Paris, the city of light. Paris, the city of love. Paris, the capital of France. Paris, of the iconic Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel, elle est belle!*). In 2012 (published in 2011), I read Paula McClain’s The Paris Wife, which was about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife. In early 2014, I read the 2013 novel, Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley, a mainstream novel about a girl, her brother, and their lives in Paris.
Obviously, based on these two novels, Paris is the place. Since then, there seems to be a proliferation of books set in Paris or with Paris in the title. Has Paris become the latest and current What-the-tuck trend to emerge? Did it start about the time of the aforementioned novels? Or has it always been there (and this reader didn’t notice)? Or is it that this particular reader is just enamored with the city since taking French in high school? Are other world capitals as widely used?
Okay, not all novels are being set in Paris, but there is a definite propensity to include Paris in the titles of recently published books. How did this reader come to this conclusion?
Looking back over my Goodreads to-read list (and I happen to have a few in my possession to read right now), I find the following titles, authors, and publication date:
A Paris Apartment-Melody Gable (2014)
The Paris Key-Juliet Blackwell (2015)
A Paris Affair-Tatiana de Rosnay (2015)
Finding Paris-Joy Preble (2015)
Paris, He Said-Christine Sneed (2015)
Paris Red: A Novel-Maureen Gibbon (2015)
The Little Paris Bookshop-Nina George (2015)
Paris Time Capsule-Ella Carey (2014)
The Paris Lawyer-Sylvia Granotier (2014)
Paris Kiss-Maggie Ritchie (2015)
Seven Letters from Paris-Samantha Verant (2014)
The Paris Winter-Imogene Robertson (2013)
The Bones of Paris-Laurie R. King (2013)
The Paris Architect-Charles Belfourne (2013)
Confessions of a Paris Party Girl-Vicki Lesage (2014)
The Race for Paris-Meg Waite Clayton (2015)
It Started with Paris-Cathy Kelly (2015)
Now, I didn’t go through my complete list of books on my to-read list, but these are just some that I quickly pulled from my list with Paris in the title. There are also a few books that either have a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the cover or Eiffel Tower in its title (or both). For example, French Kissing-Lynne Shelby (2015) and How to Climb the Eiffel Tower-Elizabeth Hein (2014) fit these descriptions respectively.
Yet, I didn’t scratch the surface of all the books with Paris in their titles. There are plenty more available. In fact, when I go to the Goodreads search feature for titles which include the word Paris, there are 13,731 hits. In contrast, London has 17,155 hits. Searching a few other world capitals, Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo, and Washington D.C., the resulting hits are respectively 7,625, 1,584, 1,835, and 2,948.
According to these statistics, London far outranks Paris, but are all the London-titled books as recent as the Paris ones? How many of my to-read list has London in the title? This inquiring mind investigated further and only discovered a few books with London in the title: London From My Windows-Mary Carter (2015) and A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers-Hazel Gaynor (2015) as well as novels (The Perfect Homecoming, 2015 and One Mad Night Anthology, 2015) by author, Julia London, whom I have read before, but I digress.
Perhaps it isn’t a WTT trend at all; maybe it is that Paris is more appealing to this reader. Maybe it is that title-word-wise London isn’t as romantic or sexy sounding. That books are set in London, but it doesn’t appear in the title. Still, there are quite a few recently published books with Paris in the title.
Is it a trend? Is it that this reader is a Francophile? Obviously, I think it bears watching, but I’ll leave this one up to readers of this blog to decide. What do you think? Is this pedometer geek reader reaching here?
By the way, George Orwell wrote Down and Out in Paris and London, which was published in 1904. He wasn’t taking any chances; he included both, but notice Paris got the top billing.
* A tip of the chapeau to Mrs. Heine—this is from one of our early lessons in French I.