“I love Paris with mawkish tenderness.” #ParisInJuly


Knowing how busy July was likely to be, I think I may have been overly optimistic in my end of June post; I should have realised that I would be struggling to get to all the reading events and would just end up going for comforting reads or following my reading muse! I *have* managed to read one book for Spanish and Portuguese Lit Month, though I haven’t got very far with my many Parisian books for Paris in July. However, I”ve not completely failed with that one, as I’ve been dipping into a lovely poetry collection during the month, and it’s turned out to be a real joy.

The book is an Everyman Library Pocket Poets edition, “Poems of Paris” and I picked it up at the start of the year, from Bookshop.org; I have a couple of books in the Everyman series, and they’re beautifully produced little hardback collections which are a pleasure to read (I definitely have a Baudelaire and a Russian collection!)

I know Pound can be a bit dodgy, but I find these two lines very evocative…

As with my Russian volume, this is divided into sections, and features a really dazzling array of poets. There are French writers, in translation: Baudelaire, Verlaine, Soupault, Prevert, Villon, Breton, Mallarme, Gerard de Nerval – well, I could go on listing them, but my goodness what a lot of stellar talent. Then there are the visitors, the exiles who passed through or stayed in the City of Light or those who left their hearts there – ranging from Wilde, Pound, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Elizabeth Bishop and Langston Hughes, to poets like Henri Cole, whose work speaks so eloquently of Paris.

Another short but effective verse, this time from Langston Hughes, some whose work I really want to explore more…

“Poems of Paris” succeeds in being a joy to read on so many levels; it’s a lovely object in its own right, a gorgeous little hardback that sits easily in the hand, with the poems printed on creamy paper and with a ribbon bookmark bound in. But most importantly, the contents are stunning; the works selected roam far and wide over the city in all its guises and over centuries. Whether exploring the ‘Food and Drink’ of Paris, ‘Tourists’ and their viewpoints, ‘The Arts’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Love’ or many other aspects, the poetry selected is moving, evocative and often unforgettable.

A beautiful work by Osip Mandelstam

I’m trying to pace myself with this anthology as it’s so enjoyable, so I won’t finish it before the end of July, but it’s keeping me daily company and I’m loving it. So I’ve shared some images of a few of my favourites (which you may need to click to see a bigger version), although it was hard to choose; and if you want a selection of verse that really gets to the heart of Paris, I can highly recommend this book!!

June reading, and the end of an up and down month…


June has been an odd month, really; reading-wise, I started well and read with enthusiasm. However, I was hit by a stinker of a cold/flu thingy midway through the month, which I can only think I picked up whilst attending the dentist – very annoying, to say the least, and it knocked me for six as I haven’t had one for yonks owing to isolating and masking. I struggled through, but my energy for reading dropped to almost nil as when I wasn’t working I just wanted to sleep. So I think I have done quite well with the reading, all things considered, and I have enjoyed some really wonderful books this month:

(Please note I didn’t read *all* of that chunky Orwell – only one essay!!!)

Again, not a dud amongst them – even the difficult or whacky ones were interesting!! 😀

As for July plans, I must admit I’ll be very glad to get to the end of the school term and have a break. There are a couple of reading events this month I’d like to take part in, and the first is Stu’s Spanish and Portuguese Lit month! He runs this event regularly and I always try to join in. Somehow, I often seem to end up reading more Portuguese language books than Spanish, but these are a few of the possible titles:

I’ve been intending to read Pessoa for years and years and years, but always get distracted. Maybe this year… And another Saramago – yay! I love the books of his I’ve read and tried to get to this one during Read Independent Publishers Month but ran out of time. We shall see…

Also up in July is the Paris in July event, held by Thyme for Tea; now, I love Paris and have pulled three possibles off the TBR:

All are titles I would be happy to pick up and dive into straight away. Oh, for more reading time…

Rose Macaulay pencil sketch (Jburlinson, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons)

I’m also planning to spend several days focusing on the marvellous author Rose Macaulay, with particular focus on some titles from lovely Handheld Press. Macaulay is one of those women authors who’s been unjustly neglected, though she’s made a return to the public eye at points over the years; and Handheld have been spearheading a series of reissues of books by and about her, several of which I’ve read and loved. I’m not doing anything like a formal Rose Macaulay Reading Week as such, but if you fancy following along and reading any of her excellent books, please do join in! I’m planning to post between 12th and 16th July, all being well…

Apart from this, there is basically the ginormous TBR which does stretch over a couple of rooms… Thinking about it, at least one of the review books on the pile would qualify for the Paris challenge but it’s a chunkster…

Anyway – whatever I read, you’ll hear about it on the Ramblings! How was your June reading, and are you taking part in any of these events (or any other ones??)

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