Sunday, February 28, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: An American Map



"Tucked as it is in a Michigan woods thick with tall maple and ash, the Think House eddies with chill in winter, and remains too-cool and shaded in summer."

-- From "Warming the Flute," the first essay in An American Map by Anne-Marie Oomen.

This book is a collection of essays about and inspired by particular spots across America. This essay is set at the Think House in Empire, Michigan.

I love the perfection of the phrase "eddies with chill." I am ready for some armchair traveling.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review: Portland Noir



Portland Noir is a collection of original short stories that is all over the map -- if the map is of the Rose City. The stories are set in different neighborhoods that collectively make up the seedy underbelly of Portland.

The anthology, edited by Kevin Sampsell, is part of the Akashic Books Noir series -- "a groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies. Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book."

The Portland stories take readers to many a gritty, greasy corner of Portland, where junkies break into the wrong houses, lesbians fantasize about strangling the men in their beds, and love gets strange. The stories come in many shades of dark, from creepy (“Baby, I’m Here”) to clever (“Shanghaied”); violent (“The Wrong House”) to sadly sweet (“Alzheimer’s Noir”).

If there is anything generally missing, it is high-end noir. The stories do not venture much past seedy motels, dive bars, and strip clubs, although there must be plenty of noir to be found in tonier venues. There are a few references to the trendy Pearl District, but a story or two involving the residents of Portland’s ritzier neighborhoods would have enhanced the collection.

And there are slim pickings for those who prefer their noir in the form of hard boiled detective stories. But the two included are a couple of the best pieces in the book because they capture Portland’s soul as well as her geography.

The first, "Coffee, Black" by Bill Cameron, is a great bit of caffeinated noir – a coffee-house mystery that perfectly captures Portland's espresso-fueled and anti-corporate culture. Camron has the hard-bitten prose down flat:
She's a touch thick, not quite shed of her winter fat, but she wears her flesh with oblivious self-assurance. I have no doubt a man with a flatter belly could pay her bar tab and bed her the same night, with no idea of the problems she'll cause over breakfast.
Philip Marlowe could not have said it better himself.

The second is “The Red Room” by Chris A. Bolton. This shakedown caper is set entirely inside Powell’s – the City of Books. There is something metafictional about an independently published story set in the world’s largest independent bookstore that seems very, very Portland.

Not every story in Portland Noir will appeal to every reader, but there is something in there for every noir fan.

NOTES

This book was the #3 fiction bestseller at Powell's when I was there yesterday.

OTHER REVIEWS

If you would like your review listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Review of the Day: New Orleans Mourning



Julie Smith won the 1991 Edgar Award for New Orleans Mourning, the first in what became her Skip Langdon series. A former debutante and police rookie, Langdon is a misfit in both high society New Orleans and the blue collar police force. Her oddball status means she must find her own way when given a special assignment to work on the murder of a prominent civic leader.

Langdon is an appealing heroine because she is imperfect. She is six feet tall and hefty, a horrible dresser, and remarkably headstrong for someone who is making it up as she goes along. Smith uses Langdon to present a take on pre-Katrina New Orleans life that is perceptive, irreverent, and for mystery fans, a refreshing change from the always dark and creepy Louisiana of James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series.

Sometimes the conflicts in the story – between Langdon and her homicide detective co-workers or the amateur filmmaker who she cannot decide wants to love her or use her for a great story – seem forced. But Smith makes up for these flaws with a complicated story that twists several times before all the loose ends get satisfactorily tied up.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: Where Angels Fear to Tread



"They were all at Charing Cross to see Lilia off --  Philip, Harriet, Irma, Mrs. Harrington herself."

-- Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster

I'm a Forster fan, but I have never read this and I have never seen the movie.  I don't really like movie tie-in covers, but that's the edition I ended up with. I don't even remember where I got it, it has been on my TBR shelf for so long.

WAFtT is on the Radcliffe Top 100 list. I am trying to concentrate on this list more than others because I only have 15 to go (if I count the last two volumes of The Lord of the Rings as two separate items on the list, which I do).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Author of the Day: A. J. Cronin


A. J. Cronin (1896 to 1981) was a prolific mid-century author who wrote more than 20 novels, many which were made into movies or television shows.

