Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In Love With Paris In Love by Eloisa James

There two things I don't do very often. (Okay, there are A LOT of things I don’t do very often. But for the sake of this blog, I'm going with two.) I don’t do reviews and I don't read memoirs.

My lack of reviewing is a direct result of having to do too many book reports as a child. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I want to read a book for fun and move on to the next. I will certainly recommend a book to friends, but giving guidance to the general reading population is not for me.

As to the memoir issue, the reason is simple. I don’t read much of anything anymore. Not sure why my life seems busier than ever before. Could be having a preteen in the house. Could be getting old. Could be getting lazier. Whatever it is, I'd love to read more memoirs, especially if they're anything like the new release from Eloisa James.

Paris In Love hits stores today but I was fortunate to receive an early copy. That copy was not given on the basis that I would review it, but I'm doing so anyway. The review is simple.


If you've ever wanted to travel. If you're a mother. If you have (or have raised) teenagers. If you long to see Europe but worry about your inability to speak the languages.

This is the book for you.

If you like to laugh. Don't mind a few tears. If you're a foodie or lover of history. If you're fascinated by Parisian women or marvel at the strength of all women.

This is the book for you.

Eloisa James (aka Shakespeare professor Mary Bly) gives a captivating view of Paris from an outsider living on the inside. Her fears, her family, her wit, and her endless charm all come alive on the page. You'll find yourself flagging down people at the next table over to share a passage. You'll insist your husband listen to just this one part. And you'll fall in love with a pooch whose personality is as big as his waist line.

I admit I've been a fan of Ms. James for many years, but she's earned my loyalty by never letting me down when it comes to Historical Romance. I'm happy to report, she retains my admiration with her memoir as well. It's brave, honest, and will have you dreaming of your own year in Paris.

One lucky commenter wins a copy so tell me, are you a fan of memoirs? Ever thought of writing your own? And we're taking recommendations. I, for one, need to expand my memoir reading. Have any you'd like to share?

PS: There's an amazing website specifically for this book where you can meet the full cast of characters, including Milo the dog. Check it out!


Maureen said...

I do like memoirs, though it's been years since I've read one. As soon as I can figure out how to download this book on my Nook, preordered but somehow locked...grrrrr! I will be reading this. I so enjoyed the tidbits she shared on Facebook!

Write one? Yeah, I've thought about it. Especially the years leading to my near death and the years since... I need to at least write a good essay/article one of these days. I mean, hell, I'm coming on the 5 year anniversary...

TerriOsburn said...

Mo - Hope the kinks got worked out with the Nook. I'm guessing since you were trying to download it last night and the release is today, maybe B&N hadn't released it yet.

You should write one. I'd love to see you throw in an alien abduction to explain that device in your chest. :)

MsHellion said...

I won this memoir as part of the Lucky Duck package (so I got the duck as well! Woohoo!)--so I'm very excited to read it. I do love memoirs and I'll read a handful a year, mingled in with my romances. I used to read ONLY romances, but have branched out to historical fiction, memoir, etc.

One of my more "recent" reads was EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert. And I also loved her follow up COMMITTED (though my friend Pam has not been able to finish this one, I think this one bored her a little). Oddly, I try to find books with either an Asian setting/or the speaker is Asian...or possibly Islamic. Because those groups are highly family and duty oriented. I relate to their stories more than the typical cracked out American memoir.

Would I write one? Perhaps. I'm not sure how I would construct it, but I've thought about it.

TerriOsburn said...

You are a Lucky Duck! I read EAT PRAY LOVE a few years ago and it was as if she were talking right to me. The first part about going through her divorce nearly split me in two and gave me flash backs. Love that book. Have yet to pick up the other. Adding to the list.

Anyone who followed Eloisa on Facebook while she was in Paris will recognize a lot of the little vignettes in this book. They put them in just as they appeared with various longer essays thrown in. There really is a little of everything in this book.

quantum said...

I have a lot of biography on my book shelves, but mostly of sports heros. Ian Botham the cricketer is my favourite.

I doubt that Eloisa's real life escapades will match her fictional ones. Also I haven't forgiven her for closing the BB. I loved those Mayniacs with their drabbles! LOL

Nope, reckon I'll give this one a miss.
Lovely revue though. *smile*

MsHellion said...

