The top 8 books to read in December 2020

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in December 2020

Click on the covers to know more


  The Vexations La grande escapade

📚 The Vexations, (2019) by Caitlin Horrocks
A historical novel on Erik Satie! Loving it so far

📚 La Grande escapade (2019), by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Received for review in 2019
By a French author I really like. Not too sure where this is going, and I’m a quarter done.



  The Letter Killers Club  Upstream

📚 The Red Notebook (2014), by Antoine Laurain
I have read several books by this author, and especially enjoyed his most recent one, but I have never read this famous one. This is the latest book my Online French Book Club has chosen, so actually I’ll be reading the original French text.
Let me know if you want to join us, on Discord.

“Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There’s nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there’s all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?”

📚 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.”

📚 The Letter Killers Club (1926), by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
This is the book I got for Classics Spin #25.

“Original Writers are professional killers of conceptions. The logic of the Letter Killers Club, a secret society of “conceivers” who commit nothing to paper on principle, is strict and uncompromising. Every Saturday they meet in a fire-lit room hung with blank black bookshelves to present their “pure and unsubstantiated” conceptions: a rehearsal of Hamlet hijacked by an actor who vanishes with the role; the double life of a medieval merry cleric derailed by a costume change; a machine-run world that imprisons men’s minds while conscripting their bodies; a dead Roman scribe stranded this side of the River Acheron. The overarching scene of this short novel is set in Soviet Moscow, in the ominous 1920s. Known only by pseudonym, like Chesterton’s anarchists in fin-de-siècle London, the Letter Killers are as mistrustful of one another as they are mesmerized by their despotic president. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is at his philosophical and fantastical best in this extended meditation on madness.”

📚 Upstream: Selected Essays (2016), by Mary Oliver
I have been trying to drastically reduce my TBR, by stopping as much as possible requesting books through Netgalley and Edelweiss, but my public library started a special recommendation service, and I couldn’t resist. (And I’m going to get another book to read chosen by the staff, for the usual Winter Reading Challenge!)
Among the five titles they suggested, I chose this one.

“Comprising a selection of essays, Upstream finds beloved poet Mary Oliver reflecting on her astonishment and admiration for the natural world and the craft of writing.
As she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, finding solace and safety within the woods, and the joyful and rhythmic beating of wings, Oliver intimately shares with her readers her quiet discoveries, boundless curiosity, and exuberance for the grandeur of our world.
This radiant collection of her work, with some pieces published here for the first time, reaffirms Oliver as a passionate and prolific observer whose thoughtful meditations on spiders, writing a poem, blue fin tuna, and Ralph Waldo Emerson inspire us all to discover wonder and awe in life’s smallest corners.


  Atom[ka] Three Act Tragedy

📚 Atom[ka] (2012) by Franck Thilliez
Did I say I was going to stop reading this author?
Well, I couldn’t resist. His books often contain some horrific details, BUT they are always so smart as well. This time, looks like there are three threads together, one of them having to do with Chernobyl – incidentally, I just read a fabulous nonfiction graphic “novel” on Fukushima!

📚 Three Act Tragedy,  (Hercule Poirot #11, 1934) by Agatha Christie
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club
I don’t think I have ever read this one.

“At an apparently respectable dinner party, a vicar is the first to die…Thirteen guests arrived at dinner at the actor’s house. It was to be a particularly unlucky evening for the mild-mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, who choked on his cocktail, went into convulsions and died. But when his martini glass was sent for chemical analysis, there was no trace of poison — just as Poirot had predicted. Even more troubling for the great detective, there was absolutely no motive!”


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14 thoughts on “The top 8 books to read in December 2020

  1. Catching up with you today! Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. I did not know she wrote essays! Can’t wait to read your review of The Vexations.


    • wow, so glad you discovered something through my blog.
      I’m half way through The Vexations, and I’m not totally thrilled. It sounds more like a collection of vignettes to me, and I guess I was expecting something different. Still, she’s good at recreating the ambiance I think


  2. I’ve read a book by Antoine Laurain, “Le chapeau de Mitterrand”, which I really loved 🙂 The letter killers club has a very interesting title ^^ I’m afraid I’ve never read any novel by Frank Thilliez, but my boyfriend is a huge fan, he has read them all. Enjoy your latest Agatha Christie 🙂


    • Yes, Le chapeau de Miterrand was very good. I also enjoyed a lot his latest: Le Service des manuscrits:
      Would you be interested in joining our French Book Club on Discord? We only read about 30-35 pages /week. Discord is like a forum place, in written form.
      Let me know. Et bien sûr, on écrit en français. La plupart des membres ne sont pas français, mais on ignore les fautes, c’est pas un cours de langues, c’est juste pour partager notre amour de la littérature française.

      Ah ah, your boyfriend has great taste!! Ask him if he has ever listened to them. Most are narrated by the same narrator, Michel Raimbault, who is fabulous


  3. Pingback: Sunday Post #32 – 12/6/2020 | Words And Peace

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  5. So many good ideas here. The Cahier rouge looks interesting. I don’t think I can join you in reading it this month but I did download Hugo’s 93, based on your recommendation. That will be my French read for December. As always, thanks for the tips.


    • So glad you will read this masterpiece! Don’t hesitate to join us later. You can also just sign up to see what next books will be and join in the conversation whenever you wish. Let me know if it’s something you would like

      Liked by 1 person

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