The best books about Paris

Who picked these books? Meet our 333 experts.

333 authors created a book list connected to Paris, and here are their favorite Paris books.
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What type of Paris book?



By Graham Robb,

Book cover of Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

Sharon Farmer Author Of Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology, and the Daily Lives of the Poor

From the list on the culture of France and medieval modern poverty.

Who am I?

I started out as a religion major in college, but soon became frustrated with the abstract thoughts of privileged white males. I wanted to understand the passions and struggles of ordinary people, and soon became convinced that the examination of the distant past sheds important light on the present. It’s not that I don’t care about the world around me right now. Rather, I am convinced that those who look only at this decade, this century, or even the last century fail to recognize some of the most powerful cultural forces that have shaped our most fundamental understandings of gender, wealth, poverty, work, and so much more.

Sharon's book list on the culture of France and medieval modern poverty

Discover why each book is one of Sharon's favorite books.

Why did Sharon love this book?

If we want to understand medieval or modern Paris, we need to gain some familiarity with all of the stages along the way. Robb provides some episodic portraits of some of those stages, and the chapter on the eighteenth-century architect Charles-Axel Guillaumot is one of the most arresting discussions I’ve ever seen of how the actions of those living in one epoch can reverberate for generations to come. Guillaumot literally saved Paris from collapsing in on its medieval past by bracing up the swiss-cheese-like network of tunnels that had been left behind by its medieval quarry workers.

By Graham Robb,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Parisians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction, of the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten.

A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter. A well-dressed woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For…

A Void

By Georges Perec, Gilbert Adair (translator),

Book cover of A Void

Richard Hernaman Allen Author Of The Waterguard

From the list on which you may have never heard anything.

Who am I?

I’ve gone to France often during my life. I always buy books that look interesting while I’m there, mainly to keep my French in good shape. I tend to pick authors and subjects which catch my eye. Some get discarded, but most give a fascinating and often very different perspective on life than I find in English novels and essays. 

Richard's book list on which you may have never heard anything

Discover why each book is one of Richard's favorite books.

Why did Richard love this book?

This book has the stunning feature of omitting the letter E entirely. It’s also a fascinating story. I confess I read it at least in part to see whether the author has slipped up anywhere or whether he had recourse to clumsy constructions, but he was a writer of too much skill and ingenuity for that!

By Georges Perec, Gilbert Adair (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Void as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Trahir qui disparut, dans La disparition, ravirait au lisant subtil tout plaisir. Motus donc, sur l'inconnu noyau manquant - "un rond pas tout à fait clos finissant par un trait horizontal" - , blanc sillon damnatif où s'abîma un Anton Voyl, mais d'où surgit aussi la fiction. Disons, sans plus, qu'il a rapport à la vocalisation. L'aiguillon paraîtra à d'aucuns trop grammatical. Vain soupçon : contraint par son savant pari à moult combinaisons, allusions, substitutions ou circonclusions, jamais G.P. n'arracha au banal discours joyaux plus brillants ni si purs. Jamais plus fol alibi n'accoucha d'avatars si mirobolants. Oui, il fallait…

How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired

By Dany Laferrière, David Homel (translator),

Book cover of How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired

Kendra Allen Author Of The Collection Plate: Poems

From the list on finding inspiration and motivation.

Who am I?

As a person who reads solely for pleasure regardless of research, I make it a mission while writing to read books I actually enjoy on topics I wanna learn more about. I chose the books on this list because I’m also a person who reads multiple books at once in various genres, it keeps me honest; aware of holes and discrepancies in my own work and pushes me towards some semblance of completion. All the writers on this list do multiple things at once and I admire their skill and risk in coupling creativity with clarity.

Kendra's book list on finding inspiration and motivation

Discover why each book is one of Kendra's favorite books.

Why did Kendra love this book?

Of course this title will catch anyone’s attention, but I’m including it here because of how mundane the plot is. It’s just people people’ing and therefore experiencing and learning. They just happen to be all the things they are. It’s a fun and funny ride living in a small Parisian apartment with these characters, eating their food, and laying with their friends. 

By Dany Laferrière, David Homel (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brilliant and tense, Dany Laferrière's first novel, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, is as fresh and relevant today as when it was first published in Canada in 1985. With ribald humor and a working-class intellectualism on par with Charles Bukowski's or Henry Miller's, Laferrière's narrator wanders the streets and slums of Montreal, has sex with white women, and writes a book to save his life. With this novel, Laferrière began a series of internationally acclaimed social and political novels about the love of the world, and the world of sex, including Heading South and I…

Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter

By Beauvoir Simone De, James Kirkup (translator),

Book cover of Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter

Fiona Sampson Author Of Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

From the list on literary biographies.

