The Sun King: Louis XIV at Versailles by Nancy Mitford

French names are hard to keep straight.  Greater emphasis on the people and furnishings around the king than on the king. A cumulative book on the ordinary life of royalty. A bitchy style. “Poison was in the air.”

Renoir, My Father by Jean Renoir

Famous filmmaker=son of famous painter. Obvious duh connection once pointed out. Personal memoir as well as biography. How France looked and smelled and cooked and talked before the war. Renoir as beloved anti-intellectual contradictory contrarian. Renoir painted on the last day of his life. “One is merely a cork… You must let yourself go along in life  like a cork in the current of a steam”