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Once I finish the books I have on the go I'm going to search out something set in Italy. I was able to visit there several years ago and would love to go back someday. For now though, I'll have to settle for some of that armchair travel. Perhaps a Donna Leon set in Venice? I think she has one out that I haven't read yet and my library is starting to make plans to reopen with curbside pick-up. But I would love other suggestions!?


Yay, Italy!!! Have you read any books by Maurizio de Giovanni? He writes two series, one in contemporary Naples and one in Fascist WWII Italy. I have read a couple of the latter featuring Comm. Ricciardi. The twist is Ricciardi sees dead people-sounds weird but it works. He also is a bit of a loner but has a thing for his neighbor, who he sees from his window. She is sort of lonely, too. I need to pick up the next book soon! Have you heard of Lucretia Grindle? She is good. Michael Dibdin or Christobel Kent. Natalia Ginzburg is really good. Michelle Lovric? Sarah Dunant or one of E.M. Forster’s Italy novels? Donna Leon is great too! Have fun looking!


I am always happy to armchair travel to France!


Thank you for so many wonderful possibilities! I have some Dibdin on my shelf that I had forgotten about. So I'll start there but will definitely look into the others.


My French TBR is sorely lacking, I look forward to reading your tourist recommendations. :)

I am currently splitting my time across England ('These Our Monsters: The English Heritage Book of New Folktale, Myth And Legend') and Paris, ('Les Misérables' - chugging along!)


I'm not quite sure about traveling this summer
even in an armchair mainly because for quite a while already I have been pondering another plan. I'd like to read 'the century of my mother'. It would start in 1910 and end in 1998. I would only chose woman writers. Somehow it feels like a good moment to make start now. I might consult you for authors :)

And in the meanwhile I could enjoy the gems you surely will find in France. Best of both worlds isn't it?


I am so bummed out that we cannot travel this year. Ugh. I don't even want to start thinking about it because it's always such a special time for us. Anyway, what can we do right? Thank goodness for books. I just did a tag blog post about armchair traveling too. Hope you enjoy the start of your summer reading with your travels through France and of course some wine or pastries to go with them! Sounds perfect!

Kathy A Johnson

A challenge after my own heart! I've read Ana Gavalda's Hunting and Gathering and can recommend it. And while these are not fiction, or translated from French, I can also highly recommend Janice MacLeod's Paris Letters and a Year in Paris. Le sigh.

If you're interested, I wrote a blog post about Paris-themed books back when I was preparing to go to France:

I still haven't read all the books on that list, so maybe my armchair traveling should take me to France this summer. Probably not going anyplace "real," unfortunately.


I can't say how happy I am of your choice of destination! I haven't read (or heard of) this particular book of Delphine de Vigan, but I read one of hers which is awesome (Based on a true story is the title).


If you are reading about France I heartily recommend the nonfiction book PARIS TO THE PAST. I'm not a Francophile, but was enthralled by the historical places the author visited. Adam Gopnik's book about living in Paris is also good.


All of the books in your stack look like amazing choices: enjoy your trip!


I'm keeping Fodors Paris book on my bedside and religiously reading it everyday. I am hoping that the wish will materialize soon. I love the travel books and Paris particularly is a dream spot for me. Been once, but I think I will always dream of going back again.


Me, too. I am reading a Simenon mystery set in chilly weather which feels nice since it is so hot here now. Also his stories can really exude Paris!!


Les Miserables is very French--right! I read it back in the days when I could actually concentrate, though it was an especially long read for me. I am reading a Georges Simenon mystery, which if you like mysteries I highly recommend. He wrote loads of them and I just pick and choose--I think it really does not matter which order you read them in. Just started a mystery set in Dublin, too, which is very promising so far.


Wow--that sounds like a really cool project and I like the sound of it. How is it coming along? I am curious which books you are reading?


I won't be going anywhere this year for sure. Maybe next summer will be better. It's too bad your travel plans are also on hold. You have such luck to see family in Europe. I think at the moment things are better there, but maybe they don't want travelers from the US coming in?


I thought you had read Anna Gavalda--I have that book on my pile. At the moment I am reading an Inspector Maigret story since they always have such a wonderful feeling of being in Paris. Thanks for the link--I am so very tardily catching up on things...


I have that Delphine de Vigan novel--I will be staying in France for the rest of the year I suspect! (Wishful thinking).


I have read and enjoyed Adam Gopnik, but Paris to the Past is not familiar so I will look it up!


A slow but steady trip. I will stay there now for the rest of the year I think. Maybe I need a little countryside foray--wine country? It's all good!


I do the same thing--I buy travel guides for places I want to visit. Even if I don't go, I can imagine myself there!

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