Cronin was born and raised in Scotland, with a Protestant mother and a Catholic father. Many of his characters came from similar backgrounds.  Cronin was a medical doctor before he became an author and many of his books, especially his most famous, The Citadel, concern medical school and doctors. 

I have had a copy of The Green Years on my TBR shelf for decades. But I only got around to reading his books after I found a nifty matching set of six of his most popular books at a library book sale. I started with Three Loves, his second published novel and the earliest in my set. I was swept away in the story, which is sometimes all I want out of a book.


I may never get around to reading all of Cronin's fiction and non-fiction -- most of his books are out of print -- but I would like to try. I only included novels and his autobiography on my list, I have not included "serial novellas" (unless they have been published in a book), short stories, or a play.


Those I have read are in red; those on my TBR shelf are in blue.

Hatter's Castle (1931)

Three Loves (1932) (reviewed here)

Grand Canary (1933)

The Stars Look Down (1935)

The Citadel (1937)

Vigil in the Night (1939)

The Valorous Years (1940)

The Keys of the Kingdom (1941)

Adventures of a Black Bag (1943) (out of print and hard to find)

The Green Years (1944)

Shannon's Way (1948)

The Spanish Gardener (1950)

Adventures in Two Worlds (autobiography, 1952)

Beyond This Place (1953)

A Thing of Beauty (also published as Crusader's Tomb) (1956)

The Northern Light (1958)

The Native Doctor (also published as An Apple in Eden) (1959) (out of print and very hard to find)

The Judas Tree (1961)

A Song of Sixpence (1964)

Further Adventures of a Black Bag (1966) (out of print and hard to find)

A Pocketful of Rye (1969)

Desmonde (also published as The Minstrel Boy) (1975)

Lady with Carnations (1976)

Gracie Lindsay (1978)

Doctor Finlay of Tannochbrae (1978)

Teaser Tuesday: Portland Noir



"She's  a touch thick, not quite shed of her winter fat, but she wears her flesh with oblivious self-assurance.  I have no doubt a man with a flatter belly could pay her bar tab and bed her the same night, with no idea of the problems she'll cause over breakfast."

-- From "Coffee, Black" by Bill Cameron in Portland Noir, edited by Kevin Sampsell.
This collection of original short stories is all over the map -- if the map is Portland, Oregon. Each one is set in a different neighborhood in the Rose City, but all those neighborhoods are in the seedy underbelly of my city. 

I am half-way through the collection, and so far, Bill Cameron's story is my favorite. It is traditional, hard-boiled detective noir -- but caffeinated. This coffee-house mystery perfectly captures Portland's espresso-fueled culture.


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.



Monday, February 22, 2010

Mailbox Monday



Thanks mostly to the Oregon State University Press, I had a very full mailbox last week and a long list for Mailbox Monday.

Jumptown: The Golden Years of Portland Jazz 1942-1957 by Robert Dietsche (Hubby is a huge classic jazz fan, so most of what we listen to is jazz from this era. I am looking forward to learning about Portland's jazz history.)



Another Way the River Has: Taut True Tales from the Northwest by Robin Cody



City Limits: Walking Portland's Boundary by David Oates



An Architectural Guidebook to Portland by Bart King



The Grail: A Year Ambling & Shambling Through an Oregon Vinyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World by Brian Doyle (This looks fantastic!)




I also got a novel in the mail from my favorite book publicist:

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees



And I found a boxed set of the first six volumes of John Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga. I have been meaning to read this for years and I already have the last three volumes in the same Scribner's edition. Thelast three aren't boxed, but at least all the books match.

The Man of Property



In Chancery



To Let



The Silver Spoon



The White Monkey



Swan Song



Sunday, February 21, 2010

Challenge: Chunksters


I am kicking myself for not signing up for this last year because I read enough books to meet the requirements. So I signed up this year for the "Mor-book-ly Obese" level, which means reading six 450+-page books (or three 750+-pagers).

