I’ve enjoyed some good reads lately that were either in French or that had a francophile angle. Each was a book that I’ve owned for a while. I’m commited to finishing all my backlog of books before I buy any new ones. So far I’m ahead of schedule on my goal of reading one book a momth.
Meurtre à Blackness Road, by Minette Walters: I picked this novella up in France because I have enjoyed many of this British writer’s psychological thrillers over the years. This fascinating story was based on an actual crime from 1924.
Vigée Le Brun: This beautiful book was published to accompany an exhibit in Paris, New York and Ottawa about one of my favorite artists, one of the first professional female portraitists. I saw the show in New York, but some of the paintings from Le Brun’s years in Russia were not included due to diplomatic concerns. This book dedicated a full page to a color reproduction of each painting, including the missing Russian ones, as well as information about the subject and the circumstances surrounding it.
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.: When my husband read this book when it was first released, he kept reading me snippets. This drives me nuts. I promised to read it myself to get him to stop. Admittedly, it took me several years to keep my promise. While I read it, I returned the favor, reading him snippets of the incredible story of Huguette Clark, born in Paris, raised in luxury, who willingly spent the last twenty years of her long life in a dreary hospital room. Fortunately, my husband is more patient with snippet sharing than I am. It’s quite a story.
Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell : This is a scholarly, yet fascinating read, that featured a number of the same people represented in the Vigée Le Brun book. The thesis is that, contrary to the received wusdom that Marie-Antoinette’s excesses led to the French Revolution, it was actually her decision to embrace simplicity that hastened the end of the Bourbon monarchy.
Ce que j’ai lu (suh kuh shjay loo) means “what I read.” What have you read lately that you have enjoyed?