Valentine, a Killer Debut Novel, and Banned Books

Sunset in Big Bend National Park

Last week, I finished reading Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore. I previously thought that American Dirt would be my favorite book of 2020 but unexpectedly, Valentine bumped it out of the running by a significant margin. What each of us finds praiseworthy about a book is entirely personal and while I…

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Le Périphérique, Congested Beltway Of Paris To Become Greenspace

The Périphérique of Paris

These days, when I go online, it seems nearly impossible to avoid bad news. Between Covid, the U.S. election, the response to the BLM movement, and many other raw subjects, it’s tough to remain positive. My post this week is an attempt to avoid the merde and focus on man’s…

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The Battle Of Algiers, Cinematic Portrait Of The Algerian Revolution

Movie poster

This week I re-watched an unforgettable film that I discovered in 2013 while writing a paper on Algeria. La Bataille d’Alger, released in 1966 and banned in France for more than 5 years, is a remarkable movie, by Italian journalist and filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo. The screenplay, written by Yacef Saâdi,…

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Kiki de Montparnasse, Immortal yet Forgotten Queen—Part II

Portrait by Kees Van Dongen

Last week I introduced readers to the larger-than-life Kiki de Montparnasse. Kiki was a flamboyant artist’s model and muse of many notable painters, sculptors, and photographers living in Paris during les années folles, or 1920s. Born into poverty and abandoned by her parents, Kiki found herself alone on the streets…

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Kiki de Montparnasse, Muse of A Thousand Faces — Part I

Photo of Kiki by Pablo Gargallo

There are many reasons why I love my public library and high on the list is its world language section. Over the years, regularly browsing the French stacks, I’ve often noticed the book Kiki de Montparnasse, by Catel Muller and José-Louis Bocquet. For whatever reason, the cover blurb never managed…

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American Dirt, The Out Crowd, and Cancel Culture

Saguaro National Park by Joe Parks

Since Covid, I’ve been very diligent about staying home, limiting my social interactions, wearing a mask, etc. Last week, however, I decided to escape the confinement and join my husband Andy on a short expedition across Wyoming and South Dakota. I thoroughly enjoyed the break from routine. To sum things…

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Two Graphic Novels, Illuminating Memoirs from the Middle East that are Fun to Read

Panel from Persepolis

For most westerners, the Middle East is a frightening and poorly understood part of the world. It’s impossible to develop an appreciation for the diversity of its people, its rich history, and the range of life experience in the region if you only rely on western news reports. In the…

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