“Paris was glorious in the summer mornings! The air was as fresh as a grackle’s wing…”
In Scènes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris), Victoria Leigh Bennett takes us back to her teenage years, as a first trip abroad opens her eyes to the possibilities of the French metropolis, and of the first buds of romance. This playful, tender memoir shows us the wonder of the city of love seen through fresh eyes. It is ripe with youthful adventure, and as bitter-sweet as a coffee and croissant.”
Scènes de la Vie Americaine (en Paris) is a playful riff off of Honoré de Balzac‘s work Scènes de la Vie Parisienne, and sets the mood for a thoughtful memoir of youthful experiences abroad in the French capital. A city that has inspired so much literature, now has another view, which is a pleasantly nostalgic one.
It is difficult to talk too much about the book without giving away spoilers, so please forgive me if I am somewhat vague on the content and don’t expand on the blurb too much hereafter.
Two reblogs in two days because quality stuff should be shared. This time it’s the turn of my very good friend Vicki and her short memoir about her younger days in Paris, a city that seems to encourage so many memorable works. I will be purchasing my copy soon, so come join me.
When I was eight years old, my parents bought a swing set for the backyard. It was red and yellow, with two swings. My father installed it at the extreme northern end of the yard, a few feet to the left of the brick fireplace he had built upon moving into the house, years before I was born. I cannot say I remember whether or not I had asked for a swing set or if my parents decided it would be a good idea to get one. Either way, that summer–the summer I was eight–I spent a lot of time on those swings.
Well, I mainly used the swing closer to the fireplace. If anyone wanted to join me, they needed to use the other swing. Sometimes, I’d swing for hours. I used to love swinging on July evenings, the air warm, the yard fragrant with flowers and freshly cut…
Recently, a memory was sparked off in my head of a vast abyss, and floating in the pitchest black possible, alone, with who knows what waiting to be discovered in its dark depths.
Thankfully – or sadly – all this was experienced between the covers of a book, the one I’m referring to is the slim volume with plenty of imagination, Arthur C. Clarke’s, wonderfully realised Rendezvous with Rama.
Rereading that particular chapter in the cold light of day didn’t have anywhere near the same impact as being cuddled up in bed, touch lamp on low, with the details of my peripheral vision suitably obscured, and reading to the soundtrack of a near all consuming silence. Continue reading “Rendezvous with Literature”
After my Charles Dickens birthday binge chronicled in the last post, a bit more variety was needed in my reading collection, and what better place to turn to for inspiration than book bloggers. After hunting around for a short time I came up with three books that would add depth to my collection.
First port of call was Claire over at Word By Word, for those of you who haven’t discovered this blog yet please be warned you will end up wanting to spend all your money on a variety of books, all of which are wonderfully reviewed. Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat caught my eye with short stories of a Haitian flavour.
Next up was Asha’s recommendation for Twilight in Delhi which sounds like an atmospheric historical fiction novel that will captivate the senses. Ever since finishing A Suitable Boy, I have hankered for an Indian novel to read, although I have Rohinton Mistry’s A FIne Balance still to read, I had to have this book too. Continue reading “Literature Binge”
Confronted by the realities of adulthood, Romesh Ranganathan must face an uncomfortable truth: this is not quite how he imagined it.
Watching his friends descend into middle age, his waistline thicken and his finances dwindle to fund his family’s middle class aspirations, Romesh reflects on the demands of daily life and the challenges of adulting in the modern world.
As he reluctantly concludes that he is indeed a grown man, Rom wrestles with the greater questions that threaten his being: Could I save my family in a crisis? Do I possess the skills to assemble flatpack furniture? Am I too old for streetwear? Is it alright to parent my kids through the medium of Fortnite? Is celibacy the secret to a passionate marriage?
I pick up books for many reasona; references in other literature, a cover with books on it, blogger recommendations, and so forth but never (at least as far as I can recall) have I picked up a book because it ‘spoke to me’ and the present situation I find myself in – that being the reluctant adult bit.
Romesh Ranganathan is the reluctant adult here, supporting a family and keeping them happy, trying not to break his children, be a good role model and encourage them in their interests (as long as they are appreciated by their father, of course). It’s life, and its hard yet has plenty of scope to be funny along with it.
There was a lot in this light-hearted book that made me laugh, which is handy as the author is a stand-up comedian. Whether it’s an incisive observation or just the turn of phrase employed to convey a point. The inherent Britishness in the articulation had me laughing more than the stories themselves in most cases, and that was very much the highlight of the book for me. Continue reading “As good As It Gets – Romesh Ranganathan”
Finally getting a few moments to write up some notes for the books that I have been reading this year, two completed so far, a notification popped up with the news that this is my twelfth year on WordPress, making this the tenth year of Book to the Future.
An unexpected milestone for sure, not that there was ever a thought of the blog carrying on this long. When conceived, this space was created with the soul aim of talking about books and making friends, those expectations have been far surpassed in the most surprising way.
From making friends in many different countries as well as meeting blog friends on two other continents, working with Penguin/Random House, meeting my wife, and being an ocassional proofreader and editor with a couple of small publishing companies.
Not too mention all the free books that authors have been kind enough to send, as well as the reviews that have inspired me to read widely and have bulked up my to read list. My writing has improved a bit too, so as always a huge thanks to the people who make this all viable, you wonderful readers, especially my regulars.
More book reviews will be coming shortly, they are like a dam waiting to burst.
It’s Christmas! And here’s a gift you never asked for. Namely my good self popping up to ruin Asha’s latest book vlog.
If you fancy some Christmas book recommendations, and also wish to see me trying to do my bit to camera with a harassed look as Amelia faintly cries just out of shot, not to mention completely forgetting all the points I was going to make before hand, then watch on.
My gorgeous husband and I share many things in common but we have totally opposite views on books. While I sit surrounded by piles of books I am sure I will one day read, Stephen on the other hand has a handful of beloved titles that he has read many times and so knows with great depth and understanding.
One of his favourite annual traditions is to read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Sometimes it is just to himself. Sometimes it is a special treat for me to hear him read out loud while I sit knitting.
This year he has taken things to a new level. Stephen is an expert YouTuber and so has a range of high-quality recording and editing equipment. This has enabled him to produce a podcast version of A Christmas Carol which I am delighted to be able to share with you. This is…
In the last few days, it’s been announced that Cineworld is shutting down for the foreseeable future, which is really sad news. I worked at the Nottingham cinema for a short time in what now seems the distant past, and it was a decent job, which my coworkers made really enjoyable, and I wish them all well for the future.
There were two aspects of the job that will always be fondly remembered, and they were both on the late shift, which I preferred doing once they got going but were always a challenge to drag oneself in for.
The first, was being marooned by myself near the entrance, which was the home of two of the least comfotable screens. This had two good things going for it, the first was a chance to write down copious notes for reviews or do a crossword thanks to it being quieter there, and the second was Funstation.
Funstation is one of those guady arcade type places, with lots of games, and a favourite haunt for teenage gatherings. It was situated just over the other side of the walkway, and from my vantage point I could observe the everchanging colours of the neon lights flickering on and off, trying to entice people to spend their money. This always seemed oddly attractive as a meeting place, before the inevitable, yet agreeable, melancholy of closing up for the night. It reminded me of the meetings, departings and eventual silence of a railway station, or airport. Continue reading “Silver Screen Dreams”