Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter

 The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter

ISBN-10: 0061998540  Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 24, 2011), 320 pages.

Whether you it’s your first trip or fifth or upteenth, or if you’re just imagining your ideal vacation, John Baxter’s The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris is a worthwhile read.  An Australian expatriate and writer, Baxter has lived in Paris for over twenty years and has built a reputation for his literary walking tours.  In The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, Baxter shares his prodigious knowledge of the city, its history, and that of various expatriate artists in Paris in the 20th century.   Baxter introduces us to the Paris of Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Sylvia Beach of the famous English-language bookshop Shakespeare & Company.  Baxter takes us to their haunts, gentrified as they are today and gritty as they were then.   

But Baxter doesn’t limit himself to spots of historic and literary significance.  This is Paris, after all, where visitors and residents alike savor excellent food and good living.  Warm and engaging, Baxter shares his Paris, with its culinary delights and hidden gems.  Open-air food markets, chocolate, foie gras,  and unforgettable stories.    Ever wonder about  what it would be like to spend an afternoon shopping for a Matisse? Baxter helps a millionaire friend find a Matisse for his wife and takes him to a celebratory lunch of canned sardines. Visit John Baxter’s Paris through The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris -  it’s an escape to savor.

 Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author:
John Baxter, who gives literary walking tours through Paris, is an acclaimed memoirist, film critic, and biographer.  He has lived in Paris for twenty years and gained an intimate knowledge of the city and its history, particularly of the expatriate artists who lived there during the twentieth century.  His books include the memoirs Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas and We'll Always Have Paris, both available from Harper Perennial.  A native of Australia, he lives with his wife and daughter in Paris, in the same building Sylvia Beach called home.

Read A Conversation with John Baxter on the Paris Through Expatriate Eyes.
Visit John Baxter's website at

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Markets of New England by Christine Chitnis

 Markets of New England
Markets of New England  by Christine Chitnis
The blurb:
Experience a quintessentially American summer - a village-green, homemade ice-cream, corn-on-the-cob kind of summer - exploring the fifty vibrant farmers' and artisan markets profiled in Markets of New England.  You'll find picture-postcard settings, delicious food, and unique crafts down every ribbon of highway.  Make your way up the coast to Cape Cod, where markets feature baskets of blueberries and flats of oysters still dripping with saltwater; hop the ferry to Sustainable Nantucket's picturesque farm stands; or journey inland to an art festival nestled in the Berkshires.  In New Hampshire, attend a lakeside workshop and a market held on New England's largest town commons; in Vermont, an open studio weekend; in Maine, a clam festival, a county fair, and craft guild shows.  Even tiny Rhode Island has pleasures aplenty: an oceanfront gourmet food tasting, an indie art fair overlooking Narragansette Bay and Newport Harbor, and more.  Markets of New England leads you to the local delicacies, the most interesting purveyors, standout crafts and art, and provides you with all the details you need to know.  The food and crafts are filled with local flavor, the settings pure New England, and the itineraries provide enough delights to fill an endless summer.

I'd spent many years in New England and regularly visit the Boston area and I ordered Christine Chitnis' Markets of New England to check out if the lesser known markets and craft fairs.

The book is organized by State: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. She also divides the markets into Farmers' Markets and Craft Markets. Most of the states have 3-4 of each, although the offerings for Rhode Island and Massachusetts are particularly plentiful. Chitnis mentions her particular favorites or artisans to look out for, which I found particularly helpful. There is a list of Featured Artisans with their states, contact information and websites.

I'd often visited the Boston Copley Square Farmers' Market and found her description less helpful than someone unfamiliar with the area. She simply mentions several of her favorite vendors, that the place itself is conducive to picnicking, and the variety of the organic produce. What I loved best about the book are its descriptions of Craft Markets and Farmers' Markets that I hadn't heard of and now plan to visit: the Boston Bazaar Bizarre, a craftfest held at Union Square in Somerville in Sept and Dec, the New Bedford Open Studios in October, the RISD Alumni and Student Art Sale in Providence, and the Yarmouth Clam Festival in Maine held during the Fourth of July weekend.

ISBN-10: 1892145960 - Paperback $15.95 
Publisher: Little Bookroom (May 3, 2011), 216 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program and the publisher.

About the Author:
Christine Chitnis is a writer, photographer, and environmental educator. She lives with her husband and son in Providence, Rhode Island. Her writing has appeared in Country Living, Time Out New York, ReadyMade, Edible Rhody, and The Washington Post, among many other local and national publications.  She holds a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado. Visit her at