Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Title: The Little Paris Bookshop
Author: Nina George
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 30th April 2015
Time: 12hrs 9mins
Narrator: Ray Sawyer
Book Source: own audio

Synopsis: Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

My Thoughts:
Paris and bookshop in the same title ... who could resist? Kathryn's wonderful review clinched the deal (head on over to Book Date to check it out) and I picked this one up on audio and enjoyed both the quirky nature of the story and characters. 

I love the philosophy of the healing power of books, so the idea of a literary apothecary is simply magical. 

" … A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

"I wanted to treat feelings that are not recognized as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors. All those little feelings and emotions no therapist is interested in, because they are apparently too minor and intangible. The feeling that washes over you when another summer nears its end. Or when you recognize that you haven't got your whole life left to find out where you belong. Or the slight sense of grief when a friendship doesn't develop as you thought, and you have to continue your search for a lifelong companion. Or those birthday morning blues. Nostalgia for the air of your childhood. Things like that." 

Perdu is such an interesting character; insightful and outspoken with others and yet surprisingly stupid blinkered with his own emotional well being. 

I fell in love with George's prose ... Perdu's journey from Paris to Provence along the waterways, dispensing wisdom and collecting travelling companions, the beautiful descriptions of French food and wine, the blooms and herbs, the countryside, the tango scene. I felt transported and immersed in the colour and fragrance of the region. 

I imagine, like Perdu's feelings regarding books “There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only." this won't be a book for everyone, if you're after a succinct, fast paced read this may not be for you. It wanders off on tangents but for me the meandering, contemplative style was half the charm ... to be tasted, savoured and mulled over. 

At the end of the story there's descriptions of Provencal cuisine, produce specific to the region and a number of delicious Provencal recipes that had my mouth watering. And then there is "Jean Perdu's Emergency Literary Pharmacy" ... amusing and perceptive book recommendations to suit any number of ailments. 

Fast-acting medicines for minds and hearts affected by minor or moderate emotional turmoil.

To be taken in easily digestible doses (between five and fifty pages) unless otherwise indicated and if possible, with warm feet and/or with a cat on your lap.

Suggestions such as: 

Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts
Effective in large doses for treating pathological optimism or a sense of humor failure. Ideal for sauna goers with exhibitionist tendencies. 
Side effects: An aversion to owning things, and a potentially chronic tendency to wear a dressing gown all day.

Martin, George R.R. A Game of Thrones
Helps one to kick a TV habit and to cope with love sickness, the hassles of daily life and tedious dreams.
Side effects: insomnia, unsettling dreams.

Verdict: The Little Paris Bookshop is a charming look at life and death and everything in between. It's a "love letter to books" and a journey of self discovery in the autumn of one's life. 

PS. I thought Ray Sawyer did a great job with narration and I'd be happy to listen to him again.

Paris in July hosted by Tamara @ Thyme for Tea

Also linking up with Paulita's Dreaming of France meme over at 


  1. Ohhhhhhhhh this sounds GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

    1. since you love anything Paris I think you'd like this one Julie :)

  2. Awww, sounds lovely, I'd love to read it too

    1. similar style to Fredrik Backman B, have you read A Man Called Ove?

  3. I have a copy of this but for some reason haven't gotten to it yet. It sounds absolutely fantastic and I can't wait! I love the book recommendations. I'm currently reading Hitchhiker's Guide and while I'm not showing any inclination to wear a dressing gown all day I have spent quite a lot of time in yoga pants. I wonder if those are connected!

    1. Can't wait to see what you think Katherine, did you get the audio? Got a giggle out of your comment, the book/ailment recommendations were a hoot :)

  4. Great review! Sounds like the audio version was very good. You are right it is not a read for those who like fast paced. I could easily take this to a desert island and spend time mulling over the various thoughts and ideas! Certainly suits your Paris/France leanings!

  5. Sounds absolutely lovely. I love any Paris fiction too, this does sound delicious.

  6. I have seen this one in the bookshop and wondered what it was like, it does sound like my kind of book and I love the idea of a fiction about bibliotherapy.

  7. I like that phrase 'literary apothecary', sounds intriguing.

  8. I just got this a few days ago. The idea of having a bookshop full of healing books is wonderful, isn't it?

  9. What a great review-- just loved the way you set this one up! Sounds like a wonderful idea, to have this type of bookstore.

  10. This sounds like a wonderful read. Although I love page turners, I also like books that embrace you in a warm hug, which is what this sounds like, Thanks sweetie!

  11. Have you come across The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies, by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin? The authors are bibliotherapists, who prescribe books (fiction only) to cure life's ills (emotional and physical), so there are recommendations for broken bones and broken hearts, headaches and holidays (not knowing what novels to take on). You can dip in and out at random,, and there's a comprehensive index, so you can look up an 'ailment' and find a bookish remedy, or search for a book to see what it 'cures'.

  12. Sounds lovely. I've never listened to an audio book and am not sure I'd like it but I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

  13. A literary apothecary! Sounds absolutely enchanting -- and the title is perfect!


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