Happy Bastille Day

Do you ever get out of bed some days and just think, “I want to go and revolt against my King! And possibly attempt to blow up a prison!”
No. Neither do I. Possibly because we don’t have a King. But today I’m certainly going to eat some French food, and dream about the unique country that is France in honour of Bastille Day.

I know there are a lot of Francophiles out there, and luckily for you, there’s also a lot of really great French Literature (and cookbooks!). Here’s a few to tickle your Bastille.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog (L’élégance du hérisson ) by Muriel Barbary is about those outcasts of society who, though they do not revel in their status, certainly perpetuate it. Renee is the concierge of an elegant apartment block, who, out of fear of defying expectations of her class and station, keeps her quick intellect and love of literature to herself, hiding behind the facade of day time soap-operas, which she leaves on to distract nosy parkers. One of these nosy parkers is Paloma, a twelve year old girl whose priveleged and very sheltered life has decided her on the fact that life is a farce, and has committed to suicide on her 13th birthday.  The arrival of a quiet and literature-loving Japanese man at the building changes both Renee and Paloma’s lives. This book, which has been a huge bestseller in Australia, is now also a film.

Silk by Alessandro Baricco is one of those books that I am constantly recommending. It is a love-story that reads like a poem (specifically a Villanelle), with clean prose that wastes no words. Herve Joncour, a French silkworm merchant, must travel by boat and on horseback to Japan – the only place where the silkworms have not been affected by disease.  He there has a spiritual and sexual experience with a woman who belongs to a powerful Japanese Baron. This is a perfect book, and makes a wonderful gift for the loved ones and literature-lovers in your life.

My Life in France is Julia Child’s autobiography which explores the culinary experiences she and her husband shared while living in Paris. This is the story of an incredible woman who brought the culinary arts of France to the US. Full of passion, verve, and delicious food, this is a biography for foodies and armchair travelers.
(A fair bit of this inspired ‘Julie and Julia’)

Bon Apetit!

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~ by ConsanguineousMind on July 14, 2010.

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