Sunday Post #30 – 4/26/2020

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Hmm, it’s been a month since my last Sunday Post.
I hope you are all well.
I’m good. My usual life style being usually on the quiet side, the present situation hasn’t really changed much for me, except ordering food for delivery and the one major thing: not being able to go to church. Thanks to the Internet, we have been praying with the monks of Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia, as we have live stream videos of their prayer services and Divine Liturgy. So Holy Week and Easter (for us Orthodox Christians on April 19) were actually extremely prayerful.

One more change actually: we have already been having our monthly book club virtually twice. I like to use Google Meet: you generate a link that people just have to click on and it opens in their browser. You can even join the audio conversation with a regular phone number and PIN to join. Nothing to download.

My absence from blogging is only indirectly related to the Covid-19: I have right now more French classes to teach (I have been teaching one on one through Skype through 12 years), with a few students preparing very demanding exams (AP and IB) that require a lot of preparation.
So I got very late on my reading (I can only read in the evening, and I’m sometimes too exhausted after my classes) and reviewing. I’m slowly catching up with that. I still need to go through a few hundreds emails before starting visiting more of your book blogs again.


  Wild Dog La nuit du carrefour

📚 Wild Dog, by Serge Joncour
Published on 4/2/2020
stars. My review is here

📚 La nuit du carrefour, by Georges Simenon
(Maigret #7) (The Night at the Crossroads)
Read with one of my French students. Counts for The Classics Club

I’m more and more enjoying this Maigret series.
Simenon is brilliant at the evocation of a place and time period, with many passages comparable to a camera zoom, and lots of fascinating details making the events so real. He focuses often on the weather. His characters are so true to life.
The body of a diamond merchant was found in Andersen’s garage. But even after 17 hours of interrogation, Maigret didn’t get any confession from this refined character. So he has to broaden his investigation and look more closely at this intriguing group of three houses set at a crossroad.
The plot was very satisfying and the answer brilliant and original. I’m actually not sure if this was the first time thieves had that type of idea, but a quick look at news made me realize that maybe thanks to Simenon, the idea has been adopted by many since then!
The group of characters involved was quite unique!
If you need a quick and great classic mystery, try this one. You don’t need to have read the first ones in the series.


Lessons From Walden The Mirror and the Light

Three Hours in Paris

📚 Lessons from Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy, by Bob
Expected publication: March 30th 2020 by Pepperman Taylor
Received for review through Edelweiss Plus.

Slowly but surely, still reading this one.

Throughout this original and passionate book, Bob Pepperman Taylor presents a wide-ranging inquiry into the nature and implications of Henry David Thoreau’s thought in Walden and Civil Disobedience.
As Taylor says in his introduction, ” Walden is a central American text for addressing two of the central crises of our time: the increasingly alarming threats we now face to democratic norms, practices, and political institutions, and the perhaps even more alarming environmental dangers confronting us.”
Taylor pursues this inquiry in three chapters, each focusing on a single theme: chapter 1 examines simplicity and the ethics of “voluntary poverty,” chapter 2 looks at civil disobedience and the role of “conscience” in democratic politics, and chapter 3 concentrates on what “nature” means to us today and whether we can truly “learn from nature”–and if so, what does it teach?
Taylor considers Thoreau’s philosophy, and the philosophical problems he raises, from the perspective of a wide range of thinkers and commentators drawn from history, philosophy, the social sciences, and popular media, breathing new life into Walden and asking how it is alive for us today

📚 The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel.
Finally, third book on Cromwell. The beginning is brilliant.
I’m around age 300, where things are slowly (but surely, we already know) shifting for Crum’.

📚 I recently listened to the excellent latest mystery by Michel Bussi, Au Soleil Redouté. I’m currently reading it now, with one my French students.

📚 As for spiritual books, I’m currently reading Maximus the Confessor’s commentary on the Divine Liturgy. I’m actually reading two different translations of it at the same time. A recent one, and an older one that actually makes things easier to understand!

📚 And in audiobook, I chose a free book at
Three Hours in Paris, by Cara Black
I have read and enjoyed several mysteries by Cara Black, all set in a different neighborhood of Paris. So I saw this one among the free titles of the month and didn’t even take time to look what this was about.
It’s actually a historical mystery, set during WWII, a topic I usually try to avoid these days. So I was first disappointed it was not a regular Aimée Leduc mystery, but actually it’s very good and I’m enjoying it.


