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SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

Just another GR refugee.  Other than that, I had a stroke in 2004, and read almost anything I can get my hands on, though I have a particular weakness for history, mystery, and historical fiction.

Currently reading

Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition
Paul Watson
Progress: 6 %
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
Ed Yong
Progress: 40 %
Wizard's First Rule
Terry Goodkind
Progress: 49 %
Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
Tracy Borman
Progress: 14 %
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
Helen Czerski
Progress: 20 %
The Hanover Square Affair
Ashley Gardner
Progress: 10 %
Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
Beth Archer Brombert, Massimo Montanari
Progress: 10 %
Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth
Holger Hoock
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
Progress: 9 %
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years
John Guy
Progress: 20/512 pages

Twilight of the Belle Epoque

Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends Through the Great War - Mary McAuliffe

ARC courtesy of NetGalley.  Much thanks!


This was a wonderful study of Paris' cultural and business elite in the years 1900-1918.


This is a world where doctors prescribe a bottle of champagne a day for nicotine addiction, the clothes are by Poiret and Chanel, the perfumes come from Coty, the music is by Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky, the novels are by Zola, Proust, and Gertrude Stein, the poems by Rilke and Cocteau, the ballet by Diagilev, Isadora Duncan, and Nijinsky, the paintings by Picasso (an immediate suspect when the Mona Lisa gets stolen), Chagall, and Matisse, the science comes from the Curies, the politics are dominated by Clemenceau, and the cars are made by Renault and Citroen. 


Earlier this year I read Ilies' 1913: The Year Before the Storm, which is (mostly) about the culturally German world in the last year of the peace, and enjoyed it; but I prefer this volume.  It covers a longer period, and you get to know the players better.  I would recommend this volume, with Barbara Tuchman's The Proud Tower and Philipp Blom's The Vertigo Years, to anyone interested in the period.


I will definitely have to read the first volume, The Dawn of the Belle Epoque, which covers 1870-1900.