WWB Announces the Spring 2017 ‘Book Wise’ Pick in the Non-Fiction Category and it’s a Contemporary Throwback Worthwhile Revisiting…

May 12, 2017 by

BeautyandtheSoul3

 

BOOK WISE Spring 2017 Pick: Beauty and the Soul–The Extraordinary Power of Everyday Beauty to Heal Your Life

 

CATEGORY: Wellness/Spiritual/Non-Fiction

 

THROW BACK SELECTION: Book was published in 2009

 

CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Author From Italy, content is universal

 

AUTHOR: Piero Ferrucci is a psychotherapist and a philosopher. He graduated from the University of Torino in 1970. He was trained by Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, and has written several books including the bestseller The Power of Kindness in 2007.

 

 

WWB OF NOTE:  I wish I had introduced this book earlier in WWB’s history, because it looks at beauty the way I always intended to do with World Wise Beauty, from the inside out and wholistically. This is a beautiful and thoughtful book about appreciating beauty of all  kinds and discovering the healing capacity of beauty not only for ourselves, but for the planet. It’s simple ambition would be to have us all ‘stop and smell the roses’ so we can be fully present and in the moment. On a deeper level, the book offers ways to counteract the ugliness of life with beauty manifesting in all it’s life forms ~Lauroly, Founder of World Wise Beauty

              Author Excerpt: Chapter –Love of Life

‘In a story from the Jewish tradition, the human soul before birth roams about the universe, collects a great deal of knowledge, sees much beauty, and thus is endowed with great wisdom. But just as birth is drawing near, the angel of death approaches and with his sword touches the soul on the forehead. At that moment, when the soul incarnates into the mass of nerves, organs, and muscles which make up what we are, the drama takes place: The baby being born forgets all it knows. Yet an inkling remains, a vague feeling of what is lost. This, the story tells us is why human beings are born crying, and why they seek, everywhere and all their lives, in confusion and desperation a beauty they feel they have lost. Is there really a soul before birth? I cannot say. And I do not know if we have a past life on other planes or in other worlds. But what interests me here is the experience of this life and this world. The Jewish myth seems to allude to a feeling many, perhaps all of us have; the impression of not belonging to this world. The feeling that makes us wonder ‘What am I doing here?”. Like the alien from the film ‘ The Man Who Fell from Earth” , who came to our planet from a faraway star and landed in an amusement park, we find the world around us strange, and bizarre, and sometimes absurd. And perhaps like him, we feel homesick for a cleaner, simpler, brighter world. Luckily we can see the opposite of what the Jewish story tells is also true when we observe children…’
read more

World Wise Beauty Presents the Winter 2017 ‘Book Wise’ Pick and it Promises to Keep You Warm From the Inside…Out

Feb 18, 2017 by

HyggeBookCover

 

BOOK WISE Winter Pick: The Little Book of Hygge –The Danish Way to Live Well

 

CATEGORY: Wellness/Non-Fiction

 

CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Denmark

 

AUTHOR: Meik Wiking

 

OF NOTE: Book was a best-seller in the UK and just released in America in January,

 

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________

It is with great pleasure to select the ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ as the WWB ‘Book Wise’ Winter Pick! The timing couldn’t be better, as we all can use more ‘hygge’ in the winter. I came across the word Hygge back in June 2016 when interviewing Dr. Tim Lomas, who launched the Positive Lexicography Project, an online glossary of untranslatable words that describe positive traits, feelings, experiences, and states of being that had no direct counterparts in English.

Check out his project via the link above and the WWB Q&A with Dr. Lomas here. The author of ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ also spends time on special words and their meaning and even shares a Hygge dictionary in the book.

So for those who are wondering what the heck is Hygge? I will share a few lines from the the author’s introduction of the book….

“Hooga? Hhyoogah? Heurgh? It is not important how you choose to pronounce or even spell ‘hygge’. To paraphrase one of the greatest philosophers of our time ‘Winnie the Pooh’–when asked how to spell a certain emotion “You don’t spell it–you feel it.” ~Meik Wiking

 

 

Let’s indulge you anyway with a quick definition and you’ll be all caught up with our new favorite word.

