Books That Mention Other Books

Books within Books image

I don’t know about you, but many of the books I end up tracking down to read I first learn about when their titles are mentioned in other books (or, more recently, blogs) I’m reading.

Some books mention lots of titles. Back in 2017, Emily Temple very helpfully posted to Literary Hub a host of titles alluded to by the characters in twelve books.

You might want to scan the titles mentioned in these twelve books that Emily examined to see which books mentioned you’d like to put onto your personal “Books to Read” list. (Despite the probability that your “Books to Read” list already has plenty o’ titles on it already!)

Found at Literary Hub’s Facebook page



As the Year Endeth…

For the fifth consecutive year, largeheartedboy is attempting to compile every list of “the best books of the year” he (or any of his many readers) can find. (Best music lists, too.)

If you’re wondering what book to read next, and decide you’d like to read something somebody (or some publication or website) believes is one of the most significant books published in 2012, you might give largeheartedboy a look-see.

Although November isn’t over quite yet, many “best books of 2012” lists have already been compiled, with a further avalanche to come next month, and another during the first few weeks of 2013. Largeheartedboy will provide links to all of them.


Some Underrated Books

Did you know that there’s a website devoted to reviews of woefully neglected books?

For avid readers looking for some recommended titles of non-newish books to read, that site is a great resource.

And occasionally, other websites will post shorter (and, of course, completely different) lists of allegedly underrated books – which, of course, some readers respond to with even more recommended titles. Here are two recent such lists:

Dreaming of Provence

This is the second in a continuing series of selective book lists about perennially interesting places. The first list, about Tuscany, is here.

Titles are grouped by topic, in most cases with the most recent titles listed first.

Most of these books are available from the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. If you have a borrower’s card with AFPLS, you can obtain any title AFPLS doesn’t own by submitting, at any library, an Interlibrary Loan form (available on the library system’s website, Titles NOT owned by AFPLS are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Please contact us if we’ve inadvertently omitted one of your own favorite books about Provence, or let us know if there are  other book lists you’d like to see compiled and posted to the Atlanta Booklover’s Blog.



  • Provence: People, Places, Food: A Cultural Guide (2012) by Cheryl Robson and Martin N. Gilbert*
  • Provence: Art, Architecture, Landscape (2010) by Rolf Toman (and others)*
  • Provence: A Cultural History (2006, 2012) by Martin Garrett*
  • La Belle Vie: The Textures and Tones of Dreamy Provence (2012) by Barbara Stoeltie (and others)*
  • Seeking Provence: Old Myths, New Paths (2008) by Nicholas Woodsworth*
  • Provence: Past and Present (2001) by Silvana Rizzi
  • Colors of Provence: Traditions, Recipes, and Home Decorations from the South of France (1997) by Michel Biehn
  • Sara Midda’s South of France: A Sketch Book (1990) by Sara Midda
  • Provence: Land of Enchantment (1965) by Francois Cali

Mostly Photographs

  • Provence: Lasting Impressions (2012) by Joel Meyerowitz and Maggie Barrett*
  • The Secrets of Provence (2008) by Diane Canwell and Jonathan Sutherland
  • Provence: 500 Photos (2005) by Gerard Sioen*
  • Tour de Provence (2001) by Julian More; photos by John Miller
  • Provence: The Art of Living (1996) by Sara Walden; photos by Solvi dos Santos
  • The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence (1994, 2012) by Michael Jacobs; photos by Hugh Palmer
  • The Most Beautiful Country Towns of Provence (1994, 2002) by Helena Atlee; photos by Alex Ramsay
  • Provence (1994) by Peter Mayle; photos by Jason Hawkes
  • Provence (1993) by Marie-Ange Guillaume; photos by Sonja Bullaty and Angelo Lomeo
  • Provence: A Country Almanac (1993) by Louisa L. Jones
  • Provence by John Flower (1987)
  • Views from a French Farmhouse (1985) by Julian More; photos by Carey More


“…I think life here is a happier thing than in countless other spots on the earth.” – Van Gogh

Just as the American writer Frances Mayes virtually cornered the market for English-language readers interested in what it’s like to live in Tuscany, the many books by British-born Peter Mayle are the titles about Provence that most readers have heard of:  A Year in Provence (1989, 1991), Toujours Provence (1992), and Encore Provence (1999).