Who am I?

Fiona Sampson is a leading British poet and writer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, awarded an MBE for services to literature. Published in thirty-seven languages, she’s the recipient of numerous national and international awards. Her twenty-eight books include the critically acclaimed In Search of Mary Shelley, and Two-Way Mirror: The life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and she’s Emeritus Professor of Poetry, University of Roehampton.

Fiona's book list on literary biographies

Discover why each book is one of Fiona's favorite books.

Why did Fiona love this book?

Simone de Beauvoir’s Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter is a classic. First published in France in 1958, it’s the opening volume of an autobiographical trilogy. This exploration of the childhood and young womanhood that created the world-famous writer and intellectual is compendious, descriptive – and alert at every turn, as befits the mother of existentialism, to how the emerging psyche understands the world around it.

By Beauvoir Simone De, James Kirkup (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“[Beauvoir’s] graciously written memoirs carry distinct appeal in recording the emotional and intellectual birth pangs of a fascinating woman.” —Time

A superb autobiography by one of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, Simone de Beauvoir's Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter offers an intimate picture of growing up in a bourgeois French family, rebelling as an adolescent against the conventional expectations of her class, and striking out on her own with an intellectual and existential ambition exceedingly rare in a young woman in the 1920s.

Beauvoir vividly evokes her friendships, love interests, mentors, and the early days of the…

The Parisian

By Isabella Hammad,

Book cover of The Parisian

Rosalind Brackenbury Author Of The Lost Love Letters of Henri Fournier

From the list on set in France with themes to match.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by these themes – love, France, mystery, women’s lives, war, and peace. My parents took me to France when I was 12 and I’ve spent years there in between and go back whenever I can. I started reading in French when sent to be an au pair in Switzerland when I was 17. My own novel, The Lost Love Letters Of Henri Fournier was absorbing to write as it contains all of the above. I found an unpublished novel of Fournier’s in a village in rural France a few years ago and decided I had to write about him and his lover, Pauline, who was a famous French actress. 

Rosalind's book list on set in France with themes to match

Discover why each book is one of Rosalind's favorite books.

Why did Rosalind love this book?

This is a recent first novel, set mostly in France, about a young Palestinian man who goes there to study medicine and falls in love with the daughter of his host. I’m still reading it, and admiring the sureness of touch, the knowledge of history, and above all the sense of the period – it’s set before World War 1 and continues through the 20th century. Brava, Isabella Hammad!

By Isabella Hammad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Parisian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A sublime reading experience: delicate, restrained, surpassingly intelligent, uncommonly poised and truly beautiful' Zadie Smith


Midhat Kamal - dreamer, romantic, aesthete - leaves Palestine in 1914 to study medicine in France, under the tutelage of Dr Molineu. He falls deeply in love with Jeannette, the doctor's daughter. But Midhat soon discovers that everything is fragile: love turns to loss, friends become enemies and everyone is looking for a place to belong.

Through Midhat's eyes we see the tangled politics and personal tragedies of a turbulent era - the Palestinian struggle for independence, the…

The Animal Gazer

By Edgardo Franzosini,

Book cover of The Animal Gazer

George J. Berger Author Of Four Nails: History's Greatest Elephant and His Extraordinary Trainer

From the list on shedding new light on famous figures.

Who am I?

As a youngster, my single mom’s bedtime stories did not come out of children’s books. They came out of real history—Hannibal and his elephants, the marauding Huns, or Captain Cook. It seemed preordained that I’d have a life-long love of history, that I’ve written three published historical novels, and am on the review team of the Historical Novel Society. My immersion in history and historical novels provides constant learning and pleasure.

George's book list on shedding new light on famous figures

Discover why each book is one of George's favorite books.

Why did George love this book?

In 1909 Etorre Bugatti founded his auto brand. Through wars, different ownerships, and locations Bugatti has produced classic cars that today rival any in beauty, performance, and price. Look closely at recent models, and you will spot bas relief decorations of animals. These are inspired by Etorre’s brother, animal sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti. This novel presents the mostly true account of the sculptor’s last decade (1906-1916).

