Paris Literature

Globe Corner Bookstore’s Shortlist of Paris Literature

This shortlist contains work by French writers and by writers who secretly wish they were Parisian. From the literary life of the ’20s to the trials of a modern expat to classics by the likes of Hemingway and de Beauvoir, this list will satisfy anyone who wishes they were seated at an outdoor bistro with a cafĂ© au lait right now.

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Paris In Mind
edited by Jennifer Lee
In this captivating anthology, American writers share their pleasures, obsessions, and quibbles with the great city and its denizens. Including essays, book excerpts, letters, articles, and journal entries, this seductive collection captures the long and passionate relationship Americans have had with Paris. Accompanied by an illuminating introduction, Paris in Mind is sure to be a fascinating voyage for literary travelers.

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Memoirs of Montparnasse
by John Glassco
In 1928, the nineteen-year-old John Glassco escaped an overbearing father and the dreariness of North American university life for the wilder shores of Montparnasse, the haunt of geniuses from Modigliani and Brancusi to Hemingway and Man Ray, not to mention a legendarily limitless source of sex and booze. He remained there for more than a year, in the course of which he ran into everyone who was anyone and had the time of his life.

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The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris
by Edmund White
A flaneur is a stroller, a loiterer, someone who ambles through a city without apparent purpose but is secretly attuned to the history of the place and in covert search of adventure, esthetic or erotic. Edmund White, who lived in Paris for sixteen years, wanders through the streets and avenues and along the quays, taking us into parts of Paris virtually unknown to visitors and indeed to many Parisians.

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Paris Stories
written by Mavis Gallant
This selection of Gallants stories, edited by author Michael Ondaatje, gathers the best of her many stories set in Paris, where Gallant has long lived. Here she writes of expatriates and locals, exile and homecoming, and of the illusions of youth and age, offering a kaleidoscopic impression of the world within a world that is Paris.

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The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris
by Kathleen Flinn
In 2003, Flinn, a 36-year-old American living and working in London, cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery
In this enthralling international bestseller, two girls live inconspicuous lives in the center of an elegant Paris apartment building. It is only when a stranger moves into their building–and sees through the girls’ disguises–that Paloma and Rene discover their kindred spirits.

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A Year in the Merde
by Stephen Clarke
A Year in the Merde is the almost-true account of the author’s adventures as an expat in Paris. He becomes immersed in the contradictions of French culture: the French are not all cheese-eating surrender monkeys, though they do eat a lot of smelly cheese, and they are still in shock at being stupid enough to sell Louisiana, thus losing the chance to make French the global language.

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Paris to the Moon
by Adam Gopnik
Gopnik is a longtime New Yorker writer, and the magazine has sent its writers to Paris for decades–but his was above all a personal pilgrimage to the place that had for so long been the undisputed capital of everything cultural and beautiful. As Gopnik describes in this funny and tender book, the dual processes of navigating a foreign city and becoming a parent are not completely dissimilar journeys–both hold new routines, new languages, a new set of rules by which everyday life is lived.

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A Moveable Feast
by Ernest Hemingway
This vibrant portrait of Paris in the 1920s, published posthumously in 1964, is vintage Hemingway–evocative, self-mocking and frank. In an extraordinary chronicle of the sights, sounds, and tastes of Paris in a bygone era, Hemingway offers readers a view of his life and the people that populated his expatriate world- Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and other literary luminaries.

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The Mandarins
by Simone de Beauvoir
In her most famous novel, Simone de Beauvoir takes an unflinching look at Parisian intellectual society at the end of World War II. In fictionally depicting the lives of her circle–Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Arthur Koestler–and her passionate love affair with Nelson Algren, de Beauvoir dissects the emotional and philosophical currents of her time. At once an engrossing drama and an intriguing political tale, The Mandarins is the emotional odyssey of a woman torn between her inner desires and her public life.

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Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris
written by A. J. Liebling, illustrated by James Salter
The many present and future friends of A.J. Liebling will find no better place for passing an evening with the grand man than Between Meals, his eulogy of the great restaurants of the golden age of Paris dining. Here Liebling looks back at the year of study in Paris that formed his joyous apprenticeship in the fine art of eating.

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Paris: The Secret History
by Andrew Hussey
Andrew Hussey brings to life the urchins and artists who’ve left their marks on the city, filling in the gaps of a history that affected the disenfranchised as much as the nobility. Paris: The Secret History ranges across centuries, movements, and cultural and political beliefs, from Napoleon’s overcrowded cemeteries to Balzac’s nocturnal flight from his debts.

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