Great books about Paris and France: ALL the titles from The Earful Tower Book Club

Looking for a good book? Look no further!

Here’s the ever-updating list of books that from The Earful Tower book club, which features a different title every month. And quite often, the author joins us on the podcast or YouTube for a book talk! They’re all linked below too.

Remember, you can join the Facebook group here for free. If you sign up on Patreon for a small monthly donation, you get extra benefits, as always, and help this show to thrive.

Here’s the full list of book. If you wish to see people’s comments and discussions about the books, it’s all on the Facebook group above.

January 2021

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

Considered one of the richest and most irreverent biographies in history,  written by Gertrude Stein in the style and voice of her life partner, Alice B. Toklas. It begins with her initial move to France in 1907, the day after which she meets Gertrude, sparking a relationship that lasts for nearly four decades.

December 2020

Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

This page-turning novel is about a woman who returns to her family’s ancestral vineyard in Burgundy and unexpectedly uncovers a lost diary, an unknown relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since WWII.

November 2020

The Flaneur by Edmund White

flaneur is a stroller, a loiterer, someone who ambles through city streets in search of adventure and fulfillment. Edmund White, lived in Paris for sixteen years, in his learned hands, a walk through Paris is both a tour of its lush, sometimes prurient history, and an evocation of the city’s spirit.

October 2020

Three Hours In Paris by Cara Black

In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of three hours in the City of Light—abruptly leaving, never to return. To this day, no one knows why.

Cara was also a guest on The Earful Tower!
Talking about the book, you can hear her episode below:

September 2020

Chanel’s Riveria by Anne de Courcy

In this captivating narrative, Chanel’s Riviera explores the fascinating world of the Cote d’Azur during a period that saw the deepest extremes of luxury and terror in the twentieth century.

August 2020
Notre Dame, The Soul of France by Agnès Poirier

The profound emotion felt around the world upon seeing images of Notre-Dame in flames opens up a series of questions: Why was everyone so deeply moved? Why does Notre-Dame so clearly crystallise what our civilisation is about? What makes ‘Our Lady of Paris’ the soul of a nation and a symbol of human achievement? What is it that speaks so directly to us today?

Agnes was also a guest on The Earful Tower!
You can hear her episode below:

July 2020
The Hotel on Place Vendome by Tilar J Mazzeo

Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, The Hôtel on Place Vendôme is the captivating history of Paris’s world-famous Hôtel Ritz—a breathtaking tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage, and resistance—from Tilar J. Manzeo, the author of The Widow Clicquot and The Secret of Chanel No. 5

June 2020
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

Giovanni’s Room is a 1956 novel by James Baldwin. The book focuses on the events in the life of an American man living in Paris and his feelings and frustrations with his relationships with other men in his life, particularly an Italian bartender named Giovanni whom he meets at a Parisian gay bar.

April 2020
Paris on Air by Oliver Gee

Yes in April we focused on my own book: Paris On Air and I’m glad to say the reviews were excellent! Surely you know about the book already, but if not, you can read a lot more about it here.

And don’t forget about the audio experience!

March 2020
Quiet Days in Clichy by Henry Miller

Quiet Days in Clichy is a novella written by Henry Miller. It is based on his experience as a Parisian expatriate in the early 1930s, when he and Alfred Perlès shared a small apartment in suburban Clichy as struggling writers. It takes place around the time Miller was writing Black Spring.

February 2019
Older But Better, But Older by Caroline de Maigret

Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas are back to amuse you, saying what you don’t expect to hear, just the way you want to hear it. But this time they reveal how they are modifying their favourite bad girl habits and mischievous mindsets now they are more ‘madam’ than ‘mademoiselle’.

Caroline has been a guest on the Earful Tower a few times. Listen below:

January 2019

Choose your own book. Members recommended titles like The Assassin in the Marais by Claude Izner and The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone.

December 2019
The Seine: The River That Made Paris by Elaine Sciolino

Elaine Sciolino came to Paris as a young foreign correspondent and was seduced by a river. In The Seine, she tells the story of that river from its source on a remote plateau of Burgundy to the wide estuary where its waters meet the sea, and the cities, tributaries, islands, ports, and bridges in between.

Elaine was the second ever guest on The Earful Tower and came back on the show to talk about the Seine! You can hear her episodes below:

November 2019
Choose your own!