R. Bugatti is obsessed with wild beasts. He even keeps two antelopes in his apartment over a summer. The Great War is horrible for zoo animals and their admirers. The inhumanity of humans exacts the ultimate toll, and, at age 31, the sculptor takes his own life. Photographs of eight masterful Bugatti animal sculptures enhance the story. Though short, The Animal Gazer will appeal to any reader interested in the life and troubled times of a masterful, not widely-known, artist from a famous family.

By Edgardo Franzosini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Animal Gazer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rembrandt Bugatti was the brother of the famous builder of luxury sports cars, Ettore. He made stunningly beautiful bronzes of wild animals that he spent days and weeks observing in the Paris and Antwerp Zoos. Sometimes he took the animals to live in his Paris apartment while he worked on his pieces.

Edgardo Franzosini's haunting short novel recreates the eccentric, orderly life of this strange genius, a gentle man who loved animals and created some of the most memorable sculptures of our time. His short life was ruined by the declaration of war in August 1914. As the Germans drew…

The Kill

By Émile Zola, Brian Nelson (translator),

Book cover of The Kill

Mary Soderstrom Author Of Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future

From the list on to design a workable, walkable, wonderful city.

Who am I?

I like to say I'm a born-again pedestrian. After a childhood in car-friendly Southern California, I moved first to the San Francisco Bay Area and then to Montreal. There I discovered the pleasures of living in walkable cities, and over the years I've explored them in a series of books about people, nature, and urban spaces in which the problems of spread-out, concrete-heavy cities take a front-row seat. The impact of the way we've built our cities over the last 100 years is becoming apparent, as carbon dioxide rises, driving climate changes. We must change the way we live, and the books I suggest give some insights about what to do and what not to do.

Mary's book list on to design a workable, walkable, wonderful city

Discover why each book is one of Mary's favorite books.

Why did Mary love this book?

Sometimes it's helpful, even encouraging, to discover that problems we face today were faced by people in the past.  Emile Zola wrote a series of novels about Paris in the mid-19th century at a time when the City of Light was being rebuilt along pretty extraordinary lines. At the same time that poor people were being tossed out of their substandard housing, some people were making fortunes speculating in real estate. The Kill focuses on the personal dramas of people on both sides of the equation, with quite a lot of sex thrown in to spice things up.

By Émile Zola, Brian Nelson (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Kill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'It was the time when the rush for spoils filled a corner of the forest with the yelping of hounds, the cracking of whips, the flaring of torches. The appetites let loose were satisfied at last, shamelessly, amid the sound of crumbling neighbourhoods and fortunes made in six months. The city had become an orgy of gold and women.'

The Kill (La Curee) is the second volume in Zola's great cycle of twenty novels, Les Rougon-Macquart, and the first to establish Paris - the capital of modernity - as the centre of Zola's narrative world. Conceived as a representation of…

Book cover of A Spy Above the Clouds

Nancy Cole Silverman Author Of The Navigator's Daughter

From the list on women of WW2 and their untold stories.

Who am I?

I love to travel, and I’m always interested in the history of where I visit, and what unusual and little known stories I might pick up. I spent twenty-five years working in news and talk radio and I suppose that’s why my fingers itch to get to a keyboard when I hear of an event or someone interesting that I’d like to meet on the pages of one of my books. These days it’s where I spend most of my time, crafting mysteries both national and international and always with sense of suspense, and for good measure, a little whimsey.   

Nancy's book list on women of WW2 and their untold stories

Discover why each book is one of Nancy's favorite books.

Why did Nancy love this book?

I love books about women who don’t hear the word ‘No.” And A Spy Above the Clouds is just such a book.

Constance Vivier-Clarke, “Viv” is a young American, a once hopeful Olympic downhill skiers whose pampered life is on the skids. World War 2 had broken out and she’s been shoved to the sidelines, told to go home and get married. 

But Viv has other ideas and talks her way into driving an ambulance for the American Hospital in Paris, and eventually, because of her skiing abilities, becomes a member of “Churchill’s Angels” working with the resistance to carry secret messages across the French Alps. 

This is a book that inspires. A book that challenges. And at the end of the day a book that readers will not soon forget.  

By Ciji Ware,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Spy Above the Clouds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


For the first time in her pampered life, the headstrong American, Constance Vivier-Clarke, has been pressed into doing something useful for a change. Driving an ambulance for the American Hospital in Paris, "Viv" is caught in the crossfire when the Nazis march into Paris. She makes a harrowing getaway over the Pyrenees into neutral Spain and on to London in hopes of finding a role to play in the fight against…

Sonia Delaunay

By Anne Montfort,

Book cover of Sonia Delaunay

Cat Bennett Author Of The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind

From the list on art and creativity.

