Reading (and Viewing) Ideas for the Weekend: Parisians, Women, and Spies


Paris cafe Reading (and Viewing) Ideas for the Weekend: Parisians, Women, and Spies

Hi everyone,

Here are this weekend’s reading (and viewing) picks:

1. “Being a Man at Blogher,” by Wolf Pascoe: Very funny account of what it’s like to be the lone man at a conference of women bloggers. (Hat tip to

2.  Adam Gopnik, on Parisians: Adam Gopnik is one of those writers who is thoughtful and elegant on just about any topic. Here he is musing on the differences between how the Parisian and American bourgeoise view youth and middle age.  This is how it opens:

“It is toward the end of the century, at a modish Parisian wedding party. The daughter of one prominent philosophe—as the French still call a miscellaneous essayist with an opinion about everything; we call them “journalists,” ruining the effect—is marrying the son of another. The reception is held in a cabaret club on the rue Princesse. It is a happy occasion.

Everyone making a toast says the same thing. “I thought of you not as my child, but as my friend.” “I remember the day at thirteen when we had lunch together, and I saw with joy that I could count on you as a friend, an advisor, a bringer of wisdom.” “Tonight no longer a child—but for me you have never been a child. You have been my equal.” Just the opposite, of course, of what we Americans would say. “When I see you tonight it’s with a pang that I remember the little girl/boy who…”

3. The Debt (new movie directed by John Madden): I don’t usually recommend movies, mostly because as the writerly mom of two little boys I rarely have time to see any. My husband and I used to see EVERY good movie that came out, but not anymore. But last night we got to see “The Debt”  - a spy thriller with deep characters — and I’m so glad we did. If you catch it this weekend, let me know what you think!

…and have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Don’t forget to vote for our next QUIET Online Book Club Selection — please go here now.

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  1. Laura on 03.09.2011 at 07:10 (Reply)

    Thanks for the tip on The Debt. The trailer had looked very interesting and a great cast, but no buzz for the film. It helps to get your review.

  2. Lynn Bridge on 03.09.2011 at 11:39 (Reply)

    Hmmm… peut-etre, je suis parisienne…

    1. Susan Cain on 03.09.2011 at 11:54 (Reply)

      I’d love to know what parts ring true or not for you!

  3. Lynn Bridge on 07.09.2011 at 08:22 (Reply)

    Susan, enjoyment of my grown-up children is something I treasure, and I don’t look back wistfully at sleepless nights, confusing decisions about which road to take in child-rearing, endless car trips around town, and constant togetherness. I love having the emotional space to find my own way in middle-age. I don’t dye away the gray hair, because I have earned each and every one. I feel more alive at 55 than I ever did at 30. I am further along in my spiritual journey. What’s not to like, and why would I go back?!?!?

    By the way, by anyone’s standards, I’m a complete extrovert- no one would believe otherwise. But, I LOVE your blog, and if I’m so outgoing, how is it I manage to enjoy spending most of my time alone, in the studio, creating art? You are doing a service to humanity and I thank you.

    1. Susan Cain on 07.09.2011 at 10:10 (Reply)

      Oh, that’s very funny, Lynn, now I realize I misread your original comment. I thought you actually WERE Parisian (though I figured an expat one, since your name sounds so Anglo) and were questioning Adam Gopnik’s view of things. Anyway, I appreciate your view because my kids are still very little, and already I’m conscious of the rapid passing of time and impending wistfulness when they grow up.

      Re: your comment about extroversion, I have found that THE most unlikely people claim to be introverts, or to enjoy lots of alone time, like you. Especially since you say you’re artistically inclined, I wonder if you have a “highly sensitive” temperament — 70% of people born with this temperament grow up to be introverts, but the other 30% are extroverts who report needing a lot of alone and down time. Sound like you? If so, I write a lot about this temperament in my book…

      As an extrovert, though, I’d be curious to know how you found my blog!

  4. Lynn Bridge on 10.09.2011 at 09:22 (Reply)

    Hi, Susan. I wish I could remember how I found your blog, but I can’t. It is likely that I got to it from a reference on another blog.

    I enjoy people a lot and I like to be hospitable. I am a bit like the ranch dog who spends a lot of time by herself under the gas tank in the shade, or out prowling around the pasture, investigating evidence, but who, when a vehicle comes up the road, runs out and barks joyfully, jumping up, licking, running around in circles, and wagging my tail. So, does that fit a personality type? (rhetorical question)

  5. Lynn Bridge on 10.09.2011 at 09:29 (Reply)

    Another thought- maybe I found you through your reference to Introverts in the Church. I have a lay leadership position in a PCUSA church, a denomination full of people who live in their heads. I remember one retreat on which about 100 of us took the short form of the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, and between 30-40% of those present tested to be the two personality types, each of which is approximately 2% of the population. And represented an inordinate number of introverts compared with the general population. Another demonstration of “Birds of a feather flock together.”

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