The Paris Library Discussion

Author Janet Skeslien Charles

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles was inspired by the true story of librarians at the American Library in Paris during World War II. Two young women come of age under very different circumstances – one in occupied Paris and one is rural Montana some forty years later.

Pageturners talked about the themes it raised – loyalty – the lack of it and remorse; relationships – with parents, employers, neighbours, siblings and friends; and learning from life lessons.

Pageturners comments included: “I didn’t know about the American Library in Paris, loved all the people that went into the Library, did like it, easy to read, liked all the facts and history, both Odile and Lily were jealous characters, it was a bit contrived, really enjoyed it, the Lily bit was superfluous, Lily reminded Odile of herself, one was in the past and one was in the present, it was so “Mills & Boon”,  it had potential but didn’t fulfil it, some parts were shocking, it is hard to imagine how you would react in the same situation, I didn’t like Paul, poor Margaret,  it didn’t need the Lily story, that whole bit could’ve been cut out,  I wanted more about the story in Paris, I didn’t like all the Dewey Decimal references, I thought they were amusing, the red belt was significant, there was quite a twist at the end.”

Ratings ranged from 2.5 to 4 out of 5.

Further reading:

Burning the Books A History of Knowledge Under Attack by Richard Ovenden

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and their race to save the world’s most precious manuscripts by Oshua Hammer

Opening the Windows of the World

Interview with author:

Book Club Kit – Discussion Questions and Interview with Janet Skeslien Charles

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