A Year Of Books

Photo by Carolina Carusso 

Photo by Carolina Carusso 

At the start of this year, I set off to start a book club. It was just me, I really had no idea how many people would join or if anyone would be interested. The idea was to unplug from technology and start reading again. Last year, I went from reading one book and now here I was setting out to read twelve or more. There are no rules for the book club. I have had a lot of people ask how to join (it is virtual) bonus points if you encourage a friend to read with you. After each book, I would typically pass it off to another friend to read. My Aunt in Ohio has been in on the fun! 

This past year I have had a few meet ups, but we never really chatted about the book. Not everyone reads and that is okay. The meet ups were for us to get to know each other better and hopefully walk away with a new friend or two. I have been lucky to to have met so many of you all this year and to build new lasting friendships because of this blog. I have plans for a Facebook Group for 2018 that will allow you all to connect in each city and create your own coffee dates. I really can’t wait to watch this community grow. 

everyday parisian book club book stack

The book club started out with “Bonjour Kale” by Kristen Beddard. I have literally been on a kale kick all year. I am known for finding a food and eating it over and over (sushi, baguettes, chocolate) but I have joked in the past I am allergic to vegetables. I get that one from my Dad. Kale, was a big step for me. I followed the kale massage and share it with friends and strangers on a regular basis. I typically eat my kale in a salad with lemon and olive oil. The vendor at the local farmers market would see me at least once a week filling my market basket with kale. If you haven’t tried it, trust me. 

If I had to choose one book that impacted me the most this year it was, “The Nightingale” it had been on my kindle for over a year and I kept skipping it. After I read “All the Light we Cannot See” I was in a complete book hangover and picked up “The Nightingale” I could have read it in two days but I didn’t want it to end so I dragged it out. When it finished, I sobbed. If you haven’t read this book please read it. Kristen Hannah is one of my favorite authors before this book and I think she did a fantastic job with the story and the history. 

A crowd favorite was “The Perfume Collector” this was recommended by a good friend of mine who trained as a perfumer. It sat on her book shelf and the cover caught my eye. It sparked my interest in learning more about the perfume world. It is beautifully written and has made me think differently about Paris when I walk the streets. I am always looking at old store fronts and trying to imagine the history and stories that they hold. 

One part of the book club, I didn’t expect to happen but so happy it did, was being able to connect and build relationships with the authors. Kristen Beddard of “Bonjour Kale”, Amy Thomas, of “Paris My Sweet” and new author of “Brooklyn in Love” and Ann Mah of “Mastering The Art of French Eating” and her newest book coming out “The Lost Vintage” were all in attendance at the Ladurée meet up in New York earlier this year. Keep an eye on these three for future projects and Ann and Amy’s new books in 2018. 

So what happens next? Over the last year, the book club has been growing and I have introduced people to new books all over the world. It seems a bit crazy but I am going in for round two. I have been incredibly fortunate that I am getting books sent to me as consideration for the book club. One that I will be reading hasn’t been released yet, but it is a good candidate for January. I try to read every book in advance or at least enough to know if it is a good fit for my audience. Of course not every book is going to be everyone’s favorite and that is okay. But to get people reading and talking about books is the end goal. 

I can’t thank you enough for joining me on this year of books with me. I do have one book from Ann Mah, “Mastering the Art of French Eating” I want to put a book under someone’s tree this year so the cutoff will be short. Comment below and tell me your favorite book you read this year. Also, please include your city and email so I can contact you. If you have book recommendations for next year, I will gladly take them!! 

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  1. My favorite book this year was P.S. from Paris. Romance + unexpected twists = thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.

  2. Bonjour Ann, my favorite book this year was, A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles. The Door, by Magda Szabo was my “Classis” favorite.

  3. Hi…Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher is my favorite read this year. Her style of writing and how she places her words….excellent!!

  4. I was a big fan of A Paris Apartment definitely but my favourite book I read in 2017 was "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen. I’ve loved him since I was about 9 years old and his words filled me with awe, joy, inspiration…and a few tears. I’m still planning on reading more from your 2017 list and can’t wait to see the choices for 2018!!
    [email protected] – Georgia

  5. My favorite read this year was the classic: Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence. Such beautiful prose and I learned so much about a part of the world I’ve never seen. As for 2018, I’m really looking forward to David Lebowitz’s new book!

  6. I really enjoyed Bonjour Kale!! Looking forward to your 2018 picks!

    My favorite read this year was Insomniac City by Bill Hayes. Wonderful memoir of love and loss.

  7. My best read of 2017, was Heartprints of Africa, by Cinda Adams Brooks. Through Cinda’s eyes, I saw the beauty of Africa and the pain of Africa. It showed me that God is always there weaving the tapestry of our life and putting people in our life who are essential to our growth.

  8. I am delighted to hear that you will continue with the book club in 2018. I love to read and am always looking for good recommendations especially anything to connect me to Paris or bring back memories. I was waiting to hear what you were going to select for December when I grabbed L’appart from the library. It was a nice surprise when it turned out to be your December pick.

    This year has been a good year for reading for me. I made it a priority and it has paid off. I set out to read 24 books for the year and have actually read 30 (not counting cookbooks). I have read some of the books you have listed and a range of different genres. It is hard to just pin point one favorite book. I have narrowed it down to three Sarah’s Key (Tatiana de Rosnay), Return to Paris: A Memoir (Collette Rossant), The Perfume Collector.

  9. I just finished reading "The Paris Architect" which was excellent and I really enjoyed "All the Light We Cannot See". A friend recommended "The Lilac Girls" so that is next on my list.

