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Spring is springing in Chicagoland. I spent some nice time yesterday afternoon in our sunny yard, which aloud me to finish a novel.
Then thus energized, I did a lot of cleaning around the house. Mind you, this was just a pretext to be able to finish my audiobook!
📚 JUST READ / LISTENED TO 🎧
📚 Kusamakura, by Natsume Soseki
Published in 1906
Read for the Japanese Literature Challenge, the Classics Club, and the Books in Translation Challenge.
This was a very beautiful book, so I will do a separate review post, with lots of excerpts.
🎧 Cards on the Table, by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #15)
Published in 1936
Listened to for the Classics Club, and personal project to listen to all of HP.
I had no memory at all of seeing this episode in the TV series, so it was a total surprise. And surprise you have, to the end, in this very clever plot. Many times all along, you get information about who did what, and you think, hmm, this was a great idea, but then shortly after, you realize this was just one more red herring, and revelation after revelation gets even deeper, and more clever.
It felt like reading a mystery with a matryoshka effect – I’m referring to these nestling Russian dolls, with one murder within a murder within a murder.
I really don’t remember reading anything like this, and I now understand why several bloggers I have read recently said this was one of their favorite stories by Agatha Christie.
This is the first mystery in this series with Ariadne Oliver.
I’m glad the audiobook was narrated by Hugh Fraser, masterful as always at doing all the different characters.
“A flamboyant party host is murdered in full view of a roomful of bridge players… Mr Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he was a man of whom everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Poirot that he considered murder an art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana’s private collection. Indeed, what began as an absorbing evening of bridge was to turn into a more dangerous game altogether…”
🎧 I also listened to 2 Biblical books, as part of my project to listen to the whole Bible:
the Book of the Song of Songs
the Book of Wisdom
📚 CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧
📚 The Miner, by Natsume Soseki
Published in 1908
Reading for the Japanese Literature Challenge, the Classics Club, and the Books in Translation Challenge.
I couldn’t find it in English, so I’m actually reading a French translation. The more I read Soseki, seven books so far, the more I am amazed by the diversity of his style and content.
“The Miner is the most daringly experimental and least well known novel of the great Meiji novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916). Written in 1908, it is an absurdist novel about the indeterminate nature of human personality, which in many respects anticipates the work of Joyce and Beckett. Virtually devoid of plot and characterization, it unfolds entirely within the mind of the unnamed protagonist. Focusing on a young man whose love life has fallen to pieces, The Miner follows him as he flees from Tokyo, is picked up by a procurer of cheap labor for a copper mine, and then travels toward – and finally burrows into the depths of – the mine where he hopes to find oblivion. The young man reflects at length on nearly every thought and perception he experiences along the way, in terms of what the experience means to him at the time and in retrospect as a mature adult narrating the tale. The narrator concludes that there is no such thing as human character, and the many passages in which he ruminates on the nature of personality constitute the theoretical core of the book. The intellectual distancing carries over into the style of writing as well, and instead of a tragedy of alienation, we find here an absurdist – truly absurd and comical – allegory of descent into the psyche.”
🎧 Dumb Witness, by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #16)
Published in 1937
Listening to for the Classics Club, and personal project to listen to all of HP.
“Everyone blamed Emily’s accident on a rubber ball left on the stairs by her frisky terrier. But the more she thought about her fall, the more convinced she became that one of her relatives was trying to kill her. On April 17th she wrote her suspicions in a letter to Hercule Poirot. Mysteriously he didn’t receive the letter until June 28th… by which time Emily was already dead.”
I am still reading the two books I presented last Sunday:
📚 Dictionnaire amoureux du polar, by Pierre Lemaitre
Published on October 22, 2020
📚 The Future of Buildings, Transportation, and Power,
by Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber
Published in July 2020
🎧And I am listening to the Ecclesiasticus.
📚 BOOK UP NEXT 📚
📚 To the Spring Equinox and Beyond, by Natsume Soseki
Published in 1910
Will be reading for the Japanese Literature Challenge, the Classics Club, and the Books in Translation Challenge.
“Legendary Japanese novelist Soseki Natsume dissects the human personality in all its complexity in this unforgettable narrative. Keitaro, a recent college graduate, lives a life intertwined with several other characters, each carrying their own emotional baggage. Romantic, practical, and philosophical themes enable Soseki to explore the very meaning of life.”
📚 LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚
📚 Once There Were Wolves, by Charlotte McConaghy
Expected publication: August 3rd 2021 by Flatiron Books
I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s first novel, Migrations, so I am curious about this one, also to do with the natural world.
“From bestselling author Charlotte McConaghy, Once There Were Wolves is a novel about a scientist reintroducing wolves to the Scottish Highlands, and the secrets that begin to catch up to her when a local farmer goes missing.
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with a singular purpose: to reintroduce wolves into the Highlands. Her efforts to rewild the dying landscape, however, are met with fierce opposition from the locals, who fear for their safety and way of life.
When a farmer is mauled to death, Inti decides to bury the evidence, unable to believe her wolves could be responsible. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, is something more sinister at play? And will it happen again? Over the course of a cold year, Inti will take desperate action to save the creatures she loves, and, perhaps, save herself along the way–if she isn’t consumed by a wild that was once her refuge.
Once There Were Wolves is a story of violence and tenderness, about the healing power of nature and the rewilding of our spirits in a world that has lost so much.”
📚 Miss Pym Disposes, by Josephine TeyPublished in 1946
I enjoy classic mysteries, and yet I haven’t read this author yet!
