seven books to offer to lovers of literature

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

by Emmanuelle Lambert

Gallimard, 208 p. €29.90

In Her Sister’s Shadow: Colette’s Last Secret

by Françoise Cloarec

Phoebus, 310 p., €21

Colette at war: 1939-1945

by Bénédicte Vergez-Chaignon

Flammarion, 334 pages, €21.90

Let’s not wait wisely to pass the holidays before (re)tasting the universe, so formidably unreasonable, of this accomplished artist that is Colette. The year 2023 will see the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of his birth. Already, a completely original biography celebrates this rebellious and fertile spirit. Illustrated with shots by anonymous people as well as by the biggest names in 20th century photographye century – from Robert Doisneau to Irving Penn via Gisèle Freund or Lee Miller – this beautiful impressionist book signed by Emmanuelle Lambert tells us about Colette through the multiple representations of this “woman and creator, mountebank and journalist, initiate and initiator, wife and bisexual, man-eater and tidy, mother, pleasure-loving and free”.

Above all, the author of the very beautiful Giono Furioso – Femina essays prize in 2019 –, restores to the author of “Claudine”, from budding wheat and of The cat, its literary density. Against Marguerite Duras, and others, who “will execute it by saying that Colette is bidet water”, she gives thanks to the style of the vibrant artist. Speaking of her as a being of “synthesis”, she affirms: “one word embodies this synthesis, the conquest by women of the literary kingdom, previously massively offered to men. (…) She is a writer. »

And also

Note the very fine essay by Françoise Colarec, In his sister’s shadow, which takes us in the footsteps of Colette’s older half-sister, Juliette. Through the life of this unpretty, erased woman, the writer and psychoanalyst also recounts the luminous and lively Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1).

Finally, the very instructive, sometimes intimate, detour taken by the historian Bénédicte Vergez-Chaignon to tell the daily life of the writer under the Occupation (2).


The Different Regions of the Sky
by Christian Bobin
Gallimard coll. “Quarto”, 1,018 pages, €26

Beautiful books for Christmas 2022: seven books to offer to lovers of literature

The writer Christian Bobin, who died on November 23, 2022 at the age of 71, published this collection of his main works last October, preceded by a beautiful illustrated introduction revealing his sources of inspiration. There are seventeen books, including The missing part,A party dress and The Very Lowbut also more recent works such as The night of the heart and Rock.

“You should never write a single sentence that you can’t whisper in the ear of a dying person”, wrote Bobin, gravely, quoting the poet Henri Pichette. It is today from beyond the grave that he whispers to us a word full of life. This pavement of words is to be thrown in the garden of all those who are not satisfied with the world as it is. They will make good use of it.


The Complete Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe


784 pages, 35 €

A dive into the strange and disturbing, but not only: in addition to the famous extraordinary stories, the work of Edgar Allan Poe is theatre, an essay, Eurekaon nothing less than the origin of the Universe, or poetry with romantic accents – “You were to me, love, all my soul longed for – a green island in the sea, love, a fountain and an altar”… Clearly, a literary sum, of which this illustrated integral makes it possible to measure the abundance.

It also helps to grasp the precursory power of its author, who found in Baudelaire both an admirer and a translator. To the cursed orphan, widowed at 38 and dead at 40, detective novels, science fiction and fantasy owe so much…


Tome and Janry, a life in drawings
Dupuis, 256 pages, €55

Spirou fans are spoiled this year. After the very beautiful end of Émile Bravo’s tetralogy, Hope despite everything (Dupuis), which plunges the famous groom into the torments of the Second World War, and the reissue of the book of interviews with André Franquin (Glénat), this beautiful book devoted to Tome and Janry returns, over 200 plates and pencils with a lively line, on this duo who played cat and mouse with the character in the 1980s and 1990s. Following in the footsteps of Franquin, he gave more realistic and dark accents to the drawing as well as to the psychology by Spirou and Fantasio.

Like Franquin, who created the Marsupilami and Gaston to change the air, Tome and Janry imagined Little Spiroua mischievous and comic vision of the hero’s childhood which was a huge success.


Wonderful stories from five continents

By Ré & Philippe Soupault

Seghers, 400 p., €19

In 1975, Philippe Soupault, one of the fathers of surrealism with André Breton, and his wife Ré, photographer, writer and stylist, published a collection of 103 tales collected from the four corners of the world during their many travels with Seghers editions. Coming from Australia, Chile, Japan or Auvergne, these stories, selected from thousands, allow you to enter a simple “Once upon a time” into “the mores of men from countries that seem different, which is the method for abolishing prejudice and racism”.

Transcribed avoiding any stylistic effect and to be read aloud, these treasures lead with enchantment to the borders of the realm of dreams.


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