A Hundred Million Years and a Day

📚 A Hundred Million Years and a Day, by Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Sam Taylor (Translator)
To be published on 6/16, by Gallic Books
Received for review

‘On the mountain, the only monsters are the ones you take with you.’
Summer 1954. Stan has been hunting for fossils since the age of six. Now, having made a career out of studying the remains of tiny lifeforms, he hears a story he cannot forget: the skeleton of a huge creature, a veritable dragon, lies deep in an Alpine glacier. And he is determined to find it.
Leaving his life in Paris behind, Stan sets out in pursuit of a legend. But he is no mountaineer, and to attempt his dangerous expedition he must call on loyal friend and colleague Umberto, who arrives with an eccentric young assistant, and expert guide Gio. Time is short: the four men must descend before the weather turns. Bonds are forged and tested as the hazardous quest for the earth’s lost creatures becomes a journey into Stan’s own past


In Praise of Shadows Replay

📚 In praise of Shadows, by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki
Published in 1933

“An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight, and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure.

📚 Replay, by Ken Grimwood
Published in 1987

“Jeff Winston was 43 and trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, waiting for that time when he could be truly happy, when he died.
And when he woke and he was 18 again, with all his memories of the next 25 years intact. He could live his life again, avoiding the mistakes, making money from his knowledge of the future, seeking happiness.
Until he dies at 43 and wakes up back in college again…”


Zoo animals

📚 Zoo Animals: A Search and Find Book for Kids
Expected publication: ? May, by Rockridge Press
Received for review through Callisto Publisher’s Club

“Get everything you could want out of search and find books for kids. Not only is Zoo Animals bursting with search and finds―each with 10 different things to discover―it’s also filled with fun facts about all kinds of incredible creatures.
From the deserts of the world to the reptile house, you won’t have to search far to find (and find out about) some of the world’s wildest and most interesting animals. Challenge your knowledge of wildlife while learning about different habitats and what you can do to help keep the world healthy in one of the best word search books for kids.”


Hoping to restart doing this this coming week


  • Book review: Wild Dog
  • Restarting slowly…

📚 Book of the month giveaway: a book of your choice!


  • Reviews of books received from Callisto Publisher’s Club
  • A few late reviews
  • More Orthodox book notes

As I’m catching up on things, I didn’t participate in the Classics Spin.




24 thoughts on “Sunday Post #30 – 4/26/2020

  1. A friend was telling me yesterday about The Mirror and the Light. She loved it. I hope you do, too.

    I am glad you have been very busy with your French classes, but we have missed seeing you here.

    My life feels very different. I mostly miss real, live people. Zoom is helpful, but it’s not as good as real, live people.

    Stay safe and healthy.


  2. Thank you for the work you are doing to keep education moving! I know it’s very challenging – even with a pre-kindergartener at home, I can feel the stress of it. Hopefully you’re able to relax well in the evenings after a tiring day.


  3. The lockdown continues and it’s been pretty quiet here too. Just trying to take it one day at a time.

    That’s quite the cover on the Joncour book!

    Hope you have a safe and happy week!


  4. I. Didn’t know Google had the video conferencing option. Everyone seems to be using Zoom. Our book club met virtually too and it worked really well but we were a small group and I suspect it would be harder if there were lots of participants.

    You are ahead of me with the Mantel. I can read this only in short chunks because it’s quite demanding to keep abreast with the characters and the intricacies of their plotting. But it’s a brilliant book.


  5. Whew! I’m getting pretty used to not working consistently – good for you for holding your focus while students prepare for exams! And some of the books you mentioned sounded good too. Thanks for sharing!


  6. I’m interested in the Wild Dog. You have lots of good books to keep you busy when you can squeeze in time.
    I appreciate you mentioned the bookclub through google. Maybe I can get my bookclub to try a Zoom meeting.
    Stay safe and have a good week.


  7. Pingback: 2020: April wrap-up | Words And Peace

  8. I’m glad to learn about Zoo Animals, Emma. It’s great that they thought to combine a search with fun facts. Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a wonderful reading weekend!


  9. Pingback: Books That Caught Our Eye | Mailbox Monday

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