Bout of Books 24: final recap

boutofbooks 24


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

DAY 7 RECAP – and final recap

Bout of Books 24 is over.
I read a total of 761, which is less than my target of 805. And I finished 2 books.
It’s an average of 108 pages per day, which is actually slightly less (111) than my previous book of books. Still, I’m happy about being over 100 pages a day.

I also did a few challenges, and several instagram challenge. I didn’t have time to join the Twitter chats. I followed a few new book bloggers, but not too many, as most seem to be too many decades younger than me, and I start feeling the gap in our reading interests.
All in all, a good experience.

I will be posting about the winner tomorrow Hope to seeing you at Boot of Books 25 on May 13.

Let me tell you a bit more on what I read:

prayers by the lakePrayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic
Saint Nikolaj Velimirovic  (1920-1956) was a bishop in the Serbian Orthodox Church. He’s very famous for the Orthodox, for his numerous writings, especially The Prologue from Ohrid, a collection of lives of the saints and homilies for everyday of the year.
The book I’m reading right now, Prayers by the Lake is a “century”, that is, a collection of 100 prayers written in a “poetic prose” style. They re very profound and intense, and use a lot the imagery of nature. So a few per day gives you a lot to chew on.

Are We French Yet


Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle
I finished this book. It’s a good collection of memoirs of a couple of American expats spending a few months every year in Provence. Funny, cute, and right on target. I’ll be reviewing it for France Book Tours at the beginning of February.


berlin alexanderplatz


Berlin AlexanderPlatz, by Alfred Döblin
I started reading this with NYRB Goodreads group.
Like several other readers in this group, I’m struggling, but trying to persevere with it. It’s weird, and the style is reminding me a bit of Ulysses, by James Joyce, though slightly easier so far. But I have heard it’s going to get worse… So I may DNF it, we’ll see.
Have YOU read it? What did you think? Should I keep going?

Hear our Defeats


Hear Our Defeats, by Laurent Gaudé
Another intense and a bit weird book as well. Though Gaudé’s writing is amazing. I have to chew a bit more on it before writing my review, to be able to highlight the ultimate meaning of the book. It’s like a collage of major defeats in world history, (Hannibal, American Civil War, etc), with some contemporary elements.

The Plotters


The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim
As I had finished my ebook, I decided to start another one, and chose this one, as I have to review for the end of the month.
An unusual Korean thriller set in Seoul, with a special kind of mafia. It starts with lots of humor, but gets darker…
I really enjoy his writing style

don quijoteDon Quixote, by Cervantes
I started to read it all (why do I keep reading classics that are not on my list of 50 classics I set myself to read over 5 years?), when I realized Nick was doing a readalong on it. Actually, he’s quite busy, so not posting much about it. Yesterday, I discovered Silvia was also doing a readalong, with lots of resources.
I read excepts of it as a young teen, but I don’t think I read it all. Though so far, everything sounds very familiar.
What strikes me when I reread classics that I read decades ago (far too young for most of them), I realize at the age I read them, it seems I was unable to identify the humoristic part of them. Is it something characteristic of young readers? I wonder, unless it means my world back then (before I actively rediscovered my Christian faith), must have been quite gloomy.
I experienced the same thing a couple of years ago when I reread Proust. Believe it or not, there’s a lot of humor in Proust, but again, I had never see it before.
Don Quixote contains so many hilarious premises and scenes! As such, and with other metatextual elements, it was a revolutionary novel for its time. I’m also interested in the many passages related to books, to the effect of reading on your life. There’s even a reflection on translation.

The MoonstoneAudiobook: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
Another classic, and this time, it IS on my Classics Club list!
I enjoy it a lot, even though so far I preferred The Woman in White by the same author. It’s like a saga about a special precious stone passed along, so it requires attention to follow what’s going on, especially as an audiobook. The change of narrators for different periods does help a bit.


And here is what I read on Day 7:

  1. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 129 pages

Total for Day 7:  129


Here is what I read on Day 6:

  1. Don Quixote, by Cervantes = 12 pages
  2. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 94 pages
  3. Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic = 12 pages
  4. Audiobook [28 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 11 pages

Total for Day 6:  129
TOTAL so far: 632/805

And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day. Some people liked the picture, fine, but no one answered! You were supposed to try to guess my favorite genre from my montage (bad quality, because I too a picture of my computer screen). Any idea?