Other multiple-memoir authors who’ve described their adventures in Provence are Anne-Marie Simons: Taking Root in Provence (2011)* and Ten Years in Provence (2008)*; James Ivey’s trilogy: Extremely Pale Rose: A Very French Adventure (2006), Rose en Marche: Running a Market Stall in Provence (2008),* and La Vie en Rose (2008)*; and Carol Drinkwater’s five memoirs: The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil (2001), The Olive Season: Amour, A New Life, and Olives Too (2003), The Olive Harvest (2007),* The Olive Tree: A Personal Journey through Mediterranean Olive Groves (2008),* and Return to the Olive Farm (2010)*

Other recent records of foreigners’ personal adventures in Provence include:

  • 28 Days in Provence: Food and Family in the Heart of France (2012) by Shannon Bennett
  • My French Affair: How a Kiwi Woman Found Her Joie de Vivre in the South of France (2012) by Amanda Taylor-Ace*
  • Cherries from Chauvet’s Orchard: A Memoir of Provence (2011) by Ruth Phillips*
  • Blossoming in Provence (2011) by Kristin Espinasse*
  • Provence, Je t’aime (2008) by Gordon Bitney*
  • Lavender and Linen (2008) by Henrietta Taylor*
  • We’ve Always Had Paris – and Provence: A Scrapbook of Our Life in France (2008) by Patricia and Walter Wells
  • Strangers in Paradise: A Memoir of Provence (2007) by Paul Christensen*
  • Where the Heart Is: A Writer in Provence (2006) by Marita Van der Vyver*
  • A Journey into Matisse’s South of France (2006) by Laura McPhee
  • Chasing Matisse: A Year in France Living My Dream (2005) by James Morgan
  • Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France (2006) by Kristin Espinasse
  • Provence for All Seasons: A Journey (2003) by Gordon Bitney*
  • The Magic of Provence: Pleasures of Southern France (2000) by Yvone Lenard
  • A Window on Provence: One Summer’s Sojourn into the Simple Life (1990) by Bo Niles

An earlier generation of writers also published memoirs of their time in Provence:

  • Living Well is the Best Revenge (1971, 1998) by Calvin Tompkins
  • A Farmhouse in Provence (1969) by Mary Roblee Henry
  • Two Towns in Provence (1964, 1978, 1983) by M.F.K. Fisher
  • Aspects of Provence (1952) by James Pope-Hennessy
  • Perfume from Provence (1937, 2009) by Winifred Fortescue [born 1888]
  • Provence, from Minstrels to the Machine (1935, 1979, 1984, 2009) by Ford Madox Ford [died 1939]

Architecture and Interior Design

  • French Essence: Ambience, Beauty, and Style in Provence (2010) by Louisa Jones*
  • Provencal Living (2007) by Andreas Einsiedel*
  • Provencal Escapes: Inspirational Homes in Provence and the Cote d’Azur (2005) by Caroline Clifton-Mogg*
  • New French Country: A Style and Source Book (2004) by Linda Dannenbert
  • Living in Provence (2003) by Dane McDowell*
  • The Provencal House (2003) by Johanna Thornycroft
  • Provence Style: The Art of Home Decoration (2002) by Noell Duck and Christian Sarramon


  • Provence Artists’ Gardens (2008) by Julia Droste-Hennings
  • New Gardens in Provence: 30 Contemporary Creations (2004) by Vicki Archer and Carla Coulson
  • Cezanne’s Garden (2003) by Derek Fell
  • French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France (1991) by Richard Goodman
  • The Gardens of Provence and the French Riviera (1987) by Michel Racine (and others)


  • Roman Provence: A History and Guide (2011) by Edwin B. Mullins*
  • Luminous Debris: Reflections of Vestige in Provence and Languedo (1999) by Gustaf Sobin
  • Thomas Jefferson’s Journey to the South of France (1999) by Roy Moore
  • Provence (1994) by Lawrence Durrell*
  • Village in the Vacluse (4th ed., 1977) by Lawrence Wylie



  • A Literary Guide to Provence (2001) by Daniel Vitaglione
  • The South of France: An Anthology (1985) edited by Laura Raison*



  • Cezanne in Provence (2000) by Evmarie Schmitt
  • Vincent Van Gogh: Letters from Provence (1990) introduction by Martin Bailey*



  • Quilts of Provence (2007) by Kathryn Berenson
  • The French Country Table: Pottery and Faience of Provence (2003) by Bernard Duplessy



The cultivation, preparation, and enjoyment of food is a major social activity for the people who live in Provence, and the food is a huge draw, both for foreign visitors and for cooks who want to reproduce in their home kitchen some memorable feast they experienced in a trip to Provence. A sampling, both new and old, of Provencal cookery titles:

