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My Ideal Holiday Reading List

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Holiday Reading List


    A Family In Paris,

    When Australian Jane Paech moves to Paris, her visions of afternoons in bijou bistros and bookshops on the Left Bank are kept in check by the needs of a young family and a long to-do list that includes apartment-hunting, school selection, and multiple trips to IKEA. Through a collection of sharp observations, insightful travel articles and laugh-out-loud anecdotes, A Family in Paris conveys the joys and difficulties of living in this most famous of cities. It introduces us to the Parisians and their eccentricities, explores the intricate rituals of daily life, and takes us beyond the well-trodden tourist sites to the best eating spots, boutiques, museums and markets that only a local could know about. Frank, intimate and beautifully photographed, A Family in Paris is about making a home in a strange land, finding a community, and discovering the joy of renewal.

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    Gardens of Awe and Folly

    Nine masterpiece gardens. Nine stories of grandeur, sorrow, disaster, triumph, discovery, and joy. From Scotland to Key West, from Brazil to Paris--even right next door--there is always something to learn about being human from a great garden.

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    Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart

    George Whitman opened his bookstore in a tumbledown 16th-century building just across the Seine from Notre-Dame in 1951, a decade after the original Shakespeare and Company had closed. Run by Sylvia Beach, it had been the meeting place for the Lost Generation and the first publisher of James Joyce's Ulysses. (This book includes an illustrated adaptation of Beach's memoir.) Since Whitman picked up the mantle, Shakespeare and Company has served as a home-away-from-home for many celebrated writers, from Jorge Luis Borges to Ray Bradbury, A.M. Homes to Dave Eggers, as well as for young authors and poets. Visitors are invited not only to read the books in the library and to share a pot of tea, but sometimes also to live in the shop itself - all for free. More than 30,000 people have stayed at Shakespeare and Company, fulfilling Whitman's vision of a 'socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore'. Through the prism of the shop's history, the book traces the lives of literary expats in Paris from 1951 to the present, touching on the Beat Generation, civil rights, May '68 and the feminist movement - all while pondering that perennial literary question, 'What is it about writers and Paris?'.

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    Tove Jansson Life, Art, Words

    The Finnish-Swedish writer and artist Tove Jansson achieved worldwide fame as the creator of the Moomin stories, written between 1945 and 1970 and still in print in more than twenty languages. However, the Moomins were only a part of her prodigious output. Already admired in Nordic art circles as a painter, cartoonist and illustrator, she would go on to write a series of classic novels and short stories. She remains Scandinavia's best loved author. Tove Jansson's work reflected the tenets of her life: her love of family (and special bond with her mother), of nature, and her insistence on freedom to pursue her art. Love and work was the motto she chose for herself and her approach to both was joyful and uncompromising. If her relationships with men were shaded by an ambivalence towards marriage, those with women came as a revelation, especially the love and companionship she found with her long-time partner, the artist Tuulikki Pietila, with whom she shared her solitary island of Klovharu. In this meticulously researched, authorised biography, Boel Westin draws together the many threads of Jansson's life: from the studies interrupted to help her family; the bleak years of war and her emergence as an artist with a studio of her own; to the years of Moomin-mania, and later novel writing. Based on numerous conversations with Tove, and unprecedented access to her journals, letters and personal archives, Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words offers a rare and privileged insight into the world of a writer whom Philip Pullman described, simply, as 'a genius'.

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    The Letters of Sylvia Beach

    Founder of the Left Bank bookstore Shakespeare and Company and the first publisher of James Joyce's Ulysses, Sylvia Beach had a legendary facility for nurturing literary talent. In this first collection of her letters, we witness Beach's day-to-day dealings as bookseller and publisher to expatriate Paris. Friends and clients include Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, H. D., Ezra Pound, Janet Flanner, William Carlos Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Richard Wright. As librarian, publicist, publisher, and translator, Beach carved out a unique space for herself in English and French letters. This collection reveals Beach's charm and resourcefulness, sharing her negotiations with Marianne Moore to place Joyce's work in The Dial; her battle to curb the piracy of Ulysses in the United States; her struggle to keep Shakespeare and Company afloat during the Depression; and her complicated affair with the French bookstore owner Adrienne Monnier. These letters also recount Beach's childhood in New Jersey; her work in Serbia with the American Red Cross; her internment in a German prison camp; and her friendship with a new generation of expatriates in the 1950s and 1960s. Beach was the consummate American in Paris and a tireless champion of the avant-garde. Her warmth and wit made the Rue de l'Odeon the heart of modernist Paris.

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