English Books Paris: New at Bill & Rosa’s Book Room

English Books Paris?

Each week in the Book Room online, we recommend newly published English books we love. We also present some in French or bilingual, for kids or adults, fiction or non. Many are books about France of course, but there are many different subjects.

Discover the Bill & Rosa’s Book Room concept. Come visit us – it is a nice spot up and downstairs at FUSAC to Read, Write, Relax and Buy, Donate, Borrow used English books Paris (and some French too, we are in France after all!). There is also the Power-of-the-Postcard desk and unique cards and postcards to write to family and friends, a jigsaw puzzle table, reading chairs. To discover our 4000+ titles visit our Click and Collect List. Near metro Porte de St Cloud. 42 rue du Chemin Vert 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt. Come over (Click for our opening hours) and find out why we call it Bill and Rosa’s!

Now for this week’s new books:

COURTING DARKNESS First in a duology, this darkly thrilling page-turner set in the world of the best-selling His Fair Assassin series is perfect for fans of THRONE OF GLASS, RED QUEEN, and GAME OF THRONES. Told in alternating perspectives, when Sybella discovers there is another trained assassin from St. Mortain’s convent deep undercover in the French court, she must use every skill in her arsenal to navigate the deadly royal politics and find her sister in arms before her time—and that of the newly crowned queen—runs out. When Sybella accompanies the Duchess to France, she expects trouble, but she isn’t expecting a deadly trap. Surrounded by enemies both known and unknown, Sybella searches for the undercover assassins from the convent of St. Mortain who were placed in the French court years ago. Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she no longer knows who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. When she discovers a hidden prisoner who may be of importance, she takes matters into her own hands. As these two worlds collide, the fate of the Duchess, Brittany, and everything Sybella and Genevieve have come to love hangs in the balance.

Author: Robin Lafevers, Publisher: HMH Books 

NARINHI THE MAN OF THE LIE is the first book in a series that follows Kai, a freshman at an international university in Paris, troubled by portent dreams since childhood is happy to be oceans away from her stifling hometown. She befriends Jarvis Chapter, a mysterious student haunted by the disappearance of his brother, Umbriel, in Southern Africa. While her duty to God is clear, she struggles to reconcile her hopes of fitting in among her peers and juggling the pressure of maintaining good grades. Unable to ignore the call placed on her life despite her insecurities and fears, her life is thrown into turmoil of biblical proportions when she is attacked by a humanoid in her apartment. She is forced to come to terms with the existence of the world in-between and her role in the fight for the world. The author Tendayi Chirawu is a writer based in Paris who writes about the new African experience, travel, books, and women. She has an MA in Global Communications and Civil Society. She has worked and volunteers with various NGOs and currently works in communications and quality control. Follow her on twitter @tendayiolga or visit her website: tendayichirawu.com

GYPSIES, TRAMPS AND WEEIA Like one of the Men in Black concealing a race of X-Men, Danni risks her life in the seedy underworld of Paris as a Weeia marshal protecting the secret of their existence. Sworn to protect the secrets of their race, marshals are trained to police Weeia hiding among humans. After completing her advanced marshal training, Danni is blown away by her new plum assignment to Paris. But, all is not well in the City of Lights; the offices are a shambles, her boss is apathetic, and her predecessors died under mysterious circumstances; it’s almost like somebody doesn’t want the law there. Despite that she risks her life in the seedy underworld of gypsies and tramps to search for a missing Weeia man.

Author: Elle Boca, Publisher: Poyeen Publishing 

HIP, HIP… BERET ! A playful and humorous picture book about what happens to Bella’s beret when the wind sweeps it away. Granpère gifts Bella the hat she’d always wanted–a beret! But just as she places it on her head, a gust of wind whisks it away. When the beret accidentally lands in a chef’s pan . . . hip, hip, souflée! When it mistakenly lands on the head of a dancer . . . hip, hip, ballet! The wind continues to sweep the hat farther and farther away. Will Bella ever get back her beloved beret? Children will love to read aloud this humorous and heartfelt story filled with repetition, rhyme, and hilarious wordplay. Ages: 4,5,6,7.