 

 

DANISH: Hygge (n) : a deep sense of of place, warmth, friendship and contentment

 

On a personal note, a very dear friend from the UK sent me this book for Christmas and I was tickled. It was the best Christmas gift ever, especially because I know she is also a lover of all things Hygge, and we share simpatico (another great word!) in this area. I should be careful about using the word ‘things’, as the author will tell you, Hygge is about an atmosphere and experience rather than things. Yet a beautiful little teapot sure does contribute to the hygge in a room!

If you have been following this blog, you know that I am a lover of wellness wisdom and books. Anytime I can glean wisdom or ideas from other cultures particularly in the wellness arena, I am eager to share them with you.  The Little Book of Hygge was written by none other than the CEO of Happiness! Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark and has the best job in the world, wouldn’t you say? How cool is it, that there is an actual institute studying happiness! It all sounds fun, but this is a serious institute studying the causes and effects of happiness, and how to improve quality of life for its citizens. If you aren’t aware, the Danes rank number one as the happiest culture in the world. That doesn’t mean we can’t catch up to them though! As the author reminds us in his book…Hygge is for everyone. If you aren’t inspired yet to read this book, then I suggest you go on your curmudgeon way, because I am about to share the 10 important values from the HYGGE MANIFESTO included in the book…

HYGGE MANIFESTO

1- Atomosphere–Turn down the lights

2- Presence–Be here now and turn off the phones

3- Pleasure —Coffee, chocolate, cookies and cakes ( oh my!)

4- ‘We’ over me--share the tasks and the ‘airtime’!

5- Gratitude–take it in, this might be as good as it gets

6- Harmony–it’s not a competition, we already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements!

7- Comfort– Get comfy. Take a break. It’s all about relaxation

8-Truce–No drama, let’s discuss politics another day

9- Togetherness–Build relationships and narratives ” Do you remember when we…”

10- Shelter–This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and securityes here

What a wonderful manifesto and all this gets baked into a very happy Danish culture. Not hard to understand why they are so happy with social values like these. I did really respect the author for including a section in the book on the dark side of Hygge. He points out the downside of the close, tribal, and social landscape found in Denmark, is they don’t welcome newcomers very well. This syncs with N0. 10 of the manifesto  ( the sense of peace and security one feels within your own tribe). We all want to belong, but I happen to believe there is nothing more cozy than making someone feel welcome and included.  Of course, as long as they practice number two, four and eight of the manifesto!

Enjoy the book my wise friends, and may your winter days be full of Hygge!

TrulyHerselfSignature22-300x75

 

 

                

 

read more

WWB’s Fall Book Wise Pick: Imbolo Mbue Author of ‘Behold the Dreamers’ Visits World Wise Beauty and Inspires Dreamers Around the World

Oct 12, 2016 by

beholdthedreamerscover

 

BOOK WISE FALL PICK: Behold the Dreamers

CATEGORY: Fiction

CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Africa/New York

AUTHOR: Imbolo Mbue

OF NOTE: Book has been optioned for film

Book Wise Pow-Wow: It’s a tough political climate right now in the United States and the immigration topic is a hotbed of conflict between both political parties. Which is why I chose this particular book for our Fall pick. The power of this story takes us out of an  ‘idealogy’ mode and grounds us in real authentic human experience.

The author’s personal story is one we don’t hear enough about in our public discourse about immigration. IMBOLO MBUE is a native of Limbe, Cameroon ( Central Africa). She holds a B.S. from Rutgers University and an M.A. from Columbia University. A resident of the United States for over a decade, she lives in New York City and genuinely loves her city she calls home. Her book’s characters capture the immigrant experience in a raw and emotionally charged way, and is sure to get you thinking about the American Dream in a much wider context. At World Wise Beauty, we love books that offer worldly perspective, make us feel and think deeply, and perhaps make us just a little bit more wiser after reading. ‘Behold the Dreamers’ delivers it all and will not disappoint you. I am honored to do this interview with Imbolo and hope she is an inspiration to any young girl with a dream, but especially to the young immigrant girl or woman who has a gift and a story to share with the world…

 

 

 

Lauroly Introduction: Welcome Imbolo to World Wise Beauty. You are truly an epitome of a World Wise Beauty! Like the characters in your wonderful book you too are an immigrant and came to America from Limbe, Cameroon. Central Africa is a long way from New York and you only moved here just over ten years ago. You are not only a World Wise Beauty, but also a fine example of an immigrant achieving the American Dream! Since our readers have just been introduced to your book, I don’t want to ask too many questions that will be spoilers. I’m very interested in you and believe so many will be inspired by your story. My first question is a series of three! Did you find the America you conjured in your mind as a young girl in Cameroon? What exceeded your expectations? What disappointed you?

