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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!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!

Now you must see this absolutely stunning and unique book called La Photographie Ancienne published by Le Point, in Lyon. This slender volume has large, clear reproductions of photographs taken in the early 1800s in Paris, and is truly a treasure. It's in fantastic condition — I wonder where it's been all these years? These photos bring a long-gone world into your hands; it is a real time capsule!

For a more modern, colorful look into the past check out this encyclopedia pour les femmes: L'Encyclopédie de la Maîtresse de la Maison. This is a campy but utterly charming collection of domestic how-tos, recipes, definitions, and general household information from the 1950s for every good French housewife. Inside are sweet illustrations of everything from different kinds of rabbits you can raise to ideas on interior design. Très pratique!

Now let's look at this beautiful six-volume set of the works of Molière. A sweet little white cloth set from Nelson Editeur with beautiful black and white portraits and prints illustrating his plays. A treat and a treasure from our drama section to yours!

Here is a very interesting book, Les Toits dans le Paysage. This large-sized, thin paperback from the 1970s shows the works of art that are the country rooftops of France. Thousands and thousands of handmade clay tiles cover the venerable country homes and buildings of France, each one a testament to the craftsmanship and artistry of the country folk who made them.

I want to share this very special book, Impressions Artistiques d'Outre Mer by F. J. Vanderwal. This is a wonderful collection of stories and poems together with beautiful, full-color illustrations and paintings. Published by J. Boutin in 1951, this lovely collection of prose and fine art is sure to make you wish you were there.

I was amazed and un peut choqué when I saw this bizarre treatment of "Tristan et Iseut" come in. For such a classic text this somewhat titillating fantasy cover seems a tad overdone... perhaps an effort to lure in the young people? If not exactly respectable, it is pretty funny!

Here is an interesting little paperback for all of you French rap fans, Rap Ta France: les rappeurs francais prennent la parole by José-Louis Boquet. A collection of stories written by various French rappers, going back to 1976! Old-school, yo!

Finally, and regretfully because there are so many more treasures to share, I present you this très adorable et mignon French children's book, Le Poney Mascotte. This book was written by Gilbert Delahaye and published in 1968. Soft, charming illustrations make this simple, sweet tale a real pleasure to read.

C'est tout pour l'instant, there will be many more books to share with you next time. Until then,

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!!!

÷ ÷ ÷

Diane Rios is an Oregon native with a love of the French and their culture. She plays music in Portland and is currently writing and illustrating a children's book called Dizzy's Dream. She has an 11-year-old daughter, a husband, two cranky old cats, and a sweet black lab. La vie en rose!

Books mentioned in this post

One Response to "Treasures in the French Aisle"

    The Incredible Kid January 5th, 2010 at 5:38 pm


    The biggest treasure in the French aisle is you, and Powell's is lucky to have you. Thanks for highlighting your special finds.


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