Author: Melanie Ellsworth, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 

DES AILES DANS LA NUIT Voici une histoire tout en douceur et emplie de poésie qui décrit avec tendresse l’amitié particulière entre un père et sa fille, ainsi que l’étroite relation entre le monde des hommes et la grande nature. Gagnant de la médaille Caldecott en 1988 pour les aquarelles exquises de John Schoenherr, ce livre mystérieux et intime, saura réchauffer des nombreux jeunes lecteurs. «Des aquarelles sublimes et grandioses, rien de moins, qui honorent la majesté de la forêt et de ses habitants et qui, en diapason avec le texte, font de ce livre un objet précieux. » Chantal Fontaine, Librairie Moderne À partir de 5 ans.

Author: Jane Yolen, John Schoenherr, Publisher: Editions Deux 

LES FABLES DE LA FONTAINE Un grand livre puzzle réunissant cinq fables de La Fontaine : Le loup et l’agneau, Le lion malade et le renard, La grenouille qui veut se faire aussi grosse que le boeuf, Le renard et la cigogne.

Author: Jean de la Fontaine
Publisher: Kimane éditions 

CONFUSION (LA SAGA DES CAZALET III) Mars 1942. Polly et Clary, les deux cousines encore enfants dans Étés anglais et qui, adolescentes, avaient la part belle dans À rude épreuve, ont aujourd’hui dix-sept ans et n’aspirent qu’à une chose: échapper à l’étau familial en quittant Home Place pour Londres. Polly est encore sous le choc du décès de sa mère, Sybil, qui a succombé au cancer qui la rongeait. Clary, dont le père Rupert n’a plus donné signe de vie depuis le mot apporté par un soldat français, est sur le point de perdre espoir. Au chagrin des deux héroïnes s’ajoute la frustration face au silence borné du clan Cazalet: les adultes se refusent à parler des choses graves, et continuent de les considérer comme des enfants. À quel modèle les deux jeunes filles peuvent-elles bien s’identier ? Leur cousine Louise abandonne sa carrière d’actrice pour devenir mère de famille. Leur tante Rachel est à ce point dévouée à ses parents qu’elle laisse s’éloigner sa précieuse amie Sid. Et pendant que Zoë, la belle-mère de Clary, s’éprend d’un Américain, les in délités d’Oncle Edward à l’égard de Tante Villy menacent de tout faire voler en éclats. Malgré les sirènes et les bombardements, Londres est toujours plus attirante que Home Place, où règnent un froid glacial et une atmosphère de plomb. Le troisième tome de la saga des Cazalet, devenue un classique contemporain au Royaume-Uni.

Author: Elizabeth Jane Howard, Publisher: La Table Ronde 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Retrouvez le texte en VO de la célèbre pièce de William Shakespeare et sur la page d’en face le texte dans sa traduction française. Chaque strophe étant un véritable poème usant de nombreuses rimes et de contractions, il est préférable de ne pas traduire mot à mot la langue de Shakespeare. Rien de mieux donc que de son équivalent dans un français poétique ! Un excellent outil pédagogique pour lire en VO une œuvre phare mais complexe, tout en comprenant la syntaxe et la créativité linguistique grâce à sa traduction en français.

Author: William Shakespeare, Publisher: Larousse 

DAVID COPPERFIELD « Serai-je le héros de ma propre histoire, ou ce rôle sera-t-il tenu par un autre ? Ces pages l’apprendront au lecteur. Pour commencer par le commencement, je note que je naquis un vendredi à minuit – du moins me l’a-t-on dit, et je n’ai aucune raison d’en douter… » Voilà un début engageant. La suite l’est moins : né six mois après la mort de son père, David Copperfield se retrouve vite nanti d’un terrifiant beau-père, dont la soeur, la glaciale et métallique Miss Murdstone, suffirait à elle seule à caractériser l’Angleterre rigide et puritaine du début du XIXe siècle… Car, si David Copperfield est bien l’histoire d’une enfance malheureuse, c’est avant tout une irrésistible galerie de portraits qui laisse le lecteur partagé entre l’effroi et le fou rire : il y a les méchants, bien sûr, comme l’hypocrite et gluant Uriah Heep, mais aussi les excentriques, ces doux dingues que Dickens excelle à dépeindre : M. Dick, qui rédige ses pensées sur un cerf-volant ou l’impayable tante Betsey et sa phobie des ânes… David Copperfield est sans doute le roman le plus autobiographique de Dickens. C’est aussi, de son propre aveu, son préféré : «Comme beaucoup de pères aimants, j’ai, au fond de mon coeur, un enfant favori. Et il s’appelle DAVID COPPERFIELD.» 11 à 13 ans

