Thanks mostly to my mother who constantly fed me books as a child, I am a complete and utter bookworm. I’m usually so exhausted during the school year I don’t get nearly as much read as I’d like. So in addition to catching up on gardening, uncooked recipes and much needed runs that all tend to fall by the wayside during the fall/winter/spring months, I dedicate a large portion of my summer to consuming the books that pile up on my bedside throughout the year. Here, in no specific order, is my summer reading list (so far) ~
I love this mixture of anecdotes of the hilarity of expat life in Paris and yummy recipes from David Lebovitz, former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and now inhabitant of my deuxieme chez moi (second home 😉 ), Paris. I pick up The sweet life every week or so, and always chuckle along with Lebovitz’s missteps and encounters in the City of Light. He’s inspired me to try my hand at some pastries before schools starts. (In 3 weeks, ach!)
The girl with no shadow chronicles the same family’s from the book and film Chocolat trials’ and tribulations’ in Paris. It includes many twists and turns, lots more magic and a surprise ending.
I far preferred the book of The time traveler’s wife to the film version with Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana (usually I adore anything with either of those two, but I think the premise of the book was difficult to interpret, believably, on screen). The time traveler’s wife follows the love story of a married couple in which the husband inexplicaby and without warning hops from decade to decade. I found the character development in the book made me suspend my stubborn disbelief and go along with the premise far better than the on-screen interpretation.
I read Hotel pastis while I was teaching in a French immersion program for two weeks last month. Peter Mayle’s books (A year in Provence, Provence toujours) reliably provide a great escape from daily life, and aren’t so difficult to read that you can’t digest a few chapters after a twelve hour day of teaching or accounting or designing or whatever occupies your days. This one follows a high-power British ad executive from the sale of his part in an über-successful ad firm in London to the opening of a fledgling hotel in a tiny town in Provence.
A secret kept is by the author (French/British/Russian Tatiana de Rosnay) of Sarah’s key, which if you haven’t read yet, you should also add to your list. A secret kept is vastly different in plot and subject from Sarah’s key, but examines the same themes of family and self-identity.
It’s not often that a book will bring me to tears, but The invisible bridge by Julie Orringer had me weeping. It tells the story of Andres and Klara, a Jewish Hungarian couple that falls in love in Paris just prior to World War II. They make a trip to their native Hungary to renew Andres’ student visa, but are (predictably) prevented from returning to Paris. The plot follows both of their families’ struggles to survive the war and the Holocaust. Prepare for an emotional read, but know that it is well worth it.
After finishing this one yesterday, I had to take a breather today, but plan on starting Ann Patchett’s State of wonder this evening.What have you read or do you plan to read with the last weeks of summer?