Some selections include When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation 1940-1944 by Ronald C. Rosbottom and Boulevard by Robert Sabatier

October 2019
Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau

Les Enfants Terribles holds an undisputed place among the classics of modern fiction. Written in a French style that long defied successful translation – Cocteau was always a poet no matter what he was writing – the book came into its own for English-language readers in 1955 when the present version was completed by Rosamond Lehmann. It is a masterpiece of the art of translation of which the Times Literary Supplement said: “It has the rare merit of reading as though it were an English original.”

September 2019
Paris, Paris by David Downie

Swapping his native San Francisco for the City of Light, travel writer David Downie arrived in Paris in 1986 on a one-way ticket, his head full of romantic notions. Curiosity and the legs of a cross-country runner propelled him daily from an unheated, seventh-floor walk-up garret near the Champs-Elysées to the old Montmartre haunts of the doomed painter Modigliani, the tombs of Père-Lachaise cemetery, the luxuriant alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens and the aristocratic Île Saint-Louis midstream in the Seine.

David Downie was a guest on The Earful Tower and talked about the Marais, walks in Paris, and more!

August 2019
Paris to the Past by Ina Caro

In one of the most inventive travel books in years, Ina Caro invites readers on twenty-five one-day train trips that depart from Paris and transport us back through seven hundred years of French history. Whether taking us to Orléans to evoke the visions of Joan of Arc or to the Place de la Concorde to witness the beheading of Marie Antoinette, Caro animates history with her lush descriptions of architectural splendors and tales of court intrigue.

July 2019
Choose your own book!
Book club members chose books such as: Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin, French Exit by Patrick DeWitt, How Paris Became Paris by Joan DeJean, Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain; The Collector’s Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro, PS from Paris, and French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman

June 2019
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife is a 2011 historical fiction novel by Paula McLain which became a New York Times Bestseller. It is a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to the first of his four wives, Hadley Richardson

May 2019
Murder in the Marais by Cara Black

Meet Aimée Leduc, the smart, stylish Parisian private investigator, in her bestselling first investigation. Aimée Leduc has always sworn she would stick to tech investigation—no criminal cases for her. Especially since her father, the late police detective, was killed in the line of duty.

Cara was on the show and talked about how to get away with murder in Paris:

April 2019
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

“The finest book on France in recent years.”—Alain de Botton, The New York Times Book Review. In 1995, Adam Gopnik, his wife, and their infant son left the familiar comforts and hassles of New York City for the urbane glamour of Paris.

March 2019
A Year in Paris by John Baxter

From the incomparable John Baxter, award-winning author of the bestselling The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, a sumptuous and definitive portrait of Paris through the seasons, highlighting the unique tastes, sights, and changing personality of the city in spring, summer, fall, and winter.

John has been on the show many times, here are some favourites:

February 2019
L’Appart by David Lebovitz

Bestselling author and world-renowned chef David Lebovitz continues to mine the rich subject of his evolving ex-Pat life in Paris, using his perplexing experiences in apartment renovation as a launching point for stories about French culture, food, and what it means to revamp one’s life. Includes dozens of new recipes.

David was on the show twice! Hear his episodes below:

January 2019
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises is a 1926 novel by American writer Ernest Hemingway that portrays American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights.

Don’t forget to listen to the time I had Hemingway on the show!

December 2018
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a novel by the French novelist and philosophy teacher Muriel Barbery. The book follows events in the life of a concierge, Renée Michel, whose deliberately concealed intelligence is uncovered by an unstable but intellectually precocious girl named Paloma Josse.

November 2018
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940, Suite Française tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart.

October 2018
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

And here it is, the first ever book club title! In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs.

You may have heard the podcast episode about it all, where I visited the village where it was set.

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning while the price doesn’t change for you, I can potentially earn a small commission on any purchases you make.

3 thoughts on “Great books about Paris and France: ALL the titles from The Earful Tower Book Club

  1. I’ve read many of these. I’m hoping that someday your book club discussion will take place on a Zoom meeting.

  2. Please add Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard – delightful. Inspired me to take my young daughter, Vivienne to the Gellerie de Vivienne. She also wrote Picnic in Provence – when we traveled there, we met her husband at their ice cream shop. I enjoy your podcast so much. Merci

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