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review 2017-12-08 18:52
I Savored This Book
My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories - David Lebovitz

I had so much fun reading this cookbook/memoir over the past week. I didn't hurry, just enjoyed the recipes, the little stories, and the vibrant pictures that David Lebovitz included. 

 

I will say that I found the recipes intriguing and thought everything sounded great. I am now addicted to salted butter and found out things that I never knew before regarding duck fat. Also I now want to buy all the duck fat and make it with potatoes. Mmmmmm.

 

I would say that I wish that we had more stories included. The recipes are great, but the book comes alive for me when Mr. Lebovitz gives readers an intimate look at his life in Paris. Whether it is finding out where to get kale or how to purchase cheeses, he makes everything seem like a fun adventure. 

 

One warning. Do not read this book if you are even a little bit hungry. 

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review 2017-12-08 00:00
Christmas in Paris: 3 sweetly sexy Christmas rom-com books
Christmas in Paris: 3 sweetly sexy Christmas rom-com books - Alix Nichols What does a smooth operator, a killer negotiator and a master of revenge have in common? Underneath the hard exteriors beats a soft heart and that heart is about to meet it's match. Move over hotshots, these hot mamas are about to bring you to your knees. Alix Nichols loves to tease her readers without overstepping the boundaries. Christmas in Paris has a little something inside for everyone. Second chances, risky romances and second glances all add up to hot romances.
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review 2017-12-03 20:19
B. A. Paris: The Breakdown
The Breakdown - B. A. Paris

B. A. Paris takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride that starts with a murder and spins further and further out of control:

One night Cass decides to take a shortcut home through the back roads, even though she know she shouldn't. It pitch black out and the rain is pouring down but she wants to get home faster than going around. Cass did not know that this one act would change her life forever. She passes a vehicle on the side of the road with the driver in the front seat, she slows down to see if the woman needs help but they do not exit the car so Cass continues on. Cass finds out the next morning that the woman has been killed and Cass feels nothing but guilt. Then strange things begin to happen to Cass phone calls, misplacing items, seeing thing, and begins forgetting things that she know she should not.When she starts to feel someone watching her she is convinced that it leads back to the night on the road, she feels guilty for not helping and could the killer now be after her?

Paris' debut novel was one of my favourite from the past year so I had really high expectations for her second novel and she really did live it up to them. What I think that I liked the most was that it was completely different from her first book in the story line as well as how the plot is laid out. There is nothing more refreshing where the author strays from their other novel(s) and does something completely different. There is still what I will call Paris' flare but she does not rely on Behind Closed Doors to define this book, this may disappoint some readers if they are looking for something along the lines of Behind Closed Doors part two and I think in the beginning I was but this book was Sold to me by the end.

Cass' deterioration within this book is truly the highlight of it. The details that Paris needed to lay out in this book are very well done and it was really interesting to see her bring everything altogether. From Cass beginning to believe that she is suffering from the same memory loss and early on-set dimension that her mother eventually passed away from to the events that she is so sure that she is experiencing it is really well done. Paris does a good job of showing the paranoia that Cass has around losing her memory and how just forgetting one simple thing can spiral things out of for Cass and makes things even worse in her life and the isolation that it causes not just from her friends and coworkers but also from her husband.

In a way this book was may seem less compelling that Behind Closed Doors as the story is not as dramatic or sinister but this does not mean that it is any way boring. This also does not mean that I did not enjoy the book, actually the opposite of that especially when you really get in to the book, I just think that if people are looking for a Behind Closed doors repeat, this book is not it.

This book is like a slow burn that is completely worth it in the end. Paris knows how to bring suspense to her writing and have reader devour her books. I look forward to the next book by Paris.

Enjoy!!!

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:
http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2017/08/wendy-walker-all-is-not-forgotten.html  http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2017/05/b-paris-behind-closed-doors.html  http://j9books.blogspot.ca/2017/01/paula-hawkins-girl-on-train.html
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text 2017-12-03 16:26
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories - David Lebovitz

I'm loving this. The pictures alone are worth it!

 

He's a very good story teller and the recipes seem easy enough. I'm embarrassed I have done a few no nos he mentions such as washing your knives in the dishwasher. 

