Bookshelf: Paris

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I like to prepare for upcoming trips by reading various books that are about or are set in the place I’ll be visiting. It helps to build an understanding as well as excitement, and sometimes it even serves as inspiration for things to do when you’re there. One month from today, I’ll be in Paris so I thought I’d share a few great books–fiction and non-fiction–that may inspire your next trip, too.

1. In Search of Lost Time | Marcel Proust
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I’m currently reading the first book in the series: Swann’s Way. Proust’s sensory writing style is perfect for envisioning yourself in France.

2. How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City Joan DeJean
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Knowing a bit about the design and history of urban space in Paris might make wandering even more interesting.

3. Paris France Gertrude Stein
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Humor, history, and idiosyncratic culture. Although, it’s not quite an easy read so this one may not be the best choice for airplane reading material.

4. Paris to the Moon Adam Gopnik
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Reminiscent of Proust’s sensory details yet providing a modern take on life in Paris, specifically as an American in France, this might be the perfect airplane read.

5. Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis | Alice Kaplan
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This book not only tells the story of three very different women but also three very different sides of Paris.

6. Paris | Edward Rutherfurd
15786792A historical novel which spans thousands of years in Paris.

7. Les Miserables Victor Hugo
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Self-explanatory.

8. A Moveable FeastErnest Hemingway
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Hemingway’s memoir features cameos of Picasso and Gertrude Stein while evoking the spirit of Paris after the first World War.

9. The FlaneurEdmund White
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I’ve heard this book described as “the Paris of your dreams”.

10. The Fortune of the Rougons Emile Zola
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This is the first in Zola’s series about two families–the Rougons and the Macquarts. It’s not set in Paris, but it still puts you in the French state of mind.

11. Mythologies | Roland Barthes
mythologiesWhile it is certainly not as painful as Camera Lucida, I still kind of feel the need to apologize in advance for this one.

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