  • Lunch in Provence (2012) by Jean-Andre Charial and Rachael McKenna*
  • Summer Food in Provence (2010) by Marita Van der Vyver*
  • The Provencal Cookbook (2009) by Guy Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine*
  • Provencal Cooking (2008) by Mary Ann Caws*
  • The Flavors of Provence (2008) by Isabelle Borchgiave and Jean-Andre Charial*
  • Cooking in Provence (2008) by Alex Mackay*
  • A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France (2007) by Georgeanne Brennan
  • Cooking School Provence: Shop, Cook, and Eat Like a Local (2007) by Gui Gedda and marie-Pierre Moine
  • Provence Harvest (2005) by Louisa Jones (and others)*
  • The Provence Cookbook (2004) by Patricia Wells
  • Savoring Provence: Recipes and Reflections on Provencal Cooking (2002) by Diane Holuique
  • The Provence of Alaine Ducasse (2000) by Alain Ducasse
  • Patricia Wells at Home in Provence: Recipes Inspired by Her Farmhouse in Provence (1999) by Patricia Wells
  • The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence (1997) by Georgeanne Brennan
  • A Flavor of Provence (1996) by Katy Holder
  • Lulu’s Provencal Table: The Exuberant Food and Wine from Domaine Tempier Vineyard by Richard Olney (1994)
  • Picnics of Provence: French Country-Style Picnics to Enjoy at Home (1993) by Craig Pyes
  • Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook (1993) by Richard Olney; photos by Michael Freeman and others
  • Feasts of Provence (1992) by Robert Carrier
  • Bouquet de Provence: Seasonal Recipes from l’Ousteau de Bauman (1990) by Jean-Andre Charial-Thuilier
  • A Taste of Provence: Classic Recipes from the South of France (1987) by Leslie Forbes
  • Cuisine of the Sun (1979) by Roger Verge*
  • The Wonderful Food of Provence (1968) by Jean-Noel Escudier
  • French Provincial Cooking (1960) by Elizabeth David


Novels Set in Provence

The well-known Provence-popularizer Peter Mayle (whose memoir series are listed above) also wrote three humorous novels set in this part of the world: Hotel Pastis (1993), A Dog’s Life (1995), and A Good Year (2004) – plus two light-hearted mysteries, Chasing Cezanne (1997) and The Village Caper (2009).

Thirty years ago saw the publication of Lawrence Durrell’s considerably more reader-challenging novels set in Provence, novels collectively referred to as his “Avignon Quintet”: Monsieur (1974), Livia (1978), Constance (1982), Sebastian (1983), and Quinx (1985).

Earlier literary novels set in Provence, now considered classics, include Cyril Connolly’s satire The Rock Pool (1936), and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s semi-autobiographical Tender is the Night (1934).

Of course, there are numerous contemporary novels to choose from as well:

  • The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted (2011) by Bridget Asher
  • The Lantern (2011) by Deborah Lawrenson
  • The Ruby Notebook (2010) by Laura Resau
  • The Last Estate (2010) by Conor Bowman
  • An Angel in Provence (2009) by Nancy Robards Thompson*
  • Invitation to Provence (2004) by Elizabeth Adler
  • Where Do We Go from Here? (2001) by Doris Dorrie [translated from the German]
  • Artistic License (2001) by Katie Fforde
  • Fool’s Gold (2000) by Jane S. Smith
  • The Fly-Truffler (1999) by Gustaf Sobin

Mysteries Set in Provence

Those who particularly enjoy detective or suspense fiction have many Provence-setting titles to choose from. These include a series by Martin O’Brien – Jacquot and the Angel (2006), Jacquot and the Waterman (2006),  and Jacqot and the Master (2007)*; a series by Pierre Magnan: The Messengers of Death (2008, 2010) and Death in the Truffle Wood (2007); and a series by M.L. Longworth: Murder in the Rue Dumas (2012)* and Death in the Chateau Bremont (2011).

Additional mysteries:

  • Bellringer (2012) by J. Robert James
  • Riddles in Provence (2011) by Jane E.M. Robinson*
  • Strange Images of Death (2010) by Beverly Cleverly
  • Friends in High Places (2007) by Marne Davis Kellogg
  • The Templar Legacy (2006) by Steve Berry
  • L’Assassin (2008) by Peter Steiner
  • The Villa (2006) by Sarah Sands
  • Unauthorized Departure (2003) by Maureen O’Brien
  • Brilliant (2003) by Marne Davis Kellogg
  • To Die in Provence (1998) by Norman Bogner
  • Dying on the Vine (1998) by Peter King
  • The Cezanne Chase (1997) by Thomas Swan
  • The Provence Puzzle (1980) by Vincent McConner
  • Caravan to Vaccares (1970, 1985, 2012) by Alistair Maclean


Historical Fiction Set in Provence

  • Four Sisters, All Queens (2012) by Sherry Jones
  • The Blood of Lorraine (2011) by Barbara Corrado Pope
  • Cezanne’s Quarry (2008) by Barbara Corrado Pope
  • Flames Over Provence (1998) by Peter Leslie*
  • The Queen from Provence (1989) by Jean Plaidy
  • Token (1955) by Samuel Shellabarger