Be sure to enter my giveaway – last day!

Check my Bout of Books 24 ultimate goal



**This is the overall list for the challenges offered during Bout of Books 24. Make sure you check the blog each day of the read-a-thon for instructions and details on how to complete the daily challenges**

Monday 1/7
Introduce yourself #insixwords

Tuesday 1/8
Character dinner party

Wednesday 1/9
Six degrees of separation – based on an idea I submitted

Thursday 1/10
Synopsis rewrite

Friday 1/11
If this, then that

Saturday 1/12
Dream cast

Sunday 1/13
Stretch goal

Twitter Chats
(chats last approximately one hour)
TZC = Time Zone Conversion

Monday: 8pm CST (TZC)
Saturday: 10am CST (TZC)


Not sure why, but this was another rather slow day.

Here is what I read on Day 5:

  1. Don Quixote, by Cervantes = 48 pages
  2. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 1 page!
  3. Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic = 12 pages
  4. Audiobook [15 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 6 pages

Total for Day 5:  67
TOTAL so far: 503/805

And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day, and the like this/try that challenge


Yesterday was an exhausting day, with a very long and difficult article to translate, among other things. Plus, I had a conference call I absolutely needed to attend for my Church, and that was in the evening on my usual reading time.
Yes, one of my jobs is now to translate daily articles related to worldwide Orthodox news. And now, I’m thrilled to be translating from French to English, instead of the usual way round. Which means, you can now read my work, if you are interested in what’s going on in the world. Obviously, my English is not perfect, but I hope it is getting more and more acceptable.
So the reading result for the day is quite pathetic, and it’s putting my total below my expected average for this week.

Here is what I read on Day 4:

  1. Berlin AlexanderPlatz, by Alfred Döblin = 20 pages
  2. Don Quixote, by Cervantes = 11 pages
  3. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 13 pages
  4. Audiobook [23 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 7 pages

Total for Day 4:  51
TOTAL so far: 436/805

And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day


Here is what I read on Day 3:

  1. Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle = 74 pages – FINISHED
  2. Hear Our Defeats, by Laurent Gaudé = 5 pages – FINISHED
  3. Berlin AlexanderPlatz, by Alfred Döblin = 7 pages
  4. Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic = 12 pages
  5. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 6 pages
  6. Audiobook [24 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 11 pages

Total for Day 3: 115
TOTAL so far: 385/805

The challenge was based on an idea I submitted, so here is what I did. I’ll be visiting blogs today to see what YOU did with it.
And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day


Here is what I read on Day 2:

  1. Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle = 43 pages
  2. Hear Our Defeats, by Laurent Gaudé = 55 pages
  3. Berlin AlexanderPlatz, by Alfred Döblin = 14 pages
  4. Don Quixote, by Cervantes = 6 pages
  5. Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic = 11 pages
  6. Audiobook [36 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 12 pages

Total for Day 2: 141
TOTAL so far: 270/805

And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day


Yesterday, January 7, was the big day to celebrate Christ’s Nativity for me. I’m an Orthodox Christian, and my Church follows the Julian calendar, which runs 13 late compare to the Gregorian (civil) calendar. So December 25 + 13 days = January 7.
It’s actually nice to be far from the crazy commercial stuff surrounding the Christmas frenzy and be able to focus only on the essential.
After the Church celebration, we had a very simple meal at home and time with friends.
But in the evening, I was able to have regular reading time.

So here is what I read on Day 1:

  1. Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle = 56 pages
  2. Hear Our Defeats, by Laurent Gaudé = 46 pages
  3. Audiobook [1H07]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 27 pages

TOTAL so far: 129/805

Because of the very special day, as explained above, I didn’t have time to participate in the challenge of the day, nor in the Twitter chat.
But I posted a giveaway!



