I have very set tastes in books and never stray too far from ones within my preferred genre. For that reason, I have never been in a book club or taken any of my mother-in-law's many book recommendations to heart. For as long as I can remember, when I have time to read for pleasure, I reach for a travel literature book. Why am I drawn to these books? Because I like to wistfully dream of stepping into the pages of the book in my hand and taking the place of the author in whatever foreign destination plays a starring role. That's exactly what happened when I read Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas.
The book, released in 2012, tells the story of Thomas' whole-hearted leap into her passions - Paris and pastries. When presented with the opportunity to write ad copy for Louis Vuitton at an advertising agency in the "City of Light," Thomas took it on and never looked back. With each page I turned, I applauded Thomas for taking the leap of faith to pursue her dream of living in Paris - and taking advantage of all it had to offer her.
Joining Thomas in spirit during her year in Paris
A self-professed "sweet freak," Thomas got to know the charming, winding cobblestone streets of Paris by bike, finding and savoring pastries at patisseries and boulangeries along the way. In the pages of her book, Thomas allows us to explore the city and savor each new delicacy with her via vivid descriptions and a virtual pastries treasure map.
When I came to the end of the book, I admit, I wanted more. Yes, I wanted to hear more about Paris and the pastries (oh yes, the pastries!), but I wanted the dream to continue for as long as possible. For when I had my head in her book, I felt alive with the possibility of what one person could do by pursuing her own dream and then feeling the confidence to share the experience with others. And, I thought about how I, too, could put my hopes and dreams to experience the world with my family into action for my benefit - and maybe even other people in Chicago and around the world.
Keeping the passion front of mind thanks to God, I Love Paris
Thanks to the beloved blogosphere, to this day, I can still get an inspirational injection from Amy Thomas via her popular blog, God, I Love Paris. Her blog offers a regular reminder that the ability to pursue your passion and share it with others is just a click away - as are her photos of sweet delicacies found in Paris, New York and other ports of call.
Today, I'm glad to have begun to try to infuse my love of travel literature a little bit more into my daily life. I still reach for books by other travel literature writers like David Lebovitz (The Sweet Life in Paris), Elizabeth Bard (Lunch in Paris: A Love Story), Karen Wheeler (Tout Sweet: Hanging Up My High Heels for a New Life in France), Eloisa James (Paris in Love: A Memoir) and Peter Mayle (A Year in Provence), who, yes, all happen to write about Paris or France. But, I'm also glad to be able to try my own hand at trying to bring my own passion of travel and urban adventures with my family to life via this blog. And, I'm thankful for all of my readers who click on my stories and come along for the journey.
I do believe that with each page I read, I learn new things about new people, places and pastries, and I gain a new appreciation for the author who pursued his or his dream by jumping at the chance to move to or explore a new city and then putting pen to paper. I appreciate each word I read and I savor each tale that is told. I try to always keep a little bit of it tucked away with me for inspiration and guidance, and I think of it whenever I feel the need for a helpful nudge to keep dreaming, keep traveling and keep writing.
As a woman in public relations who loves Paris and pastries (namely macarons), Thomas was one of the first characters I could really try to emulate and she just so happens to be an author I admire. I raise my glass to Thomas for pursuing her dreams and I thank her for inspiring me to do the same.