    Melissa, Queens, NY
    [email protected]

  10. Oh man, I have to pick just one?! Your book recommendations were all great, but I have to say my favorite is The Nightingale. It pulled at all of my heart strings & had me crying as well. It was one of those books that when it was over, I couldn’t get it out of my head! My husband isn’t a reader, at all. So he didn’t understand my book depression when it was over lol. But my runner up fave was Bonjour Kale. Great first book to start out the book club! It had me hooked immediately, and I loved that I could envision the markets & the Paris streets, even though I hadn’t been there yet! I look forward to next years book club list! Really love that you are doing this!
    <3 Janee’ From Covington, LA

  11. I loved The Nightingale. My mother and Aunt lived in Paris during the occupation and the rest of their family was in unoccupied France. It gave me a little insight of what their lives were like during that time. I have The Perfume Collector and am anxious to read it. I will read Mastering the Art of French Eating. Great recommendations

  12. I loved the idea of the book club! I started strong with "Bonjour Kale," but then bought a couple and didn’t end up reading them…yet! I’m excited to read "The Nightingale" and "All the Lights We Cannot See" as well. Looking forward to the facebook group in 2018. I think that will help me stay accountable for sure.

    Maria, Los Angeles, CA [email protected]

  13. I loved “The Nightingale,” “The Perfume Collector,” and “All the Lights we Cannot See!” I will certainly pick up your future recommendations! Love, Amy in West Bloomfield (Detroit) MI [email protected] (am on your subscriber list)

  14. I loved The Nightingale and All the List we Cannot See too. Kristen Hannah is fabulous.

    I suggest you read the Alice Network by Kate Quinn, The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly,
    The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman … these are all fabulous books

    That said: My favourite book this year was

    THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS by Laurie Frankel

    A thought provoking book for sure and a great addition to any book club

    Fidelma Ormsby

  15. I am going to have to go with "All The Light We Cannot See" as my favorite of the year. And you are right about a book hangover on that one! I have been looking for another book that just sucks me in and have been grappling to find one! I guess "The Nightingale" will be next!

  16. My favorite was The Nightengale… although The Handmaid’s Tale and The Painted Veil came in close behind. Can’t wait to add to my list for 2018!

  17. I was only able to read about 1/2 the books but I still plan on reading them all! The last one I read was The Perfume Collector while sitting on the beach in Aruba last month! I believe I had told you about A Paris Apartment and I will say that is my favorite book so far. I do suggest Michelle’s book I’ll See You In Paris for this year. If you liked A Paris Apartment, you’ll like that one too! I did ask my husband for a couple of travel books for Christmas since I need to switch gears and start planning our May Paris trip!

  18. Oh goodness, I can’t believe it’s already been a year! I’m the worst when it comes to reading, but I never give up. I purchased the first 2 books when you started the club and STILL have not finished them. 🙁 They do make for great side table decor. 😉 the only book I actually read in its entirety this year was The Girl on the Train. My intent for 2018 is to read at least 4 books. That’s one per quarter, surely I can do it. So sorry, I do not have any recommendations for next year, but will follow along to see what else you pick. Janet in Plano, TX.

  19. Looking forward to book club next year! I didn’t get involved this year but am a big fan of Paris (and was there around this time last year!) and want to read at least a few books with the group! Two of my favorite non-Paris books I read this year are"I Found You" by Lisa Jewell and "The Power of Meaning: crafting a life that matters" by Emily Esfahani Smith. Happy Holidays! 🙂

  20. I am so happy that you are continuing this! My goal for next year is to read less books so I can focus and enjoy them more. I didn’t read along with any of yours this year but I want to do them all for next year. Some of my favorite french books that may be good for the club: Seven Letters from Paris (one of my favorite books ever and I love Sam), To Capture What We Cannot Keep, The Red Notebook, Pancakes in Paris, Lunch in Paris, and of course Amy Thomas’s new book which I have an ARC of and will be digging in soon. Happy Holidays!
    (I’m excluding myself from the giveaway because I already have a copy 🙂 )

    • Thank you so much for all the great recommendations! I can’t wait to find out more about them. Amy Thomas is such a lovely person and I can’t wait to read her book. I am a bit jealous you have an ARC, I am waiting patiently for February. Happy Holidays!! xo

    • It is about time I read it! I hope to pick up a copy in January at Shakespeare and Co. It might be just the thing I need. Thank you!

  21. I’m looking forward to your book club next year! I didn’t read as many as I had hoped this year but I’m hoping to read more next year. I really enjoyed Bonjour Kale and it actually encouraged me to eat more kale than I’ve had before.

  22. I’m looking forward to your book club next year! I didn’t read as many as I had hoped this year but I’m hoping to read more next year. I really enjoyed Bonjour Kale and it actually encouraged me to eat more kale than I’ve had before.

    • Hi Sandy! I love that Bonjour Kale encouraged you to eat more kale. What is your favorite way to eat it? I am always looking for new ways to try it.

  23. Hi! I’m having a hard time coming up with just one favourite book. I read several per week. I can recommend authors, though, as I tend to discover a new one and rad their entire opus in one go. Laurie R King is delicious. She writes mysteries in a variety of settings. My favourite is her Mary Russell series, in which Mary is the young equal and apprentice to a retired Sherlock Holmes. Yes, one tends to be dubious, but she nails it. Also, Sara Sheridan’s books, and Jojo Moyes’ Paris for One and other stories. And way ore, but I can’t recall at the moment.
    I have been trying to devour everything my library has set in Paris. I’m eagerly awaiting L’Appart.
    Now I’m all dubious – Toronto has a newly opened Laduree (our first!), but it’s in a very vulgar and always jammed to the gunwales suburban mall. I want to go to Laduree, but not the mall. It’s a torment.
    I am in Toronto (you should come!). I’m not comfortable posting my email publicly, but if posting here requires it, you’ll get it that way. Also, I follow you as MarshaMc on Facebook.