Law and Conversation

August 24, 2011

3 summer reads about Paris, and a giveaway

Earlier this week I recommended Anna Gavalda’s “French Leave” and posted a link to my review of the novella on The Europa Challenge Blog. As summer draws to a close, here are three more light, fun books with Parisian settings for the lawyer who needs to look up after hours from deadly serious briefs and cases, or for anyone else looking for something that’s not extra work to read:

1) “Le Divorce,” “Le Mariage,” and L’Affaire,” by Diane Johnson, a US Midwestern-born (Quad Cities, USA!) writer who now lives in Paris. It’s been a while since I read these interrelated novels, but I remember them fondly for their twisty plots, engaging characters, and entertaining descriptions of French and US cultures meeting at odd angles and what seemed to my US eyes the arcane French laws respecting property. “Le Divorce” was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Awards.

2) “French Milk,” by Lucy Knisley. This graphic memoir about the young author’s monthlong trip to Paris with her mother is charming without being cloying.

3) The City Of Lights has inspired many memoirs. Of those I’ve read, the most evocative and beautifully written has to be Ernest Hemingway’s “The Moveable Feast.” A new edition came out two years ago, somewhat controversially. Though I’ve read the original edition, also posthumously published, several times, every time I think of it I want to read it again.

Europa Editions is doing a book giveaway over on The Europa Challenge Blog, and I get extra entries for blogging about and linking to it! Please click on over and enter yourself, and while you’re there, read some of the reviews of the wonderful books that Europa publishes.

Are you reading anything fun these late summer days?


  1. I just picked up “A Moveable Feast” from the library. Being a Hemingway fan, I’ve always been self-conscious that I’ve never read it. I made sure to get the older edition. Maybe I’ll have to do a comparison…

    Comment by MJ — August 24, 2011 @ 10:06 am | Reply

    • Let me know what you think of it, and if you end up reading both editions. I would have been pretty upset with Hemingway if I’d been Gertrude Stein or F.Scott Fitzgerald and still alive when it was published (which they were not), but since I’m not, I loved it. It is interesting to think about the blurring of truth and fiction that he suggested he’d done in the book.

      Comment by Helen Gunnarsson — August 24, 2011 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  2. I’m totally in love with food author/blogger David Lebovitz. He was in town a few months ago, but alas, court called and I was unable to go chat him up. Fortunately, a dear friend knew I deserved a signed copy of The Sweet Life in Paris: A Recipe for Living in the World’s Most Delicious City. Another ex-pat who knows why he loves Paris and why he also struggles there and no it’s not just the language.

    It is a perfect summer getaway!

    Comment by Ava George Stewart — August 26, 2011 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

    • I am glad you have such a thoughtful friend, who clearly understands exactly how to choose a present that will delight you! I enjoyed Lebovitz’s book so much I almost included it here and made a mental note to put it in another post. The recipes he includes sound really good; have you tried any? His descriptions of dealing with French law regarding work permits were so vivid that I actually became aggravated on his behalf as I was reading them. I’m glad he was able to convert his aggravations into amusing material for a published memoir!

      Comment by Helen Gunnarsson — August 26, 2011 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

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