March Booking It: French Women Don’t Get Facelifts, The Monuments Men, & My Berlin Kitchen

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March Booking It: French Women Don't Get Facelifts, The Monuments Men, & My Berlin KitchenBooking It is an online book club where we share the good reads we’ve found in the previous month. We’ve found that over the years we’ve discovered some great new books thanks to this monthly book share. Carrie and Anne are my fellow bookworms and help round out the selections.

What Jessica read:

March Booking It: French Women Don't Get Facelifts, The Monuments Men, & My Berlin Kitchen

French Women Don’t Get Facelifts

by Mireille Guiliano

Years ago, close to ten, I saw French Women Don’t Get Fat advertised in a store window. Since I was postpartum with my fourth child, we’ll say it was rather timely. It was also the first time I came up for breath in the craziness of those early motherhood days and was able to read a new release. I’d been so out of the loop prior to that. Since then, I’ve read all five of the French Lady’s books. I’ve loved most of them.

While I won’t say that this is in my top ten, I did appreciate what author Mireille Guiliano had to say in French Women Don’t Get Facelifts. I’m going to be 42 in a few months. My body has already warned me that it’s starting to change. And I don’t plan on getting a facelift!

Some take-aways that I got from the book:

  • Aging is a matter of attitude. I’ve been guilty of calling myself OLD. But, seeing that my grandmothers both lived to be 85, I’d say I’m not even halfway! (They both had some negative habits that contributed to their poor health in later years. They might have lived longer if they had taken better care of themselves.) I’m reminded to tweak my attitude a bit in order to stay lively and happy.
  • Nutrition matters. Of course, I know this, but it was nice to hear it reinforced once again. Me and the French lady’s eating habits jive pretty well.
  • Drinking less in the older years is better. I’ve never been a heavy drinker; it’s only in the last five years that I’ve ever even drank a complete glass of wine. I was pregnant or nursing for about 12years solid! While Guiliano was a career woman working in the wine industry, she cautions to slow things down as we get older. I appreciated that warning, especially since I haven’t been much of a drinker prior to now.
  • Those five pounds post-40 are brutal. I never succumbed to the “Freshman 15” in high school or college. Unfortunately, middle age has its own equivalent. Once I hit 40 those five pounds have been really, REALLY hard to lose. I’m glad to know it’s not just me! All the same, it seems like its a slippery slope to more weight gain. I don’t really want to take that slide.

If you’re in your late 30s or older, I think this book is a good perspective to see going into your middle years. I don’t agree with everything she says. In fact, I was really bored with the first half of the book. But the middle to the end made it worth sticking with. Even FishPapa read some parts our of curiosity and liked what he read.

What Carrie read:

March Booking It: French Women Don't Get Facelifts, The Monuments Men, & My Berlin Kitchen

The Monuments Men

by Robert M. Edsel

First, a confession: my original major in college was history; but overall I’m just your average Jane Austen reader. Even if the thought of 512 pages of WWII art history and government red tape makes your eyes cross – hear me out. I decided to give this mammoth a go after seeing the trailer for the George Clooney film. I knew right away that I needed to read The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel because I’m one of those folks who believes the book is always better than the movie. In fact, I still haven’t seen the movie – both because I’m too cheap to pay ticket prices, and also because I so fell in love with the real story that I’m afraid to be let down by how much they changed the film.

History major and art fanatic, or a novice at both – this book is worth reading. Edsel does an amazing job of bringing the men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives programme (MFAA) to life, using snippets of letters home, interviews with survivors, and historical research to ensure accuracy. During their time on the ground in Northern Africa and Europe, the Monuments Men lost two of their own – and both times, I found myself wiping away tears, completely caught up in the lives and work of these unsung heroes. My favorite part is the full circle ending… but if you want to know what happens, you’ll have to read it for yourself.

What Anne read:

March Booking It: French Women Don't Get Facelifts, The Monuments Men, & My Berlin Kitchen

My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story, With Recipes

by Luisa Weiss

I’m a huge fan of the cookbook/memoir mash-up: personal essays that tell stories rooted in food, like Bread and Wine, A Homemade Life, and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. Weiss’s memoir–described as “a love story, with recipes”–continues in that tradition.

Luisa grew up “all mishmashed”: her Italian mother met her American father at school in Austria, and subsequently moved to Berlin. (Her parents named her “Luisa” because the name was one of the few that stay the same in all three languages–English, Italian, and German.) But when her parents divorced, Luisa’s life was split between continents, spurring a decades-long search for identity and a true home.

My Berlin Kitchen will inspire you to travel–to New York City, Berlin, Italy, and even Paris–and to cook up a storm. I’m dying to make the meatballs in tomato-chipotle sauce, the Kartoffelsalat, and the spiced plum butter. I love a book that inspires me to cook, and this one will do just that.

What did YOU read this month that you loved?

– Anne loves strong coffee, long books, and big ideas. She puts a timely spin on timeless women’s issues at her blog Modern Mrs Darcy.

