A Moveable Feast: An Introduction

Hi, Bookies:

My name is Yolanda Wikiel. I’ve had the opportunity to grow up with Real Simple, first as an assistant when the magazine launched, now as a staff editor 10 years later. I work primarily on fashion stories, so you can only imagine how many bras, bathing suits, and pants I’ve squeezed myself into over those 10 years in search of the best-fitting ones to feature in our body-type stories. One year I’m pretty sure I pulled on more than 200 swimsuits to weed out the doozies. And you thought you hated trying on swimsuits.

But enough about me. Let’s move on to this month’s book club pick: A Moveable Feast!

Last summer, I read Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and was immediately sucked in. He’s got a knack for creating this crystal-clear snapshot that makes you feel like you’re sitting right there with him, boozing it up in some sidewalk cafe. And that’s what makes me so excited about digging into A Moveable Feast, where a young Hemingway and his circle of co-expatriates—including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce, the Lost Generation—flock to the bohemian-loving Paris. While America was growing uptight, with its Prohibition and censorship laws in the 1920s, the City of Light was a cultural hotbed for experimental artists from Pablo Picasso to Man Ray, and newly born jazz was heating up the nightclubs (along with some help from the scantily clad Josephine Baker). To explain the city’s draw, writer Gertrude Stein once said, “It’s not so much what France gives you. It’s what it doesn’t take away.” Sounds like it should be a pretty interesting trip, especially when it’s told in Hemingway’s famous cut-the-crap fashion.

Maybe some of you have been lucky enough to have visited France; I unfortunately haven’t gotten the chance yet. So I’m really looking forward to spending April in Paris—at least figuratively speaking.

This is a fairly short book, so let’s split it up into three parts and read the first seven chapters (“A Good Cafe on the Place St.-Michel” through “The End of an Avocation”) for Monday, April 12. I’ll check back in with you then.

—Yolanda

P.S.: Check out the cool “Paris in the 20s” newsreel I found to help get us in the mood and set the scene….

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