Author: Charles Dickens, Publisher: Ecole des Loisirs 

JANE EYRE Plongez en VO dans ce livre incroyable. Pour vous aider, des traductions en marge vous permettront de bien comprendre le texte original. Ces textes en VO font partie des lectures imposées pour les classes de Première dans le cadre du nouveau bac de 2021.

Author: Charlotte Brontë, Publisher: Harrap/ Larousse 

ZABOR OR THE PSALMS A fable, parable, and confession, the second novel from the acclaimed author of The Meursault Investigation pays homage to the essential need for fiction and to the freedom from tradition afforded by an adopted language. Having lost his mother and been shunned by his father, Zabor grows up in the company of books, which teach him a new language. Ever since he can remember, he has been convinced that he has a gift: if he writes, he will stave off death; those captured in the sentences of his notebooks will live longer. Like a kind of inverted Scheherazade saving his fellow men, he experiments night after night with the delirious power of the imagination. Then, one night, his estranged half brother and the other relatives who would disown him come knocking at the door: his father is going to die and perhaps only Zabor is capable of delaying that fateful moment. Sitting next to the father who has ostracized him, the son writes compulsively, retracing an existence characterized by strangeness, abandonment, and humiliation, but also by wondrous encounters with fictional worlds that he alone in the entire village can access.

Author: Kamel Daoud
Publisher: Other Press 

TROIS POEMES Edition bilingue. Née en 1979, Hannah Sullivan est une universitaire et poète britannique. Sa thèse sur le modernisme en littérature, The Work of Revision (2013), a été couronnée du Rose Mary Crawshay Prize et du University English Book Prize. Elle est professeure associée de littérature britannique à l’université d’Oxford. Trois poèmes a été recompensé du T.S. Eliot Prize.

Author: Hannah Sullivan
Publisher: La Table Ronde 

7 MILLIARDS DE COCHONS, ET GLORIA QUICHON Gloria Quichon trouve que, parfois, les cochons ressemblent plutôt à des moutons. Par exemple, quand soudain, dans la cour de récré, tous les garçons et les filles cochons se mettent à jouer au même jeu. Un jeu complètement bête de secrets amoureux. Mais, à propos, comment Gloria va-t-elle faire pour savoir qui sera son amoureux ? Elle vient d’apprendre qu’il y avait sur terre 7 milliards de cochons ! 3 à 6 ans

LA VIE REVEE DE PAPA QUICHON Un jour de promenade avec ses soixante-treize enfants, Papa Quichon avise une petite maison, là-haut, sur la colline. C’était mon rêve de jeunesse, leur avoue-t-il : vivre dans une telle maisonnette, regarder le soleil se lever le matin, se coucher le soir et fumer une petite cigarette. Le bonheur. Forcément, les soixante-treize enfants veulent savoir à quoi ressemble le rêve de jeunesse de leur père et hop, ils grimpent dans la maison… 3 à 6 ans

Author: Anaïs Vaugelade
Publisher: Ecole des Loisirs 

 

 