Who am I?

I’ve been an artist all my life. In childhood, I was always drawing and after graduating from university I became an illustrator doing hundreds of drawings for major newspapers and publishers in the United States for over 25 years. It was my mission, no matter what was going on in the world, to find some humor and lightness to share through my drawings. About 15 years ago, I also began to teach drawing to adults and was amazed to discover that everyone can draw. When I saw how people seemed to become happier and bolder making art I became passionate about sharing how we can grow our creativity by developing an art practice. It makes for a beautiful life and quite possibly a more beautiful world.

Cat's book list on art and creativity

Discover why each book is one of Cat's favorite books.

Why did Cat love this book?

Sonia Delaunay’s work with color and abstraction in the first part of the 20th century was groundbreaking as was her ability to also bring her art into the world of the applied arts of fashion, set design, mosaics, tapestries, and lithographs. The book has excellent essays about creative life in Paris at the time and over 250 illustrations. For women, it’s especially inspiring to learn how Delaunay managed to be a wife and mother as well as a respected and prolific artist. It’s also inspiring to see how she made a huge creative leap from representational art to her distinctive abstract art. From the perspective of creativity, I love how she was inventive in her art and then brought it into the world in inventive ways too.

By Anne Montfort,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sonia Delaunay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sonia Delaunay (1885 - 1979) is one of the most important female artists of the early twentieth century, whose contribution to the European avant-garde was fundamental. Russian-born, she moved to Paris in 1906 where she studied at the Academie de la Palette. Her early work was infl uenced by the bold Fauvist paintings of Matisse, Gauguin and Van Gogh among others. Shifting her interest to abstraction, she celebrated the modern world and urban life, exploring ideas of colour theory together with her husband Robert Delaunay. She also collaborated with artists and poets such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars with…

Selected Stories

By Guy de Maupassant, Brian Rhys (translator), Marjorie Laurie (translator)

Book cover of Selected Stories

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Five Moral Tales

From the list on short story novel collections.

Who am I?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, where I studied and published articles on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, one of the greatest short fiction collections. I have written and published a number of short stories myself. I even won a contest for one of them. The tale told around the campfire is probably the oldest literary form there is, much older than the novel. The best short fiction, I believe, can “pack everything that a novel can hold into a story,” as Jorge Luis Borges said, and this is the kind of short fiction I believe I have found.

Theodore's book list on short story novel collections

Discover why each book is one of Theodore's favorite books.

Why did Theodore love this book?

I like how de Maupassant, in this collection (like Balzac, only more succinctly), runs the gamut of society: two vagrants who live in a rowboat, milkmaids, nuns, soldiers, clerks, seamstresses, shop-owners, the elegant and fashionable, counts and countesses. Likewise he runs the gamut of tone from tragedy to romance to slapstick to farce to sophisticated wit. Each story is so different, one might suspect multiple authors, but for that unmistakable, to-the-point style ̶ and that perfect kicker at the end. De Maupassant is the wizard, some say the originator, of the modern short story. This is real literature in miniature.

By Guy de Maupassant, Brian Rhys (translator), Marjorie Laurie (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Selected Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautiful hardcover selection of the best works by one of the greatest short story writers in world literature

During his most productive decade, the 1880s, the French writer Guy de Maupassant wrote more than three hundred stories, notably including "The Necklace," "Boule de Suif," "The Horla," and "Mademoiselle Fifi." Marked by the psychological realism that he famously pioneered, the stories selected here take us on a tour of the human experience—lust and love, revenge and ridicule, terror and madness. Many take place in the author's native Normandy, but the settings range farther abroad as well, from Brittany and Paris…

Fashion Climbing

By Bill Cunningham,

Book cover of Fashion Climbing: A Memoir

Uwe Westphal Author Of Ehrenfried and Cohn: Goodbye, Berlin - The Last Fashion Show

From the list on fashion and the fashion industry.

Who am I?

I published the novel Ehrenfried & Cohn in 2016 about the decimation of the Jewish fashion industry in Berlin by the Nazis. I studied at the University of Arts in Berlin and became a fashion reporter for newspapers. Later I worked as a producer and journalist for German Public Broadcasting, the BBC in London, and PBS and CBS in New York City. I currently share my time between London and Berlin writing fact books on Jewish fashion and as a lecturer on fashion history in the US.

