Four Read This Week (Mostly French)

114. The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman

Here’s Hoffman’s idea: Travel around the world using the most dangerous forms of transportation. Sound like fun?

And he does it. He rides on dangerous places, goes on dangerous trains, travels on dangerous ferries, and takes dangerous buses. All the while, he ruminates on why he is not content to stay home with his wife and children.

He survives. Finally, it is time to go home.

“It was time to go home….Time was only worthwhile when your eyes were fresh, when it surprised you and amazed you and made you think about yourself in a new way. You couldn’t travel forever….In everyone, I suspect, lay a tension between the need for otherness and home. We all want security, we all want adventure, the familiar and the new always jockeying for control.”

115. The Lover by Marguerite Dumas

If you suspect that Dumas is French, then you have obviously been reading my blog for a while and know that I am currently obsessed with all things French. This book was recommended in Great French Books and, since I had it in my TBR (and it’s been there for a good year), I decided to give it a read.

Would you like it? Do you like to read stories about poor young women who give themselves to rich fellows? In real life, this apparently happened to Dumas. It’s quite sad, really. I’m starting to find that many (most?) French books are quite sad.

116. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Dick Driver is a psychiatrist with a crazy, though rich wife. They travel together around France and don’t seem to know what to do with themselves.

Driver meets a young actress who is taken with him, but it not until five years later, that the two take up with each other. Neither is in love, and Driver seems to have forgotten about his wife and children, so, once again, another sad story.

117. Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living by Robert Arbor

Arbor is a Frenchman now living in America who owns a restaurant. One of the pleasures of this book is that it contains many, many recipes. But that is certainly not the only pleasure.

And that’s what this book is all about: Pleasures. Simple pleasures. The pleasures that French people find in their every day lives. Preparing food. Eating. Spending time with their families. Spending time with their friends.

A lovely, lovely book. I want to see this way of life at work (and, hopefully, I will…in two weeks!) and I want to bring it back home with me to my town.

One thought on “Four Read This Week (Mostly French)

  1. I was genuinely shocked in Paris to see workers staring out of the metro window with blank, staring expressions. Depressed, they were depressed in Paris! How could they be? I was so happy I was literally in tears, and here they were going about their everyday going to work, stuck in the rut (in Paris!) lives. Not everyone was like that of course. Trying to watch the French news recently has made me realise that even the less educated French persons will always speak better French than me. Somewhat disheartening. But I want to do a proper course again. I think I need to. Hope your preparations are coming along well. Your certainly getting a lot of French based reading done, which is fantastic.

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