"Every situation must begin as one says 'Bonjour,' whether you're buying shoes or going into someone's home. You must always say, 'Bonjour.' In some situations, this is a rigid structure.
"Our public library periodically sends out a newsletter which lists new books. I saw this book mentioned and immediately called to have it held for me. I have a long history with French. Actually, my undergraduate major is French.
"Another book — somewhat related — is 'The Apprentice.' The author is Jacques Pepin, and this is his autobiography. He's a well-respected culinary artist and was the chef to (former French President) Charles DeGaulle. He came to the United States and earned a graduate degree from Columbia. He is an all-around interesting person, who at the age of 13 became apprenticed to a chef, which determined the rest of his life.
"A trilogy by Alen Mattich begins with 'Zagreb Cowboy.' That's the first book in the series. It deals with a time of unrest in Croatia and the former Yugoslav republic. It takes place in the 1990s. It is fiction but it deals with the circumstances of the conflict and with (Yugoslavia President Josip Broz) Tito sitting on a powder keg and is set in Dubrovnik.
"The reader sees how beautiful the Adriatic is and how the old is replaced by the new. The main character is involved in intelligence work and international intrigue. There's a lot of black humor, and I have family ties to that area. It's where my family came from. And I've now finished the second book in the series."