Category Archives: Books

Books: Not Sure About Natural Wine? This Book is for You!

It’s called “Natural Wine for the People” by Alice Feiring.

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Dave Lebovitz recommends it. The reviews are great.

Go for it!

Literary London Update: The 10 Best Bookshops?

Every city has great bookstores. Some have more, but all have at least a few. London has a lot.

Here is a list of what one reviewer thinks are the “ten best”.

What do you think?

I am collecting this link and a lot more as part of my “literary London” resource and guide. It will include a calendar of literary events, posts on the most interesting people, history and more!

Stay tuned for more on literary London!

Meanwhile, you might check out this cool poster from “London Art Prints” – The Literary London Map

I kind of like this poster as well

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Books: Revealed! The Secrets of the Queen of Bread!!

And who is the Queen of Bread?

If there is such a thing as baking royalty, Apollonia Poilâne might be its queen.

And the reason?

The 35-year-old is a third-generation baker for the world-famous Poilâne in Paris. It was founded in 1932 by Apollonia’s grandfather Pierre and has inspired chefs, musicians, poets, and artists worldwide for nearly 90 years: Surrealist icon Salvador Dalí commissioning a bedroom suite made completely out of bread for a 1971 exhibition. While it started in Paris, it has a location in London and a pop-up in New York City until November 3 in the front of Lafayette restaurant at 380 Lafayette Street in NoHo.

A bedroom made out of BREAD? Let’s agree – Dali was weird.

So what about the book?

Apollonia Poilâne is opening the company’s oven doors wide with her first English-language cookbook, Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a weighty collection of nearly 100 recipes.

There is more! Read on!

Introducing the Adventures of a Certain Ms Crocker

You will want to go deeper into this story. Here is your link.

In 1936, (Aimée) Crocker wrote a travel book, And I’d Do It Again. Included in her life story: a harrowing honeymoon train crash in California; a blood curdling escape down a jungle river; an abduction by a Dyak prince; a lesbian double suicide; a poisoning in Hong Kong; a murder attempt by knife-throwing servants in Shanghai; a search for Kaivalya (Liberation) at the cave of the Great Yogin Bhojaveda in Poona, India; and two bizarre sensual/sexual experiences, one with an Indian boa constrictor, and another with a Chinese violin in the “House of the Ivory Panels.”

I need to find a copy of that book!

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More Was Much, Much More with Gustav Moreau

The Symbolist movement in Parisian artistic circles had its heyday in the late 19th century.

What was this all about? Perhaps the best way to understand it is to contrast it with the other school that emerged – impressionism. The impressionists strove to bring us closer to reality. To make what is real the subject of a work of art, rather than impose our values on what we see.

So we get this early work from Monet that is now highly prized.

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The light, especially t on the water, is the subject. We need no more deeper meaning than this in order to feel the energy that this great work of art can give us.

Symbolism reflects a very different obsession. The symbolists were less obsessed with reality than with  mythology . For them, the real was simply a mechanism to transmit symbols of higher values.

So you get a painter like Gustv Moreau, who offers us Narcisse

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His use of representation may make symbolism less modern. But before we dismiss this work, we might consider that of the two schools, symbolism is the more emotional and subjective. Its themes take us into the self. The impressionists did not see the value of that type of psychological journey. And with our modern obsession with psychology, which is the more relevant?

Gustav Moreau lived and worked in Paris.


He apparently had one great love in his life, a woman by the name of Adelaide-Alexandrine Dureux.

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And while Moreau had his ups and downs in life, he was nothing if not prolific. He was deeply into his work and you might say was an inspiration for the artists who we now recognize as modern – the surrealists.

In 1895, (Moreau) entrusted the conversion of his family home into a museum to architect Albert Lafon and left the property, as well as all its contents, to the State upon his death in 1897. After a year and a half of renovations to restore them to their original state, the six rooms on the ground floor were re-opened in January 2015. Paintings of note include Narcisse, famous for its seductive representation of the relationship between human and nature, and his preparatory works for Léda (a legend that often served as inspiration for the female nude) and Fée aux Griffons (representing the inaccessibility of the female body).

I love this image by Emma Jacobs. from her book “The Little(r) Museums of Paris

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Here is another image of the Gustav Moreau Museum

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And from the outside

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I liked this comment from HIP Paris

 Look out for his two masterpieces, Jupiter et Sémélé and L’Apparition. The former features the allegories of death and pain, which represented the tragic essence of life for Moreau, while the latter, which features Salome, was probably a result of his frequent opium hallucinations. .

Opium hallucinations? Hmm …  with L’Apparition, we are talking about this

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It is a rather startling image, n’est cs pas?


Dumas Lives!

Alexandre Dumas was a great story teller, and an incredible character. Here he is

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Does the  phrase “larger than life” come to mind?  He is described this way

The English playwright Watts Phillips, who knew Dumas in his later life, described him as “the most generous, large-hearted being in the world. He also was the most delightfully amusing and egotistical creature on the face of the earth. His tongue was like a windmill – once set in motion, you never knew when he would stop, especially if the theme was himself.”

He was a very successful writer. His serialized novel, The Count of Monte Cristo was for a time the most popular novel in Europe. BTW it has been adapted into film 40 times. Here is the trailer for one of my favorites. And  …

His writing earned him a great deal of money, but he was frequently insolvent, as he spent lavishly on women and sumptuous living. (Scholars have found that he had a total of 40 mistresses.[16]) In 1846, he had built a country house outside Paris at Le Port-Marly, the large Château de Monte-Cristo, with an additional building for his writing studio. It was often filled with strangers and acquaintances who stayed for lengthy visits and took advantage of his generosity. Two years later, faced with financial difficulties, he sold the entire property.

It is said that Dumas had 40 mistresses. Here is the chateau

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So why do I say that “Dumas lives?” Because, dear reader, the hotel Monte Cristo is open in Paris. As expected, it is extravagant. Here is the pool

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And a room

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It is in the 5th. And I think, is quite the thing if you are planning your affair … with your family, of course!