Uwe's book list on fashion and the fashion industry

Discover why each book is one of Uwe's favorite books.

Why did Uwe love this book?

When Bill (William John) Cunningham (1929-2016), son of an Irish Catholic family from Boston, moved to New York at the tender age of 19 in 1948, it became the life-defining step in his career as probably the most famous fashion photographer in the metropolis. He had been interested in fashion from an early age and sold his first hats. After returning from military service in Korea in 1953, he began photographing fashion and writing articles for Women's Wear Daily and the Chicago Tribune.

It is no exaggeration to say that Cunningham's fashion sense and photography quickly shaped a new style of fashion journalism. His "street style" brought fashion, no matter how expensive or luxurious, into the world of everyday life. Cunningham made fashion interesting again only through his point of view and photographs. The quiet, always curious and meticulous Cunningham also became known for his commitment to the gay…

By Bill Cunningham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fashion Climbing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller

"[An] obscenely enjoyable romp." -The New York Times Book Review

The untold story of a New York City legend's education in creativity and style

For Bill Cunningham, New York City was the land of freedom, glamour, and, above all, style. Growing up in a lace-curtain Irish suburb of Boston, secretly trying on his sister's dresses and spending his evenings after school in the city's chicest boutiques, Bill dreamed of a life dedicated to fashion. But his desires were a source of shame for his family, and after dropping out of Harvard, he had to fight…

In My Fashion

By Bettina Ballard,

Book cover of In My Fashion

Dana Thomas Author Of Fashionopolis: Why What We Wear Matters

From the list on fashion in Paris.

Who am I?

Dana Thomas is the author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano and the New York Times bestseller Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. Thomas began her career writing for the Style section of The Washington Post, and for fifteen years she served as a cultural and fashion correspondent for Newsweek in Paris. She is currently a contributing editor for British Vogue, and a regular contributor to The New York Times Style section and Architectural Digest. She wrote the screenplay for Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams, a feature documentary directed by Luca Guadagnino. In 2016, the French Minister of Culture named Thomas a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. She lives in Paris.

Dana's book list on fashion in Paris

Discover why each book is one of Dana's favorite books.

Why did Dana love this book?

Ballard was the Paris editor for American Vogue between the wars, before returning to New York to help run the glossy. In 1960, she published her memoir, In My Fashion, a wonderful snapshot not only of the fashion industry during the European Modernist era, but also of life as a young single American woman in Paris at its most Paris-y. You don’t have to be a fashion lover to love this book.

By Bettina Ballard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In My Fashion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bettina Ballard, Paris-based correspondent and later Fashion Editor for US Vogue, was at the centre of the fashion world from the 1930s to the ’50s and an intimate of Coco Chanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Elsa Schiaparelli. With journalistic flair, she captures the spirit of pre-war Paris, the working methods of the fashion greats and the transformation of the post-war fashion industry with the arrival of Dior.

Empires of Sand

By David W. Ball,

Book cover of Empires of Sand: A Novel

Marthese Fenech Author Of Eight Pointed Cross

From the list on demonstrating the fallout of religious conflict.

Who am I?

Frequent visits to my parents’ Maltese homeland from the time I was very young piqued my interest in the island’s opulent history. Life under the rule of the Knights of St John fascinated me most. The Maltese Islands lend themselves very well to literary descriptions—gifted with four compass points of natural beauty, the smell of the sea constant no matter how far inland one might venture, ancient temples that predate the pyramids of Egypt. It was during a pre-college trip to Malta in July 2000 that the idea to write a novel based on the Siege of 1565 took root, thanks to a visit to the Malta Experience in Valletta.

Marthese's book list on demonstrating the fallout of religious conflict

Discover why each book is one of Marthese's favorite books.

Why did Marthese love this book?