 

imbolombue

Author. Imbolo Mbue ‘Behold the Dreamers’

Imbolo Mbue: Thank you so much for your kind words, Lauroly! World Wise Beauty is a fantastic website and I do appreciate this opportunity to talk to you. Growing up, what I knew of America was mostly based on what I saw on American-imported TV shows. These shows, like “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” and “Dallas,” generally depicted people living in material comfort, so I got the impression that there was very little poverty in America and that it was a place where with hard work, anyone could succeed. And I can’t blame this on the shows—it was just my way of analyzing the world.

My understanding of America was also shaped by people from my town who’d migrated to America and returned home to visit with very nice clothes and shoes, and an air of affluence that I attributed to the fact that people were just generally well-to-do in America. Of course, when I came here, I learned very quickly that there are millions living in poverty, and that for many in this country, immigrants included, hard work is simply not enough to live their version of the American Dream. And it’s a tough reality to swallow. That notwithstanding, I do believe this country provides tremendous opportunities to immigrants like myself, opportunities many of us would not have gotten in our homelands.

touhy-dzendeho-dzongy-rgb

Czech Edition of ‘Behold the Dreamers’

Lauroly Q- Did your own experience find its way into your character formations? What many reviewers are saying about your book, is you did such a great job of capturing the immigrant experience as well as a multi-dimensional depiction of the American characters in your story too. All your characters come to life and are fully humanized.

 

Imbolo Imbue: Thank you. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m an immigrant, and I’ve spent a lot of my time in this country around immigrants, so I know what it’s like to leave home and confront the challenges of building a new life in a foreign country. Like the Cameroonian main characters in the novel, Jende and Neni Jonga, I’m from Limbe, Cameroon, and I also lived in Harlem, in a similar neighborhood like where the Jongas lived. I know what it’s like to be low-income in this country and struggling to stretch that last dollar as far as you can, like the Jongas sometimes have to do. I think the challenges the Jongas faced have to do not only with being immigrants but also with being working-class, especially in a place like New York City. While the Jongas and I share a similar background, their story was, however, mostly inspired by various immigrants and working-class Americans who I had opportunities to converse with—friends and acquaintances and strangers who I found myself sitting next to in parks and bus stops, all of whom gave me a great gift by telling me their stories.

Lauroly Q– You have been working hard since you arrived in the United States. You hold a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers and a Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York. Were you one of those lucky girls who knew you wanted to be a writer from a young age and set your sights on a writing career? Did you receive a lot of support and encouragement from your family back in Cameroon? What shaped the trajectory of your personal success story?

 

Imbolo Mbue: Oh no! I never considered being a writer as a young girl. I didn’t even know that being a writer was a career choice because I’d never met anyone who was a writer until I moved to New York City in my early 20s. I knew there were people who wrote books, because I read a lot of books, but I never thought about who these people were, and how they came about to write a book. Even after I read Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” and became inspired to start writing, it wasn’t so much to become a writer as it was to just enjoy writing the same way I enjoy reading. I’d been writing for 12 years before my first short story was published and then about two years later my novel was published. So it basically took 14 years from the time I first started writing fiction to the time my first novel came out. And in that period, I wrote hundreds of pages that are still sitting my computer.

If I had a publishing goal, perhaps I would have done some things differently—maybe take a few classes or workshops—but then again, I believe it was best for me to take my time to slowly develop. “Behold the Dreamers” took five years for me to complete, from when I first got the inspiration to when I did the final correction, and I think I needed that amount of time. Excellence is every important to me. Simply completing a task is not enough—I want to look at what I’ve done and believe I did an excellent job.

 

voicivenirlesreveurs_imbolombue

French Edition of “Behold The Dreamers’

 

Lauroly Q-  Wow! I am always impressed by the time many brilliant authors like you commit to their book. I’ve read your book is being optioned for a film. Who would you trust to produce and direct the film? It must be so hard to let go of your ‘baby’ and hope the story translates well to film.

