I love words, language, sentences, metaphors, stories long and short, poetry, reading and writing.

Reading is a journey, a meeting place, something to enjoy in solitude and to share with friends.

Here are a few words about what I am reading, how I heard about it and any other random, connected thoughts on reading and writing.

Citizen of Planet Earth, I was born in a convent, raised on a hill country sheep farm, educated in a city, worked in London, travelled a lot and now live /work in France.

When I’m not reading, writing, teaching or with my children, I’m Flairesse.

Enjoy reading and thank you for your thoughtful comments, they are very motivating and I appreciate every one of them.

I value the freedom to choose my reading, so can’t promise to review books requested.


136 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Claire,
    I enjoy your blog and nominated you for the Liebster Award. Not sure how much that means, if anything, but you can read about it over at my blog – return2writing.com

    Happy Reading!

    • Thanks Michael Ann, it was a delightful piece and I so related as did many others, great that you shared it with that lovely artwork that so captures that refreshing freedom. If only other chores did the same!

  2. Claire, I’m so glad you found me and I was able to find you. You’re writing is amazing, and you have already given me so many book recommendations!

  3. Hi Claire,
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my website and ‘following’ me on Twitter. Yes, I have years and years of research invested in my books… with my next one, medieval this time, due to be released spring 2012. The research never seems to end, but for me, it’s a type of ‘spike history.’ (I do a general overlay, then learn everything I can about a ‘drilled down’ period and location.) I also have a daughter with a ‘Masters in History’ that doesn’t let me stray too far!

    And yes, my novel,The Seahawk’s Sanctuary, is available in print at Amazon, B&N, and other sites – including some international ones, but the eBook price is significantly less. As for the Kindle, I was gifted one for my birthday this year and I love it!!! With the holidays just around the corner, Amazon has currently reduced the price to around $75. Good luck with your writing…

  4. Oh how very nice to find you, Claire! You have a new follower…I’ll be the one over here with a notebook and pencil jotting down all of the great book recommendations and savoring your style of presentation.

  5. Hi Claire. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated and enjoyed your comments on my blog. How you picked up on the idea, after reading about my emotional sensitivity, that living the military life must have been hard on me. Yes, that is true. I think that is why I am so rooted where I live now and don’t want to ever leave! And why I get attached quickly to people. Anyhow…it did have it’s consequences. I just like how you gave them some thought. Thank you for not only reading the words, but seeing the big picture!

  6. Hi Claire! So nice of you to stop by my blog Everyday Underwear and leave a comment. France is beautiful and I visited Paris many years ago, when in high school. It was funny because I was a teen and had a unique haircut for my central Illinois area, but in France I was accepted more readily on the trip because someone told me I looked local! Stop back by for today’s post – I actually referred to you in it :)

  7. Hi Claire

    I am envious you live in France. I live in Cape Town, at the bottom of Africa, which is beautiful but feels very far away from Europe. I, too, love reading, writing, words, sentences, the beauty of language.

    Keep writing and reviewing


  8. Hi Claire – I’ve come to you via your comment on my blog today. Noticing you were living in Aix, I simply had to write. My heart lies in the south of France and we have visited many times in the last 15 years. My husband and I spent four months (May to September) in Antibes in 2011. I’ll look for you on SheWrites!

  9. Dear Claire,

    Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog, Ironwoodwind re Homeland Security. I have several friends from New Zealand and used one of their phrases (and hijacked their attitude) for my brief piece about future goings on in our dysfunctional, oh, so strangely named ‘security’ bureaucracy.

    I have followed your blog, not out of any sense of obligation, but because I am drawn to it’s look, feel and content. I hope to spend many pleasant hours wandering there. Thank you.

    Spent three of the best weeks in my life in the Chamonix area. I am green with envy that you live there.



  10. Hi Claire, have you read The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes? I would love to discuss it with those who have, but also don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t.

    • Hi Nella,
      I haven’t, but I do intend to, he has been on my list to read for many years. I would be interested to know your thoughts. One person I am sure has read it is dovegreyreader, she is a prolific reader and always up with the latest books out. I love her site, something to aspire to.

  11. Thanks; I’ll be interested to see your comments when you read it (and do, it is wonderful). I have looked at dovegreyreader before, but hadn’t signed up for her blog, so thanks for reminding me.

  12. Reading and traveling are the two things I love most in this world! In our house in France that we are currently remodeling, I have a whole room dedicated to being my own personal library. It is something I have begged for since I was a kid. The library will be a bit small, but one day I hope for it to be immense! There is nothing like the feel of pages, the smell of the binding and total sense of being when I have a book in my hand. It’s magic and I’m always thirsty for more :)

    • I guess I ought to write something about that, as you may see from the blog, I write about what I read and I choose freely what I read. I do read a few advance copies, but they are books that I choose from the list of titles available, so they are in keeping with the type of books I like to read and tend to be of the literary genre and in particular I like to read authors and/or stories across cultures.

