Tuesday, September 20, 2011


© Chanel
Ha, got your attention there. While I'd love to give you a 2:55 bag or a couture jacket, this is a book giveaway, and a good one at that. You might remember when I reviewed Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie when it was published this time last year, and I was lucky to be invited to Claridges to meet the author and learn more about the book. The paperback edition was published recently and I was sent a copy, which I have to admit I've been sitting on for a while (not literally). The paperback version of anything is supposed to be the lesser version, no? But this has new sketches of Coco Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld on the front and back covers and throughout the book, which weren't in the hardback. I secretly like this edition better and was tempted to keep it so I could look at the cover all day; but obviously I've already read it and I can't have two of the same book can I? That would simply be greedy, although I'm sure it would count as but a tiny drop in the ocean of blogger swag shenanigans.

To enter to win the book, comment on this post to tell me about one book you really, really love that you'd recommend. You know, the one you always tell people about, then you lend it to them and never get it back, so you have to keep re-buying it. I'm having a serious and extended reading drought - I've started about six books recently and haven't managed to get further than page twenty of any of them, which is making me sad. I'm hoping it's not that my attention span is well and truly busted (thanks internet), but just that I haven't found the right book. Feel free to include classics, in which I am unevenly read. The winner will not be picked at random, but undemocratically will be the person whose book recommendation I decide to read.

Bonne chance mes cheres - I'll pick a winner in a week's time.

{Don't forget to leave a way for me to contact you with your entry!}

p.s. There is a small flaw in my plan! So if you recommend something I've already read, I'll let you know and you'll get another chance to enter.


Mary Lou (not really a pseudonym) said...

For the last year this book has been A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book. It's a family saga set in the eve of the WWI. It's a big book but I read it really fast because I couldn't put it down. I was very sad at the end of the book, I had grown attached to all the characters.

Mary Lou (not really a pseudonym) said...

I forgot it.. you can reach me leaving a comment on my blog, through twitter (@inopia) or email me at tiramisususudio at gmail!

random cat said...

Hi, Claire!
You should read The God of Small Things by Indian author Arundhati Roy if you haven't already. It's beautiful and heart breaking. I read it for an assignment at University 7 or 8 years ago and I've been obsessed with it for a long time. I've been thinking about it a lot recently and I am trying to find a copy in English here in Serbia, I really want to read it again.

lola is beauty said...

Random Cat - I have read it actually. I didn't think of what would happen if someone recommended a book I've already read! Feel free to do a second entry!

Allie said...

Definitely "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. It's a coming-of-age sort of book, with a smart and strong female main character. The story draws you in, with all of the wit and humor and drama. Beautifully written. Makes you want to go to England and find an old castle to live in.

moira said...

i rarely re-read books (apart from The Litte Prince as my mother told me to read it every ten years because she says you'll get something different from it... so far its true but i digress!) but the one that ive been itching to reread as soon as i finished it, is The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter. I'm rubbish at pitching books as I have a very bad memory but so many scenes have stayed with me, all looking like very sombre paintings : the wedding dress getting ripped in the tree, the porcelain bath, the creepy statues in the deserted park, the swan scene... all drowned with controversy.
It's one of those book that suck me in just looking at their edges on the shelves.

thank you for the giveaway x

Wendy said...

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt. Set in New York, this book has it all. Well written with an original story that keeps you guessing as to where's it's going next. And to top it all it has a great cover!!


random cat said...

:) Ok, then I'll take a risk and recommend one I want to read except it hasn't been published here yet. It's Vazlav&Lena, the writer is Haley Tanner. I read a few excerpts and believe it's really great(I even have an ambition to translate it into Serbian:) yeah, I'm a dreamer like that).

Anonymous said...

There is a Booker Prize and there is a Booker of Booker's Prize- and it went to the Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdi. I read it not long ago and it took my breath away (not easy, as I read a LOT)-with its witty language, its scope and its imagination. It also tells a lot about modern India, and you won't even notice when you learn it all;)...dsulinska@hotmail.co.uk

Adeline F. said...

Antigone by Anouilh. I'm French and I love french Litterature as much as I love Life. This book is a pearl I found while reading classics (I love classics but, when I recommend them to my friends, they are afraid of reading them).

It's a play in which Jean Anouilh is revisiting Sophocle's Antigone and Greek mythology. It's the story of a girl who dares to say "no". She knows from the beginning she will have to die and yet she plays her role.

She is not the usual melodramatic heroine (she's not even beautiful, unlike her sister) and it makes her so human...

It tells a lot about France (it's about French Resistance during World War II) but I believe everyone can identify to that girl. I read the following quote when I was obsessed with this book and it sums up everything I think.
« Le cœur d'Antigone est le pendule du monde »
Translation : Antigone's heart is the pendulum of the world.

I have never seen the english translation but I found this extract and it looks really good.

" I didn't say yes. I can say no to anything I say vile, and I don't have to count the cost. But because you said yes, all that you can do, for all your crown and your trappings, and your guards—all that your can do is to have me killed."

P.S: I hope my english is not too bad

lola is beauty said...

Wendy - I've obviously read too many books, as I have also read What I Loved and it's one of my favourite books! We're obviously on the same wavelength so please do add another entry if you have one...

Wendy said...

Nor sure if this is cheating but after having a quick look at my bookcases..
Sleep With Me - Joanna Briscoe
Anything by Arthur Nersesian but in particular The F*ck-Up, Dogrun and Chinese Takeout
For non-fiction - Smiling in Slow Motion by Derek Jarman
Area Code 212 by Tama Janowitz
Just Kids by Patti Smith
The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
For classic for me it would be any Thomas Hardy.
At the moment I'm really enjoying Room by Emma Donoghue.


lola is beauty said...

