The Book List // Dreaming of Paris

image: Atlantic Pacific

In my fantasy life I will have moved to Paris at some point, frequenting cafes & riding my vespa (which always plays a key role in these fantasy lives as I'm a complete klutz & this seems like a very bad real-life idea). I'll be involved in writing somehow & spend my weekends exploring while also improving my French, which after 6 years of lessons you'd think I'd be able to say more than four words. Naturally I will be able to eat all the delicious food & not gain weight as this is my fantasy life & I'm going to look chic in it!

Clearly none of the above is going to happen (especially the vespa) so instead I like to live vicariously through the memoirs of people moving to France & discovering Parisian life. Apparently I am not the only one as this seems to be a very popular theme & there's a lot to choose from. In case you too are getting wanderlust & want to live out your French dream, here's a list of Paris memoirs to hold you over!


Author: Emily Ruskovich
Publisher: Random House 

Summary: Ann marries Wade Mitchell, a husband and father whose family had been ripped apart in a tragedy on a mountain in Idaho. His wife is in jail, one daughter is dead and another has been missing for years. While Ann tries to piece together what happened to her husband's family she also has to deal with his quick decline into dementia. Alternating between perspectives, Idaho examines the effects this tragedy has had on those linked to the Mitchells.

This debut novel is beautifully written but incredibly depressing and without many answers. It is not a mystery: the murder is a small plot point to examine the emotional aftermath for these characters. It makes for a very intricate look at how people move on with their lives but also a slow moving character study with a frustrating back story.

You Will Know Me

Author: Megan Abbott
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Summary: Katie Knox & her husband have sacrificed a lot for their daughter Devon, a rising star in the gymnastics world who is destined for the Olympics. A lot is riding on Devon's shoulders to make it big & Katie admires the singular focus Devon has when she's competing. Their gymnastics community though is hit hard by a violent death which threatens to distract Devon, disrupt the gym, & possibly tear the Knox family apart.

Review: I can sum this book up in one word: predictable. Not good for a mystery/thriller. I had the entire plot figured out fairly early on in the book & I'm one who can be fairly gullible. There are a few red herrings thrown the readers way but it's not very convincing & introduced so early on that you know that can't be the truth.

Sweetbitter: A Novel

image via Dream by Day

Author: Stephanie Danler
Publisher: Knopf

Summary: Without any particular ambition Tess packs up her belongings & moves to New York City. On a whim she gets a job as a low level server in one of Manhattan's best restaurants, learning the service industry & about the joys of wine & good along the way. However she is also drawn into the darker side of the business, from after-hours drinking & drugs to her relationships with another server & bartender.

Review:  If you're expecting a behind-the-scenes of a restaurant story or a young girl makes it in the big city, move along. This novel turned out to be fairly dark with Tess making some rather poor decisions & getting wrapped into what has been described as a "love triangle" (more on that below). There's a lot of coke in the bathroom & her relationship with the bartender can best be described as confounding.

On the otherhand, I didn't hate the book. It intrigued me enough to keep reading & I think it would make for a good book club selection as everyone would have strong opinions!

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers...

Author: Bianca Bosker
Publisher: Penguin Books

Summary: Bosker leaves her job as a technology writer to spend a year learning about the world of wine & the people obsessed with it. In order to do this she decides to fully immerse herself in the New York sommelier scene, with the hopes of becoming one herself. While she documents her adventures in drinking at all hours of the day she also provides information on how the restaurant scene works, what it takes to be a sommelier, & the science behind smell & taste. It's a wonderful mix of a wine education along with the entertaining anecdotes of the wine obsessed.

Before the Fall

Author: Noah Hawley
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 

Summary: A private plane crashes on its way from Martha's Vineyard to New York City, leaving only two survivors: a young boy who has lost his entire family & a painter whose connection to the rest of the plan is questionable. As the search continues for the plane & the bodies of those assumed to be deceased, the book goes in flashbacks to each of the passengers' lives as the cause of the crash is investigated. Was this an accident? Or did something happen to intentionally crash the plane?

Review: The suspense of what happened on the plane & what secrets did the people on the plane hold keeps you reading way past your bedtime (it did for me!). The book is incredibly well written & each character has a clear voice. Character development was certainly the best part of this novel.

The Buzz // 6.2.17

via The Londoner

Book News:

How TV shows are borrowing literary techniques. Which may very well explain the renaissance of television that is happening these days.

First there was George & his art, now there's Bill writing a thriller. Presidential hobbies are getting more creative!

Planning a long summer road trip (we're driving from Virginia to Cape Cod & back, twice!)? Hilarious audiobook recommendations to make the drive a little less painful.

A review of the new NYC Amazon brick-and-mortar store. Which makes it sound like this is not the bookstore for those who love to read & actually enjoy perusing book stores. I have yet to walk into one- do you have any thoughts on Amazon stores?

And Some Great Reads:

A thought provoking article- the difference between imitation & inspiration. Thanks to the internet we have endless sources for inspiration & I like the list of how to make sure you don't totally cross over into imitation. Good to be aware of.

Fun fact: my senior seminar was on First Ladies, so I've always had an affinity for their role in the White House. And with Melania not taking on some of the modern expected duties it will be interesting to see how the new White House social secretary does in her job. It's definitely not all parties & frivolity so enjoyed reading this article!

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The Book List // Dreaming of Paris