E1S3 John von Sothen

John von Sothen is an American magazine writer based in Paris, where he’s lived since 2002. He dabbles a little in French TV and comedy, too. When I started talking to him for this podcast, I forgot that I’d never met him before. That’s because last year John wrote a memoir that was so hilarious, so warm, and so personal that I felt as if we’d known each other for ages, though we’d never even been in the same room. Luckily, he’s American, not French, so I don’t think my informality shocked him! His book was called Monsieur Mediocre: One American Learns the High Art of Being Everyday French. In it he lays out the mysterious rules of French social behavior, which he’s decoded during his years in France first by breaking them, then by learning to roll with them.