Wendy - thanks, I will definitely take a look at some of those you mentioned as I also loved Just Kids and The Year of Magical Thinking, so it's likely we have similar taste in books haha...

tea and kate said...

Oh I was going to mention The Children's Book and What I Loved, and have been beaten to it already! I've just read The Summer Without Men, also by Siri Hustvedt and that's great too. Colm Toibin's Brooklyn is one of the best novels I've read in years, and if you're after a classic, I reread Les Liaisons Dangereuses every few years, and it's brilliant every time.

Don't enter me into the competition, I've already read the Chanel biography, and thought it was fascinating. You're right though, that paperback cover is much nicer....

hila said...

There are two books I always recommend:

'Sixty Lights' by Gail Jones: I wish there was a way to describe this book, it's like one long poem, with a narrative. It's one of those books that you ear-mark every page, wanting to keep certain lines in your memory.

'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte: I think this is one of the cleverest books ever written, and while it's talked about to death, it usually doesn't get the credit it deserves.

Regardless of this competition, I hope you read either one of these, I'd love to know what you think of them.

sara said...

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago blew my mind. If you haven't read Saramago before his stuff can be a total pain in the ass to get into, as he doesn't really use punctuation or paragraphs. After a few pages however you get the cadence and it all becomes very natural. It's dark and funny and a wonderful example of a modern master at work. Also, it made the Vatican mad, that's always fun.

(Also, you've read To Kill A Mockingbird right? Right?)


howveryperceptive at yahoo dot com

sara said...

Oh! Also, I hadn't scrolled down far enough to realise you just got back from Saramago land. Great photos. Hurrah for all things Portugese!

Amila said...

Hello, I'm here for the first time . I find you by recommendation from "random cat" . I'm amazed how beautiful this blog is.
This is also my first time to participate in giveaways.
Ok , here is my recommendation for book : (it is from serbian author, and I don't know is there any english translate ,I hope there is ) " A Mouth Full Of Earthe " Branimir Šćepanović
I had two books , now I don't have one, and I'm trying to find it again.
Well, this book occupated my mind for months. It has about a 100 pages and that is a secret, I couldn't believe it is possible to put whole human life in this litlle piece.
Here is my mail : charlie-parker.store.hotmail.com ; or you can leave me comment on my blog .
I really hope you'll find this book .

lin said...

I've read this Coco Chanel book and loved it, so I'm not here to win, just that I recently finished "The Invisible Bridge" by Julie Orringer and it was so beautiful and vivid and set in one of my favourite European countries - Hungary - and I had to spread the love. The plot is pretty run-of-the-mill - poor Jewish boy moves to Paris to study and falls in love just before WWII - but it's one of those books you just tumble into and you feel like you're walking right beside the characters.

Anonymous said...

yes, anything by Saramago!!

Marie said...

second skin by india flint - practical and astoundingly beautiful book about our relationship with clothing and hand dying cloth using natural pigments. after spending v long periods of time looking at it in book stores, i've finally bought myself a copy :)

Nancy Baric *negfilm said...

A Lover's Discourse: Fragments
by Roland Barthes...

Honestly I can think of no other book that I have returned to over and over again to read and perhaps find comfort in, as in this book.

Two things to know:

1-The first time it was recommended to me, was by a male friend who said: "if you have ever been in love and have had your heart broken, please read this book".

2-I bought it in Paris, and it was the only thing I purchased on that visit.


3-And the book shall lead you to read other books (as he quotes other writers and friends...)

And I shall echo Hila's sentiments.

Bon lecture...

Anonymous said...

In circumstances such as this, I always recommend "In This House of Brede" by Rumer Godden. It is a long drink of cool water for the parched soul.

BB said...

Hello Claire, it has been great reading these recommendations! Don't consider me part of the giveaway, but three suggestions. The first two are books I always recommend. The Shadow Lines by Amitabh Ghosh. I actually had two copies, one for lending until someone kept my lending copy! The second is If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino.

Finally, a recent book that I really like was Super Sad True Love Story. This one isn't for everyone. I would describe it as a scifi dystopic burlesque. But it was lyrical, hysterically funny at times, while at other times making me incredibly uneasy as it read it.



misscindee said...

hi Claire,
My most favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I can always gain something different each time i read it.

email: cindeeng@hotmail.com


anna said...

my favourite book is 'The Sea, The Sea' by Iris Murdoch. I've read all her books and this is my most favourite...although 'The Unicorn' is a very close second.
I also love Colette's 'Claudine' series and I recently finished the short stories of Lydia Davis (after finishing her translation of Swann's Way) which are excellent.

Mary Lou (not really a pseudonym) said...

Sixty Lights was the book a friend of mine used to write her thesis so it's been on my list for a long time! I've been told the author is coming this week to my university to give a lecture, I'm really excited!

anna said...

this isn't a sneaky second entry...when I was cleaning up my bookcase this afternoon (yes, really!)I realised I forgot to recommend my most favourite book of all which is Novel On Yellow Paper by Stevie Smith. Her poems are pretty incredible too. In fact, I am almost certain that Stevie was just an all round 'good egg' to have on your side. PLUS she loved cats.

Egle said...

I would suggest a foreign author Jaan Kross and his novel Czars Madman. It is a historical fiction about the Czar of Russia and his personal doctor. Love it.

egle dot mane at gmail dot com

lola is beauty said...

Egle - sorry I already picked a winner yesterday, but thanks for the rec.

lola is beauty said...