Mar. 6th, 2005

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I started this blog specifically so that my friends and family could have a regular indication of what I am up to here in Paris, but it has evolved somewhat differently than I imagined, and I seem to have fallen into the habit of writing little anecdotes or commentaries on specific events.  But it's been a while since I posted, so I have decided to just "report" on my recent activities.Read more... )
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So, I've now read Wilkie Collins' "four great novels of the 1860s" and I'm ready for more.  I just finished The Woman in White, his most famous and commercially successful work.  I didn't like it as much as No Name and Armadale, but I understand the appeal.  I would regularly gasp or giggle aloud as I read.  What a complex and ingenious plot.  And the characters of Count Fosco and Marian Halcome are certainly as memorable as anyone created by Dickens.

But I'm putting aside Wilkie for a while to indulge myself in another genre:  the charming Guy has just given me Histoires inedites du Petit Nicolas.  It was published just before Christmas, and Guy decided to give it to me for my birthday in January.  However, the book was such a smash that all available copies were snapped up and he had to wait for the next printing.  From 1959 until 1965, a French weekly published illustrated stories about a young schoolboy named Nicolas, a kind of Dennis the Menace figure.  They are all first-person accounts of the adventures and misadventures of the lively child.  In the 1960s, five volumes of the stories were published in book form, but the 80 stories in this handsome 600-page tome have been unavailable until now.  So far, I've read five of them, and look forward to the next 75.  They are simple, not just in plot but also in language, but rather sweet.

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Paul Leonard

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