t Les Halles called the belly of Paris? I liked the way Jeunet brought the old markets back to life in “Un long dimanche de fiançailles”. Also there’s a Billy Wilder movie you see them in during the 1960s. I’m sure a book located around Les Halles would be interesting. Is that what the Zola one is about?

    The other day I saw “Joueuse” (2009) with Sandrine Bonnaire and Kevin Klein, which plays on Corsica. It’s based on the novel “Die Schachspielerin” by Bertina Henrichs, a German author living in Paris. I had a feeling you might know this one?

    • You should contribute some movie reviews. That would be great.
      Thanks for the suggestion, I have neither read the book nor seen the movie.
      Zola’s book is about Les Halles, yes. They are currently reconstructed again. I’ve only heard good things about the book. I hope I’ll manage to read it or at least one of his other novels. I’ll definitely see if I can find the movie you mentioned.

      • I signed up. Do you list the posts you’ve written for the blogfest somewhere as well, or do people only go via the participants list?

        Btw, I checked on that book title. It is in fact written in French despite being a German born author, so the original title really is “La joueuse d’échecs”. Only 144 pages, so maybe they got most of it into the movie. Then again, a lot takes place inside the main character which usually comes out more in a book. Hmm, the internal journey has me intrigued now.

        • I’m very glad you mentioned the book. I will have to order it. I like the theme a lot. And will watch the movie to … But no worries if you want to review it, I’m not going to.
          Last year, whenever I wrote a post I left a link on their blogs in the comment section. That worked soso because it’s blogger, our comments are not “real” links.
          I suppose that they will write in the intro post how it will work in detail and maybe offer the winky for posts as well.
          I had a lot of viitors last year due to the event but I also contributed a lot.

  7. I participated last year as well and really enjoyed it. Particularly because it introduced me to Anna Gavalda whose short stories I really liked. I am looking forward to reading your posts about it this year.

    • Thanks, Rikki. I like Anna Gavalda. I’ve read quite a few of her books. It’s anothe roption to read one of the books I haven’t read yet.
      I hope you will participate as well.

  8. Ahhh the temptation about writing something about Paris may be too alluring to resist. The trouble with this one is that the choices are endless!

    • Brian, they are endless. A lot of the great French classics are set in Paris.
      But you could pick books set in other towns. I hope you will decide to contribute. I’d love to see your choice.
      You always write about such interesting books.

  9. Your blog is such a treasure trove of great book and movie suggestions, Caroline! I read Sarah’s Key and found it unforgettable. The movie was even more disturbing.
    Have not seen Le Quai des brumes, but I have a feeling I’ll be renting it after we move.
    A Moveable Feast is on my Kindle, so hoping to dive into that soon.

    • Thanks, Carole. I might have to read Sarah’s Key after all and watch the movie. I just watched another about the Vel d’Hiv (La rafle – The Round Up) and that was very disturbing.
      Whenever people say they don’t like Hemingway, for whatever reason, I point them to A Moveable Feast. It usually surprises them.
      I’m sure you will like Le Quai des Brumes.

        • You know I lived on that place where he used to live? Place de la Contrescarpe. It’s such a nice place. The house in which he lived is closed down and derelict. If it wasn’t for a sign on the wall nobody would know. I still need to read The Paris Wife.

          • Wow, I had no idea! Very cool.

            The Paris Wife was interesting, but I found it a little bizarre to be reading her account of someone else’s emotions. I had to wonder what the Hemingway grandchildren thought about that. Usually historical fiction (if that’s the genre for this) concerns people who’ve been gone for generations. I think I wouldn’t like a total stranger describing my grandparents’ relationship. One of the perils of fame. . . .

            • As far as I remember he is quite outspoken in his novel, so maybe she didn’t take too many liberties. And there are a lot of accounts of people who knew them. I cannot really judge as I haven’t read The Paris Wife.