I got off to a slow start, but I am catching up. I've now finished three books, am halfway through a fourth, and will be reading a fifth for book club in January. So I will only need to find one more and read it by January 31, 2011 to complete the challenge.

REVIEWS

Three Loves by A. J. Cronin (reviewed here)

Echoes by Maeve Binchy (reviewed here)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (reviewed here

IN THE RUNNING


The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (which I am halfway through and am reading for my Battle of the Prizes: British Version challenge)

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (which my book club is reading for January)

Them by Joyce Carol Oates (which I am reading for my Battle of the Prizes: American Version challenge)


NOTES
Last updated November 10, 2010.

Review of the Day: Three Loves


Three Loves is A. J. Cronin's second novel, first published in 1932. It tells the engrossing, ultimate tragic, story of the three loves of Lucy Moore -- her husband, her son, and God.
Into all three relationships, Lucy brings the same monumental pride, bull-headed obstinance, and self-defeating melodrama that lead to her ultimate downfall. Life gives Lucy some hard knocks, but it is hard to feel sorry for her when she antagonizes all those who try to help her.

It is Lucy’s stubborn hostility that makes this book more interesting than the typical family drama. Although she is not likeable, she inspires some sympathy because she means well in her monomaniacal way. Like with a Greek tragedy, it is hard to tear away even when the tragic end is so apparently inevitable.

The book is fairly long -- over 550 pages -- but moves right along with plenty of action, plot, and conflict among the characters. Some of the attitudes and assumptions of the characters are a little dated, but with illegitimate children, adultery, violent death, lesbianism, insanity, social injustice, and Church hypocrisy, there is nothing stodgy about the story.

Cronin was a prolific mid-century author who wrote more than 20 novels, many which were made into movies or television shows. Judging from Three Loves, it is easy to see why he was so popular.

NOTES

This book counts as one of my choices for both the Chunkster Challenge and the Typically British Challenge.

OTHER REVIEWS

(I realize that other reviews of this book are unlikely, but if you have reviewed any Cronin book, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it here.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: Portland Noir



"I wonder how people think of Portland from the outside."

-- From the Introduction to Portland Noir, edited by Kevin Sampsell.

This is part of the Akashic Books Noir series, "a groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies. Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book."

This one has been languishing on my Guilt List for too long! I started it yesterday and am now entranced by these moody, sometimes creepy, stories set in my own city.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review of the Day: The Studs Lonigan Trilogy



James Farrell's Studs Lonigan trilogy is justly lauded as a milestone in American literature, a monument to a new "naturalist" style. But monuments can be boring, even if they are important.

The trilogy has not aged well. The slang the characters use, their clothes, even some of their concerns, are anachronisms now that require a great deal of "willing suspension" to appreciate the spot on description of the rough world of second generation, Irish Catholic toughs in Chicago in the 1920s. This is definitely not the glittery 1920s of Fitzgerald or Dorothy Parker!

The final book of the trilogy, Judgment Day, is the longest of the three and the most accessible. Unlike the first two volumes, which concern mostly what is inside Lonigan's head, there is a lot of plot and action in this one.

Judgment Day takes a compelling look at the Great Depression, focusing on the middle class characters and what they lose because of the depression. Because these people have jobs, own their own businesses, invest in real estate, speculate on the stock market, they seem more familiar and relevant than Dust Bowl dirt farmers (The Grapes of Wrath), labor agitators (The USA Trilogy), or other soup line characters from books and movies about the Great Depression.

Except for compulsive "list" readers, skipping the first two volumes and only reading Judgment Day may be the way to go. It stands alone as the most worthwhile of the three.


NOTES

I read Studs Lonigan a couple of years ago. I am only posting my review now because I am updating my Modern Library Top 100 post to include my comments about the books I read.


OTHER REVIEWS
(If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: Fishes & Dishes



Fishes & Dishes is a collection of recipes and stories by sisters Kiyo and Tomi Marsh and friend Laura Cooper, with contributions from women like us -- women who have worked in commercial fishing in Alaska.

