Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Report Time

Paris Was Ours makes me nostalgic for an experience I never had -- living in Paris.  Indeed, I've only visited Paris once -- back in 1970 when John and I were riding a motorcycle and camping our way around Europe. With very limited French, a scruffy wardrobe, and a tight budget, we weren't exactly welcomed with open arms in the City of Light. (The people in the countryside were more forgiving.)

This book, a collection of essays by thirty-two writers, shows me what we missed. I was  entranced by the diverse experiences and recommend this book highly.  And should I ever return to Paris (not very likely,) I'd make a serious attempt to learn conversational French. 

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is the imagined story of Lavinia Warren Bump, the 'little person' (32 inches tall) who was one of P.T Barnum's 'oddities.' This is a thoroughly engaging historical novel, full of period detail. But most of all it's the story of the indomitable Vinnie who decides, 'Never would I allow my size to define me. Instead, I would define it.'

The Bartimaeus Trilogy is set in an alternate London, in a world divided between Magicians and Commoners. The Magicians, aided by the powerful spirits they control, are the government. The Commoners are the governed -- and some of them are becoming rebellious. It's the story of Nathaniel, a child in the beginning, whose growing strength as a Magician is an object lesson in the corrupting influence of power.  And it's the story of the cheeky Bartimaeus, the 5,000 year-old Djinn, who -- though technically enslaved by Nathaniel -- doesn't hesitate to point out his master's shortcomings. Excellent fantasy!

Traveling to Marshall --  a memoir of the author's stint as a Baptist pastor in our county seat -- makes me nostalgic for Marshall as it was when we moved here in '75. The author covers a good bit of history pertinent to Marshall and Madison County.   I enjoyed this little book a lot and learned some more about the area but I'm not sure that it would have the same appeal for anyone not already familiar with Marshall and Madison County.


Posted by Picasa

10 comments:

Ms. A said...

Looks like a diverse selection.

Jackie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Martin said...

I've been to France, but never to Paris. Like you, I found the people in the countryside, warm and welcoming.

Brian Miller said...

hmm...the paris book sounds like a treat to read...looking at each perspective on what we missed...

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I was very interested to see what you thought about the book on Paris. We bought it and thought we would love it, but we both felt the stories begin to be somewhat the same after a while.

I skipped to the back and read David Lebovitz and called it a day. I think David's writing style is one of the best on the internet.
Sam

Pat in east TN said...

The book about Marshall looks like something I have to look into and pass along to my kids.

Vicki Lane said...

Pat, I think you'd like it.

Vagabonde said...

If you went to Paris in the 1970s you would find it changed now as well as the attitudes.
After my husband bought in Key West, in Hemingway's former house, the new edition of “A Moveable Feast” and I read it – I started reading about all the other writers and artists who were in Paris at the time. I just finished a book from the library called Everybody was So Young by Amanda Vaill. It is the story of Sara and Gerald Murphy, two rich Americans, who lived in France at that time too and were friends with all the expatriates. It shows that Hemingway’s book is slanted as he had strong likes and dislikes. Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night used Sara and Gerald Murphy in his book, but not accurately. I also read the bio of Gertrude Stein, and "The French Wife." Anyway I must have about 6 or more books on the era, but not the one you mention – I may get it. After reading all these books I am now so familiar with the people of that time that I feel I know them. Right now I am reading “Shakespeare and Company” by Sylvia Beach who owned a bookstore in Paris and published James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922. It’s a fun book too.

Victoria said...

I have GOT to get new reading glasses. I could have sworn that underneath the title of the first book it read "Thirty Two WAITERS Reflect on the City of Light." I'm laughing ruefully at myself.

"Mrs. Tom Thumb" sounds like an inspiring read, I'm going to see if I can find it on A.com.

I speak French, but it hasn't helped me one bit any of the times I've been in Paris. But...I still, and always will, love Paris!

Vicki Lane said...

Vagabonde -- I'm intrigued by the books you mention and shall look for them.

Victoria -- you're cracking me up here! 32 waiters, indeed...