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Author Archive: "Diane Rios"

Bonne Année!

Bienvenue et Bonne année, mes chers amis,

It's time for our holiday post on the Powell's French Book Blog. I am excited to inspire you with the latest treasures found in aisles 817 and 818 of the Red Room at Powell's City of Books! You just might find that special treasure here for your French-reading student, friend, or petite amie. Allons-y!

Let's start with this gorgeous graphic novel by Michel Onfray called simply Nietzsche. Beautifully-inked drawings bring the biography of the legendary philosopher to life and present the author's interpretation of Nietzsche's views in a très beau façon. Sure to please the comic/philosophy lover on your list!

Next I want to show you a wonderful book by one of my favorite authors, Edmund White. Mes Vies (My Lives) is a fascinating autobiography by one the world's most interesting people. Edmund White has an amazing memory for rich detail and hilarious anecdotes from throughout his life, with chapter titles like "Mes Psys" (My Shrinks), "Mes Femmes" (My Wives), and "Mon Genet" (My Genet). The book is sometimes uncomfortably honest but ...

Blog de la Voie Française

"Seigneurs, vous plaît-il d'entendre un beau conte d'amour et de mort? C'est de Tristan et d'Iseut la reine." ("Lords, would you like to hear a beautiful story of love and death? It is of Tristan and Iseut, the queen.") So begins the legendary medieval love story of Cornish prince Tristan and Irish princess Iseut. Predating and influencing Arthurian legend, this tragic story of love and betrayal has inspired many authors including professor of medieval literature Joseph Bédier. I am so delighted to present to you this nearly immaculate, absolutely breath-taking edition of Le Roman de Tristan et Iseult by Joseph Bédier, published by L'Edition D'Art, Paris, in 1928.

Stunning art nouveau illustrations by Robert Engels and the near-mint condition of the book make this work a true wonder. Rebound in beautiful leather, it still has the original gilded paperback covers inside. The green boards are in perfect shape, the soft paper still strong and unmarked, illuminated typeface adorns every chapter, and the illustrations are a glimpse into another world, full of a deep magic all their own. This is such a special find that we've moved it up to the Rare Book Room on the 3rd floor. Please come and leaf gently through its pages to see the beauty for yourself!

A tough act to follow, but I do have a little gem of French sonnets to share with you. Les Quarante Immortels (The Forty Immortals) by Pierre Louis-Picard is a slim volume of sonnets ironiques published by Les Editions de Gargailloux in 1938 and signed by Monsieur Louis-Picard, himself! Les Quarante Immortels refers to the 40 members of L'Académie Française, the revered institution of the French literati, founded in 1530.

Next I have a slightly shabby, but still lovely cloth-bound book from our French history section called Versailles et les Trianons. Originally a pocket-sized guide book from the Collection des Guides Joanne, and published in 1911, there are many maps — slightly outdated, but time capsules in themselves. There are wonderful little black and white photos of statues of Louis and Marie Antoinette and one strange photo of Encelade, the Greek giant, son of the Earth, coming out of the ground with a terrible grimace on his face. Tr&egraves effrayant!

Le Blog Français: Enchantée

Incroyable! It is time for another look inside the fantastique French aisle at Powell's City of Books. It's only been a month since the last posting, but I could not wait another day to show you the truly amazing out-of-print treasures I have discovered. Les voila!

First of all, you must feast les yeux on this truly lovely edition of La Main Enchantée (The Magic Hand) by Gérard de Nerval, one of France's most romantic poets and revered essayists. This story shows de Nerval's profoundly sensitive writing style, and this particular edition is absolutely lovely! Published in 1945, it is unbound (en planches) and held in a cardboard case. The papers are in fantastic condition, incredibly thick and soft and clean, although the cardboard case is a bit shabby. The book is beautifully illustrated by black and white original lithographs by Camille Berg. There are brilliantly illuminated letters adorning the title pages and at the beginning of each chapter. It is number 63 of a limited edition of 340. A side-note about the author: he was known to keep a lobster as a pet, and would take it for walks in the gardens of the Palais Royale, on a blue silk ribbon. Superbe!