--From the Introduction to Fishes and Dishes: Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's Commercial Fisherwomen by Kiyo Marsh, Tomi Marsh, and Laura Cooper.

OK, that sentence is a little dry, and the switch from third to first person, while understandable, is awkward. But this has all the makings of a terrific book, so I'll cut them some slack.

There are plenty of other books that have been sitting on my Guilt List longer than this one has. But it is too tempting to pass up. I already know that I'll be getting it for my adventuresome friend Tracey for her birthday -- even though I think it may inspire her to buy a fishing boat and sail the seas.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Announcements



The February edition of the Internet Review of Books is live now. It looks like an amazing edition, packed with lots of great reviews. I am very pleased that my review of Eden Springs is in the Brief Review section.

My second announcement is not all that exciting, except for me because I have been meaning to get around to this task for a long time. I finally updated my post on the Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century list.

Completing all the books on that list was one of the things that inspired me to start this blog.  But that also meant that it was one of the very first posts I put up and, looking back at it, it was very difficult to read. The layout was bad. And it did not include links to my reviews, which I have now added.

Thanks goes to 100 Books/100 Journeys for getting me interested in the Modern Library list again. She has a great blog dedicated to reading the books on this list. (Although I worry that she may be disappointed when she comes to appreciate that there are 121 books on this list -- but "121 Books/121 Journeys" just does not have the same ring to it).

If anyone else is reading the books on the Modern Library list, please leave a comment on the main post with a link to your progress report (or your blog if is it dedicated to the list) and I will add it.

Review of the Day: Slaughterhouse-Five



Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is an incredible novel, but it is not a book for me. 

I had avoided reading this famous book because I thought it would be unbearably dreary. How could a book about the firebombing of Dresden during WWII not be dreary? But it is on the Modern Library's Top 100 list, so I finally read it.  Now I know the answer: If you write a book about the firebombing of Dresden and fill it with time travel, space ships, and extraterrestrials, it's not dreary, it's goofy.

But I don't like goofy books about extraterrestrials, especially when they are really serious books about the morality of firebombing your enemy during war. I realized that I would rather have a dreary, realistic book than a goofy book.


NOTES

I read Slaughterhouse-Five a couple of years ago. I am only posting my review now because I am updating my Modern Library Top 100 post to include my comments about the books I read.

There are people who feel very strongly that this is the greatest book ever written. I know this because when I first posted my review on LibraryThing, several of them sent me comments expressing their disappointment that we didn't see eye to eye. (That is a watered-down description -- what I actually got were Unibomber-style manifestos on Vonnegut's genius.) 

OTHER REVIEWS
(If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it -- unless your review is a Unibomber-style manifesto.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday



Her heart leaped and abruptly she turned as the door swung open and Lennox entered. His face, set already to an unusual severity -- it was not the expression with which he entered her house -- soured further at the sight of her; pushing back his hat from his brow, he immediately exclaimed: "You've turned up!" 
-- Three Loves by A. J. Cronin

This is the first A. J. Cronin novel I have read and I feel like I have discovered a lost continent of books available for me to explore.

Cronin was a prolific mid-century author who wrote more than 20 novels, many which were made into movies or television shows.

Judging from this book,it is easy to see why Cronin was so popular. The book is fairly long -- over 550 pages -- but moves right along with plenty of action, plot, and conflict among the characters. It is an easy pick for the Chunkster Challenge. 

Three Loves is his second novel, but the earliest-published of the set I have. I found this matching set at a library book store. I am hoping that there are other volumes that match this edition. But whether I can find matching editions or not, I plan to read many more of Cronin's novels.


But what is really teasing me today is this blog question. Please help!


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.



Blog Question


I need some blog help!

When I switched to my own blog address, everything transferred except my blog roll. I had been meaning to update it and change it anyway, so I haven't rebuilt it at is was.

I want to replace it with a rolling blog roll -- the kind that takes up very little room, but continuously rolls through all the blogs on my list.

I've seen these on other blogs, but now that I want to add one, I can't find any examples.

Does anyone know how to add this widget?

