Whenever something seems to keep randomly showing up, I pay attention. Carl Jung called this synchronicity. I follow it and it never fails to bring something interesting. Towards the end of last year, I kept running into things that were about France: great books, great video blogs, and a great croissant. I will tell you about the first few here, and then you can go out in search of your own pastry to complement them.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Andi is in a dark place. Guilt-ridden over the death of her younger brother, she is unable to move through her grief. Her only solace is in music, and, if she could muster some interest in it, her senior paper about (unfortunately fictional) French guitarist Amade Mahlerbeau. Her father brings her to Paris to get to work on her paper. There, Andi discovers an old guitar and the journal of Alexandrine Paradis, a girl her own age living during the French Revolution.
The gritty underside of Paris is explored- quite literally, as Andi and her new-found musician friends venture into the catacombs. The historical side of Paris is explored as we read Alex’s story of life during the Revolution. This book brings together a lot of disparate things: genetics, music theory, allusions to Dante’s Divine Comedy. It would be overly complex if it were not so beautifully woven together. [Revolution made YALSA’s 2011 Top Ten Best Fiction list.]
Bizarre connection: Both of these main characters are seniors in high school sent to France at the insistence of their fathers. Continue reading Three Cool Things About France