Tag Archives: Paris

Bunch of random and awesome nonfiction I read one rainy weekend…

The Book of Extraordinary Deaths: True Accounts of Ill-Fated Lives by Cecilia Ruiz

First off, this is one of those quirky, dark but humorous books that isn’t for everyone.  Fortunately, I like dark and quirky.  I like it a lot actually.  If you go in for bizarrely ironic tales of untimely demise this is the book for you.  For example, a dude tripped over his own 4-5 foot-long beard while attempting to escape from a fire.  A cactus crushed another guy to death.  A French undertaker died when a pile of coffins fell on top of him.  I mean you can’t make this stuff up.  It’s short and sweet, yet lovely and clever. Each character comes to life within the telling of their peculiar ends and the accompanying beautiful illustrations.

In Paris: 20 Women on Life in the City of Light by Jeanne Damas

I went to Paris alone for the first time about 5 years ago and the city still lingers in me.  I was terrified as I had never traveled alone or been overseas but I loved every second!  It was exhilarating and exciting and extraordinary! ALL THE E WORDS! 

However, I can only dream of being as chic and nonchalant as the women in this book.  It’s an elegant little book with 20 profiles of inspiring women living in Paris.  Included are fabulous recommendations for the best red lipsticks, the best places in Paris to be kissed, best florists, best vintage clothes shops and more.  I got a real kick at imagining myself back in the city of light and imagining I can pull off the sophistication and smartness Parisian women seem to possess.

Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil: the creation – the inspiration – the fascination by Jen Darcy

I’m not a Disney fanatic…but I am what I’d call a huge Disney fan.  I adore the Disney villains.  Possibly more than the heroes sometimes. Maleficent being my favorite villain of all time.  Although, I think she’s a tad misunderstood.  They should’ve just invited her to the party. 

In this eye-catching coffee table book each villain is outlined in detail and includes information on the animators, directors and the voice actors who brought the character to life.  My favorite part being a catalog of all the rides at the various Disney parks that include villains, such as the Alice in Wonderland Maze and the Haunted Mansion Holiday.  It made me want to start saving for a trip to Disney ASAP.

— Review by Heather, St. Matthews

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

pariswife

Most people are familiar with Ernest Hemingway’s works of fiction, but many don’t know much about the man behind the stories. Hemingway was married a total of four times throughout his life.  According to many biographies, his first wife, Hadley, was the only one that he truly loved.  The Paris Wife tells Ernest and Hadley’s story from beginning to end in first person from Hadley’s point of view.

Mclain weaves her story from researching biographies, letters, and personal accounts of Hemingway’s life.  She recounts tales from the couple’s move to Paris, France in the 1920s during the era of the Left Bank artists.  The reader gets Hadley’s perspective of many of the famous artists and writers of the era including Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The reader also gets a glance of one of Hemingway’s favorite pastimes at the bullfights in Pamplona, Spain which goes on to be a back drop of one of his first novels.

The romance between Hadley and Ernest gradually begins to fade as Ernest gains popularity for many of his short stories and novels.  Hadley struggles with her self-esteem seem to grow even larger, and Ernest’s sudden interest of a new woman in his life that eventually becomes his mistress.  Hadley eventually decides to give Ernest a divorce that allows him to marry his mistress.  However by many accounts, this was one of Ernest’s greatest regrets in life.

Mclain weaves a beautiful fictitious picture of the marriage of Ernest and Hadley, including many true stories from their time together.  While the characters can be confusing sometimes due to so many nicknames, the story still flows effortlessly.

This title is available as a book discussion kit.

Formats Available:  Book (both Large Type and Regular Type), eBook, Audiobook (CD), Book Discussion Kit 

Reviewed by Sara, Okolona Branch