13 thoughts on “Bout of Books 24: final recap

  1. Oh, your comment about the humor on Proust is encouraging. I’ve committed to read his first book, Swan’s Way, this year. Your question is also my question. How come I never saw the humor in classics as before? I believe part of the answer is in our reading miles and experience. The more we read, the more we start to perceive the point of view and voice of the author, and good writers write, according to Calvino (if memory doesn’t fail me), and to Ortega (that for sure), tragi-COMIC books. They say both tragedy and humor are two sides of the same. I’m not certain that ALL classics have humor, but it’ll be interesting to spot those that don’t, since the more I think about this, the more I seem to see humor everywhere, from Homer, to Austen, Voltaire!

    I’m happy to read you’ve rediscovered your christian faith. Maybe you are right too, and we were young and gloomy, ‘too serious’, ha ha ha.

    I also saw you liked my About page. Oh, dear me! I must update it. My girls are now 12 and 14, and this year they joined school. We are not a homeschooling family anymore, 🙂 I could read some of my younger years zeal in that about page. We are now older, with a few crisis under our belt, still Christ followers, and maybe we too, have a heightened sense of humor in life, (with adolescent and almost adolescent daughters, we need it to survive.)

    I love that you read and review a variety of authors and many outside of the Anglo tradition. (It’s fun to read from all continents, specially Europe, which is close to me by birth).


    • Good to know a bit more about you Silvia!
      That’s the first time I read someone sharing my point about humor in classics! Fascinating.
      Yes, Swan’s Way! I then encourage you to read all the volumes. Some are boring, for me the 3rd was the worst, but the last volume is so good, I’m glad I persevered (about 18 months, while reading of course lots of other things). If I were young, I would restart reading it all. I have a friend who’s been doing it 5 or 6 times. When she’s done, she starts all over again, because there are are so many connections between the volumes, you need several readings to uncover them.
      Calvino, another great common friend.
      Interesting, I teach French to a mother and her daughter in Texas. The girl is preparing AP French. She’s homeschooled, apparently there are a lot in Texas.
      My rediscovery of Christian faith… That what decades ago, I was 16. After that, a lot happened. I used to be Roman Catholic, and converted to Eastern orthodoxy 11 years ago. My husband is now an orthodox priest.
      I’m actually French, although I live in the US and blog almost exclusively in English, that explains – partly- my reading a lot outside the Anglo tradition. So I was your close neighbor 😉


      • Really? It was first time for me too. I arrived at this point, -humor in classics-, last year while finally laughing with Jane Austen’s books. I suddenly realized that I had been tone deaf to her humor. And I also identified that, for all the classics I love, or people love, we usually find the contain a good measure of humor. I think it was your comment about finding the humor in Proust that convicted me that there’s humor in the classics. And as usual, the books I was reading at the time on literature, (Calvino, Ortega), they were saying that, -which I had missed too! ha ha ha-, that tragedies are also comedies, that classics are truly tragicomic.

        I’m sure I may continue with the 7 books that compose his opera prima. I can see the reward in the conversation among the volumes, and I can totally see your friend’s resolve of starting book 1 at the end of book 7.

        That’s quite interesting, -your faith transition-, and in my ignorance, I didn’t know Orthodox priests could marry, which I now read they can’t, it’s more like a married man can become an Orthodox priest, right?

        Yeah, Texas seems to be the land of the homeschoolers, ha ha ha. And thanks for sharing with me, -I know there was some French connection there-. Like you, since I’m in the States and have been for quite many years, I blog in English and somehow still carry my early Spaniard background with me.


        • Hmm, maybe I should try to reread Austen – whom I plainly hated, sorry.
          You are right: when a young Orthodox man studies for the priesthood, he has to choose what he believes his calling is. If he believes God calls him to a life of celibacy and solitude, he will be a celibate priest, usually living in a monastery, but not always. If he believes his way is to follow Christ through priesthood and marriage, he first needs to find a wife, and then he is ordained a priest. I have known a young man who had to wait a few years until he really found THE One!! Eastern Orthodoxy is basically the faith of the very first Christians. And priests in the West were still able to marry in the 13th century, then Rome put a stop to that, basically for political and economic reasons (big church properties given from father to son, among other things). No theological reason


  2. I’ve read Don Quixote — all four parts twice in English. I have a 200+ year old translation with illustrations. I bought it on layaway with my babysitting money as a teen. I also have the first part in the original Spanish which I’ve read most of. My weekly update.


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