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A few weeks ago, my fantastic friend Jordan, who is in Ecuador (hence the title of her blog), wrote a Peace Corps Survival Guide. I loved it. Of course, I’m not in the Peace Corps, but I could definitely relate to things like “bring your own toiletries” (because in France you can’t get economy-sized bottles of painkillers like you can at any CVS in the States) and “laugh at yourself.”

One of the things that has helped me survive this year in France (not that I ever had any doubts about my survival, but you know what I mean) has been reading. In English, though people have frequently asked me why I don’t read in French (answer: too much work!). I go to the American Library almost every week, and according to my Goodreads bookshelf, I have read 36 books since arriving in France. (This number, while impressive, would probably be higher if it hadn’t been for The Pickwick Papers…but that’s okay, because I truly loved The Pickwick Papers.)

Anyway. I usually do stick to the library, but lately it’s been letting me down a little bit. After I read Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth, I decided right away to check out Winifred Holtby’s South Riding. But as it turns out, despite Holtby being more famous than Brittain (especially since there was a recent miniseries made of South Riding), the American Library in Paris does not carry a single title. So I went ahead and bought it (and also Anderby Wold, which was her first novel).

And then of course there was the new Hilary Mantel book, which I have been looking forward to since I read Wolf Hall in October and was promptly informed by my friend Margaret (who likes to be “mentioned in dispatches”!) that there would be a sequel about the Seymours. So of course I had to pre-order it, because if I waited until the American Library had it, I would be waiting until I got back to the States.

To say nothing of things like The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, both recommended and blogged about by Alice, with whom I went to see a play about the Brontë sisters and Busman’s Honeymoon last year, and who has excellent taste in books. They’re new enough that the APL doesn’t have them, but also not famous enough that the APL will be likely to acquire them in the near future. Plus what else was my tax refund for? (Or rather, what was left of it, after I bought my Eres bathing suit…)

This entry is brought to you by an enormous Amazon shipment, and gorgeous new books that nobody else has ever read before.

(And yes, that is a hardcover copy of Bring Up the Bodies. I’m going out to Parc Montsouris to start it as soon as I hit “publish” on this entry.)