The top 8 books
I plan to read in November 2020
Click on the covers to know more
📚 The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand, & la France (Nov 17, 2020), by Nancy Burkhalter
Reading for France Book Tours
“Beaulieu Delhomme, a piano tuner, faces the guillotine for committing treason against the newly elected French president due to his part in the bloody worker uprisings in 1848. The one person who could save him from this fate is his former arch-rival, the celebrated author, George Sand. The plot leading to his imprisonment revolves around the triangle of composer Frédéric Chopin, his lover George Sand, and Delhomme, Chopin’s loyal piano tuner. Both Sand and Delhomme compete for the attention of Chopin, who fights a losing battle with tuberculosis. The president’s spymaster uses this triangle to lure cash-strapped Delhomme into exploiting his friendship with Chopin to spy on George Sand, whose fiery rhetoric threatens the new president.
At first, before the uprisings that marked a tumultuous period out of which France’s Second Republic grew, Delhomme favors preserving the status quo because any policy changes might jeopardize his (and Chopin’s) wealthy client base. Sand wields her pen against the oppressive laws and ridicules Delhomme for his views.
Delhomme changes his opinion of the monarchy when he sees how his nephew is abused as an orphan working in a piano factory in industrial London. Delhomme becomes a double agent, paid to spy for the president while secretly working for the resistance. Sand softens her contempt when she discovers that he has switched allegiances and now promotes workers’ rights.
Delhomme is caught working for the resistance, jailed in Paris’ infamous Conciergerie prison, and faces a trial for treason. Even Sand’s testimony is not enough to trump that of the vaunted spymaster, but her fame may be enough to persuade the new president to pardon him.”
📚 To Hold Up the Sky, (October 20th, 2020) by Cixin Liu
Received for review.
Cixin Liu is the author of the amazing Supernova Era, that’s why I decided to read this one.
“From Cixin Liu, the New York Times bestselling author of The Three-Body Problem, To Hold Up the Sky is a breathtaking collection of imaginative science fiction.”
It contains 11 short stories.
📚 La Grande escapade (2019), by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Received for review in 2019!
By a French author I really like, this time, I should finally have time to read it.
📚 Les Grands cerfs (2019), by Claude Hunzinger
Received for review in 2019!
I’m looking forward to discovering this author, dealing with a nature theme, like several other French novels I read recently.
📚 The Vexations, (2019) by Caitlin Horrocks
I can’t believe it’s already been a year since a friend lent it to me!! I started it, but then had to stop for books received for review.
It’s a historical novel on Erik Satie!
“Erik Satie begins life with every possible advantage. But after the dual blows of his mother’s early death and his father’s breakdown upend his childhood, Erik and his younger siblings — Louise and Conrad — are scattered. Later, as an ambitious young composer, Erik flings himself into the Parisian art scene, aiming for greatness but achieving only notoriety.
As the years, then decades, pass, he alienates those in his circle as often as he inspires them, lashing out at friends and lovers like Claude Debussy and Suzanne Valadon. Only Louise and Conrad are steadfast allies. Together they strive to maintain their faith in their brother’s talent and hold fast the badly frayed threads of family. But in a journey that will take her from Normandy to Paris to Argentina, Louise is rocked by a severe loss that ultimately forces her into a reckoning with how Erik — obsessed with his art and hungry for fame — will never be the brother she’s wished for.
With her buoyant, vivid reimagination of an iconic artist’s eventful life, Caitlin Horrocks has written a captivating and ceaselessly entertaining novel about the tenacious bonds of family and the costs of greatness, both to ourselves and to those we love.”
📚 Flood, (2008) by Stephen Baxter
This one was more recently offered to me by one of my French students. He loves this author, and knowing that I like scifi, he thought I should definitely read it!
“It begins in 2016. Another wet summer, another year of storm surges and high tides. But this time the Thames Barrier is breached and central London is swamped. The waters recede, life goes on, the economy begins to recover, people watch the news reports of other floods around the world. And then the waters rise again. And again.
Lily, Helen, Gary and Piers, hostages released from five years captivity at the hands of Christian Extremists in Spain, return to England and the first rumours of a flood of positively Biblical proportions…
Sea levels have begun to rise, at catastrophic speed. Within two years London and New York will be under water. The Pope will give his last address from the Vatican before Rome is swallowed by the rising water. Mecca too will vanish beneath the waves.