Fantasy Novels Set in Provence

  • The Blessed (2008) by Lisa Tawn Bergen
  • Ysabel (2007) by Guy Gavrel Kay
  • Cover the Butter (2005) by Carrie Kabak
  • The Sacred Pool (2001) by L. Warren Douglas

Movies Filmed in Provence

These include the feature films Jean de Florette (2007), A Good Year (2006), My Father’s Glory (1992), A Year in Provence (1993), and My Mother’s Castle (La chateau de ma mere) (1999), and the following documentaries:

  • Cezanne in Provence (2006)
  • Provence (Acorn Media, 2004)
  • Provence (Visions of France, 2004)
  • Provence (On the Backroads, 2002)
  • The Landscape of Pleasure (Ambrose Video, no date)

Travel Guides

“There is the first time we go abraod, and the first time we go to Provence. – Cyril Connolly (Enemies of Promise, 1938)

If, after examining some of the previously-listed nonfiction titles, or after reading a novel set in Provence, you find yourself wanting to plan a trip to the area, the library system has a wide selection of travel guides. These include guidebooks devoted to Provence (and/or the Riviera) fromall the main guidebook publishers – Cadogan, DK Eyewitness, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Globetrotter, Insight, Landmark Visitor, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler, Open Roads, Phaedon, Rick Steves, The Collected Traveler, Thomas Cook, and Time Out).

The following non-series guidebook titles are also available:

  • Provence A-Z (2007) by Peter Mayle
  • Secret Provence (2006) by Jean-Pierre Cassely*
  • Caesar’s Vast Ghost: Aspects of Provence (2002) by Lawrence Durrell*
  • Hidden Gems of Southern France (2002) by Luc Quisenaerts
  • Southern France: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (2001) by Henry Cleere
  • The Unknown South of France: The History Buff’s Guide (1991) by Henry S. Reuss
  • A Guide to Provence (1988) by Michael Jacobs*


Most library copies of these titles are on CD; a few are available only in cassette format:

  • A Year in Provence (1989, 1997) by Peter Mayle
  • The Vintage Caper (2009) by Peter Mayle
  • Deliver Us from Evil (2010) by David Baldacci
  • Provence A to Z (2006) by Peter Mayle
  • Cover the Butter (2005) by Carrie Kabak
  • Invitation to Provence (2004) by Elizabeth Adler
  • A Good Year (2004) by Peter Mayle
  • Encore Provence (1999) by Peter Mayle
  • A Dog’s Life (1995) by Peter Mayle
  • Hotel Pastis (1994) by Peter Mayle
  • Toujours Provence (1991, 1993) by Peter Mayle

What to Read Next?

Booklovers everywhere can find themselves vacillating between two poles: the pole called So Many Books, So Little Time – and the pole we could call Whatever Shall I Read Next That’s Going to Be As Wonderful as This Book I’ve Just Finished?

Our anxiety about finding a really good next read can cause us to forget that other readers have read – and loved – some really great books! And while there’s no accounting for taste when it comes to what you, specifically, might enjoy, another bibliophile’s fave can pan out to be one of yours.

The Internet, of course, is one source of reader recommendations. For example, you can find FlavorWire’s list of ten famous writers’ favorite books here. There are thousands of similar book lists on the Internet, which Mr. Google can help you find.

There are also plenty of books devoted to valorizing particular titles, such as the 2007 title whose cover is featured here. This book features summaries of 544 different titles cited by 125 different writers. A compilation of simiar book-recommening titles can be found sprinkled throughout the Atlanta Booklover’s Blog’s  “Books about Books” section. You don’t have to buy these books: you can borrow them from your local library.

Finally, there are databases available that try to identify books with similar locales, writing styles, time periods, etc. One of the best is NoveList, available  to anyone with an Atlanta-Fulton Public Library borrower’s card. (You’ll find a list of databases on the library system’s website.)

With all these resources – plus whatever you may have scribbled down onto (or input electronically into) your own personal TBA (To Be Read) list – we hope you’ll never have to wait too long between One Amazing Read and The Next One.

The Mother of All Book Lists?

Largehearted Boy continues to post, in one place, the gazillions of online “Best Books of 2011” lists he’s been able to find.

You’ll find in this meta-list all sorts of general lists, exquisitly specific lists, zany lists, and lists in all these categories that are conveniently confined to fiction or nonfiction. If you’re in the market for The Next Great Read, you might want to scroll down through this treasure-trove of “bests.”

Incidentally, Largehearted Boy (the blog, not the blogger, David Gutowski ) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Congratulations, David, and thanks for all the lists over the years!

Found via the Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy