dimanche 29 août 2010

A year's worth of reading, recommended by the Super Librarian

I've always thought that back-to-school, post-Labor Day was the natural beginning of the year. La Rentrée littéraire is a French tradition that honors this vérité.

Earlier this summer, everyone's favorite librarian Nancy Pearl (author of Book Lust)offered up a list of lesser-known books that should be on everyone's to read list. It's always humbling and challenging to come across a list of books that sound like they are worth reading and not see one familiar name or title! Click on the title here for a look at the Lusty Librarian's List.

Right now, I'm reading Le dernier mort de Mitterand by Raphaëlle Bacqué. It begins with the suicide of François de Grossouvre, a member of François Mitterand's political entourage, in 1994. He was not the only Mitterand proche to end his life: who can forget the sad story of Pierre Bérégovoy (and his outraged widow, who clearly blamed Mitterand for the death of her husband)? But his suicide was kept more in the shadows for a long time. Bacqué does a great job of telling the story of a friendship that had all the markings of a love affair and that became as worn and frazzled as the power wielded by the enigmatic, mysterious François Mitterand. Details about Mitterand's double life are recounted here too, since Grossouvre was instrumental in attending to its details: Anne Pingeot, Mitterand's mistress, the mother of his daughter Mazarine, hidden away for so many years and then thrust into the public eye when Mitterand died.