The world is drowning. A desperate race to find out what is happening begins. The popular theory is that we are paying the price for our profligacy and that climate change is about to redress Gaia’s balance. But there are dissenting views. And all the time the waters continue to rise and mankind begins the great retreat to higher ground. Millions will die, billions will become migrants. Wars will be fought over mountains.”
CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS
📚 La Chute du soleil de fer, (N.E.O. #1, Oct 1st, 2020) by Michel Bussi
I really enjoy a lot Michel Bussi, and have listened to almost all of his books. He usually writes thrillers, but for the first time, he’s trying YA fantasy, Two genres I usually don’t read, but how could I resist Bussi?
I have actually already listened to half of it, and am loving it!
The description of the setting are fantastic, and I have no idea how things are going to evolve.
📚 Lord Edgware Dies, (Hercule Poirot #9, 1933) by Agatha Christie
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club
“An Agatha Christie mystery story. Poirot had been present when Jane bragged of her plan to ‘get rid of’ her estranged husband. Now the monstrous man was dead. And yet the great Belgian detective couldn’t help feeling that he was being taken for a ride. After all, how could Jane have stabbed Lord Edgware to death in his library at exactly the same time she was seen dining with friends? And what could be her motive now that the aristocrat had finally granted her a divorce?”
List of books I can swap with yours
PLANS FOR NOVEMBER
📚 I’ll be participating in Nonfiction November. My first post will be on Novelber6
📚 I hope to finalize my plans for a monthly Newsletter, with special content.
Let me know what you would like to find in it.
HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR NOVEMBER?
The Education of Delhomme seems like an interesting read. Nice recap!
Yes, I have lots of hope for it
George Sand and Chopin, looks interesting ! I see you’re an Agatha Christie fan, so am I. I’m glad I discovered your blog 🙂
This year is the 100th anniversary of the first Hercule Poirot, and I love classic mysteries, so I’m planning on listening to all of the series – I did that recently for Sherlock Holmes and really enjoyed the experience
The Poirot one looks appealing, and I like the science fiction one as well. I haven’t read that author yet.
Apparently he is really a big name in scifi
Just looking at the cover of The Vexations makes my heart beat faster. I loved it so!
I’m so looking forward to finally reading it!! With your comment, I already I’m in for a treat
What a great line-up. I’m glad to be in touch with someone who reads and reviews current French authors. Looking forward to your comments on many of these.
Yes, I try to listen to recent authors, I use EStories, cheaper than audible. I alternate my audiobooks between French books, classics (Hercule Poirot right now), and the Bible! Is there any current French author you enjoy a lot?
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The most recent book in French that I thoroughly loved was written by Dany Laferrière. He’s not French though. He’s a Haitian-born Canadian. The book was L’énigme du retour. I highly recommend it but you need to read it, not listen. His prose is a mixture of train-of-thought, poetry, and paragraphs. I found myself thinking that if I ever write a book, It would be fun to imitate his style. Not that I’d succeed, just that I’d like to try. I also loved Petit Pays by Gaël Fraye. I don’t know that many current French authors but I have read and appreciated two of Édouard Louis’ books.
Thanks for recommending Laferrière, alas, I hardly ever read any Canadian authors, besides Louise Penny, and I read here in the original English. I need to expand my horizon
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I’d written a long comment but it disappeared from my phone. Anyway, current books in French that I’ve read haven’t always been written by French authors. My most recent favorites are L’énigme de retour by Dany Laferrière and Petit Pays by Gaël Faye. I appreciated En Finir avec Eddie Bellegueule by Édouard Louis; enough to also read Qui a tué mon père. His books are short and well done, exposing a side of French life that most francophiles don’t see. One of my French group friends, however, really hated Eddie B.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you should read Laferrière rather than listen to an ebook. His writing is a combination of train-of-conscious, poetry, and prose. I really enjoyed it.
Thanks for specifying. Some books definitely do not work as audiobook
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Another comment showed up, s I wonder if it’s the one you wrote earlier.
I had wanted to read Petit Pays, but I have studied several excepts with some of my students. And it feels like I have read it all. Stupid I know.
I have also been hesitating with Édouard Louis, not sure I would like him. And in fact I’m really not interested in the LGBT theme in literature
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