 

Imbolo Mbue: Yes, the “baby” is gone! I think this “baby” now belongs to the reader, and every reader is going to have his/her own interpretation. If the book ever becomes a movie, the producers and directors will have their own interpretation, and some of their interpretation might surprise me, but I’ll be too happy seeing these characters come to life that I don’t suppose I’ll think much about it.

 

ziededromers

Dutch Edition off ‘Behold The Dreamers’

Lauroly Closing: What a beautiful attitude to have about releasing your story to the readers and interpreters. Thank you so much for joining me Imbolo. I am thrilled to featured your book as WWB’s Fall ‘Book Wise’ selection and honored to have the opportunity to chat with you here. Wishing you the best with all your future endeavors and continued happiness in America..

 

Imbolo Mbue: Thank you, Lauroly. The honor is all mine!

 

 

read more

From Cameroon to New York, A Story of Indomitable Hope–WWB Selects… ‘BEHOLD THE DREAMERS’ for the Fall 2016 ‘BOOK WISE’ Read

Sep 22, 2016 by

wwbbookwisefall2016

 

“If you’re pro-immigration, there’s something in the novel to support your argument. If you’re anti-immigration, there’s something in there to support your argument, too. My goal was to tell the story completely and leave it up to the reader to interpret it in whichever way fits their worldviews.”

~Imbolo Mbue, Author of ‘Behold the Dreamers’

 

 

beholdthedreamerscover

 

BOOK WISE FALL PICK: Behold the Dreamers

GENRE: Fiction

CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Africa/New York

AUTHOR: Imbolo Mbue

OF NOTE: Will be adapted to film

Book Wise Pow-Wow: It’s a tough political climate right now in the United States and the immigration topic is a hotbed of conflict between both political parties. Which is why I chose this particular book for our Fall pick. The power of this story takes us out of an  ‘idealogy’ mode and grounds us in real authentic human experience.

The author’s personal story is one we don’t hear enough about in our public discourse about immigration. IMBOLO MBUE is a native of Limbe, Cameroon ( Central Africa). She holds a B.S. from Rutgers University and an M.A. from Columbia University. A resident of the United States for over a decade, she lives in New York City and genuinely loves her city she calls home. Her book’s characters capture the immigrant experience in a raw and emotionally charged way, and is sure to get you thinking about the American Dream in a much wider context. At World Wise Beauty, we love books that offer worldly perspective, make us feel and think deeply, and perhaps make us just a little bit more wiser after reading. ‘Behold the Dreamers’ delivers it all and will not disappoint you. See below for the Publisher’s overview of ‘Behold the Dreamers’ and come back soon for my Q&A with the author.

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

PUBLISHERS OVERVIEW…

fbpromotionbookwiseA compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

read more

Travel to Italy and Explore Self Reinvention: World Wise Beauty Selects ‘In Other Words’ by Jhumpa Lahiri as Spring Book Wise Pick

Apr 8, 2016 by

 

 

 

BOOK WISE SPRING PICK: In Other Words

GENRE: Non-Fiction/Autobiography/Dual Language(English-Italian) Format

CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Italy

AUTHOR: Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of four works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth, and The Lowland.She has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Premio Gregor von Rezzori, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, a 2014 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, and the Premio Internazionale Viareggio-Versilia, for In altre parole.

OF NOTE: One of her books ‘Namesake’ was adapted into a movie. Learn more here…

Book Wise Pow-Wow: What would you express in another language? What language would that be? Whether you are an immigrant or not, at the center of this beautiful memoir is perhaps a universal experience that many of us can relate to.  Our self-hood and search for identity is a life-long process of becoming comfortable in our own skin, and we all can feel at one time or another like we don’t quite fit in. ‘In Other Words’ is a story about a love and a pure passion for another language and culture. Where do you feel most comfortable to be yourself? Would you find your true self in another country? Or would you be running from yourself?  This deeply introspective writer invites us to reflect and explore identity through her personal journey…

 

 

 

 

PUBLISHER BOOK OVERVIEW:

In Other Words is a revelation. It is at heart a love story—of a long and sometimes difficult courtship, and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery always eluded her.

Seeking full immersion, she decides to move to Rome with her family, for “a trial by fire, a sort of baptism” into a new language and world. There, she begins to read, and to write—initially in her journal—solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice.