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review 2017-12-03 08:25
Emile Zola’s The Belly of Paris: Celebration of Food or Satire?
The Belly of Paris - Ernest Alfred Vizetelly,Émile Zola

Les Halles in Paris—do you know it? Unless you’re into a bit of French history, you may not. It doesn’t exist anymore, demolished in 1969/70, its centennial year. It was a huge market, much of it housed in at least ten pavilions of glass and iron designed by Victor Baltard. Plus a big domed central pavilion that later became the Bourse de Commerce, the French stock exchange. Everything you could imagine to be edible could be found there, from fish, meats, and cheeses to fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

View of Les Halles in Paris taken from Saint Eustache upper gallery, c. 1870-80 (colour litho) by Benoist, Felix (1813-1896); Private Collection, out of copyright interior of dome

Les Halles has been called the “belly” of Paris, a name owed to Emile Zola’s novel Le Ventre de Paris (The Belly of Paris), published in 1873, three years after the opening of Les Halles. It should be no surprise that the novel contains descriptions of the market’s offerings. Descriptions that are some of the lushest I’ve read and probably in greater profusion than in any other book. For those who love food, it’s a joy to read.

But the book isn’t just about the bounty (or glut) of the products the market yields. It’s, in fact, just one in a series of twenty books—maybe the largest of all time—chronicling the lives of the Rougon-Macqquart family. According to Brian Nelson’s Introduction to The Belly of Paris (Oxford World’s Classics). Zola intended the series to

“illustrate the influence of heredity and environment on a wide range of characters and milieus.”

Sounds like a psychological study (here’s another of another Victorian character)? Sure does, but in the form of fiction. The cycle or series places various members of this particular family at the core of each of the twenty books. In The Belly of Paris, that Rougon-Macquart is Lisa, the plump and beautiful, rosy, self-assured woman married to Quenu, the owner of a successful charcuterie. While her relatively simple-minded fat husband labors in the kitchen to make the products for the store, La Belle Madame reigns behind the counter.

The book, is so much more complex than it may appear on the surface and, like any great piece of art, each reader can potentially see in it something that’s unique to her particular perception. For me, one character that stood out is the young artist Claude, Lisa’s nephew, who returns as the main character in a subsequent book, L’Œuvre (The Masterpiece). He wanders around the markets in early mornings, admires the luscious colors of the produce and imagines painting them.

Claude may have been modeled after post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne, Zola’s friend from their childhood in Aix-en-Provence. Besides being a painter, Claude is something of a philosopher—a mouthpiece for Zola—as he theorizes about fat people swallowing up the thin ones. This clash of Fat vs. Thin is, in fact, a major theme throughout the whole book.

While the Fat prevails in Les Halles, some thin people do live around there. Aside from Claude, there is Florent, the unlikely hero. He brought up his younger half-brother, the fat charcutier Quenu who is devoted to him. Having escaped his exile in the prison of Cayenne (Devil’s Island) where he suffered constant deprivation of food, company, and sensory stimulation, you might think Florent would fatten himself up and thrive in Les Halles. But the abundance of food doesn’t make him salivate. It makes him want to puke. He’s a conscience-ridden ascetic who spends his hours thinking and writing about how to change things for the better. He threatens the status quo and the things that Lisa values. She becomes his silent, but powerful, enemy. In the end, Zola describes her:

She was a picture of absolute quietude, of perfect bliss, not only untroubled but lifeless, as she bathed in the warm air. She seemed, in her tightly stretched bodice, to be still digesting the happiness of the day before; her plump hands, lost in the folds of her apron, were not even outstretched to grasp the happiness of the day, for it was sure to fall into them. And the shop window beside her seemed to display the same bliss. It too had recovered; the stuffed tongues lay red and healthy, the hams were once more showing their handsome yellow faces,

The Belly of Paris is just as much about the characters—as richly-drawn as the produce—that inhabit Les Halles as it is about its life-giving (for the fat) but also nauseating (for the thin) bounty.

For a long time, French cuisine has been celebrated all over the world for its superior quality and craftsmanship. Every chef worth her salt wanted to master French culinary techniques. French gastronomy has been such an institution that UNESCO declared it an intangible cultural heritage in 2010, citing it as a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups.” A ritual and festive event using know-how linked to traditional craftsmanship.

Les Halles, I think, is both at the root of and an embodiment of French gastronomy, one that Emile Zola immortalizes in this sumptuous, biting book.

Source: margaretofthenorth.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/emile-zolas-the-belly-of-paris-celebration-of-food-or-satire
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