Empires of Sand embodies the grandest tradition of historical fiction—an epic, intricate tale that sweeps from European chateaus to North African dunes. In the late nineteenth century, the French Empire stands on the precipice of collapse and attempts to colonize the Sahara. Cultures collide, the consequences deadly. Cousins Moussa and Paul are raised as brothers in Paris until harrowing events separate them, and they find themselves on opposing sides as battle lines are drawn. I read this novel at a measured pace, partly to absorb the nuances of every scene, partly because I did not want it to end. Empires of Sand captivated me to the point that I missed subway stops during my commute. I reread passages to ingrain them in my mind. David Ball’s mesmerizing, poetic prose serves as evidence that he truly views the world with wonder. The sands of the Sahara beckoned as the story unfolded—so…

By David W. Ball,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empires of Sand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the mysteriously beautiful, richly hued landscape of the Saharan mountains to the sumptuous splendor of nineteenth-century Paris, Empires of Sand is a novel that takes us on an extraordinary, powerfully emotional journey In a clash between two civilizations, two men of common blood discover that in war, love, and even family, they are both destined to be outsiders....

The year is 1870. The proud Republic of France is crumbling under the onslaught of the Prussian army. Paris is under siege. Too young to understand the shifting fortunes of the empire, two boys forge a bond with their breathless adventures…

24 Hours in Italy

By Romi Moondi,

Book cover of 24 Hours in Italy

Jessica Cunsolo Author Of Best Vacation Ever

From the list on fun summer reads for lazy days by the pool.

Who am I?

There’s nothing better than sitting down at the pool to read a fun, engaging story that transports you into another world and keeps you entertained. I’ve always loved reading to escape, and when I started writing and posting my stories for free online at 17 years old, I discovered my true calling. My first story amassed 140 million reads with millions of comments, where people shared how much fun they had reading the story and how it helped them escape from their lives. Since then, I’ve continued writing stories I’m passionate about and sharing them with people who love a good, fun, romance.

Jessica's book list on fun summer reads for lazy days by the pool

Discover why each book is one of Jessica's favorite books.

Why did Jessica love this book?

24 Hours In Italy is the perfect poolside summer read, especially because it transports you to the picturesque Amalfi Coast while enjoying a second chances romance.

I’m recommending this book not only because the author, Romi Moondi, is a fellow Canadian and happens to be my author bestie, but because it’s a genuinely amazing and well-written book. (It got a starred review in Publishers Weekly, so you know I’m not just saying that because I’m biased!).

It’s technically a sequel but it reads as a standalone, and the heartfelt emotions, descriptive setting, and meaningful character arcs make it a perfect summer read.

By Romi Moondi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 24 Hours in Italy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Readers will swoon for this sequel . . . " ― Publishers Weekly, starred review

A new destination, a familiar spark . . .

Two years have passed since Mira and Jake missed their flight and spent a magical 24 hours together in Paris. Sparks flew. Romance bloomed. But life got in the way. When they’re reunited for another whirlwind adventure, will they connect in the same way?

Mira’s living her best life, having started a new chapter by taking a leave from her high pressure corporate position to spend time in Italy. Surrounded by amazing scenery, fantastic food and…


By Dana Thomas,

Book cover of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

Christopher J. Berry Author Of The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation

From the list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?.

Who am I?

As an academic my work is in the area of political theory and my interest in ‘luxury’ came from the awareness that it involved questions of history (why was it seen as a threat to the Roman republic) and socio-political issues around inequality and consumerism. I was awarded a grant to start the investigation and my university (Glasgow) published it along with other awards and it got picked up by the media with the consequence I had my ‘ten minutes of fame’ as I was interviewed by newspapers and on the radio.  My book is the eventual fruit of that study which has, in the words of more than one author, been judged ‘seminal’. 

Christopher's book list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?

Discover why each book is one of Christopher's favorite books.

Why did Christopher love this book?

This is a deservedly best-selling book that decries what the author judges to be the decline of true luxury products into mass-produced items. The luxury industry she believes has sacrificed integrity and hoodwinked consumers. The book’s strength is its investigative reportage of how (so-called) luxury goods are actually made but, as befits the writer’s non-academic, journalistic background, this is done in a readable, accessible way. While it is very different from my own work, its stimulating discussion will prompt those whose interest it piques to explore the issue more widely.

By Dana Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deluxe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dana Thomas's Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre goes deep inside the workings of today's world of profit margins and market share to discover the real meaning of 'luxury'.

Fashion may be fabulous, but what's the true price of luxury? From the importance of fashion owners, to red carpet stars and the seasonal 'must-have' handbags, Dana Thomas shows how far illustrious houses have moved from their roots. Thomas witnesses how these 'luxury' handbags are no longer one in a million, discovers why luxury brand clothing doesn't last as long, and finds out just who is making your perfume.

From terrifying…

Book cover of The Little Paris Bookshop

Janet Hubbard Author Of Champagne

From the list on modern day France containing food and wine.