  10. Oh Caroline are you introducing me to another event 🙂 I’ll have to keep this one on my radar. July will be a busy month for me, but a movie shouldn’t be that hard. and I still have much I want to share about my latest trip. I’ll have to remember this one and see if I can fit it in.

    • It’s really open. Paris photos, a description of the trip. Anything works really. I never even thought to contribute more than one or two reviews last year but then I really got into the spirit. And as you say, there is laways room to watch and review a movie. 🙂

  11. I just bought ‘The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris’ by John Baxter, so I could read that in July. I’ve also got ‘A Dangerous Liaison: A Revelatory New Biography of Simone DeBeauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre’ by Carole Seymour-Jones lined up, so July could be a good time to read that too. Or maybe I will finally get around to reading Lydia Davis’ translation of ‘Madame Bovary’, which I really only bought because of the gorgeous cover, seeing as how I’ve already read the book a zillion times in the Penguin translation. Actually, I’ve got quite a few unread France-related books now that I come to think of it…

    The Moveable Feast is one of my all-time favourite books. It’s wonderful to see Hemingway trying out his writer’s wings.

    • It would be wonderful if you would join.
      I would love to hera something about a positive de Beauvoir biography. I’m still trying to recover from Deidre Bair’s. She painted her in such a cold light. I was completely put off.
      I just had a look at “The Most Beautiful Walk…”. It looks wonderful. I always walk in Paris, unless I really have to cover a large era. It’s not a big city, it doesn’t have the surface or dimension of London or Berlin which is huge.
      I’ve read Mme Bovary three times and I’m not a re-reader at all. I haven’t seen the cover you mention. I have a cheap French paperback.
      It really sounds as if you had a lot of possibilities.
      I should re-read A Moveabale Feast. I really love it as well.

      • I’m so envious you can read books in the original French. I know I’m missing a lot by reading translations. I’d love to be able to read Proust in French. I’ve got the Modern Library tr. and that’s supposed to be pretty good, but nothing could compare with the original. I might re-read some of ISOLT next month. I love the first part, when he’s still a child.

        • I must admit, I’m glad I grew up in a multilingual environment. And I know how it feels when you think you miss something. I tried to learn Russian because of that but I’m lacking time. Imagine…Tolstoy in the original?
          I always think, if people want to learn a language for “reading only”. It is far easier than they think. Proust is maybe a bit ambitious but you might be able to do it in a year or so.
          I never got farther than the first three tomes because I liked the childhood part best. And this despite the fact that I’m not keen on child narrators usually.

  12. What’s funny in the comments is that many commenters don’t intend to read French literature but Anglo-American books about Paris. That’s just weird, especially since it’s not difficult to find French books set in Paris.

    That said, The Belly of Paris is excellent.

    For a Parisian setting, Au Bonheur des Dames is fantastic.

    • I didn’t realize but now that you mention it. It seems it’s only Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast though which I was considering too.
      It’s just so amazingly good.
      I was also thinking about maybe reading Au bonheur des dames. I already got Le ventre de Paris…
      I’m not very good with my plans lately anyway. I will certainly manage two but not all three books…

  13. My own poor French Reading Week (not planned as a big event, just something I wanted to do for myself) keeps getting postponed due to life events lately! But I am halfway through Simone de Beauvoir’s Les Mandarins and enjoying it immensely. I am hoping to get more time with it later on next week. I’m also hoping to read Delicacy by Foekinos and Fabrice Humbert’s The Origin of Violence.

    • I remember your plans. It’s a date you set yourself, no need to put yourself under pressure and maybe it was meant to be and gives you the opportunity to post during July. I haven’t seen a lot of de Beauvoir reviews last year. I’ve had my copy for years now. A review might give me the nudge I need.