  13. Bonjour Claire, and merci for your comment on my site. I was born in Wellington, studied and worked in Auckland, lived in London and as you know, now live in the South of France – I will enjoy reading about your many sources of inspiration…

  14. Came across your blog via Patricia Sands’ blog and was instantly attracted by your multicultural background and that you live just a little further south of me in France (OK, quite a bit further south, I’m in Rhone Alpes). Will be visiting again soon and reading your reviews, as I like reading crosscultural stories too. Have you read ‘The Expats’ by Chris Pavone?

    • Thank you, wonderful to find like-minded souls and refreshing to discover them not so far away. I haven’t read ‘The Expats’ do you recommend it? I’m currently reading ‘Third Culture Kids’, necessary reading for parents I’m told.

      • Yes, it is the classic! And Ruth van Reken is such a delightful person, so generous with her time and insights. I’ve always disliked the term ‘third culture kid’, I like ‘global nomad’ much better.

  15. Thanks for your comment on my ‘The Most Beautiful Thing’ blogpost, Claire – much appreciated! (& very sensible)

  16. Great blog! Thanks to you, I just added many new books to my “must read” list. FYI at one of my academic conferences, I heard someone say that the average American buys one book a year…and reads only half of it. Can you imagine such a life? *Shudder*

  17. Hi Claire, I found your blog and your ‘likeness’ and I actually think it’s a really stunning photo! Who needs a photo shoot when they have a picture as glamorous as yours? Love it! Thanks for visiting Romance That Rocks Your World, and I’m really excited to have found Word for Word. Am following and look forward to ‘meeting’ you loads in your posts. :-)

  18. As I drool over the idea of you living in Aix en Provence, I look up this bio, and find that you started out from where I am living right now…actually an hour outside Auckand by the sea. Love your writing

  19. Hi, Claire.

    You said, “I love words, language, sentences, metaphors, stories long and short, poetry, reading and writing.”

    I wish I had arrived at that passion earlier in life. You know! Where I came from, the cultural forces and family pressure for a male to go into sciences are monumental. I always felt drawn to expressions of thoughts and feelings.

    I found that with a more extensive vocabulary, I became equipped to intelligently process the words and actions of those before and now.

    When I moved to the USA, I solely focused on improving my English. I had flipped the page and started a new journey with words. Ten years later, I reconciled my past with the present and found that the words I learned in English rationalized the past from an adult point of view.

    Finally, I admire your goal. A book a week!!!

    Warm regards,

  20. Hi Claire! Thank you so much for visiting The Big Green Bowl and saying “hello.” It was really nice to hear from you. I have not been on She Writes in forever… I hope you are having a good summer too!

  21. Hi Claire, thank you for visiting and following my blog. I love your post on ‘Rain’ — as a sodden Londoner I rarely have kind thoughts about that particular weather phenomenon but you made me think about it differently :)

  22. I really like your blog! Is there anyway I can contact you about possible review titles. Please email me kenya(dot)walker@us(dot)penguingroup(dot)com

  23. Hello! I love the header on your blog, did you design it? Will read more of your posts later, heading out to my favorite Greek restaurant for some Lemon Rice Soup. Happy Sunday!


  24. Thanks for liking my review of 1Q84. You have a lovely blog. Very interesting to read, and aesthetically very pleasing. Well done! I’m going to follow your blog.

    • Thanks Judy, I have been thinking of you because I have a little note written to myself in my agenda reminding me that you are back in France and today I met a group of ladies for coffee at Les Papilles! :) I’m going to London tomorrow for a few days, but will be here for all the festive season, so lets meet for sure. Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

  25. Last night I came home to find that a fellow blogger chose me to be one of his recipients of the 2012 Blog of the Year Award. One of the several blogger-nominate-a-blogger type awards that seem to multiply like rabbits in the blogosphere. Part of the drill is, I get to ‘award’ fellow bloggers, whose blogs I enjoy. Well, tag. You’re it. The rest of the drill is letting said fellow bloggers know. Now you know. It’ll be in virtual print tomorrow. Hope you’re ok with it.

  26. Dear Claire,
    Greetings from Australia. I was born in Europe, have lived most of my life in Australia, yet lived more many years in different countries of Europe. France is the place I love best. All the best and I sincerely wish you a blessed year.
    God bless

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  28. Congratulations for your blog. It’s the first time I’ve visited it and found it elegant and cosy. I share with you a deep love for words, languages, books and writing.
    Ciao from Italy

  29. First, I love your blog. Second, I’m a member of ITW (International Thriller Writers) and have a new young adult paranormal coming out April 9, 2013 titled “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story.” I was hoping to perhaps do some sort of feature/highlight/review to coincide with the book’s release.

    Could you let me know if this is possible? And if so, what you need from me to proceed. To aid in your consideration, I am including below a snippet about the book.

    Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

    The Other Side: Melinda’s Story
    Starr Gardinier Reina

    If I tell you the story, will you believe me?

    Melinda James’ father is dead. But he tries to warn her from the ‘Other Side’ that the killers from the past want something only Melinda can give them. And they are beginning to get far too close for comfort. Can dead people protect the living? And if they can, will it be enough? And does this ‘Other Side’ really exist or is this all in Melinda’s mind?

