Dear Paris: The Paris Letters Collection by Janice MacLeod

You don’t choose a book the book chooses you.

Gabrielle Zevin

The book, Dear Paris, chose me, yesterday. Once a month, the housekeeper comes to do things like vacuuming the steep back stairs and climbing up to dust the blinds on our very tall front window. I find the best thing I can do is stay out of the way. It’s a perfect time for me to spend a couple of uninterrupted hours reading. I have been laboring through an autobiography of Simone De Beauvoir while another book I was looking forward to reading has been sitting on the shelf calling to me. I finally gave in and set Simone aside for the afternoon.

A friend gave me the Paris book because she knows I am a Francophile and thought I would enjoy it. The book is formatted similar to my blog. Each page as a letter to a friend, a watercolor sketch and a quote. It is written over a period of eight years. Most of the letters are set in Paris. I sat down to read and before I knew it I had finished half the book. Have you ever read a book that spoke to you as though the author knew you and had written it with you in mind? One thing after another jumped off the page. References to places, movies, books, I knew and loved. Quotes I copied into Notes on my phone.

One antidote was about the connection between Anais Nin, Henry Miller and his wife, June. I had an art professor who was a friend of Miller and shared stories with us about him. I like Anias Nin and I am looking forward to reading about the relationship she and Henry Miller shared. How did I miss that all these years?

Books can offer unexpected gifts. They open up worlds to us we didn’t know existed and send us on a journey to learn more.

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