 

See the highlighted quote leading this post for translation…

Presented in a dual-language format, this is a wholly original book about exile, linguistic and otherwise, written with an intensity and clarity not seen since Vladimir Nabokov: a startling act of self-reflection and a provocative exploration of belonging and reinvention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

read more

World Wise Beauty Announces the ‘Book Wise’ Fall Pick and Chats With Nina George– International Best Selling Author of ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’

Sep 10, 2015 by

 

 

BOOK WISE FALL PICK: The Little Paris BookShop

GENRE: Fiction

AUTHOR: Nina George is a prize-winning and bestselling author from Germany (“Das Lavendelzimmer” – “The Little Paris Bookshop”) and freelance journalist since 1992, who has published 26 books (novels, mysteries and non-fiction) as well as over hundred short stories and more than 600 columns. George has worked as a cop reporter, columnist and managing editor for a wide range of German publications, including Hamburger Abendblatt, Die Welt, Der Hamburger, “politik und kultur” as well as TV Movie and Federwelt. Georges writes also under three pen-names, producing Provence-based mystery novels.

In 2012 and 2013 she won the DeLiA and the Glauser-Prize. In 2013 she had her first bestselling book ‘The Little Paris BookShop‘, translated into 30 languages and sold more than 800.000 copies.

WWB “Book Wise’ Pow-Wow: Wednesday, November 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

Lauroly Introduction & Review: I am so thrilled and honored to be able to talk to Nina George about her book “The Little Paris Bookshop’.  ‘Book Wise’ is a new Book Club with a modest following,  and it is exciting to have an International Best Selling author join us for a personal interview! I of course found her book to be absolutely perfect! I just had to select it for WWB’s  ‘Book Wise’ Fall Pick. It is perfect because it speaks to everything World Wise Beauty cares about. Books, wisdom, travel and culture. But more importantly it speaks to WWB’s main interest–wellness culture. The Little Paris Bookshop is after all, a book about healing and the power of books to help us heal. How many of us have stumbled upon a book that seemed to offer just the right words to help you ‘feel’ and process a difficult time in our life.

I will say, this book was a serendipitous and healing gift to me. My Mom is in the late stage of cancer, and with hospice care I have been watching her die slowly right in my home. There are no words to really describe this experience and I know there are so many people in the world that have cared for their sick parents too. Yet I feel alone in this experience,  and almost like I am locked away in a glass chamber, and no-one on the outside can understand. But this book, cut through the glass and has helped me ‘live’ with the scary feelings I am experiencing. Isn’t that amazing? In life we sometimes feel like we are the only one who is going through a difficult time or feeling uncomfortable feelings. We open a book and suddenly we are no longer behind the invisible glass we have created for ourselves. Books really are a gateway to the world and truly can reach the innerscape of our souls. I am thankful for finding this book because it touched me emotionally and also enchanted me with its ‘sense of place’ ( France). I hope everyone enjoys reading this book as much as I did. ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’ is a treat and the words ‘Literary Apothecary’ will be your new wellness prescription! As a teaser, here is a review from Nina’s Press Page, I thought really captured the essence of this book:

“Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, Nina George’s impressionistic prose takes the reader on a journey not just through the glories of France and the wonders of books, but through the encyclopedic panoply of human emotions. The Little Paris Bookshop is a book whose palette, textures, and aromas will draw you in and cradle you in the redemptive power of love.” 
Charlie Lovett, author of The Bookman’s Tale 

 

Welcome Nina: I must say, it was interesting to research you and learn more about your background. I discovered that you have been a professional writer for over 20 years, and have been writing under a pen name ‘Anne West’ about issues of love, sexuality, and eroticism. Intriguing! You also have written detective stories with your husband. How interesting and curious to create a completely different kind of novel, and it become an International best-seller! I couldn’t help but think of Louisa May Alcott and her ‘Jo March’ character and draw a comparison. Alcott wrote many books but it was her semi-autobiographical book ‘Little Women’ that became her best seller, because she literally wrote from her heart. Let’s get the readers up to speed, so they know what I am referring to…

Lauroly Q- On your Wiki page, it says you wrote this book right after your father’s death. It is amazing how grief and especially the death of a parent opens us up in ways we could never imagine. How did your grief inform your writing of this book? It must be hard to share this story with the world. Thank you for sharing with us a very personal experience…

© Photo Maurice Kohl © Nina George

 

Nina George: Three things happened at once just as I was about to begin researching my story in Provence. My father died. He was my best friend and a mirror of myself. I lost a disc in my neck; the pain in my nape, my back and my arm was so piercing that it nearly drove me nuts. And Jean Perdu the piano tuner vanished for a year – and reappeared as a bookseller. When, after a year of pain and mourning, I finally dared look inside myself to see what was left of the writer I’d been and of myself, I found someone who wanted to write about something important to her, something important to me. I immortalized my father as Jean Perdu’s father. The book took me two and a half years to think up, but only thirty-one days to write. And then twenty more to go through the edited version.