Next I have this wonderful little paperback of Les Hauts de Hurle Vent (Wuthering Heights) by Emily Brontë. We all know the torrid love story of Cathy and her brooding Heathcliff, but have we ever read such a cool edition as this? A pocket-sized late mass market paperback in good condition with a wonderful cover featuring a goofy, Scooby-doo style font. Très cool!

J’Adore Le Blog Francais

Salut encore mes amis de français, and welcome to yet another blog post about the wondrous collection of French treasures here at Powell's City of Books. I have selected some of our most beautiful and most surprising books for you to enjoy. On y va!

Pour commençer: feast your eyes on my absolutely favorite book in the entire aisle: La Duchesse de Langeais (The Duchess of Langeais) by Honoré de Balzac. This little volume is the sweetest, most beautiful thing with super soft paper and original, hand-colored illustrations by André E. Marty. There is no publication date listed but I'm guessing it was published in the 1920s. It is in excellent condition, the soft papers still creamy and untarnished. A very special gem waiting for the right home!

Le Blog Français Numéro Quatre

Un grand bonjour and welcome back to the Powell's City of Books French blog, Numéro Quatre. Today I have une très belle collection of wonderful French books to share with you, from many different subsections of the French aisle, located in aisles 817 and 818 of Powell's City of Books! Allons-y!

Let's begin with this amazing leather-bound three-volume set by Antoine Hamilton. Oeuvres is a collection of Hamilton's works published by Augustin Renouad. The volumes are a bit worn, but still beautiful in their leather covers and filled with the old parchment-like papers. Lovely!

Next I'd like to feature a new book called Trois Femmes Puissantes (The Three Powerful Women) by Marie NDiaye. This book won the 2010 Prix Goncourt, and NDiaye is the first black woman to have done so. Bravo!

Treasures in the French Aisle

Saluts, mes amis bibliophiles! We are back with another look at the treasures hiding in the French aisle at Powell's City of Books! There are too many for each post, so I will show you what I can, hoping that you can stop by sometime to explore further — you can be sure that you will be surprised!

First, this impossibly elegant, soft paperback called Les Chroniques du Château de Fontainebleau by Leon Deroy. Published by Roger et Cie, the paper is wonderfully soft and in excellent condition. The cover text is embossed into the paper and the black and white prints inside are lovely. This is the history of Fontainebleau Chateau and a close account of the life of Francois 1er, who lived there. Charmant!

Numéro Deux


Welcome back! We are ready for Post Numéro Deux of the Powell's City of Books French aisle blog! I have all sorts of wonderfully unique and out-of-print French treasures to share avec vous!

First, one of my favorite books in the aisle, and one of the smallest…. La Grenadière by Honoré de Balzac. This lovely little work of art is extremely delicate and fragile, but the colors of the prints are still wonderfully vivid. Published by Nilsson, this tiny volume is one of the collection de chevet and includes four hand-painted illustrations by Ro Keezer.

Next, let's take a look at this totally hip 1972 biography of Michel Foucault by Anne Guedez. The cover of this slim paperback is of typically swinging mid-century design. I'll bet Foucault himself didn't know he could look this cool. This edition is part of the Psychoteque series from publishers Editions Universitaires, and would look fabuleux in the philosophy section of one's bookshelves, non?

Let's wander down the aisle now to this delightful contemporary poetry anthology, Dernières Nouvelles, which includes ...


Messieurs-Dames! Welcome to the perfectly new and merveilleux blog about the Powell's City of Books French aisle. The Red Room is home to a whole world of foreign-language books located on the deuxieme étage (second floor).

Allow me to introduce you to an entire bookstore within a bookstore in French located in aisles 817 and 818. We have hundreds and hundreds of beautiful French books from leather-bound tomes of the 1800s to slim 1970s paperbacks. You'll find a 1950s book by Simone de Beauvoir called Lettres à Sartre (Letters to Sartre) near an early '60s paperback called Balzac, Lui-Même (Balzac, Himself), as well as many of the best 2009 releases in fiction, history, grammar, and French audio. And let's not forget the latest band-dessinées, or graphic novels! Allons-y!

For this debut post, I would love to show you a cross-section of my personal faves, starting in literature. Feast your eyes on this DARLING five-volume set of Joseph Balsamo by Alexandre Dumas. Published in 1924 these sweet little volumes from Collection Nelson Editeur are tiny treasures each with its own beautifully illustrated cover. ...

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