Posts Tagged ‘Book In Bar’

‘Middle England’ by Jonathan Coe – just published to positive reviews – features an unusual location in its pages:  Book-in-Bar. (more…)

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In the UK, 2018 is the centenary of winning Votes for Women: the suffrage campaign finally won through! Women over 30 (or at least the great majority of them) finally won the right to vote in parliamentary elections; women over the age of 21 had to wait until 1928 to gain full equal voting rights with men.

Suffragists relied on constitutional tactics (keeping within the law), while suffragettes took militant action, often resulting in imprisonment.

Next week, British academic Jill Liddington will be at Book in Bar in Aix giving what will no doubt be an impassioned account of this struggle:  Jill was Reader in Gender History at Leeds University and is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. She specialises in the actions of women in the north of England, often working class and somewhat side lined by historians in favour of better-known activists in London.  Her book ‘Rebel Girls’ profiles some of these courageous northern women.

Her book, ‘Histoire des suffragistes radicales’, was published here in France last month.

This is a free talk – not to be missed!


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If you love books, there are four events coming up which should appeal.

The English Book Club who meet at Book In Bar will be discussing ‘The Spinning Heart’ by Irish novelist Donal Ryan.  It’s set in the aftermath of Ireland’s financial crisis and its effects on the people in one community.  It sounds a stimulating read.  Review here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/28/spinning-heart-donal-ryan-reviewThursday February 27th, 17:30.

The following day, the Poetry Corner, again at Book In Bar, will be reading the poetry (more…)

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Ironman Aix

C Comme Aix – Photos

Events at Book In Bar  (more…)

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Some news on the literary front.

The AAGP (Anglo-American Group of Provence) are having their annual booksale on April 6th – from 9:30 to 3:30 at the Maison des Associations (behind the Mairie Annexe at Pont de l’Arc).  They always have a huge range of books, at very low prices and say they need lots of buyers to give them good new homes.  Repatriating families donate their libraries for resale and there are usually good children’s books.  Free tea and coffee – and you don’t have to be a member to take advantage of this sale. 

book in bar bookshopMeanwhile Book In Bar has announced its forthcoming events, a little in the future but useful to have details so we can read the authors first.  On Friday April 5th, 17:30 Beverley Naidoo will be at the bookshop, talking about her work.  She was born in South Africe and then educated in England where she reflected on her early experiences in her book ‘Journey to Jo’burg’.  On Saturday 8th June at 17:00 British novelist Jonathan Coe is the guest writer.  He has published a series of successful novels – his latest ‘The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim‘ finds narrative interest in a journey along UK’s M40 and brings us a modern Everyman.  More about him on www.jonathancoewriter.com.
If you read Cloud Atlas, which was a hit with our book-group, you may like to see the film version.  I was unsure as it’s such a challenging narrative, but I heard a review panel on BBC Radio and all three people had not wanted to see it…and then thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s in VO alternating with the French version at the Cézanne.
More inspiration for reading can be had from Aix-based blogger Claire http://clairemca.wordpress.com/author/clairemca/ who reads and recommends at a phenomenal rate.  Café Penguin also has a lively newsletter which brings info and discussions on their latest publications: http://newsletters.penguin.co.uk/go.asp?/bPEN001/mHHJH53F/uVG3KC/xX74853F

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There are so many events coming up – Christmassy and otherwise.  Here we go!

The Christmas market is now in full swing down the cours Mirabeau.  The chalets seem to me to be identical to the ones last year and the year before that so they must be able to cover their 2,700€ rental.  Certainly the hot spiced wine chalet and the magic man seemed busy when I walked past.  It’s open 10-19:00hrs daily.  Plus, every day, there will be special events, Corsican singing, medieval dancing, Aixois rap, demos of guide dogs – lots of activities which are listed on www.mairie-aixenprovence.fr/festivites-de-noel-2012 if you haven’t been able to find a flyer.

Tuesday sees the opening of an exhibition of the abstract paintings of Giovanna Buttice and Annick Deroux at the Galerie Aix-positions, 29 rue Lisse des Cordeliers (bottom of Cours Sextius).  It’s on til Saturday Dec 1st and the vernissage is Tuesday at 17:00.

Wednesday is the opening day for the International Market when our twin towns come to Aix to give us a taste, often literally, of their typical food, drinks and crafts.  New this year are stalls from Baalbek, Lebanon, Ashkelon, Israel and Kumamoto, Japan who have just signed a letter of ‘intention de partenariat’ with Aix.  It’s always an interesting event with the people fromPerugia usually drawing a crowd for their Italian goodies.  Bath is the British twin and this year the mayor is attending.  It opens as 12:00 on Wed, then it’s 10-19:00 until 2nd Dec, Place François Villon, Les Allées Provencales.  www.aix-jumelages.com.

On Thursday, photographer Bernard Plossu will be signing copies of his book of photos of Mont Sainte-Victoire at the bookshop Harmoni-Mundi, place du Verdun, at 19:00hrs.  This is a tie-in with his exhibition at the Musée Granet which is on for another couple of weeks.  He’s a really nice guy who speaks English thanks to his years working in the US….and he likes meeting people who are interested in photography.

