Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Historical Fiction Giveaway: A Fine Imitation

Set in the glamorous 1920s, A Fine Imitation is an intoxicating debut that sweeps readers into a privileged Manhattan socialite’s restless life and the affair with a mysterious painter that upends her world, flashing back to her years at Vassar and the friendship that brought her to the brink of ruin.

Vera Bellington has beauty, pedigree, and a penthouse at The Angelus–the most coveted address on Park Avenue. But behind the sparkling social whirl, Vera is living a life of quiet desperation. Her days are an unbroken loop of empty, champagne-soaked socializing, while her nights are silent and cold, spent waiting alone in her cavernous apartment for a husband who seldom comes home.

Author Q&A Good for Book Clubs

Kate Bolick, Author of Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own is on Book Club Appetizer!

“Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.”

So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried.

Tune into this month’s episode of Book Club Appetizer to hear Bolick talk about finding her awakeners and writing this memoir that celebrates singledom and strong, independent women.

Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

Expat Life and (Not) Going Native in France

I’m sitting in Paris, in this biodynamic and organic wine bar (Complètement BIO! Pas de sulfites!), having an extra glass of wine just because I’m in town for a meeting and I’m on my own tonight and why not? I’m reading an Aleksandar Hemon article in an old New Yorker, about how he absolutely owned Sarajevo, he felt like the geography of the place was imprinted on his soul. And then he happens to be out of the country when the siege begins, and then he doesn’t go back for ten years. He’s losing the geography of his youth and unwittingly overwrites it with Chicago, which happens to be the place where I imprinted….

All the places in his story are my places, and at any moment, I might have seen him walking down the street any time. We overlapped five years, years during which he was engaging, and I was disengaging.

And I know it’s the three glasses of wine, and Hemon is an awesome writer, but I feel absolutely melancholy about what I’ve given up in leaving Chicago. And yet I can’t quite imagine moving back. When I visit, the geography of my youth is gone, only the street grid remains. Which is sort of what he says, too.

Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

Making the Perfect Cheese Plate

Not long ago, I was at my local Whole Foods where I (oddly enough) stood perusing the stacked cheeses. Nearby, a couple hosting a dinner party was clearly perplexed, flummoxed, even upset. “Is this any good?” they asked, holding aloft a lovely round of artisan-made goat cheese covered in a fine coating of ash. They frowned. Such moments are precisely why I wrote The Whole Fromage. Though I had a long history as a cheese-eater, there was a time when I, too, was mystified by such strange and wonderful “new” cheeses. Yet I found in researching my book that just a bit of cheese knowledge goes a long way, and that acquiring can be not only fun, but very tasty. You can have an even easier—though no less flavorful—time doing the same, as I’ve done most of the legwork for you. The following steps will make you a cheese aficionado in record time.

Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

An Homage to Perfectly Imperfect Style

We Americans scratch our neatly coiffed heads and re-knot our brand new Hermes scarves and wonder why it is that we cannot achieve the effortless elegance that French women seem to have claimed as part of their national identity. Why can’t we pull off the je ne sais quoi of Ines de la Fressange in her bright fuchsia silk blouse, stovepipe jeans, and neat black ballet slippers? Or the sultry pout and sloppy chignon of Brigitte Bardot? Where is the rule written that says you can smoke tiny little cigarettes at the dinner table and still look like the epitome of chic, Catherine Deneuve? And how on earth does every Parisienne go to the market on Sunday morning, wait in line for a fresh baguette, and then drag one of those canvas trolleys home behind her in vertiginous heels, a skinny pencil skirt and a slash of red lipstick like it’s just another day of domestic bliss?

Meet the Author Good for Book Clubs

Authors Share Their Favorite Places to Read (and Write!) in Paris

How could you not feel inspired to crack open a book or notebook in Paris? After all, so many authors wrote some of their best work while living in the City of Light; you can feel their creative energy pulsing out of every corner of the city. We asked French authors, authors who’ve written about France’s luminaries, and well-traveled authors to share their favorite places to read and write in Paris (and beyond). Some answers put these authors in the shoes of their forebears, browsing the stacks at Shakespeare and Company for a sign of James Joyce’s workspace, or raising a martini to Ernest Hemingway at the Paris Ritz. But others find more unusual inspiration spots, from gardens to churches to cemeteries. Keep these reading and writing nooks in mind for your next trip!

Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

Hidden Romantic Places in Paris

While perched at a sidewalk café on a sweeping boulevard or while walking with arms linked on the curving banks of the Seine, have you ever wondered whether “Paris, City of Light” ought to be “Paris, City of Love?”

The old nickname needs changing: it’s not bright lights that make Paris the standout. It’s the atmosphere you breathe.

What other modern mega-city has saved its historic heart like Paris? Where else does Europe’s most magical river flow, a blue-green eyebrow crossed by beautiful bridges?

“Beauty”—such an old-fashioned word—comes in unexpected flavors. When the Bateaux-Mouches cruise Paris at night, their spotlights pick out gilded interiors in Old Regime palaces—and legions of lovers dotting the quays.

Beyond the physical wonderfulness lie the intangibles. No other nation is more notorious for naughtiness, sex and luxurious style. No need to visit the Moulin Rouge to find scarlet. As Hollywood teaches, every Frenchwoman merges the wily charms of Madame de Pompadour and the angular beauty of Catherine Deneuve. Frenchmen are modern-day musketeers with the peacock-pluck of a d’Artagnan and the looks of the young Alain Delon.