A little light reading for the weekend | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: A little light reading for the weekend

July 08, 2011

A little light reading for the weekend

I am having another one of those crazy weeks, and I am so happy we have reached the weekend.  Yesterday, in mid July, I was caught in a hailstorm (yes, hail) in new sandals. And it just gets crazier from there! So I intend to 'escape' this weekend, by a pool with a book.

For months I have been collecting a list (ever growing) of books that I want to read.  I keep printing out these pages with the titles on them, and the pile is a bit overwhelming. I am the type to get totally lost in a book. (latest reads include the A Song of Ice and Fire series [Game of Thrones] and a Tale of Two Cities)

I know I will not get to all of them anytime soon but I thought this weekend I would go pick one up to start.  Which one should I get?  Here are a few of the books from my pile, if you want to read one or have, let me know how it is!

McGregor, James H. 2009. Paris from the Ground Up. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  This is a history of the city, focused on its wonderful art and architecture. Needless to say this is topping my list!

 Ogee, Frederic. 2005. "Better In France?": The Circulation Of Ideas Across The Channel In The Eighteenth Century (The Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture). Lewisburg [Pa.]: Bucknell University Press. Is it always greener on the other side of the fence? Or in France? This is about cultural exchange between the island and the continent, covering the 18th century.

 Gildea, Robert. 2008. Children of the Revolution: The French, 1799-1914. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.  This book focuses on the generations that lived through and after the revolution, and their attempts to develop a cohesive world.

 Brown, Kathleen M. 2009. Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America. New Haven: Yale University Press. About attitudes towards dirt, "cleanliness-and the lack of it- had moral, religious and often sexual implications."  Interesting!

 Wolff, Martha. 2011. Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago.  I have really wanted to check this one out, it is full of art (paintings, sculptures, stained glass, metalwork etc.) created for kings and queens and inspired by the Italian Renaissance.

Cowart, Georgia. 2008. The Triumph of Pleasure: Louis XIV and the Politics of Spectacle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.This title is more focused on the music and theatre of the court of Louis XIV than art, but sounds so good I am sure I will love it.

I think this pretty much sums up how I felt this week: 

have a good weekend!!


  1. All of your choices sound so interesting. I really like the one comparing France to US or what would become US -can't recall the date of setting. Lol. And the one about cleanliness. I always think of that when watching movies set in that time period. Have a great weekend :)

  2. Not sure why my post came through as anonymous, but I am a follower. Lol. Everchangingerin@blogspot.com. Perhaps because I am on my blackberry.

  3. I just finished A Tale of Two Cities. I would like to know the pattern Mdme Defarge used to keep her records. And poor Princess Katherine! Just one of the perils of long hair. I always get mine caught in the car window or the seat belt. But it looks as tho she has taken a tip from the Queen and had weights put in her hem to keep it from flying up!

  4. Who makes that delicious umbrella?

  5. @Everchangingerin Yes! The Foul Bodies just sounds like it would be interesting front to cover. No clue why blogspot didn't recognize you! Sometimes that happens to me too

    @Patricia you are right, she must have weights in the hem...ingenious really! I am not in Canada but it looks like they are on some vast stretch of windy pavement lol! Not ideal for flouncy skirts!

    @heidilea the umbrella was sold at the Versailles museum shop, alongside their Marie Antoinette exhibition a few years back. I just checked to see if it was still available but it is not, however they have a new Marie Antoinette umbrella!

  6. I really enjoy your book selections and am intrigued by The Children of the Revolution.

    I didn't get a chance to tell you, but I finished Robert Darnton's The Devil in the Holy Water and enjoyed it very much. Thanks for that suggestion!

  7. I have to say Paris from the ground up. I have been reading a lot of books about Paris as I would love to go there but unfortunately my health is probably not going to allow it, so with my map of Paris and google earth and all the books I can find I have started my tour. I want to read more about the salons and the women who presided over them. I think the politics and flavour of Paris has been so strongly influenced by these women even to this day

  8. @Vinery It took me a while to get through because it is not light reading, although some sections flew by! Glad you liked it too!

    @Zho Zho If you can't get there, have you checked out the Google art project? You can tour the Palace of Versailles from the comfort of your own home!