Sunday, April 15, 2007
Paris to the Moon
First, I do like Adam Gopnik! Just finished his other small-family-in-a-big-city memoir, called Paris to the Moon. So nice. It's good to get a little reality check about Europe sometimes, don't you think? I read in another favorite book, American Cultural Patterns*, that Asia looks up to America, America looks up to Europe, and Europe looks up to Asia. I think there is a fair amount of Euro-worship here (minus that whole "Boycott France" movement of a few years ago), and we sure could learn from European lifestyles (walking to the market, sidewalk cafes, super yummy fresh bread, and real chocolate, to name a few), but we don't often know the country/culture well enough to make a real assessment of it. Anyway, that was a long way of getting to my point, which is that Gopnik reveals Paris as city with which one easily falls in love and just as easily feels frustrated with. I won't write out any anecdotes here, but suffice it to say that Gopnik hates Barney as much as you do, knows heaps about French cooking, and can draw some lovely conclusions about cultural differences from fax error messages.
*A textbook from some linguistics class ages ago...VERY enlightening! If you want to understand more about American culture and the (for us, totally obscured) motivations behind American friendships, social structure, and ambition, read this book. I also learned quite a lot about Japan, Germany, and, of course, Micronesia in the pages of this book.