Who am I?

I went to Paris the first time when I was nineteen. I was sitting in a cheap restaurant when a man entered carrying a burlap sack filled with escargots, and put some on my plate (all very unsanitary) for me to taste. Delicious! I was in France in the 1970s when Robert Parker was discovering French wine. (We didn’t meet then, but did after my series was published many years later.)  Subsequent stays in Paris and other areas of France (Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy) afforded me a food and wine sensibility that over decades has permeated my lifestyle, my friendships—and my writing.

Janet's book list on modern day France containing food and wine

Discover why each book is one of Janet's favorite books.

Why did Janet love this book?

This is a novel that I read in one day, warming to the grieving protagonists who have found each other, and particularly struck by their first meal together—fish poached in cream and white wine, new potatoes roasted in garlic and rosemary, pears and cheese, and with a beautiful French wine to accompany it. In my mind romance can’t exist without meals prepared from scratch and wine to go with it. The other secret ingredient in the novel is books, and the combination of food and wine, a romance, and a love of books gives this book a permanent place in my library. In fact, I am rereading it.

By Nina George,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Little Paris Bookshop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international bestseller, translated from the German by Simon Pare.

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a 'literary apothecary', for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust…

Regency Recollections

By Christopher Summerville (editor),

Book cover of Regency Recollections: Captain Gronow's Guide to Life in London and Paris

Melissa McShane Author Of Burning Bright

From the list on touring the unfamiliar corners of Regency England.

Who am I?

I’ve loved the Regency era since first reading Jane Austen’s novels, but in writing my series of 19th-century adventure fantasies, I discovered there was so much more to the period than I’d ever dreamed. Though their culture and traditions aren’t like ours, I’m fascinated by how much about the lives of those men and women is familiar—the same desires, the same dreams for the future. I hope the books on this list inspire in you the same excitement they did in me!

Melissa's book list on touring the unfamiliar corners of Regency England

Discover why each book is one of Melissa's favorite books.

Why did Melissa love this book?

So at this point, you’re steeped in all things Regency, and there’s so much to see, you need a native guide. Enter Captain Rees Gronow! Captain Gronow knew everyone who was worth knowing during the Regency, including the Prince Regent himself, and wrote memoirs that were witty and satirical and funny. This compilation of his writing gives the dirt on the rich and famous of Regency times, and if you want to know more about the places you’ve read about, chances are Gronow has something to say about them.

By Christopher Summerville (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Regency Recollections as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Captain Rees Howell Gronow was a dandy, a debtor, a duellist and a raconteur who lived the high life in Regency London and Paris. He was also a talented writer and his memoirs form the liveliest picture of Regency society ever produced.

A contemporary noted that Gronow 'committed the greatest follies, without in the slightest disturbing the points of his shirt collar.' An epitome of style, the personification of the man about town, he devoted his life to fashionable and exciting pursuits. And he lived in exciting times. He was a Waterloo veteran , knew the obnoxious Prince Regent, mixed…

Book cover of The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Paris

Joan DeJean Author Of How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City

From the list on what makes a city great, especially Paris.

Who am I?

I’ve lived in cities all my adult life and currently divide my time between Paris and Philadelphia. And while those two cities are strikingly different places, they have in common the fact that they are both great walking cities –- urban centers that can be explored on foot and easily enjoyed by pedestrians. Walking cities, I believe, provide not only an ideal context for today’s tourists but also a model for a future in which urban dwellers become less reliant on automobiles and urban centers more open to foot traffic than to vehicular pollution and congestion. The books I’ll recommend deal in various ways with the building and rebuilding of visionary cities, and of Paris in particular.

Joan's book list on what makes a city great, especially Paris

Discover why each book is one of Joan's favorite books.

Why did Joan love this book?

Beginning in the seventeenth century at the moment when Paris was redesigned, it became a great literary city and the center of the French literary tradition. For anyone interested in how the most important French writers have celebrated their city and depicted the ways in which Paris has changed over the centuries and the impact such changes have had on its inhabitants this is the perfect book.

By Anna-Louise Milne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No city more than Paris has had such a constant and deep association with the development of literary forms and cultural ideas. The idea of the city as a space of literary self-consciousness started to take hold in the sixteenth century. By 1620, where this volume begins, the first in a long line of extraordinary works of the human imagination, in which the city represented itself to itself, had begun to find form in print. This collection follows that process through to the present day. Beginning with the 'salon', followed by the hybrid culture of libertinage and the revolutionary hotbeds…

A Year in the Merde

By Stephen Clarke,

Book cover of A Year in the Merde

Bradt Guides

From the list on inspired us to go travelling.

