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Paris In Mind

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  212 ratings  ·  29 reviews
“Paris is a moveable feast,” Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, and in this captivating anthology, American writers share their pleasures, obsessions, and quibbles with the great city and its denizens. Mark Twain celebrates the unbridled energy of the Can-Can. Sylvia Beach recalls the excitement of opening Shakespeare & Company on the Rue Dupuytren. David Sedaris praises Par ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published July 8th 2003 by Vintage
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  212 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Before: Never been here, let's see what I can learn through the veil of nostalgia.

After Read: When I was a young man, I read A Moveable Feast and was intoxicated by the idea and mystique of Paris. I wanted to be an expatriate that made love to a Parisian woman, clumsily at first, but soon with the deftness and craft of a master. And I fantasized that the only way to accomplish this was to run off and escape my way to Europe. I was seventeen at the time. Needless to say, that never happened. Inst
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting compilation of essays about American perceptions of Paris. What's good about this book is that I got to read Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Bricktop, none of whom I'd read before. Editor Jennifer Lee includes an excellent bio on each author that gives a good contextual reference for each piece. There is a wonderful essay by Maxine Rose Schur about being newlywed and "Penniless in Paris" that captures a lot of the magic of the City of Lights, and sets up an expectation that many m ...more
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: france
Mixed review here. I liked that the editor tried to include a wide variety of writers, topics (although all had to do with Paris), and opinions. But some of the essays were far better and more interesting than others and I felt that she could have chosen more carefully.

Mark Twain's essay, taken from The Innocents Abroad was OK, pretty amusing, but his comment at the end, that "by far the handsomest women we have seen in France were born and reared in America" leaves me questioning his honesty,
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-books
Many of these are familiar t readers of the ex-pat generation, but some were new to me--and should really be part of the usual readings. This would be worth the price of the book if only for Langston Hughes' reflections on jazz & blues jams in the early mornings (post-shift) for the Black American ex-pat population in Montmarte, and James Baldwin's incisive calling out of the racism and hypocrisy of the Algerian/French relations he witnessed in the 1950's. These are just a few of the stories.

Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Some of these excerpts were amazing; some weren't. The best part of the book was that I ended up with a list of other books I should read, based on the excerpts I liked. The worst part was that I have no idea why the categories were organized the way they were (and sometimes I got so bored). ...more
Keara Glandt
May 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was excited to read this book thinking it would be filled with incredibly historic, exciting, and colorful recounts of Paris from past times.. and I was sadly mistaken. While there were a few stories that ALMOST transported me to a gorgeous Parisian escape that I was hoping for most of these stories were random and boring. There were also several stories about how Paris was NOT likable and was rather annoyed by those stories as the book suggests that the book's purpose was to romanticize Paris ...more
Mar 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
A fantastic collection of essays — long and short, silly and somber — by American expats and immigrants to Paris by names most readers are familiar with. Even if you haven't read works by one of the writers, the chance to introduce yourself to them by dint of their personal experiences in a foreign place rather than, say, a novel is something I'd like to see done more often. Thank you, Jennifer Lee.

I did skip over Thomas Jefferson, though. I tried, twice, but he couldn't keep my attention. Perha
Jan 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
Initially was frustrated by how cliche all the galvanizing is taking place, but they’re not wrong
Fav piece is the last one by James Baldwin bc of course it is
Love the almost cynically sharp descriptions and reflections of imperfect societies, Paris and New York
Because sir aren’t we all spiraling

Yes, perhaps, my journey has not been to ny but simply away from cn
Jennifer Stewart
Dec 15, 2017 rated it liked it
An enjoyable topic to read, and interesting to experience the city through the eyes of different writers.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Started out with some real gems, unusual and poignant stories about Paris, but the end, esp. the last story was totally depressing, and really such an odd one to end on.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: set-in-paris
Paris in Mind is a compilation of 29 essays, book excerpts, letters, articles and journal entries on Paris written by American authors such as John Adams, James Baldwin, Dave Barry, Art Buchwald, T. S. Eliot, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Thomas Jefferson, David Sedaris, Gertrude Stein, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, and E.B. White.

I felt that Lee’s book focuses on the cliche of the “American in Paris” instead of what makes Paris so special, so endearing. I did enjoy some of
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This book on Paris includes many essays, book excerpts, letters, and journal entries from authors, presidents, founding fathers, and many more. I would have to say my personal favorite was the excerpt from Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain and Sylvia Beach as she reminisces about the opening of Shakespeare & Company. Not all of the contributions held my attention so I merely skipped over those. But there were several that I truly found riveting. For anyone who LOVES Paris, this is a book you may wa ...more
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: french-theme
An interesting book with perspectives on Paris by Americans from Jefferson and Franklin to present-day authors. I must admit I like reading the 20th-century impressions the best, but it's also good to think about what Paris was like in other times and to people from different cultural backgrounds. Love the sepia-toned cover picture of a snow-dusted Paris street...can almost believe I'm in an apartment overlooking it, except for the old-fashioned cars.... ...more
Mar 24, 2015 rated it liked it
If you're heading to Paris this is a good book to start with. Paris was the spot for many intellectual minds in the 1920s and was a key ally during the American Revolution. Hitting these major areas, Paris in Mind does a good job of relating Paris to reader during her important years. The writers chosen can be dry but nothing is so important that you can't skim or skip parts. ...more
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
A collection of excerpts from Americans writing about Paris over the last three centuries. The strange thing is how so many of them come to the same conclusion: I arrived expecting the Paris I heard about. I didn't find that Paris but I found My Paris.
You keep expecting the myth of Paris to fail but in text after text, it never does.
Mar 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: french-paris
I really enjoyed the collection of pieces that Lee put together. It was fascinating to read so many Americans' perspectives of Paris - throughout a broad period of time. I was particularly intrigued by Sylvia Beach's description of starting Shakespeare and Company, Dave Barry's entertaining columns about sightseeing in Paris, and James Baldwin's reflections on being black and American in Paris. ...more
Oct 21, 2011 marked it as to-read
Another book I have that I read sporadically. This is a book of essays, book excerpts, letters, articles and journal entries from writers that have a passionate relationship with Paris. Some of the authors in the book: Langston Hughes, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, E.B. White, Gertrude Stein, Irwin Shaw.....
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Read this before my trip to Paris. It was given to me as a graduation present by a very dear former prof. It really transports you to the land of read wine, crust bread, and walks along the Seine.
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Trying to read in a hurry while savoring every word. Set the tone for my first trip to the City of Lights. It did not disappoint.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Would have preferred more modern writers to Founding Fathers
Jinni Pike
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Really interesting and entertaining essays regarding many aspects of Paris. I need to remember to reread this before I go back!
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: once_enough
although this collection of personal encounters w/ the city of light was a bit "eh" at times, there were still enough anecdotes to conjure up images of my favorite haunts in paris. ...more
Anthony Zupancic
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
There are much better collections of prose about Paris out there...
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
loved this book as a psuedo-travelog! fun and anecdotal.
Aug 11, 2011 added it
Some of the essays in this book I really enjoyed; others, not so much. But it is a nice representation of how many great writers have viewed Paris over the last 200 years or so.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: okay
Eh... I couldn't get excited about this collection of writings on Paris. Who doesn't love Paris? This whole thing seemed lukewarm at best. ...more
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
such a wonderful collection of touching, funny, informative, romantic, personal, beautiful remembrances of paris. READ IT. GO TO PARIS. READ IT AGAIN.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brings me back. I loved Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Dave Barry, Sylvia Beach and Langston Hughes. I could read this over and over again.
rated it it was ok
Nov 24, 2019
rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2011
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