    In her world, as portals open and close, Melinda must find a way to understand that the voices speaking are sending dire warnings. She is out of time. They are here, desperate to take what they feel is theirs and they will stop at nothing to get it.

    • Thank you for your enquiry, as you may have noticed if you perused the list of books I have read, I don’t read young adult fiction or paranormal or thrillers. I wish you all the best with your book.

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  31. I noticed you visited my blog, so I thought I would return the favor and am glad I did. I enjoy the range of books you read and appreciate how many. I am a reader myself, though not as big as you are. You mentioned that you were up for suggestions, so I would recommend “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green. At first glance it looks like just another teenage book, but as you read it, it makes you think about life on a whole other level. This is my personal favorite book so far, take it or leave it.
    Much obliged, Becca

    • Thanks for the recommendation, though I haven’t read it, Fault in Our Stars is one I bought for a nephew for Christmas, I’ve read many great reviews of it and don’t doubt that it’s a great read. Thank you for the affirmation and returning the visit :)

  32. Hello, Claire. I just found your blog today, as you wrote a lovely review of Niki Tulk’s Shadows and Wings. I will certainly start following Word by Word, and am wondering if you have any interest in reviewing my book, called Living by Ear? If so, I’d be happy to send you a copy, either a paperback or Kindle version. My blog is http://www.livingbyear.com and there’s a bunch of info there about the book–as well as other musings about life, etc. Thanks so much! I look forward to hearing from you. –Mary

  33. A new award, I am Part of the WordPress Family Award, has recently appeared on WordPress and I have nominated you for it. You can read about it on my blog today.

  34. I am new to your blog, having followed the award nomination from Three Hundred and Sixty Five. I wonder if you would consider reading my book? My blog gives details of the book, (in addition to some interesting, funny posts.)

  35. Hi, there!! nice to know you. I myself wish to read more Turkish literature other than those of Orhan Pamuk’s, but I haven’t got the chance yet. hope I can get some reviews here :)

  36. Hi Claire – I really like your blog! I’m also going to hit you up to see if you might like to read my book, Zera and the Green Man (we connected through The Signature of All Things – Flora’s Forum blog). Here’s the link: http://www.zeraandthegreenman.com — Thanks for considering it. –Sandra Knauf (I have a “connect” page on the website.)

  37. Hi Claire, I have a book to recommend, one of the best I’ve read in a long time – The Missing One by Lucy Atkins, about family secrets and the way they affect future generations. Very strong writing.

    • Thanks Rosemary, I shall add it to my list. Did you see that I’d just finished Helene Gestern’s The People in the Photo? I am curious to know the background and whether the author herself has personal experience with uncovering family mysteries, when the story is compelling, it is often the case.

  38. It’s protectionism to make people buy the paper version before the electronic version takes over. I don’t know if you have noticed but French e-books are at least double if not triple the price of English e-books.
    May I make a suggestion for your website? Perhaps you could have a tab for book suggestions to keep them altogether.

    • I hadn’t noticed, perhaps because most of the French books I have downloaded are classics and there are always multiple versions available in e-book form. It is certainly a protected industry!

      Are you on Goodreads? That’s where I tend to keep my TBR and find recommendations from others, I added your suggestion there immediately.

  39. Yes, I’m on Goodreads but don’t use it very much. I shall do so more often! My husband only reads in French and we’ve been amazed at the difference in the price of e-books in French and English, except, as you say, for the classics.

    • Great, I think I found you. It’s really useful for recommending and seeing who else of your friends has read something.

      Yes, I think the industry is doing with e-books what it does with hardbacks, makes people pay through the nose if they want to read something that’s only recently published.

      Do you belong to NetGalley?

  40. Thanks Claire, I’ve accepted your information. Up until now, I hadn’t connected with many people having the same reading tastes.

    No, I don’t belong to NetGalley. I’ll look into it.

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  45. Hi Claire,
    Would you like to review an advance copy of my novel ‘Ignoring Gravity’? It is the story of Rose Haldane’s own ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ television programme. Rose is confident about her identity. She pulls the same face as her grandfather when she has to do something she doesn’t want to do, she knows her DNA is the same as his. Except it isn’t: because Rose is adopted and doesn’t know it. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ connects two pairs of sisters separated by a generation of secrets. Finding her mother’s lost diaries, Rose begins to understand why she has always seemed the outsider in her family, why she feels so different from her sister Lily. Then just when she thinks there can’t be any more secrets…
    If you’d like more info, please e-mail me at sdan2364 [at] btinternet [dot] com
    Thanks, Sandra


  46. Claire, an Australian friend recommended your blog. I like a lot of what you say about books and your reading. I don’t know much about you as a person, but personally blog a lot about singledom, childlessness, the older woman, gender ambiguities and the gender divide. As one aspect of this, I write about how these themes appear in art and books – fiction included. I’d love your view on those pieces at http://boywoman.wordpress.com. (I’ve also recently had a novel published, in which those themes recur: ‘On the Far Side, There’s a Boy’. It would be lovely to correspond.

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