English Books Paris

MONTANA, LA RECONQUETE DE L’OUEST. Un des récit dans la série “L’Ame des Peuples” aux couvertures très graphiques de l’éditeur Nevicata, ce livre est le seul à concerner un état américain. Pourquoi donc cet état? Parce que plus que tout autre, Montana est un lieu fantasmé et imaginé par tant de monde. Quand on dit aux gens que nous avons séjourné dans le Montana ils poussent un soupir et racontent qu’ils aimeraient tant visiter cet endroit mythique. Le New West, que le Montana incarne plus que d’autres états, est un style de vie autant désiré que l’art de vivre à la française. « Les ranchs sont les châteaux de la Loire du Montana » nous suggère l’auteure. Entre Rocheuses et Canada, terre de grands espaces et de pionniers, le Montana incarne le rêve de la frontière, toujours repoussée, jamais vaincue, toujours recherchée. Avec sept réserves indiennes, deux parcs nationaux, et l’impression de vivre dans l’un des ultimes sanctuaires sauvages de l’Amérique le Montana (vu l’extérieur) est un rêve. Il fut celui des immigrants à la recherche d’un destin pour eux et pour les États- Unis naissants. Il demeure celui des écrivains et des cinéastes qui en ont fait l’ultime destination créative, loin de New York ou d’Hollywood. Et il y a le passé, fait de grandeur et de douleurs. Le Montana est la solitude absolue que l’Amérique a érigée en culte. Ce petit livre n’est pas un guide. Il dit la part d’ombre et d’héroïsme des États-Unis. Parce qu’au Montana, une Amérique unique vous attend sous le Big Sky, ce grand ciel auquel personne n’échappe. Ce récit qui tente de connecter l’histoire de cette grande espace (la taille de l’Allemagne avec seulement un million de gens) avec le façon dont les gens se comporte est suivi d’entretiens avec des Montanans. Ce livre a été intégré dans Bill and Rosa’s Library of the American West. English Books Paris

Author : Isabelle Falconnier, Publisher : Nevicata – In the same series Etats-Unis, Tribus Américains, Angleterre, Ecosse, Australie…

L’ORIGINE

is a novel that traces the true story of L’Origine du Monde a notorious painting from 1866 by maverick artist Gustave Coubert. The novel tells the story of the remarkable journey through the centuries and revealing the various owners of the painting and connecting them to each other. It is tale of the painting’s survival, through wars, travels and transfers across Europe. It is a tale of a very unusual painting that was kept hidden (literally hidden behind a screen) in private collections for many years because of its “scandalous” subject matter: a sexually explicit portrait of a woman’s exposed genitals. The story is a carefully researched work of historical fiction combined with memoir that is more than a romp through history as it also examines society’s complex relationship with the female body through the 19th and 20th centuries. It has suspense, intrigue, lots of historical context, a whole cast of amazing characters and a great thread. (I wonder if this book will spark a new genre trend like Tracy Chevallier’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring did.) The book is easy and enjoyable to read and also offers a framework to the reader who wants to delve a little deeper into the history of the real people involved which include a Turkish Pascha, a famous French actress and a psychoanalyst who were the owners of L’Origine du Monde before it’s transfer to the State was used to settle an inheritance tax debt. It was hung in the Musée d’Orsay in 1995 where in 2011 artist and now author, Lilianne Migrom, was drawn to copying the painting on an easel in the museum and so the book’s story begins. -LV

Author: Lilianne Milgrom, Publisher: Little French Girl Press. Available at English bookshops in Paris

French Like Moi

«Surprise is the highest form of pleasure, and it’s easier to find than people think» —French Like Moi, p. 45. When Scott Carpenter’s FRENCH LIKE MOI arrived on my desk at the Fusac office in Boulogne Billancourt (Boulbi as the locals say) I was sure I was about to be fire-hosed with cliché upon cliché concerning everything from French customer service to smelly cheese rinds. Such is often the case of books written by Americans about their time battling the hexagone – one of the names the French regularly employ to designate their land of the long bread. These sophomoric Hemingways offer up pretty much the same (French onion) soup in three courses: veni vidi visa — I came, I saw, I went shopping. You know the list of topics; they are as well-known as they are threadbare: buying an apartment, dodging demonstrations, turkish toilets, catastrophic coq-au-vin, Wallace fountains, notaires, neighbors, the syndic, ravalements, bricolage, eateries, administrative cauchemars, faux pas et tutti quantiMonsieur Carpenter surprises us however with his very refreshing insights and highly creative imagination as he moles his way into every aspect of French life. He not only discovers the difference between screw-ass light bulbs and the Frankenstein-ass variety, this midwesterner, who teaches French literature and creative writing at Carleton College in Minnesota, has snuck illegally into the catacombs in his determined quest to lift the veil on Paris’s secret life. What he found was another surprise: «I’d hoped for something essential – maybe shameful and dirty. What I’d found was emptiness. A presence that was sturdy, but hollow.» Creating the unexpected is not the only technique Carpenter masters (the final chapter is a comic coup magistral). He’s funny, knows how to joke and incorporates the word dragoon in his story whenever possible. Every Meer-kin, even those from Nou-Ark Nou-jair-ssay will be delighted with these co-zee tales from the city of Light. Merci cher monsieur Charpentier for your refreshing handiwork in reverting the hackneyed veni vidi visa to the très honorable veni vidi vici. – JV