Who are Bradt Guides?

Founded in 1974, Bradt Guides is now the largest independently-owned guidebook publisher in both the US and UK. We have over 200 titles in print, with a particular focus on lesser-known places overlooked by other travel publishers. We also publish a series of Slow Travel guides to UK regions and a list of travel narratives. There are 15 people in the Bradt team, based (when Covid allows) in an office above a coffee shop in Chesham, Bucks. The following books are very different but all connected to travel in fun ways. The books were selected by Simon Willmore, Claire Strange, Iona Brokenshire, Deborah Gerrard, and Hugh Brune. 

Bradt's book list on inspired us to go travelling

Discover why each book is one of Bradt's favorite books.

Why did Bradt love this book?

In A Year in the Merde, Stephen Clarke walks the line perfectly between berating the country he's in and making it clear he is, in truth, really enjoying himself. When I discovered the book, I (a Brit) was living in Grenoble in France so it was particularly relevant. At the time, I was desperately trying to complete my Masters - in engineering! - but Clarke's book opened my eyes to a world where you can earn a living by documenting your travel experiences. 

Within six months, I had completed my Masters (by the skin of my teeth), turned my back on engineering, and enrolled in a post-graduate course in journalism. 11 years later, I've worked on books of my own, including guides to Malaysia, India, Spain, and France - returning to Grenoble, the place where it all began.

By Stephen Clarke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Year in the Merde as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What are the French really like?

Paul West, a young Englishman arriving in Paris to start a new job, is about to find out.

They do eat a lot of cheese, some of which smells like pigs' droppings.

They don't wash their armpits with garlic soap.

Going on strike really is the second national participation sport after petanque.

And, yes, they do use suppositories.

Less quaint than A Year in Provence, less chocolatey than Chocolat, A Year in the Merde will tell you how to get served by the grumpiest Parisian waiter; how to make perfect vinaigrette every time;…

The Dark Frontier

By Eric Ambler,

Book cover of The Dark Frontier: A Spy Thriller

Pamela Kelt Author Of Half Life

From the list on 1930s/1940s ‘noir’ thrillers where science gets real.

Who am I?

I inherited a love of ‘noir’ from my father. I’m not ashamed to say that Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon are my favourite movies. I’m Scottish born, and read John Buchan as a child. I am drawn to stories that combine fast adventure with dark threats. Some years ago, we visited Tromsø and I was inspired to quit journalism and write a book filled with all my favourite ingredients. Half Life is a pre-war ‘noir’ thriller based on authentic scientific detail, researched and supplied by my husband Rob, a chemistry professor with a passion for planes. I now know more about thorium, nuclear reactors, and seaplanes than I ever thought possible.

Pamela's book list on 1930s/1940s ‘noir’ thrillers where science gets real

Discover why each book is one of Pamela's favorite books.

Why did Pamela love this book?

One rainy day in 1930s Paris, a copywriter decided to write a thriller and devised a tale about the nuclear bomb, Nazi scientists, and a mysterious Balkan country. This sounds like the start of a novel, but it is the real-life birth of master storyteller Eric Ambler’s first book. A curmudgeonly English physicist is invited to corroborate the nuclear formula, but then... the twist. He is concussed in a car accident and awakes convinced that he is now a super-spy, one Carruthers, who takes on the forces of evil with a Bond-like nonchalance. 

Is the book a parody of earlier spy novels? Perhaps Ambler is seduced by the cleverness of his own story. I don’t actually care. It remains a satisfyingly imaginative tale about the role of science in war, all written in a witty, gritty style that sets the tone for many enjoyable books and films to come.

By Eric Ambler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dark Frontier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Dark Frontier launched Eric Ambler’s five-decade career as one of the most influential thriller writers of our time.
England, 1935. Physicist Henry Barstow is on holiday when he meets the mysterious Simon Groom, a representative for an armaments manufacturer. Groom invites the professor to Ixania, a small nation-state in Eastern Europe whose growing weapons program threatens to destabilize the region. Only after suffering a blow to the head—which muddles his brain into believing he is Conway Carruthers, international spy—does the mild-mannered physicist agree to visit Ixania. But he quickly recognizes that Groom has a more sinister agenda, and Carruthers…