Friday will be a busy day.  Book In Bar are hosting the Poetry Corner meeting.  This month Sheighle Birdthistle is focusing on War Poetry.  She will introduce WWI poets and has asked people to contribute readings or suggestions of poets from other wars and conflicts. Should be a good session.  17:30hrs.  After that, there’s an expo of paintings at the Deux Garçons which looks interesting.  It’s for artists who either work or whose partners work at Iter.  It’s on the first floor, from 18-22:00hrs, Friday only.

On Saturday, if you still have energy, why not visit the Christmas Fayre at the English Bubble?  You may have seen its owner Caroline this week on the front page of Aix City Local News adorned with lots of union jacks?  Her cultural centre ,which welcomes children and adults who wish to learn English or meet Anglophones, has been a great success.  She also sells lots of English necessities like Heinz beans and marmite and usually has mince pies and crackers at this time of year. The event takes place 14-19:00hrs and there is ceramics painting for children while their parents shop.  453 Ave Jean- Paul Coste, Val St André,  Aix.

Carrefour will be opening from this coming Sunday (2nd) every Sunday until Christmas – and they have parsnips!

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I think we are lucky in Aix to have such a good English-language bookshop, especially when independent bookshops seem to be having a hard time.  Book-in-Bar have a number of author-readings throughout the year and also run their own book discussion group.  Here is their agenda:




Saturday, Ian McEwen……………………………27 Sept

State of Wonder, Ann Patchett…………………25 Oct

Invisible, Paul Auster……………………………..29 Nov

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald…………20 Dec

Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje……………………31 Jan

Montana, Larry Watson…………………………..28 Feb.


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or, as the French call us, les rats du bibliotheque.  Unpleasant animals, worms and rats, but a serendipitous lead-in to my recommendation of ‘Pure’ by Andrew MillerSkip it if you are not strong of stomach, but if you are, prepare for a dazzling immersion into 18th century Paris.  A young engineer from Normandy has been given the unenviable task of clearing the ancient cemetery of Les Invalides where the bodies have stacked up to such an extent that they are oozing into the cellars of the nearby houses.  It’s an unlikely topic for a novel but you quickly get drawn into the characters, the narrative and the history of Les Halles. It won the 2011 Costa Book of the Year – and I couldn’t put it down.

To get lots of good suggestions on what to read next, have a look at http://clairemca.wordpress.com.  Claire is an Aix-based writer who has set herself the challenge of reading a book each week this year.  She reviews them very honestly as she goes – and gives all her followers, bookworms or les rats, interesting ideas which often have a French-flavour –  like her recommendation this week.  Have a look!

And finally – meet an author. Book-in-Bar (rue Joseph Cabassol, Aix) have invited Joseph Boyden, a Canadian novelist, to talk about his work.  I haven’t left you much time for this one – it’s tomorrow May 15th at 17.30 – but his books are on sale at the event and his talk will hopefully motivate lots of new readers.  I like Book-in-Bar’s author events – it’s good to hear the writers reading from their own works and in such a relaxed setting.

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Last month I went to the reading of ‘Black Rock’ at Book In Bar – I hadn’t heard of the author before so it was a revelation.  Not only did I really enjoy the book but the writer was interesting and her reading was engrossing. 

So I’m looking forward to discovering another new author on Saturday 28th April at 5:30pm when Veronica Cecil reads from Drums on the Night Air. She was twenty-five when her husband was offered a job in the Congo.

“Filled with enthusiasm, the couple set off for an African adventure. Very soon, however, Veronica realised that life in the Congo was not what she had imagined. Food shortages were an everyday occurrence; and flickers of violence were starting to erupt everywhere. Six months later Veronica and her family were sent to Elizabetha. But paradise didn’t last. Civil war broke out, and the rebels captured the neighbouring town of Stanleyville and took all the whites hostage. Despite the fact that Veronica was on the verge of giving birth, she had to be evacuated. Leaving her husband, she and her son began on a two-day journey through the jungle. But on the plane back to Leopoldville, the first labour pains began…”

Another date for the diary – Friday, the 8th of June – 1:00pm – Book In Bar will welcome Douglas Kennedy, author of the Pursuit of Happiness, Leaving the World, and The Moment. I know he is famous judging by the number of his books in airports – but I haven’t tried any yet.

Time to get reading!

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Parsnips – where would the British Christmas be without them? 

It’s a shame the French aren’t into them – they really are missing a treat.  They are available now at OK Primeur which is a large fruit and veg shop alongside the DN7 at the Pont des Trois Sautets, just after the road ducks under the A8.  They are wonderful par-boiled and then roasted in a little oil and honey – or cooked, roughly mashed, mixed with seasoning and cream, topped with some breadcrumbs and grated cheese and voila – a tasty parsnip gratin.

  Of course our Christmas tables need Christmas crackers – Book In Bar in rue Joseph Cabassol has a good supply of boxes.  Finally an excellent source of British goodies for hungry expats is English Bubble.  Caroline not only organises activities and courses for children and adults, but also has a ‘Corner Shop’.  Here you can stock up on marmite, digestive and ginger biscuits, bisto, HP sauce, suet, PG Tips tea, golden syrup and British sweets and crisps.  Details on www.englishbubble.fr



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