“To Lucy Pym, author of a best-seller on Psychology, the atmosphere at the college where she is lecturing is heavy with tension. Beneath the so normal surface run sinister undercurrents of rivalry and jealousy. Then comes tragedy. An accident? Or is it murder? Respectable, law-abiding Miss Pym discovers some vital evidence – but should she reveal it?”
📚 BOOKS RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚
None, but I was one of the three winners at my public library, for having read and reviewed a book suggested for me by the staff: The Romanov Sisters.
The gift were gift cards for purchase in local stores of my city. Will be nice for groceries.
INTERESTING LINKS FOUND THIS WEEK
My inspiration to add this section comes from
Book Jotter‘s posts called “Winding Up the Week”.
ABOUT BOOKS AND CATS:
TEN FELINE BOOK TITLES THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD
THIS PAST WEEK ON
WORDS AND PEACE
and FRANCE BOOK TOURS
- 3/1: February wrap-up
- 3/1: March Book Fête and book of the month giveaway
- 3/2: March TBR
- 3/3: February giveaway winner
- 3/4: Throwback Thursday
- 3/6: Six Degrees of Separation
📚 Book of the month giveaway
📚 Book available for free this month, to review at your own pace!
📚 Review copies available for upcoming book tours:
📚 Subscribe to my Newsletter, and win a book each month!
Here is a sample, with link for subscription at the bottom
📚 Books available for swapping
COMING UP ON
WORDS AND PEACE
FRANCE BOOK TOURS
- A few reviews I hope.
- I will also post two more virtual book tours!
You have read a lot for the Japanese Literature Challenge, Emma. Kusamakura is a new title to me. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it so much. I like the sound of To the Spring Equinox, too. There is something I like about the way stories are told in the books I’ve read so far from writers of Japan. It’s a sense of objectivity, I think.
I do like your lists of links. I almost always find links that are new, helpful, thoughtful.
Good for you in your reads of books of the Bible. People around here are quick to pull out a lot of Old Testament moral advice, so I have been focusing on the life and words of Christ to fortify myself against all that contention.
A sense of objectivity? Can you explain a bit?
Yes, I have been reading even more since this comment. Alas, I’m starting getting behind again in my reviews.
I was very very impressed by The Miner, another one by Soseki.
For the OT, it’s always refreshing to go back to the texts themselves. I enjoy a lot the prophets, and all the figures announcing Christ. And obviously the Book of Psalms, so rich at many levels, including human psychology!
Ah! Miss Pym is wonderful – hope you enjoy it! 😀
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Yay for spring weather! I’m looking forward to it getting nice here too
I just saw another blogger also reviewing a Christie novel. Cards on the Table looks nice too. Methinks there may be some Christie reading in my future in 2021!
If you like audiobooks, I highly recommend the ones narrated by Hugh Fraser. I actually think mystery is a great genre for audiobooks
I sense certain themes in your reading lately. I worked in my yard yesterday too! And I’m reading Annie and the Wolves by Andromeda Romano-Lax, her latest novel which is about Annie Oakley! Have you ever read this author?
Yeah, the Japanese trend is pretty clear…
I have never read anything about Annie Oakley, nor by this author. I just went to read the synopsis, so fascinating!
Wonderful reading! If I remember right the episode of Cards on the Table has a bit of a different ending from the book but it’s been years since I’ve seen it I could be wrong. I love that book and Dumb Witness – and really about 90% of Christie’s books. I have a Josephine Tey coming up in my reading and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve read Daughter of Time a number of times but never picked up anything else by Tey. Have a great week!
Have a great weekend read as well! Funny, I must have watched this episode of Cards on the Table, but cannot remember it at all, so I was able to really enjoy the book
I hope our nice for March weather continues and I also hope people dont’ get too out of hand for ST. Patrick’s day. We don’t have enough people vaccinated yet around here! 🙂
Our vaccination percentage is low in my county, though growing. There are rumors they may open to everyone above 16 mid April! We’ll see. Sounds like St Patrick’s as very low key this year where I live
Boy, you’re doing well with your Christie challenge! And I love Josephine Tey so enjoy! Sounds like you’re so on track with your reading!
One book at a time, I’ll get there, lol. Enjoy your readings as well
I kept thinking about where I’d heard of Josephine Tey… and then I remembered that years ago, I’d read her book Daughter of Time. It was an interesting analysis of one of history’s older riddles about whether the wicked king really killed his nephews in the tower. Miss Pym Disposes looks interesting too, will check it out. Thanks!
Thanks, I really need to read with one by Tey soon!
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I have both Cards on the Table and Dumb Witness on audio as well. Hugh Fraser really is an excellent narrator, probably my favourite for Christie’s books. I listened to Death on the Nile (which I love) narrated by Kenneth Branagh and kept wishing it had been Hugh Fraser.
Exactly, I’m listening to that version of the audio Death on the Nile. I really enjoy Kenneth Branagh as an actor, but Fraser is so much better as a narrator.
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I thought Branagh made Poirot sound really dull and not particularly charming, which is completely different from the character portrayed by Fraser.
I totally agree. I even thought that he was over-doing it, especially for the female voices. He does convey some of their social status but I thought it sounded too much like an overstatement, possibly even a caricature. Would this fit Christie’s agenda??
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I’m so glad you loved Cards on the table 🙂 I think I read two Josephine Tey many years ago : Young and innocent (because of Alfred Hitchcock) and The daughter of time (very original and that I still remember, which isn’t usually the case) . I read my first Murakami this week but alas, still no Soseki on my shelf – it will come. Bon week-end 😉
I think you will enjoy Soseki – definitely more your cup of tea than Murakami. I’m actually reading one of his books in the French translation : Le Mineur. Really excellent, you should really try it. It’s available on http://www.fourtoutici.pro/
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