I’m a person who reacts strongly, but less so to words than to landscapes, the feel of a room, a town, a cemetery or a shop. I get to know a person better if I may sense them out in silence than if I just read or listen to them. It’s taken me twenty-two years of writing to understand that I need to write stories so I don’t overflow with all the sensations I absorb in passing. I am filled with the feelings of other people, unknown houses and distant lands. It’s as if I were a catalyst that converts the world into stories, and transforms into stories the emotions people can’t understand or see in themselves. And I write to hear what I feel, to see what I think and to explore the meaning of my life – and the meaning of why we humans are as we are. I am a translator of the soul.

 

Lauroly Q- It sounds like grief was your catalyst. It is so heart-wrenching to lose a parent and especially when we are close. Perhaps in writing this book, you excavated deep within you, something that needed to be expressed, and most importantly understood for yourself. What books were life-changing for you? You give us a wonderful treat at the end of the book. It’s a real ‘Literary Pharmacy’ from your main character in the book. Is there one book you would read over and over?

Nina George: Books are the most important thing in the world. For it is from books that humans learn to be human. They learn courage, love and compassion, and about other cultures. They learn to get angry, to behave themselves and to fight; they learn to think for themselves. Readers are the saviours of the world; they make it warm, loving, understanding, tolerant and complex.Books heal. The Elegance of the Hedgehog healed me I was finally able to weep. Harold Fry and Smithy Ide healed me. Anna Gavalda and Jon Stefansson healed me. I’ve lived in books ever since I was a baby. It was only in their presence that I could find peace. I could read before I went to school, and books are my friends, my family, my exile and my love. I think that books are about more than fame, popularity and power. And as I began to write about those things, I suddenly saw a path leading straight to myself and to the story of Jean Perdu.

Lauroly Q-  I can see that this book was very cathartic for you. You are German but you wrote a book which is really a lovely homage to France. It was so wonderful to travel through France with your character Monsieur Perdu. What inspired you to tell this story through a French character and lens?

 

 

Photo Credit: Provencetoujours

 

 

Nina George: During my research I naturally went to Provence. Many of the places and a handful of the characters are real, for example in Bonnieux or Sanary-sur-Mer. I raced back and forth through the mountains of Provence at great speed, 1,000 miles, looking for places where I would feel “it”. Writing’s not just about craft; there’s also a semi-magical grey zone when the story tells me what it wants to write where, and not the other way around. I had the feeling that I’d hit exactly the right spot in Bonnieux and Sanary-sur-Mer. Coincidentally, my husband and I came up with the initial idea for our joint crime series on that trip, in Mazan, and we invented a new detective duo of a cat and a Marseille-based narcotics agent called Jean Bagnol. So I “found” two books on that one trip – it was unplanned, and all the more thrilling for it.

Rue Montagnard doesn’t exist: I named it after a French smear-ripened cheese. I came up with the idea of a ship full of books as I was sailing to New York on the Queen Mary II. It has the world’s largest floating library containing 8,000 books. That’s how many Jean Perdu has on board his floating Literary Apothecary, the pharmacie littéraire. Like Perdu, it was in Bonnieux that I first realized that life never ends, that we remain in everything we love. One day, after my death, I will live on in books, maybe as a full stop or a page.

Lauroly Closing: What a beautiful muse you had in Provence. French smeared cheese! I love it! I can’t wait for your next book. Thank you so much for joining me here Nina and for sharing your ‘joie de vivre’ and wisdom with us. I will be throwing a Book Wise Pow-Wow in November so readers can come together to discuss your book.  Maybe you can join me again for a LIVE-CHAT with the readers? I know you are probably busy doing book tours but it would be lovely to have you join us for a chat in late November. We can wish!  😉

 

 

 

 

 

read more