Summer holidays looming. Lazy days on the waterways ahead. Evenings beneath a setting sun, glass of Picpoul in one hand, un-put-downable book in the other. It’s that time of year again. We’ve done our reading, we’ve done our best seller research and we’ve chosen a very French slant for our 2018 summer reading list. Some you’ll find at the front of the bookstore, others you’ll have to ask for from the archive.
2018 summer reading list
It is impossible to avoid the winner of the 2016 Prix Goncourt. Translated to English earlier this year, Lullaby is a tragic story of a murderous nanny. Leila Slimani depicts the life of a French family in Paris who hires who they thought to be a miraculous perfect nanny. The shocking first pages of the book lead to a depiction of social class, motherhood and the place of the nanny in the family. Although dark, Lullaby is a best seller in both France and Britain. Soon to be adapted into a film, it is acclaimed by the book critics as well as the readers.
On a lighter note, Petronille by Amelie de Nothomb, will take you to Paris, via London, and on to wine tasting. In her 23rd novel, Nothomb writes about the friendship of two women who enjoy drinking champagne. Witty and funny, this French version of Thelma and Louise will take you on a virtual summer road trip. Always surprising, Belgian author Nothomb demonstrates once again her talent in Petronille.
If you are dreaming of the French Riviera, the classic Bonjour Tristesse will not disappoint. Cécile is a carefree, wealthy yet bored teenager, who tries to interfere in her father’s life. Used to a life of parties in Paris, Cécile’s world changes when her father meets Anne, a cultured, wise, and intelligent woman. What happens next? We won’t spoil the plot for you. This was Francoise Sagan’s first novel, which she is famed for writing in just six weeks. She was 18 years old. Bonjour Tristesse went on to be one of the best sellers of the 20th century.
Tender is the Night
Another 20th century classic. F. Scott Fitzgerald takes us to the South of France in the glamorous life of Dick and Nicole. This is a tale of the 1930s in the villas of the French Riviera. If this summer you want to go back to a literary classic Tender is the Night, is perfect for you. Immerse yourself in the France of another era from the pages of what is now regarded as one of Fitzgerald’s best work.
A Year in the Merde
Enjoy a humorous perspective of France with this funny book that became a best seller on its release in 2004. Whether you are crossing the Channel for the holidays or if you simply want a taste of France, A Year in the Merde will raise more than a gentle chuckle. This tongue in cheek perspective makes gentle fun of Brits abroad, specifically in France. The tale of a year spent in France by the Englishman is the perfect light read for your summer book list.
Notes from the Cevennes
Published earlier this year, Notes from the Cevennes: Half a Lifetime in Provincial France is also the tale of life in France. Adam Thorpe wrote his memoirs having lived in the South of France for the past 25 years. This book will wander with you under the sun in Cevennes and through the history of the region as you follow Thorpe’s personal journey in the Cevennes.
Dreaming of a less stressful life abroad? In Grape Expectations: A Family’s Vineyard Adventure in France, follow the journey of one family starting from scratch producing French wines. Caroline and Sean moved to Saussignac and settle for a 10-hectare dream vineyard. Except dealing with moving into a farmhouse and with the struggles that farm life entails, prove challenging. This real-life family adventure will open the door on vineyard life in France.
The Little Paris Bookshop
Right up our street, let Nina George take you on the Seine. In The Little Paris Bookshop, Jean Perdu runs a ‘literary apothecary’ in a restored barge on the Seine. He suddenly decides to unmoor and set off for Provence to find someone from his past. A light, uplifting read for the summer that will leave you dreaming of travelling the inland waterways of France, or wanting to return for more.
We hope that in this selection of fiction, non-fiction, recently published and old classic books, you find the perfect 2018 summer book for you. If your reading choice leaves you longing for a waterways holiday in France, start your search here.
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