Be sure to download Anne’s Kid Lit Guide, Paper Gains. It’s a great collection to help you navigate the book store and come through with some great, meaningful reads for the children in your life.

Carrie's Headshot– Carrie adores culture, coffee, books, British mystery shows, Parisian cafés, and her husband of 13 years. She’s spent time in Africa, southeast Asia, and Alaska, and now works from home as a social media book launch project manager. 

In her spare time, you can find her blogging at Carrie’s Busy Nothings

Jessica Fisher Color by Sharon Leppellere - sm– Jessica is a married mom of six kids, aged 5 to 16. Most can read independently which means the homeschool experiment is working – at least on the literacy front.

She has been a lover of books for 40 years and counting. We won’t count the first year of life. She runs this here show called Life as MOM and also posts all the food things over at Good Cheap Eats.

Tell us what YOU’VE been reading.

Leave a comment or a link below. Please be sure to link back here so your readers know where to find the party. Share your recent book reviews with us!

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  1. Thanks so much for your monthly reviews, ladies! I’ve read a number of the books you’ve recommended and enjoyed them immensely. This month I am visiting some classics I’ve never read before – The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

    1. I’ve never read those! I’d like to get to them, someday. Working my way through Wuthering Heights right now–another classic I wasn’t assigned in high school. 🙂

  2. The Monuments Men book is on my list. (The movie was really good!)
    An aside; Carrie, the end of your post reminds me of the old Reading Rainbow book reviews. Anyone remember those??

    1. I took French in high school, but that’s a joke compared to Jessica’s French knowledge! 🙂 Anyway, my two cents would be to suggest “The Little Prince” in French – my brother read the English version to me when I was a small child. It pretty much went over my head, but might be fine for a 14 year old, especially if she wants to practice her French. It’s available on Amazon (and for Kindle for under $6):

      Jessica might have a whole slew of better suggestions, but thought I’d drop mine into the pot. 🙂

      1. Thank you Carrie and Jessica. I ordered The Little Prince for her. This afternoon I also found 2 shelves of children’s books in French, I grabbed “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein since we are big fans of his books of poetry!

        1. The Little Prince is exactly what I was going to say! I have a gorgeous copy I picked up when I was in Paris (, years ago, as a teen). I still can’t read it, but it makes me want to try. 🙂

          1. Anne, when I was in Switzerland when I was a teen, I picked up a copy in French… same thing… can’t read it, but it makes me want to try! 🙂

          2. To be honest, it has so many nuances and weirdness, that reading in English first might be better! My 2nd grade teacher read it to us and I thought it was so weird.

    2. Carrie’s suggestion is a good one. Also, I remember Marcel Pagnol’s books being easy, but I was in college when I read them. I’m not sure if they have adult content. The Little Prince is probably a good start.

  3. I will have to check the Monument’s Men for sure. I saw it in the store and was wondering if it was good. I liked the movie even though I am not a George Clooney fan. I know, I know, I must be the only woman who doesn’t like Clooney! LOL

    I have been reading the Flavia de Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley. The main character is a very precocious 11 year old girl obsessed with chemistry and solving mysteries. I wouldn’t classify it as kid lit but find the main character fascinating and entertaining.

    1. Heather – I’ve read several of the Flavia books (recommended to me by an older friend who knew me as a child and said Flavia reminded him of me!) and enjoyed them. Stopped after the 3rd, but would like to finish up the series.

      After reading on Wikipedia about the changes in the film version of “Monuments Men”, I’m really not sure I want to see it now that I have fallen for the book. If I watch it, I’m just going to have to do so with the idea that it’s a whole new story, not true to the book. 🙂

  4. I kinda miss you guys sharing a few books you read (as opposed to one each.) I understand it isn’t easy to write a lot of book reviews, but I love getting ideas from what you read.
    I can’t remember much of what I read this month, but I do remember I read the companion book to the Call the Midwife tv series. It has lots of interesting pictures and behind-the-scenes information. It was also enjoyable to learn more about Jennifer Worth and her part in making the tv series. It is called The Life and Times of Call the Midwife by Heidi Thomas.

    1. Maya, I feel like it’s harder to share one than several–because choosing JUST THE ONE is so hard! If it helps, I also thought about sharing The Hypnotist’s Love Story, Code Name Verity, The Middle Place, Wildwood (which I think Jessica would love), and the Sherlock Holmes books I finally read. 🙂

      1. As in the original Sherlock Holmes books??? Oh Anne! Did you like them? I read those as a kid and have re-read them several times… just about due for another read through. LOVE them. 🙂

    2. Maya, I think I’m a bit too long winded in my reviews to do more than one – we don’t want to lose people! 😉 Like Anne, I had a couple of books I skipped – “7” and “Blood Royal”. Both of them were good, but I enjoyed “The Monuments Men” more. 🙂

  5. I have been reading the Ladybug Farm series by Donna Ball. I am in love. There are 4 books, a novella and a cookbook. She has since done a spin off called The Hummingbird House. I hear she has done another cookbook, but its only out in large print. Ive read the first 3 books and the novella, starting the 4th book now.