Q, should we have a "Mayniacs Drabble" on the ship for old times sake? With prizes for the best drabble?

quantum said...

Excellent suggestion Hellie.
I would definitely try to support it, if weekend contributions were allowed.
*dreamy nostalgic smile*

JulieJustJulie said...

I too enjoyed reading about Eloisa James’ Paris adventures on Facebook. The snippets were quite enjoyable, so the full essays must be truly wonderful. Eloisa is one of my favorite writers. Her voice is elegant and eloquent with a touch of earthiness. So her work is both readable and relatable.
Eat, Pray and Love was a good book. I sent it off a copy to someone who was in a bad relationship.
My favorite memoirs are about people learning and growing through their mistakes.
Ha, awhile ago my son suggested that I write my memoirs. Then he laughed like a crazy person ( WTH? ) and said “Of course no one would believe it!” followed by more wicked laughter. WTH again. So. Okay. Maybe my life is kinda strange-ish. But to have your own offspring laugh about it? Annoying child. And its not like his life hasn’t been just as … well different than most folks.

P. Kirby said...

Heh. I saw this book advertised in the Costco members newsletter. It looked promising, but the last book I read on their recommendation--A Discovery of Witches--was rather meh.

I read a couple of memoirs several years ago. One was written by a veterinarian who traveled to all manner of exotic locations around the world, taking care of wildlife. The other, by a former medic in WWII. Both were interesting; the wildlife vet's was the better of the two.

I would love to write about my little angel's life, a tribute to an extraordinary being, which, would be a kind of memoir. But I'm still not in a place where I can do that yet. Just writing about me, though? No. I'm boring.

Great review, btw!

TerriOsburn said...

Q - I never pegged you for the "hold a grudge" type. :) Could some of this be the old Brit vs. Franc rivalry? But that's okay anyway. I do think this book leans more toward the feminine audience. Perhaps Mrs. Q would be interested.

Since I'm trying to write 800 word stories for Woman's World magazine, it feels like I'm still doing drabbles.

TerriOsburn said...

Julie - You're going to love this book. And I have the feeling you writing a memoir would be like throwing a hand grenade into a bunny patch. The fur will fly.

Pat - I'm pretty boring too. There's only one period of my life I could write about but that would be too painful to put on the page. Maybe someday when I have more distance, but I doubt it. Otherwise, I too am quite boring. Especially for a pirate.

irisheyes said...

I don't believe I've ever read a memoir - something new to try. EJ's would be a great one to start with because I love her voice and it would be fun to read about someone I know so much about already.

As for myself... I don't know. I did try once to write about my relationship with the DH and our rocky road to our HEA. It kind of died away. I would think with memoirs you have to get to a certain level of honesty and disclosure I'm not sure I would ever be ready for.

JulieJustJulie said...

Q should write a memoir. Everyone here should really.
Truth is I am. Not that anyone but my children will get to read it. After my son made his “why don’t you write a memoir” comment, my daughter hit me with a “You nevvvvvvver finish telling me the story”. Ack. So fine whateverrrrr. I made a silent promise to collect up the bits & pieces of stories from here & there. Organize them into something that is semi organized … Yes, I’ll do practically anything to stop the whining & the maniacal laughter.
I have folder in Office. I have sub folders. I have a mission statement. I have a title. I have a prologue & an epilogue & a lot of sh!t in between.

"And I have the feeling you writing a memoir would be like throwing a hand grenade into a bunny patch. The fur will fly."

This is why I can write it ... but it really shouldn't be read. Gotta protect the bunnies at all costs! Speaking of bunnies, did I ever tell you about the time the bunnies scared the #@%&! out of me?

Janga said...

Like Hellie, I read a few memoirs every year, mostly those of writers. I love Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies, Kathleen Norris's Dakota and Cloister Walk, Mary Karr's Lit and Liar's Club, Madeleine L'Engle's Crosswick Quartet. I found the memoirs of Harriette Wilson, the famous Regency courtesan, fascinating, and more recently I read Reger Ebert's Life Itself and Joan Didion's Blue Nights.

I've read Paris in Love three times and pre-ordered the Kindle version so that I'd have it in print and e format. It is now on my list of all-time favorite memoirs.

My life is far too uneventful to make an interesting memoir.

TerriOsburn said...