Author: Scott Dominic Carpenter, Publisher: Travelers’ Tales

FINAL TRANSGRESSION is Harriet Welty Rochefort’s first novel and she has done well in capturing the historical context and the characters. Her previous books about France and the French as well as her many years in a French family (she grew up in Iowa) helped her to conceive this story that takes place during the German Occupation. The story is not a mystery, but there is certainly intrigue. I thought for sure I had the dénouement figured out but I was surprised in the end as to who was Felix’s father. The years of Occupation in France were a period of suspicion and settling scores for hatchets that were never completely buried. The village of The Village Français series could have been the setting for Harriet’s story. Everybody is there and knows what the other is doing; all the social classes and the various resistants, communists and collaborators are intertwined. Harriet adds to her dialogue a few gems of wisdom that are still current today, for example Severine talking about social classes say: “I don’t like labels. They don’t mean anything other than to the people who assign them.”. Here is the synopsis. Two sisters, two different destinies. In Final Transgression, 85-year-old Caroline Aubry tells the tale of the tragic wartime destiny of her beloved younger sister, Séverine. From their humble beginnings in a hamlet in the southwest of France to a château where Séverine becomes the protegée of the beautiful countess who employs their parents, their trajectories differ. After they move to Paris, the pragmatic Caroline becomes a successful designer and the high-spirited Severine marries a rich jeweler. When WW2 breaks out and her collaborationist husband betrays her, the headstrong Séverine flees to the chateau and the countess –– in spite of warnings about the risk of traveling to an area that is a fierce battleground for rival groups of résistants, Nazis and collaborators. Severine is beautiful, intelligent but obstinate – and it is that obstinacy that will ultimately seal her fate. The end of the war in France was a time for settling scores. Séverine, an ordinary woman living in extraordinary times, unwittingly hands the hangman’s noose to her enemies in one egregious act—her final transgression.

Author: Harriet Welty RochefortOrder Final Transgressions on Amazon English Books Paris

 

THE SEINE, THE RIVER THAT MADE PARIS is both memoir of the author’s time in Paris as well as a collection of “unusual facts and stories about life on the Seine”. Author Elaine Sciolino melds personal reflections on her time in Paris (2002-2020) with anecdotes and history. She discovers Sequana (a sculpture at the headwaters of the Seine with, it is noted, bare breasts), patrols with the river police, rows in antique boats and navigates on a freighter, revisits paintings, sips champagne, sings songs, watches films, walks the bridges, visits festivals, abbeys, museums and bouquinistes and points out all the exclusive invitation-only experiences that her calling card from the New York Times opened for her. The first hand interviews, are told via her experience of them, but are none the less very interesting. Sciolino’s experience as a foreign journalist shows through as she spends the largest part of the book on Paris. The American journalist glides through Bertillon, Giverny and other over-sung, but beloved, American touch points while introducing the same American readers to many connections to the Seine that they might have never heard of such as French songs and literary greats. The very American perspective plays up the Seine’s romance, seduction and sex, pointing out each encounter with naked statues. The third part of the book, about the river downstream from Paris, is the most interesting as the style of the writing is less personal memoir and more history and travelogue. Overall a good read and researched in great detail. The photographs and their rendering are disappointing. It is too bad to print black and white photos of a subject so colorful. The paperback quality paper and printing doesn’t do the photos justice and many are very dark and grainy; everything is very gray, but as the author quotes Karl Lagerfeld as saying “Paris is about pale gray.”

Author: Elaine Sciolino, Publisher: Norton English Books Paris

and there are many more English Books Paris about Paris and France from history to memoirs for purchase or borrowing in our Paris collection at Bill & Rosa’s Book Room.