How The French Invented Love (Blog Tour)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Title: How the French Invented Love
Subtitle: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance
Author: Marilyn Yalom
Pages: 365
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial (Harper Collins)
Pub. Date: October 23, 2012

It's sort of an accepted truth that the French view love and all its related parts (sex, marriage, etc.) differently than those in the American culture. There's something about the passion and liberties the French culture pour into their expressions of love. In How the French Invented Love, Marilyn Yalom chronicles and dissects the French literature about love through the ages to provide a picture of the French concept of love, sex, and marriage. Her analysis goes from the 1100's with the story of Abelard and Heloise (sort of a French Romeo and Juliet) to the 1700's with La Princesse de Cleves which has had even recent controversy to the writers of the 1900's.

Yalom, previously a professor of French literature, packed this book with insights about tons of literature and cultural attitudes. I alternated between being completely caught up in what I was reading with feeling overwhelmed with information. I, personally, felt this book was quite academic in nature and wouldn't recommend it to a casual reader, for sure. For me the more difficult part was the first half in which Yalom focused on medieval (and other early) literature. I've always found that time period difficult to understand and relate to, and I also know little about French literature or life so that was difficult for me as well. On the other hand, I was fascinated by the attitudes about love as well as the stories that Yalom relayed. One thought that stuck with me was the attitude that true love doesn't exist in marriage. The thought behind it was interesting and could apply today, though I don't believe it to be automatically true at all!

As the book moved on, I found it increasingly easier to follow along, likely because I understand the time frame better but also because I was familiar with and had previously read some of the other works she referred to, especially, for instance, with Madame Bovary and Cyrano De Bergerac as I read both years ago and was able to follow up with some newer, "grown up", commentary and insight. I will say the one downside for me was that Yalom referred to so much different literature throughout the book that even though she discussed them in detail, I'd move on and then forget all about a recent piece she had discussed.

I would certainly recommend this book to those who have an interest in French literature and/or culture as well as to those who enjoy ruminating on the concept of LOVE.

Follow the rest of the tour below:
Tuesday, October 23rd: The Year in Books
Thursday, October 25th: Unabridged Chick
Monday, October 29th: The Written World
Tuesday, October 30th: Doing Dewey
Wednesday, October 31st: Take Me Away
Thursday, November 1st: Oh! Paper Pages
Monday, November 5th: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Tuesday, November 6th: Dreaming in Books
Wednesday, November 7th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, November 8th: Book Hooked Blog
Friday, November 9th: BooksAreTheNewBlack
Monday, November 12th: missris
Wednesday, November 28th: Much Madness is Divinest Sense


Sunday Salon: Reading ADD

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Remember that big test I had to take?  I passed!!!  It's such a relief to have that out of the way, and I'm hoping that everything starts returning to a little bit of normalcy around here! Just give me another six months and I will have my own license in my field. Woo hoo!

It's funny because my last few posts have been about how I really haven't been reading much lately. And I haven't, truly. BUT, I do feel like if I added together all the pages I've read, I MUST have still read a couple books' worth. I have had such insane reading ADD! I have started so many books and then get bored anywhere from 30-100 pages in. Some have become DNF's and some have been set aside only for the time being. It's sort of crazy. Anyway, I guess I'll try to post one of the DNF's soon since it fits in with the theme of October books.

In related news, my hubby and I are reading Heart Shaped Box together (each on our nooks) to have a horror book read-a-long. I remember reading a few reviews of this before but can't remember what the consensus was. I initially refused to read it because I thought I'd be terrified. Now I'm about 75 pages in and feeling like it's cheesy... BUT this might be a defense mechanism protecting myself from getting scared, LOL. Who knows. We were going to try It but I thought with my reading dynamics lately we'd be better sticking to a small book. We have tried this at least a couple times before (Dracula last year, The Passage the year before that) and I have never finished one... I'm trying really hard to stay interested in this year's read, LOL.

Hope everyone has a great week!

P.S. I'm still trying to catch up on your blogs and get back to a normal schedule of blog reading.

September in Review

Monday, October 1, 2012


Reading and Reviewing
Well... I just recently updated, so not much has changed. The only book I read this month was a graphic novel, American Widow. I also did not post any reviews this month. 

I have started so many books, but none have been holding my interest. Some are partly the book's fault, and some are definitely not.

I've decided I need to post more book related (or other) posts and not so many reviews since I can't keep up. I have to think about how I want this to work. I also don't want to feel pressured to review every book I read. I don't really want to post too much personal information, but I do need a way to expand the blog a little.

There are a couple websites I've been enjoying that are literary - well one, yes, the other not literary so much as humanistic, and both take place in my favorite city that I wanted to share. They both have their own website but I follow both through Facebook. The first one is called Humans of New York (or HONY) or can be followed on FB. This photographer posts frequently (every day, sometimes more than once a day) of various people he runs across. The pictures are charming, sweet, fun, and sometimes have great stories behind them. Love this site.

The other site is called the Underground New York Public Library. Every day he posts a picture of someone reading a book on the subway or the subway platform and captions the picture with the name of the book. Each Friday he posts a picture of someone reading an e-book, though we don't get the names of those books. But again, it's humanistic as well as fun to see what others are reading. This one also can be followed on FB.

That's it for now. I do have a blog tour at the end of the month so I'll at least be back for that, though I am hoping to read and review a couple R.I.P type books for this Halloween month!