It was a long time ago that my default Amazon wish list was renamed ‘Book Wish List’ and colonized by- you guessed it- books.
But not just any books- the books that my library doesn’t carry. I’m aware that I pretty frequently sings the praises of the Boston Public Library conglomerate/system, which allows you to check out any book in the Greater Boston area and have it shipped to your local library. But that doesn’t mean they have every book I have ever wanted to read. Almost, but not quite.
I don’t usually buy books. I also don’t usually shop on Amazon anymore (given that they still advertise on Breitbart and I find it problematic). But Mom (who originated this politically-minded ethic) recently told me that we have a fair number of Amazon points. So maybe I’ll make an exception for some new used books around my birthday time…
And that inspired a visit to my list, and then, as per my usual compulsions, some much needed pruning. The oldest book had been added to the list two years ago. Which isn’t too bad, but still almost 1/10th of my life. So some stuff was eliminated and some had been acquired by the library (!).
Here’s what remains:
- Mad About the House: A Decorating Handbook
It hasn’t been published yet, so finding it used on Amazon is not an option, as of now.
- Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide
I recently started following this illustrator on Instagram and am always on the lookout for Paris recs.
- Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home
- Parisian Chic Lookbook: What Should I Wear Today?
I enjoyed the original Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange. I’ve heard that this one isn’t nearly as good, but I’m still interested.
- My Little Paris
I subscribe to the My Little Paris newsletter via email. They share lots of fun news about the city and favorite locations.
- Une Femme Francaise: The Seductive Style of French Women
Clearly books about Paris, style, and the intersection of the two are one of my pets.
- Don’t Be a Tourist in Paris: the Messy Nessy Chic Guide
- The New Paris
- Impressions of Paris: An Artist’s Sketchbook
- Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood
Mari Andrew, whose illustrations I sometimes share in links posts, published a book!
- Yours Always: Letters of Longing
- The Book Lovers’ Miscellany
- The Milk of Dreams
Children’s stories by an excellent surrealist author.
- How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life
- The She-Devils
So hard finding this one in English (Les Diaboliques in French).
- Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman
- The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise
I liked The Novel Cure, and as a big fan of children’s literature I feel like this one seems pretty promising.
- How to Live Like Your Cat
- What Flowers say: And Other Stories
George Sand short stories.
- Book of My Mother
- A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile’s Compendium
- The Book of Forgotten Authors
- The Joy of the Snow
Elizabeth Goudge, noted children’s author.
- Gio_Graphy: Fun in the World of Fashion
- The Place to Be
The best destinations for different moods, according to Lonely Planet.
- Dress Scandinavian
- I’d Rather be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers
- The Art of Discarding: How to Get Rid of Clutter and Find Joy
The original KonMari method.
- Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment
Buddhism and neuroscience- pretty up my alley.
A mid-20th century ghost story like The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. hard to find.
- Ladurée Savoir Vivre: The Art of Fine Living
- Quiet Houses
Intertwining yet distinct ghost stories.
- A Child Again
Robert Coover cynically and nostalgically retells childhood fables and tales.
- The Name Therapist: How Growing Up with My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know about Yours
- The Diary of Lady Murasaki
- The Library
Zoran Zivkovic is an excellent name.
- The Blood of the Vampire
Like Dracula, one of the original Gothic vampire novels. Also check out Sheridan’s Carmella.
- Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances
It’s kind of funny because the books tend to fall on one of two extremes. the library doesn’t carry them because they’re more obscure, but half are more light/frivolous obscure while the others are foreign/old/scholarly.
Good vittles, love, and kissing…
There are a few things that are harder to find here than at home, and that I find myself pining for every once in a while. A lot of them surprise even me!
- Tex-Mex: One of the few cuisines that is easier to find in the US than in France. (By the way, did you know France has the Lebanese restaurant market pretty much cornered? It’s great for me, a falafel-addict). I need a burrito- STAT.
- Vegan cheese and mayo: France rightly takes a lot of pride in some specific dairy products (i.e. cheese) and any attempt to change it up a bit is SQUASHED. At least i assume that’s why I can find no vegan cheese (or ice cream for that matter). And I guess they’re also pretty partial to traditional mayo methods? I guess they did invent mayonnaise… right? I feel like I learned that from a pirates of the Caribbean blooper. On the other hand, they’re vegan yogurt here is SO MUCH BETTER. Apparently their non-vegan yogurt is also better (I have been told).
- Body oil: I’m on the hunt for some combined body and hair oil, but I haven’t been looking hard enough. Really this is about me missing my big Target/Stop & Shop/ Walgreen’s superstores, where you can find anything under the sun, except under very unflattering fluorescent lights. I think I need a trip to Monoprix.
- Consignment stores: Paris and France in general has great vintage shops, but what I’m really in need of is some bulky lightly used knitwear. Particularly of the turtleneck variety. Having worn through two beige turtlenecks in quick succession, I’m finding the cozy side of my wardrobe uncomfortably diminished. Also consignment is just how I’m used to shopping.
- Some hipster earthy crunchy ingredients: This is probably just because I don’t know how to say nutritional yeast or vital wheat gluten in French.
- Thanksgiving: Instead the French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau day, which is like this weird wine-Octoberfest. Yeah, I don’t know either.
- Watching the news: Although when my hosts have the French radio is on it is so often about Trump and it’s so cringe-y.
- Saturday Night Live: SNL WHY are your youtube videos NOT AVAILABLE in this COUNTRY!?
And lots more, but that’s all that’s leaping to mind at the moment!
*On a similar note to the very narrow interpretation of certain dairy products, the French are also very specific about the things that you can and can’t do with grapes. Like you can drink wine or you can eat fresh grapes. There are no raisins here. Other dried fruit yes, but no raisins. And no grape jelly. Even though that’s the American staple jelly. But I don’t miss these things because I’m not a big fan of raisins and because I’ve already written about HOW MANY EXCITING JELLIES THERE ARE HERE. Next up: rhubarb.
What do you listen to as you fall asleep at night?
When I was very little I would listen to books on tape, but now I’m happiest if I have my window open and can drift off to the ambient city noise. I also really like the cool breeze from the dormer over my bed.
Here are the noises that sound like home, that I’m going to miss in France, and that I find really comforting in night darkness.
- Train whistles
- Drag racing
- Dogs barking
- Cicadas (in the summer)
- General traffic noise
- Logan airport planes
- Bachata and reggaeton music from passing cars and neighborhood parties
I actually grew up (until I was two) across the street from a firehouse, so sirens are pretty de rigueur. They hardly even register for me.
It’s funny how your surroundings have such an impact on what you find reassuring/familiar.
I don’t talk about my bedroom much. It’s my favorite room of the house (the kitchen being close second) despite the fact that I don’t spend much time in there. My bedroom is solely for sleeping, prepping for the day, prepping for the night, and more-frequent-than-I-would-like-to-admit private dance performances.
That’s really what it comes down to. My room feels very private to me- like my own inner sanctum. I don’t take pictures in it. Even the cats aren’t allowed in (mostly because they think it’s their god-given purpose to knock shit over in my closet).
My room is also filled with my treasures- beyond my favorite books, my clothes, and the other things that carry me through daily existence, there are a few things that I can’t imagine I won’t be holding onto forever. Just because I’m attached to them. Continue reading “In My Room and Close to My Heart”