The Little Paris Bookshop
By: Nina George
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley
“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.
After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.
Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.
Two Three things caught my attention with this novel: the title, the book cover, and the premise of the novel. I love books about books, about characters who love books and recommend books to other people. I received an eARC of this novel courtesy of the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book was available on 23 June 2015.
Alone in Berlin
By: Hans Fallada
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. At the house on 55 Jablonski Strasse, its various occupants try to live under Nazi rule in their different ways: the bullying Hitler loyalists the Persickes, the retired judge Fromm and the unassuming couple Otto and Anna Quangel. Then the Quangels receive the news that their beloved son has been killed fighting in France. Shocked out of their quiet existence, they begin a silent campaign of defiance, and a deadly game of cat and mouse develops between the Quangels and the ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich. When petty criminals Kluge and Borkhausen also become involved, deception, betrayal and murder ensue, tightening the noose around the Quangels’ necks …
I read this book a few years ago at the recommendation of a friend from my MA programme (I forgot what the conversation was about that this book came up). It’s published here in North America under a different title, Every Man Dies Alone, which I suppose is also an apt title to describe this book (albeit far more dramatic ;)), but I have the UK edition of the book. I decided to re-read the book because I remember having a rather “meh” reaction to the book the first time but I wasn’t sure exactly why.
This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in.
The Sorrows of Young Werther
By: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Visiting an idyllic German village, Werther, a sensitive and romantic young man, meets and falls in love with sweet-natured Lotte. Although he realizes that Lotte is to marry Albert, he is unable to subdue his passion for her, and his infatuation torments him to the point of absolute despair.
This book has been on my radar for a very long time but for whatever reason I never got around to reading it. It’s considered a classic in portraying unrequited love but as I read it, I realised it’s much more than that. May contain some spoilers ahead!
My shot inside the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris, France (August 2010)
I’m in the midst of writing my political science paper on the Basques in Spain but I’m also multi-tasking with skimming through the Guardian. The Guardian is doing a series at the moment, focusing on one European country each week. One of spheres they covered are books and so far they’ve covered the following places:
These podcasts are fantastic to listen to because you learn a lot about the literary and bestselling trends in these countries. I’m still listening to the Germany podcast but they’ve also discussed German identity and culture, which is totally up my alley xD Their trends are actually pretty close to North America (vampires are big, international bestsellers are also big but then you have massive tomes on history and the current state of Germany and a lot of health-related books), which is interesting. The podcast on French literature was also fantastic because their literary culture is so different; in a sense, the sort of culture of Voltaire and Rousseau has continued to the present day with the French public’s love of essays. Prices and sales of books are also quite different from the UK or North America (they have a fixed rate) and just the volume and types of books that people read are also very different. So if you’re into European literature and book trends, these podcasts are worth checking out.
This week the Guardian is focusing on Spain, which is exciting because a) I’m writing a paper on them at the moment, b) Spain fascinates me in general and c) I love Spanish literature and poetry (Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Federico Garcia Lorca, etc.) <3