Monday, January 20, 2020

Nuit de la lecture (reading night) 2020

French Village Diaries la Nuit de la lecture 2020
Nuit de la Lecture 2020 Sauzé-Vaussais

La Nuit de la Lecture

For the last few years I have been posting about La Nuit de la Lecture, the annual reading night event created by the French culture minister in 2017 to encourage more people to discover the fun to be had in books. The aim is to bring together readers and professionals, from authors, publishers, book shops and libraries, to share a love of books and reading. 

I usually use La Nuit de la Lecture to post my annual top ten of popular books shared on the blog, a post that will be coming later this week, because today I’d like to share some photos of our local event that took place in Sauzé-Vaussais on Saturday.

Five local libraries collaborated to put together an afternoon of cookery workshops followed by an evening of food, fun, music, poetry and readings.

French Village Diaries la Nuit de la lecture 2020
Preparing the Syrian samosas

The food was an international mix of Syrian, Vietnamese and French. During the workshops a Syrian family, recently arrived in the area, shared some of the flavours of their home and how to prepare them, alongside the French preparing a Vietnamese chicken and rice salad and a retired patisserie chef demonstrating chou buns and eclairs. This part of the day certainly highlighted the positive effect of immigration and integrating new cultures into the community.

French Village Diaries la Nuit de la lecture 2020
French patisserie classics

In the evening, the librarians, both salaried and volunteers, put on a show with the themes of food and sharing taking the spotlight. Before each course was served our appetites were whetted with a food-themed sketch. Readings about oysters and sushi, a humorous tale about couscous, a fable about camembert and a song about banana splits and fruit salad, were just a few of the things that entertained us as we ate the food prepared during the day.

French Village Diaries la Nuit de la lecture 2020
The librarians putting on a show, Nuit de la Lecture 2020

It was obvious to those of us in the audience that everyone involved was having as good a time as we were and proved that working together as a network of local libraries has a lot to offer. Friendships and links between the libraries have been forged and I’m delighted there are plans to continue events like this in the future. 

Maybe next time I will be brave enough to take part and read aloud, in French, in front of an audience. I know the support from my friends was there, but this time it proved a little too much outside of my comfort zone. The venue wasn’t our village library, the audience came from a wider area and the team was made up of lots of people with lots of ideas and opinions. I let myself slide into the shadows rather than seek the spotlight.

Today is Blue Monday, claimed to be the most depressing day of the year, but living in a community that can pull together and put on events like this, even in the depths of winter, certainly helps to cheer the soul and lift the spirit. If you are feeling down today, pick up a book, I’m sure it will help. Here are a few suggestions of books I’ve enjoyed that all have something to make you laugh or will leave you with a nice warm glow of happiness. 

A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman

A fabulous read that takes you to the heart of the gardens at Versailles. There is history, family drama, romance and mystery with a great cast of characters and superbly described setting. I'm reading this at the moment and keep looking for excuses to pick it up and jump back in.


Playing the Martyr by Ian Moore

This book gives us a murder, an investigating judge with an interesting past and a great cast of rural French village characters, including the British expats, the Maire, the councilors, the political undercurrents, the village bar and someone with a score to settle. Ian kept me guessing as the plot evolved and we got some snippets of French history and an expert guide around the beautiful city of Tours.


Susie Kelly box set

It is so difficult to pick my favourite of Susie Kelly’s humorous books on life and travel in France, luckily with this box set, you can have them all.

For more reading ideas you might like my previous posts:


  1. What a wonderful evening and promising experience for future endeavours together! What fellowship books and food can forge in all cultures! (My husband originally was from Syria.) I'm looking forward to sending you the Villa des Violettes Book 3 very soon. :-)

  2. What a fabulous get together and it looked like a perfect evening... it also made my mouth water!


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