I particularly want "rolling" not "scrolling." I have found the instructions for adding a "scrolling" blog roll -- which is kind of like what I want but requires the viewer to use a mouse to pull down the gray box on the right side to move through the list (I can't describe it well). I want the kind that is always moving on its own.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mailbox Monday


Whew! Busy week! I have a long Mailbox Monday list.

First, I got Hubby a nice book for Valentine's Day (despite his zombie movie): Classic Houses of Portland, Oregon (1850-1950) by William J. Hawkins. He and I have become local architecture buffs, so I look forward to looking through this book with him.



Then, since I was at Powell's and it is impossible to leave with just one book, I got a copy of Books by Larry McMurtry, which I've been hankering after. Perfect for the Bibliophilic Books Challenge.



I got an audio edition of Anton Chekhov short stories for my LibraryThing Early Reviewer list.



Next came Fishes and Dishes: Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's Commercial Fisherwomen by Kiyo Marsh, Tomi Marsh, and Laura Cooper. Looks great!



My bed and breakfast in St. George, Utah had a community book shelf with up for grabs paperbacks. I got well used but readable copies of The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux (on the Anthony Burgess list) and The Deer Park by Norman Mailer.





Finally, I used my contest winnings from Reading Local at St. John's Booksellers, where I found several nice, used copies of books from my lists and one that just caught me fancy. I got:

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley (also on the Burgess list and discussed in great depth in A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood, reviewed here)



Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (which I am going to add to my French Connections list and is on some other list I can't remember right now)



Momento Mori by Muriel Spark (on the Erica Jong list)



Call it Sleep by Henry Roth (on the All-TIME Top 100 list)



Marianne Thornton by E. M. Forster (just because it looks interesting)



What did you get? Happy reading!

Happy Presidents' Day



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

 
A postcard in keeping with my Julia Child-inspired pro-French sentiments.  

HOLIDAY UPDATE: Our Valentine's Day celebration is not going so well so far. I left a pot holder on the gas burner and almost set the kitchen on fire. And through some netflix mis-management, the only movie in the house for tonight is a Spanish zombie flick Hubby thought would arrive when I was out of town last week. After ten years, I'm used to giving little hints, like "Don't forget Sunday is Valentine's Day -- get me something," but I never thought I'd have to say, "Hey, Sunday is Valentine's Day -- don't rent a zombie movie."


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Review of the Day: Homer & Langley




E. L. Doctorow’s latest novel, Homer and Langley, inspires an atypical first-person review from me. I almost always write objective, third-person reviews, but my reaction to this book is entirely subjective. There is nothing (or not much) that is objectively wrong with this novel, but it was not for me.

The story was inspired by Homer and Langley Collyer, two reclusive brothers who lived in their family mansion on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Both were pretty crazy, Langley more than his younger brother Homer, who went blind (a blind Homer -- that part would be too gimmicky if it were not true).

Doctorow is an excellent writer. His subject matter for this book is fascinating. He tells a very sad story with grace and beauty.  Then why didn’t I like it?

Well, for one thing particular to this book, Doctorow’s story of the fictional Collyer brothers differs jarringly from the lives of the real Collyer brothers. Yes, they were two reclusive brothers, but they lived many decades earlier than in Doctorow’s book, so didn’t participate in many events that are key to the novel. In particular, Langley did not fight in WWI and Homer did not go blind when he was a teenager (not until he was in his 50s). Both died in 1947, so never watched the moon landing, protested the Vietnam War, enjoyed the pleasures of a love-in, or took part in any of the other post-WWII events that make up over half of the book.

I know, I know – this is fiction, not a biography. Doctorow is entitled to some license. But the buzz about this book is that it is “based on” a true story and it really isn’t. “Inspired by,” yes; but not “based on.” I would have far preferred a novel that hewed closer to the facts. There was enough material to work with in the actual lives of the Collyer brothers without having to make so much up. Their lives were interesting enough without making them incredible. Their deaths were sad enough without making them terrifying. I felt manipulated by Doctorow’s over-the-top treatment.