Irish - I think you'll really enjoy this memoir, especially since there's so much about the family and raising children. You'll complete relate!

The memoirs I want to read are by famous actors and singers. Though I never get around to them. Someday.

JulieJustJulie said...

"My life is far too uneventful to make an interesting memoir."

Everyone is IMO rather interesting, Janga. And you are hardly an ordinary 'everyone". So I must disagree with your Assessment about you.
And honestly, aren't the most interesting lives "unchosen" by the liver ( or should that be the livee? ) IE te most interesting experiences are often times things that happen Serendipitously to a person.

TerriOsburn said...

Julie - I'm not falling for that.

Janga - I know you have a story in there somewhere. I'd love to read about any period of your life.

TerriOsburn said...

Irish - I forgot to say I agree about having to be really honest in this sort of book. The other trick seems to be narrowing the book down. Where a biography would span the subject's lifetime, a memoir is more like a snapshot focused on a specific period or experience.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Even if you don't normally do reviews Terri you did a great job showing your enthusiam for this one!

I'd love to read this one - The hubby and I were just discussing how much we enjoyed our trip to Paris more than we even expected.

I recently read a memoir called Paris My Sweet - and loved it because it's all about a girl living in Paris and finding all the best sweet shops. LOL

As for writing my own memoir - I've had an idea that I feel strongly about writing one day. Not really of myself, but of my relationship with my mother and living with her health issues from an early age shaped my life in good and bad ways.

Part of me thinks of it as a letter to moms and dads about how much impact their choices have on their children and then the other part of me wants to put distance there and make it into "Women's Fiction" and creating a story around the truth. Sigh. I know either way it will be written one day because the idea haunts me.

Most of the memoirs I've read have been travel focused - Eat Pray Love was good and I loved Under The Tuscan Sun which was a memoir that was fictionalized for the movie.

TerriOsburn said...

I hope you do write that someday, Scape. Though I totally understand needing to keep some distance between you and the story. Writing stuff like that can often feel like slicing a vein.

I tried to read Under The Tuscan Sun after seeing the movie and then learned the movie was based on TWO of her books and didn't resemble either exactly. For some reason, I was interested in continuing to read after figuring that out.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

I enjoyed the movie, but wanted the real story from the book!

MsHellion said...

By the way, I love to do reviews (though I can get overwhelmed by them if I get too many that need to be done at the same time) because I like reading in a "Writer" way, figuring out what worked and what didn't and why. It's the rare book anymore that I can just read and not pay attention to what's working and what the author is doing. I'm always finding something to admire how the author turned a phrase or wrote a specific scene, how this author creates blackmoments throughout the whole book rather than relying on one great big one, this author's hero is particularly romantic--why?: stuff like that.

I'm a huge proponent that reading makes writers write better. It's not a matter of allowing someone to influence our writing--everyone and everything influences one's writing, but in the end, it's still going to be uniquely you unless you purposely went into the writing to sound like someone. (Which even then wouldn't be exact.) Anyway, books are the biggest trick of showing writers how to write. You can read books that TELL you how to do something better, but reading a great book that hits all the marks, it's better to be shown.

MsHellion said...

As for Tuscan Sun, I tried to read the memoir and go bored out of my mind. I preferred the movie. *LOL* Sorry, guys! *LOL*

TerriOsburn said...

No need to apologize. You agreed with me. :) I think the fact she already HAS the guy in the beginning of the book is what bothered me. The whole point of the movie was her journey to be ready for the guy when he finally showed up.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

i do have a memoir from Dame Judi Dench on audio that I'd like to listen to soon. I have a feeling it will be a kick to listen to.

TerriOsburn said...

I'd love to read that, Scape. Or really I'd rather listen to it. I wonder if the library has any audio books we could listen to on our trip this weekend.

Maureen said...

One that really delighted me was 'finding the Klondike Stone'. Y Elizabeth Arthur. A wonderful story of her summers at camp. Love this author's fiction and this memoir was a delight.

quantum said...

Q - I never pegged you for the "hold a grudge" type. :) Could some of this be the old Brit vs. Franc rivalry?

Don't think I hold grudges and will still read Eloisa's books, though I now have a number of authors that I like better. I just rather lost interest in 'the author behind the books' after the BB finished.

AND I love French wine and cuisine! *LOL*