French Lessons

I was poring over selection lists, (lists of new books on-order), at the reference desk on a Thursday evening, when I saw French Women Don't Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude, by Mireille Guiliano.  Here is yet another addition, I thought, to the genre of French Lifestyle books.

Guiliano has been the leading light of this school, beginning with her 2004 bestseller, French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure. But she is not the first, and many others in the last ten years have looked to the French for wisdom on how to live a better life.

The first "French Lifestyle" book I found, (leaving aside more conventional books on French cookery, travel, or interior design), is Will Clower's 2001 book, The Fat Fallacy : Applying the French Diet to the American Lifestyle.  It is very similar to the Mediterranean Diet.

The trend continued to percolate, picking up noticeably in 2011.  Woody Allen was a bellwether with his 2011 film, Midnight in Paris.

 Pamela Druckerman found a new angle in 2012 with Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, following the controversial Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua's 2011 book about Chinese child-rearing.

The Fat Fallacy : Applying the French Diet to the American Lifestyle - Will Clower (2001)


Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl - Debra Ollivier (2003)

Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living - Robert Arbor (2003)

Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French - Jean-Benoit Nadeau, Julie Barlow (2003)

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure - Mireille Guiliano (2004)

The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour - Joan DeJean (2005)

The French Diet: Why French Women Don't Get Fat - Michel Montignac (2005)

All You Need to Be Impossibly French: A Witty Investigation into the Lives, Lusts, and Little Secrets of French Women - Helena Frith-Powell (2006)

The French Don't Diet Plan: 10 Simple Steps to Stay Thin for Life - Dr. William Clower (2006)

French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure - Mireille Guiliano (2006)

My French Life - Vicki Archer (2007)


French Women Don't Sleep Alone: Pleasurable Secrets to Finding Love - Jamie Cat Callan (2009)

What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind - Debra Ollivier (2009)

Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility - Mireille Guiliano (2009)

Bon Courage: Rediscovering the Art of Living (In the Heart of France) - Ken McAdams (2010)

Courage and Croissants, Inspiring Joyful Living, A Story and Life Guidebook - Suzanne Saxe-Roux (2010)

French Essence: Ambience, Beauty, and Style in Provence - Vicki Archer (2010)

The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook - Mireille Guiliano (2010)

Tout Sweet: Hanging Up My High Heels for a New Life in France - Karen Wheeler (2010)

Bonjour, Happiness! - Jamie Cat Callan (2011)

Chic & Slim: How Those Chic French Women Eat All That Rich Food And Still Stay Slim - Anne Barone (2011)

Chic & Slim Toujours: Aging Beautifully Like Those Chic French Women - Anne Barone (2011)

Chic & Slim Encore: More About How French Women Dress Chic Stay Slim-And How You Can Too - Anne Barone (2011)

The French Cat - Rachael Hale McKenna (2011)

La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life - Elaine Sciolino (2011)

Paris Was Ours:  Thirty-Two Writers Reflect On The City Of Light - Penelope Rowlands (2011)

Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange - Ines de la Fressange (2011)

Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi - Olivier Magny (2011)

Toute Allure: Falling in Love in Rural France - Karen Wheeler (2011)

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting - Pamela Druckerman (2012)

Doodling in French: How to Draw with Joie de Vivre - Anna Corba (2012)

Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis - Alice Kaplan (2012)

French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters - Karen Le Billon (2012)

How The French Invented Love:  nine hundred years of passion and romance - Marilyn Yalom (2012)

Le Road Trip: A Traveler's Journal of Love and France - Vivian Swift (2012)

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris - Jennifer L. Scott (2012)

LIVING LIKE A LOCAL: Stories of Our Life in France - Shelley Row (2012)

Paris in Love: A Memoir - Eloisa James (2012)

The Skinny, Sexy Mind: The Ultimate French Secret - Trish Blackwell (2012)

Tout Soul: The Pursuit of Happiness in Rural France - Karen Wheeler (2012)

Bebe Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting - Pamela Druckerman (2013)

Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance - Tish Jett (2013)

French Twist:  An American Mom's Experiment In Parisian Parenting - Catherine Crawford (2013)

French Women Don't Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude - Mireille Guiliano (2013)

Ooh La La!:  French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day - Jamie Cat Callan (2013)

The Parisian Diet: How to Reach Your Right Weight and Stay There - Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen (2013)

Parisian Chic Weekly Planner 2014 Calendar - Ines de la Fressange (2014)


"Books Have Their Destinies”

Three years ago I wrote about emptying my parents' house of all their books and other belongings.  Earlier this year I wrote about .a retired colleague weeding his books as he moved from his house to a retirement community, and linked to a column by Stanley Fish written in a similar vein.

Here is a piece by Harry Eyres from the Financial Times that was mentioned in the Anthony Powell List, Goodby, my good companions, in which he reflects on disposing of his parents' library.
I couldn’t help feeling that books were rather like people: some more formal and off-putting, others more racy; some simply for show, others with unpromising outsides but rich interiors. They did more, in fact, than furnish a room; they were companions who could offer insights, good advice, or just reliable escapism, as one went through the stages of life.
Now the books are being dispersed (not all, to be sure, but very many), and I fear for their future, almost as if they were refugees...
As I dispose of the books – many are going to charity shops and I hope they will find good homes – I can’t help wondering if my generation is the last that will oversee such a process.
I don't know.  I don't think so, but time will tell.  The age of ink and paper and printing has been relatively brief:  a few centuries.


Fields Of Gold

I heard this rendition of Fields of Gold, by the St. Olaf Choir and Orchestra, on Prairie Home Companion this weekend.  The song appeared originally on Sting's 1993 album, Ten Summoner's Tales.  I was powerfully moved.