Another reason I didn’t care for this book is more general to Doctorow. He uses the same "parade of history" approach that served him so well with Ragtime, with the brothers participating in a tangential way with the major events of the 20th Century. I just do not like this outline for a story. It requires a relentlessly marching pace and creates a broad, shallow plot. Here, the story of how the brothers view their lives and their relationship is fascinating enough, without unexplored digressions such as their Japanese housekeepers being sent to an internment camp in 1942 or their improbable connection with an attempted gangland assassination.

So, this is a well-written book by a talented author. Many people love it and I am sure it will do phenomenally well. It will probably win prizes and be made into a movie. But I didn’t like it and, because the ending was so horrifyingly sad, I wish I had never read it.

NOTES

I am please to scratch this one off my LibraryThing Early Review list.


OTHER REVIEWS
chaotic compendiums
(If you would like your review listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: Three Loves

"When she finished dressing, Lucy went to her bedroom window, but there was still no sign of Frank."

-- Three Loves by A. J. Cronin. No cover picture available.

A. J. Cronin was a Scottish writer, best known for several of his novels that were made into movies, including The Citadel, The Keys of the Kingdom, and The Green Years, all of which were adapted to film.

Three Loves is his first novel.  Published in 1932, the novel is about the three loves of Lucy Moore -- her husband, her son, and God. So far, it reminds me of a slightly dated Maeve Binchy novel.  I like it.

I've had a copy of The Green Years on my TBR shelf for decades, but have never read it or any of his other books. But I found a nice matching set of hardbacks at a library book sale, so I am going to gradually make my way through them in publication order.

This one counts as one of the books I am reading for the Chunkster Challenge because it is over 550 pages long.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bribery!

btt button

This week's Booking Through Thursday question asks "How can you encourage a non-reading child to read?" There is a lot more to the question that is very interesting if you are facing this problem in your own home. For my short answer, that is enough.

I don't have kids, so do not have to actually contemplate such a horrible dilemma. A child who doesn't want to read? The idea that that child will turn into a non-reading adult? I shudder.

I think that I always liked to read. I can't remember any pre-reading years, so I cannot even imagine not having a book with me.

But just to make sure, my parents instituted a simple program of child bribery. Starting in first grade, they paid me a dime for every book I read. I'd give them a list at the end of the day, tell them about my favorite bits, and they would pay up.

After a while, tired up paying close to a dollar every day, they upped the stakes. They paid me a quarter for every "classic" I read. This lead me to read many books that are childhood classics -- Heidi, Treasure Island, etc. -- but that were way above my comprehension level.  I powered through them anyway, which was probably good training for college because I was never intimidated by any book I faced. Although I like to think my comprehension has improved.

Review of the Day: The Flâneur




A flâneur is a loiterer, or a stroller, or, as French poet Charles Baudelaire described him, “a person who walks the city in order to experience it.” Edmund White describes Paris through the eyes of such a person in The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris.

White’s book is loosely organized into chapters discussing various types of people living in Paris: French writers, American writers, blacks, Jews, artists, gays, and royalists. He uses these as starting points for rambling discussions through Paris history, politics, and the lives of famous Parisians, with detours to fashion, sex, architecture, and the city’s assorted nooks and crannies.

Writers loom large in White’s Paris. While he includes artists, jazz musicians, politicians, and aristocrats, White’s heart lies in a literary Paris. He mentions dozens of poets, novelists, critics, and philosophers, and provides detailed portraits of some of Paris’s more celebrated scribes, including Colette and Baudelaire.

The loose structure of book sometimes jumbles the information provided. It can take a while to figure out where White is heading, and the amount of information White packs in can be staggering. But the book may be all the more enticing because it lacks a rigid itinerary and provides such an abundance of particulars. As White explains:

[T]he flâneur is in search of experience, not knowledge. Most experience ends up interpreted as – and replaced by – knowledge, but for the flâneur the experience remains somehow pure, useless, raw.

NOTES
This is one of the 12 books I am reading for the Bibliophilic Books Challenge. It is also on my French Connection list.

OTHER REVIEWS
(If you would like your review listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.)

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