  14. I’m probably going to do more for Spanish Lit Month (thanks mainly to some timely review copies), but I do have a copy of Véronique Olmi’s ‘Bord de Mer’ (‘By the Sea’) on its way, so I may get through that in time for a July review 🙂

    • I will post on Olmi. On another of her books that hasn’t been translated yet. I’ll mention Bord de Mer. I can link to your review if we post roughly at the same time. I’ve read it years ago. I’m curious to see what you will write. I read some reviews but I can’t say what I was thinking. I don’t want to influence you.

      • I’ve got a copy coming of ‘Bord de Mer’ and ‘Numéro Six’ (I think!). I’ve loved all the Peirene books so far, so I’m eager to read this one too 😉

        By the way, I’ve just posted on translated fiction, and why people do or don’t read it, so I’d love you to add your ideas on the subject 🙂

  15. I can see you have a lot of fun in July 😉

    I know nothing about France and only saw few movies from this country. I will learn more from your upcoming reviews.

  16. This sounds like fun and I look forward to hearing about the books you are choosing to read. Since I’m hoping to read a bit about San Francisco before I go I’m not sure I’ll get to read any books for either the Spanish or French readalongs, but I might se if I can squeeze in something short for both. Too many books to read and not enough time is always the problem.

    • It always is, I agree. Luckily there are a few very good short books, as well French or Spanish.
      I liked Paris in July a lot last year, so I don’t want to miss it, especially not since I’ve already wrote reviews just didn’t post them.
      I hope you find some great books set in San Francsico.

  17. Both Nana and The Belly of paris are great, read Nana if only one. I like Orwell’s Down and Out in paris and london. It will put you off five star dining! I will join in a second time also. Will decide what to read later as i am still heavily involved with Irish short stories

    • Thanks, Mel. I will not be able to read more than one Zola, I’m afraid, so I might consider to start with Nana. Emma reviewed that Orwell. It sounded like a great read but maybe not something to put you in the mood to explore the restaurants. Good to know that you will join as well.

  18. Hi Caroline, sorry I just saw this post. What a great idea. Does the review have to be new? I have a couple I have written in the past on a movie about Paris. I might do one on the Sabrina remake as I LOVE that one and Paris plays a big part on the character. Let me know if that’s ok with you. Cheers! 😀

    • Hi, ruth, no problem, the event hasn’t even started. i think however it would be better to include new reviews. Maybe you coul do a warp up post and inlcude mini-reviews which guide people back to the original posts? In any case, it would be great if you could join.

  19. It shouldn’t be difficult to slip another Balzac in but I don’t want to shortchange Spanish lit month. I planned to join in with the Beryl Bainbridge week but now June is almost over and I didn’t get to the title I planned to read.

    • I couldn’t read Bainbridge either. I knew I would have difficulties, still, it’s a bit disappointing. I’ll aim fro two Spanish novels and one play and a few French novels this month.
      You can always read a novella.

  20. The Belly of Paris is really good — it was my first book by Zola and I really enjoyed it. Since then I’ve become addicted to Zola. It’s got some great food writing which I especially enjoyed. I read the Kurlansky translation (Modern Library) but I’ve also read Zola translations by Brian Nelson and they were excellent. I think I’m reading The Ladies’ Paradise this year but I have several Zolas to choose from on the TBR shelves. Maybe The Masterpiece or Nana.

    Bonjour Tristesse is on my list of possibles, also Zazie in the Metro and Clochemerle by Gabriel Chevallier.

    • I’ve heard quite a few people say that once you start reading Zola you are hooked. I’m not decided which one, I’ve got Nana as well. I’m glad to hear the translations are good.
      I’ve like Bonjour Tristesse and Zazie dans le métro a lot. I saw a book by Chevallier recently and felt tempted as well. Too much to choose from.
      In any case, I’m looking forward to starting.

  21. Hi Caroline, Welcome to Paris in July. You will be a valued member of the event – I can see you’ll be informing me of so much… books and movies are great ways to enjoy Paris in July. I’ll pop in from time to time to see how you’re going. Au revoir!

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