Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What you're reading: Good books for summer

The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George

Reviewed by Ellen M.

A splendid, delicious story! A book apothecary, who gives you the books you need, goes on an adventure to find the countryside of his lost love. He meets with others along the way, who are also searching for something lost, and they travel the waterways of France in a book barge. Life and death, love and hatred, food, healing, finding what's lost or missing, friendship...a beautiful story that filled my senses with delight.

Editor's note: If you prefer to listen, we also have this as an audio book.

Little Beach Street Bakery, by Jenny Colgan

Reviewed by Laura B.

Polly Waterford has just lost everything: her business, her home and her boyfriend. Wanting to make it on her own, she moves to the only place she can afford, a run-down, filthy flat on an island far from the yuppie lifestyle to which she is accustomed. There she throws herself into her hobby of baking bread, which is about the only thing that brings her any comfort these days. Little Beach Street Bakery is a cozy read about starting over and finding yourself along the way.

(Editor's note: I really enjoyed this book as well. The scene is set on an island similar to St. Michael's Mount, near Cornwall in England, which has a causeway that is sometimes open to the mainland and sometimes covered by water. This creates some interesting situations for all the characters, from the local fishermen to the crotchety landlady to an unexpected love interest. The sequel, Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery, is likewise delightful.)

Reviewed by Melissa E.

This is a book for book lovers, for people who like to read about books, readers, and reading. It started a little slowly, and while I expected the protagonist, Sara, to feel awkward when she arrives from Sweden to stay with her friend Amy in Iowa only to find that Amy has just died, the awkwardness lingered a really long time--in the story, not just with the protagonist. Eventually, however, things begin to happen, and I started enjoying the quirkiness of this virtual ghost town and its offbeat inhabitants who are finding revitalization through the presence of this strange and unassuming book-loving young woman from Sweden. There are events and relationships that are highly unlikely and stretch the boundaries of belief, but that's the kind of book it is--fanciful, idealistic, sweet. I enjoyed it. A good, light summer read.

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes,
by Elizabeth Bard

Reviewed by Fay P.

This nonfiction book is a combination of cookbook and love story intertwined. It takes you on an adventure, revealing the differences between Paris and the United States in so many ways you probably never thought about or noticed. Elizabeth, an American journalist based in Paris, falls in love with a Frenchman, Gwendal, as they eat delicious foods at cafes and in their apartments. The recipes are at the end of each chapter, and have significance in their love story and marriage. She also writes of the challenges: a different language and culture for both of them; adjusting to a different style of living life; finding new friends. This was not a semester abroad, a holiday, a tryout. This was Elizabeth’s life. As she says, “When you decide what you want to keep, you also decide what you are willing to forget.” After much soul-searching and angst, she decides that, for all of us, we need to do what makes us happy and it is not always driven by money and status symbols. Life is a rendezvous with the unexpected!

Elizabeth Bard also released a second book, Picnic in Provence, which details their decision to move to Provence and start a family. See also her blog at for more recipes, photos, and commentary.

All of these books have been read and reviewed by members of the Summer Reading Club for Grown-ups! You can join too...go here to sign up! Win prizes, attend's all fun at BPL this summer!

No comments: