lundi 22 décembre 2014

Christmas Newsletter 2014



Our Christmas party is becoming more and more popular. We had a great party again this year and we really want to thank all of you for supporting Foal by buying tickets for our raffle. We would also like to thank our kind hosts for providing the venue and the lovely decorations which helped to make this such a festive event. And we thank them again for their generosity in housing the library for two and a half years.

The food you brought was great, we seem to have quite a few cordons bleus in our association !

Message from Phil and Katharine Claringbull

Katharine and Philip Claringbull have been very happy to host FOAL in their apartment and have enjoyed the experience of having the library in their home. They would like to thank Vicki, and the FOAL membership, for the beautiful gift of flowers they received. 


As you know, we shall be moving from Place de la Chapelle Neuve on 17th January. One of our members, Glynis Thomas, has kindly offered to host the library.


The schedule  for the first 6 months of 2015 will come out at the beginning of January, there will be a slight hiatus in January because of the move but by February we shall be back to our normal schedule (1st Saturday and 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month).  Meanwhile, we have two dates in January at Place de la Chapelle Neuve ; Saturday 3rd January (10-12.30am) and Monday 5th January (3-6pm). This should enable you to take out a few books to tide you over.

The 2014 Man Booker prize  « The narrow road to the deep north » by Richard Flanagen has been kindly donated


Don’t forget our famous quiz night on 23rd January. Doors open at 5.30 at Martin Luther King

I am in regular contact with City Hall, as of 8th December, the audit of premises for associations which they had commissioned and which was due at the beginning of October, has still not been handed in !! In my first application, I was advised to ask for premises with shelves included. I thought this might be a handicap so I have informed them that we can bring our own shelves, all we need is a large room which we can equip ourselves.

But we will not let FOAL’s vicissitudes dampen our spirits and we wish you all



lundi 13 octobre 2014

I hope you are all safely back from your holidays and ready to come to the library to have a look at the new books which arrived at the end of September.
There is quite a lot of news, the grant money from the City Hall arrived.
Foal had a successful day at the Foire aux Associations with nearly 50 people signing up to ask for information. Many thanks to those who staffed the stand, it is a tiring business.
We have decided to harmonise the dues over the coming year so that by 2016 everyone will be paying at the beginning of January.
The biggest piece of news, however, is that we shall be leaving our present location some time in January. Currently, we have a fallback solution and one or two leads. It would be good if all members could ask around. We need between 30-40 square metres and we do not have the funds to pay rent. I suggest you put up signs in likely places. (One of the leads we have is thanks to just such a sign which I am sending as an attachment). Although we have had a grant application at City Hall for over two years, nothing has come of it yet, at the moment, they are doing an audit  of all premises for associations and there is no date for the next meeting of the Commission.
 ·         28 November: Literary Conference open to the public, organised by the AWGLR and Bookshop
Janet Tessier du Cros, a scotswoman who lived in the South of France, has published her memoirs about World War II in the mid 1950s. Since the south wasn’t strictly speaking occupied territory and there have not been written as many books about this regions during WW2, this book gives us a unique perspective on the difficult time she and her children traversed. Her son, Mr. Tessier du Cros will be coming to speak about the book, his mother and the war, we will then have somebody read some fragments and hopefully have some demonstration of Scottish dancing too. Wine and beverages will be served, as well as sundry items. 
Espace Martin Luther King  27 Bd Louis Blanc Time: 5-9pm 
·         Tuesday 9th or Wednesday 10th December at the Theatre Jean-Claude Carrière at 8pm
I am hoping to get a few seats for this event at the Domaine d’O. Will keep you informed, but they are fully booked and my contact there is doing his best
 SMASHED By Gandini Juggling
What class, what elegance ! Wearing dark suits and sober little dresses, these 9 jugglers/actors/dancers pay tribute to Pina Bausch and her legendary Tanztheater.
With extraordinary precise juggling and exceptional dancing, the troupe produces sepia images, vague souvenirs of 1940s London, all slightly offbeat thanks to their devastating humour. You will be amazed by the fabulous energy of these out of the ordinary Brits.
·         12th December : Foal’s Christmas party, held at the Claringbulls to whom many thanks for allowing us to hold the party there. Foal will be providing the drinks,  members are asked to bring along finger food. We are organising a RAFFLE again with lots of wonderful prizes. The raffle is a way for us to raise money and tickets will be on sale at the library from the 22nd October and on the day of the party. (1€ each, 10 for 8 €)
·         23rd January : Our famous literary quiz we are waiting to have the room at Martin Luther King confirmed, you will be informed in good time.

vendredi 8 août 2014

The new catalogue (Author Alphabetical Order) is now online. To download it, just click Here.
Also available : Alpha Order by Title Here.
Scroll down to middle of page to a small red PDF file and click on "télécharger le fichier"... hey presto !

mercredi 6 août 2014

Summer Newsletter 2014

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2014                            


·         FOAL held its AGM on June 12th with a rather disappointing turnout but better than some.

·         Vicki gave an overview of the past year ; the Christmas party and Raffle were very successful, as was the annual Book Quiz. The search for premises is ongoing (City Hall has had our dossier for two years now and they receive regular reminders about our situation). We will be addressing the question of a move from the Claringbull’s in the autumn. We will never be able to thank them enough for their generosity and patience. In this week’s Gazette, there is a snippet about premises for associations, some of which, apparently, are put to uses for which they are not intended (gaming, drugs and even brothels !!). The new Mayor is going to look into this and put things in order. Logically, this should free up some premises. In my next reminder, I shall assure them that we have no intention of setting up anything but a library !

·         The Foal website has changed its name to as we had to change hosts.

·         We did quite a lot of advertising in the autumn but until we have permanent premises we are in a chicken and egg situation. We cannot augment the collection (apart from new books) due to lack of space or increase our opening hours or advertise Book Sales so it’s rather difficult to seek too many new members.

·         FOAL received a grant from City Hall again this year (500 euros) we will be ordering new books soon for « la rentrée ».

·         We collected the 10 best books of the first decade, thanks to the efforts of Philippe Marchand and Art Fell.

·         Philip Claringbull’s Treasurer’s Report shows that our financial situation is healthy, we have quite a lot of money in the bank which we are husbanding so that we will be able to afford shelves and other expenses when we move to permanent premises.

·         A Fundraising Committee was set up in the spring. They hope to raise significant funds. These would be used for premises and the Physical Library as a priority but the idea of a Digital Library was mooted which could either become an addition to the Physical Library or set up as a sister association.

·         FOAL will be present at the Foire aux Associations this year on the 14th September, our stand will be on the Place du Nombre d’Or, you might like to drop in to support the team who will be there plugging our library.

·         Christmas Party : to be held on Friday 12 December at the Claringbull’s. Given the success of the party last year, we might be obliged to restrict numbers. We will hold a Raffle again which enabled us to raise a goodly sum last year and is a fun way to support the library, (tickets on sale in the library from November and on the day itself). If anyone would like to contribute a prize, send an email to

HAVE A GREAT SUMMER, if attendence at the library last week is anything to go by, you will have lots of good reading to be getting on with. One more opening before the summer break on Wednesday 30th July

mercredi 21 mai 2014

New books May/June 2014


There was no single book which really gripped us this time and which made us say « we really must buy this ». However, I hope you will find this an interesting selection which will enable you to enjoy your summer reading. The books should be in the library by the end of May or early June.


A Tale in Two Cities                          Brian Unwin

Trials of Passion                                 Lisa Appignanesi

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England                Roy & Lesley Adkins    PB

The Broken Road                              Patrick Leigh Fermor


Lost for Words                                  Edward St Aubyn

The Strangler Vine                             MJ Carter

The Last Word                                   Hanif Kureishi

Mrs Hemingway                                Naomi Wood

Three Brothers                                   Peter Ackroyd

Still Life with Breadcrumbs              Anna Quindlen

The Cold Sond                                  Linn  Ullmann

The Lie                                               Helen Dunmore  PB

Lost for Words                                  Edward St Aubyn

The Stories                                         Jane Gardam
If you would like to read the relevant book reviews, send an email to



·        Some sad news to begin with. We have been obliged to cancel our World War 1 event for various reasons, one being that the Salle des Rencontres at City Hall was not suitable for our purposes. I was hoping the event would really put us on the map as far as City Hall is concerned. With the cancellation and the change of Mayor and his team, I shall have to start over again on the front of applying for premises but I shall pursue tenaciously as is my wont.

·        New address website : our provider no longer hosting us for free, we have changed the address of the website which is now :

·        Readership Survey : a survey of regular readers has shown that they are satisfied with frequency and choice of books. We shall be ordering new books soon, to be in the library before the summer break.

·        Art Fell has successfully completed his compilation of the 10 Best Novels of the 1st decade of the 20th century. His write-up will be sent to you by separate mail. Many thanks to Art and Phil Marchand for leading the project.

·        Foire aux Associations : we will have a FOAL stand this year. The Foire aux Associations will be on Sunday 14th September and we will be sending out a call for volunteers to man the stand nearer the time.

·        We wanted to change venues for a picnic in June but found nothing suitable. However, one Domaine we were able to contact suggested the following meal on Sunday 25th of May at the Domaine de Saumarez. Kick off is at noon with an aperitif, then there is a meal which consists of brasucade de moules, mechouis d'agneau, camambert à la braise, mignardise et café. Wines are available at cellar door prices . 25 euros for the meal. You can visit the site for details of how to get there, 10 kilometres from Montpellier.

·        Annual General Meeting : to be held on 12th June at 6pm at Martin Luther King. As usual, Foal will be providing drinks and nibbles afterwards. We do hope lots of members will attend. It is a nice way to get together mid year.



samedi 8 mars 2014

Book Quiz photo

We didn't get a general view of the Book Quiz but we did get a lovely photo of our two prettiest members who are happy to have it posted here

dimanche 2 mars 2014



Great fun was had by all last Friday 28th February at the Book Quiz, due to the excellent work and organisation of Philippe Marchand and Katharine and Philip Claringbull and the very enthusiastic audience who had much enjoyment answering the questions. Roll on next year !

Upcoming events

First on the agenda a special Book Sale on 12th March, the closest opening day to the 6 March World Book Day. So on the 12th  if you buy two books, you get another one free. As you know, any money raised goes straight into the book  budget.

The next event which should  be of interest to many Foal members are the semi-finals and finals of the schools debating societies (in English, of course) which take place on April 11th at the CRDP (Allée de la Citadelle, near the Lycée Joffre) starting at 1.30pm.

Now for our big event : the WW1 Commemoration to be held on 23rd May at 6.30pm at the Salle des Rencontres in the new Town Hall. Your president has been able to negotiate this venue and also what is called « un verre de l’amitié » (in other words drinks and nibbles) provided by the Town Hall itself. We are hoping for a big turnout, well beyond just Foal and supporters.

We are currently working on content but just to give you an idea the event will take the form of readings, poems, songs and photos to commemorate the Great War.

I am hoping that holding the event at the Town Hall and the interest that has been shown by various councillors as well as the mayor will really put our association on the map and in a strong position for permanent premises. At any rate, that has been my guiding principle in the efforts I have made to organise this.

Although official Spring is not quite here yet, I am sure we all have Spring in our hearts and I know we all have a spring in our step !

samedi 22 février 2014

FOAL Catalogue, Author Alphabetical Order

The new catalogue (Author Alphabetical Order) is now online. To download it, just click Here.
Scroll down to middle of page to a small red PDF file and click on "télécharger le fichier"... hey presto !

mardi 11 février 2014

The new catalogue is now online !!

The new catalogue is now online. To download it, just click here.
Scroll down to middle of page to a small red PDF file and click on "télécharger le fichier"... hey presto !

lundi 27 janvier 2014



Patrick Leigh Fermor : an adventure                         Artemis Cooper

 Catastrophe 1914 : Europe goes to war                    Max Hastings

A story lately told                                                     Anjelica Huston

Norman Mailer : a double life                                   Michael Lennon

Josephine : Desire, ambition, Napoleon                    Kate Williams


 Longbourn                                                                 Jo Baker

 Solo                                                                           William Boyd

 The Luminaries                                                          Eleanor Catton  (Booker prize 2013)

Expo 58                                                                     Jonathan Coe

Jeeves and the Wedding bells                                   Sebastian Faulkes

Just one evil act                                                         Elizabeth George (Inspector Lynley and

                                                                                   his sidekick Havers are back)

The Silent Wife                                                         Asa Harrison

The Cazalet Chronicles                                             Elizabeth Jane Howard (5 volumes)

Gods and Beasts                                                       Denise Mina

Tatiana                                                                       Martin Cruz Smith

The Valley of Amazement                                        Amy Tan

The Goldfinch                                                            Donna Tartt

Strange Bodies                                                          Marcel Theroux



samedi 25 janvier 2014

Newsletter January 2014


Christmas party

We had a great Christmas party and we really want to thank all of you for supporting Foal by buying tickets for our raffle. The money raised (342 euros) has gone directly to buying new books which will soon be in the library. (list out soon). We are already starting to think about prizes for this year so the raffle will be even bigger and better !  We would also like to thank our kind hosts for providing the venue and the lovely decorations which helped to make this such a festive event.

Upcoming events

We have quite a lot on the agenda

First, our famous Quiz which takes place on 28 February at the Martin Luther King venue (27 Bvd Louis Blanc). Come at 6pm in time for a drink. Quiz starts at 6.30pm. Please put 5 euros per person into a discrete envelope and hand it in on arrival  (the money goes towards expenses for the drinks and nibbles, anything left over goes into the book budget).

Next we have been invited to an event which may be of interest to Foal members. For several years now, schools in the region have set up debating societies (in English, of course). The semi-finals and finals take place on April 11th at the CRDP (Allée de la Citadelle, near the Lycée Joffre) at 1.30pm

 World Book Day on 6 March  Unbeknownst to most people, World Book Day, sponsored by Unesco, has existed for 17 years. I found out about it quite by chance and thought it would be a good idea if Foal did something. (I have talked to the Town Hall about this but it is too late for them to do anything this year). Our nearest opening day is 12th March so on that day  if you buy two books, you get another one free. This will be a win-win situation, you get a free book and Foal offloads books from our groaning permanent Book Sale shelves and boxes ! Money raised goes straight into the book  budget as does the money from your subscriptions.

World War One commemoration event

I thought it would be a good idea for Foal to hold an event to commemorate  the start of WW1. I put the idea to our Events Director (Philippe Marchand), and Katharine Claringbull and we have started working on an outline. At a Foreign Residents’ Committee (of which I am a member and which gets me in contact with Mairie people) meeting, I mentioned the project to the Mayoresse  who was extremely interested and directed me to the person in charge of the commemoration events with whom I had a meeting. He actually suggested that we hold the event in the Salle des Rencontres with the Town Hall providing what they call a « pot de l’amitié » afterwards. This would definitely put Foal on the map and be a big plus in our search for permanent premises.

Whatever the venue, the date for this event is 23rd May so you can pencil it into your diaries. The event would take the form of a series of vignettes relating to the war, a quiz, WW1 songs  by the Ochoeur group, a slide show…… More nearer the time

 Comédie du Livre

For the 29th edition of the Comédie du Livre, literary festival, to be held on 23rd, 24th and 25th May 2014,
the City of Montpellier has decided to pay tribute to

Contemporary Nordic literature

During the three day event, some thirty Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish will be taking part in a very rich programme of meetings, round tables and lectures.

We are very fond of Jo Nesbo and were hoping he would be among the authors, unfortunately he is not but it might be possible to have a breakfast meeting with one of the authors as we did a couple of years ago. Will keep you informed.

 10 Best books of the decade

The Brief, Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The Known World by Edward P Jones

The Corrections byJonathan Franzen

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

 Thanks to the determination of Art Fell, the above titles will soon be available alongside FOAL’s existing collection of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.  We also have other books by most of these authors in the library