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Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news.
A post to recap the past week on your blog,
showcase books and things we have received.
Share news about what is coming up
on your blog for the week ahead.
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How do you keep the balance between reading and reviewing, and book blogging? After over ten years of active book blogging, I still have no answer to this quandary.
I have read a lot these past weeks, and slowly but surely, I’m finally reviewing books received for review and read last year, so now it’s time to slow down and participate in this meme I so enjoy.
And pour faire d’une pierre deux coups, use this opportunity to post short reviews.
I would like also to remind you that this coming November, I will be cohosting a read-along/buddy-read with Marianne (at Let’s Read) on The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie (published in 1988 – magical realism).
Click on the title or book cover to know more, and tell us if you would like to participate, by adding your own comments to our upcoming posts or by co-hosting some on your blog as well.
📚 JUST READ / LISTENED TO 🎧
I finished three books this week:
📚 Midaq Alley, by Naguib Mahfouz
Published in Arabic in 1947
Translated by Trevor Le Gassick
This is a total discovery for me, and wow! No wonder Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006) won the Nobel Prize in Literature (in 1988).
Midaq Alley is wonderfully capturing daily life in a poor neighborhood of Cairo during WWII.
This is all about the inhabitants, all very colorful characters! There’s the barber, the café owner, the businessman, even a cripple, a matchmaker, and a young girl who dreams of going away and making a lot of money.
There’s love, greed, drugs, heartbreaks, hopes and disappointments. And you can easily feel you are there in the café listening to the gossip, and that you know all these people.
This is really so brilliantly depicted. I am really glad I picked this book at a local second-hand book sale.
📚 Un Trou dans la toile, by Luc Chomarat
Published in 2016
I was intrigued by this book, because of its topic.
Thomas works in advertising, though he feels more and more like a stranger to today’s digital and ultra-connected world.
Then a mysterious company proposes to use his inadequacy to the Web to find “L’Inconnu”, an unknown person who defies the order of things by living totally outside the Internet, and who paradoxically has millions of fans.
I liked the themes of people living off the internet grid, and all the identity topics related to our use of the internet, but the book as a whole was too slow and rather disappointing.
I’m actually surprised it won a major thriller award in France.
🎧 Three Blind Mice and Other Stories, by Agatha Christie
Published in 1950
Listened to for the Classics Club, and personal project to listen to all of HP.
This collection of short stories is listed for the Hercule Poirot list, though only three of the nine stories feature him, and other stories show other grey cells at work, those of Miss Marple and other detectives.
I liked a lot the first story, Three Blind Mice. Almost a variation of And Then There Were None: a couple has recently decided to open a guest house, in a very isolated house. During a snow storm preventing access to it, several lodgers are murdered. So the killer has to be one of them. Who is he, and is he going to kill them all?
The added bonus was the cast of narrators: the amazing Hugh Fraser of course, as well as David Suchet and Joan Hickson, but the incredible Simon Vance as well! I had not listened to him for a while, though he used to be my favorite narrator, so it was a fun surprise to find him here!
However, even though I like watching Miss Marple’s episodes, I didn’t like too much stories with her here. Sounded too gossipy oriented (though gossip could possibly be a great way of solving murders!). So when I’m done listening to all of Hercule Poirot, maybe I won’t do the same with Miss Marple. What do you think?
📚 CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧
📚 Bomber’s Moon (Joe Gunther #30), by Archer Mayor
Published in 2019
I won this thriller two years ago, and thanks to 20 Books of Summer 21, I’m finally taking time to read it now.
I usually don’t like starting a series other than with book 1. Well, this is book 30 in the series (!), but I thought I would give i w try, and so far, it seems to be working. Though I’m taking notes, because there are a lot of interconnected characters, and I need to keep track of their relationship.
There’s Joe and his team trying to solve two murders, but at work are also the PI Sally Kravitz and reporter Rachel Reiling. I’m curious to see what’s really going to happen between them all. And if manipulation is at play here.
Have you read this series? This author?
📚 The Village of Eight Graves, by Seishi Yokomizo
Expected publication: December 2nd 2021, by Pushkin Vertigo
René de Ceccatty and Ryôji Nakamura) published in 1999!
The original in Japanese was published in 1949.
I recently reviewed The Inugami Curse by the same author, and one of my French students also enjoy Japanese classics, so we decided to read it together in French, as anyway neither of us can read in Japanese.
This is also part of a long series (77 books!), by one of the most famous Japanese author of thrillers. There are also a lot of characters, and the story is complex, but so far I’m loving it, especially the constant effect of doom.
“Nestled deep in the mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: in the 16th century eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village.
Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake.”
Hmm, not sure why the official English synopsis talks about a “mysterious” young man. His identity is very clear from the beginning. So now I wonder, is he who he says he is??
📚 Tension extrême, by Sylvain Forge
Published in 2017
“The Prix du Quai des Orfèvres is an annual French literature award created in 1946 by Jacques Catineau. It goes to an unpublished manuscript for a French-language police novel. The selected novel is then published by a major French publishing house, since 1965 Fayard. The jury is led by the chief of the Prefecture of Police of Paris. The name of the award refers to the former headquarters of the Paris police, located at 36, quai des Orfèvres.”
I read an except if this book with some students, and this award often chooses great titles, so I decided to read it all.
At the beginning of the book, it seems twin brothers both died at the exact same second, because their pacemakers stopped working. A thriller about AI and cyber attacks. I usually enjoy this a lot, we’ll see. I’m only at 9% so far.
🎧 The Under Dog and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot #4, by Agatha Christie
Published in 1951
Listened to for the Classics Club, and personal project to listen to all of HP.
The order of books related to Hercule Poirot is messy, whether you follow the British or American order of publication. And I’m probably going to listen twice to some stories.
Anyway, I’m trying to follow the chronological order and am now in 1951.
And it’s always fun to see Agatha Christie’s incredible creativity and the variety in her plots. This collection featured nine stories.
📚 BOOK UP NEXT 📚
📚 A Fine Line, by Dan Burns
Published in 2017
I have met local author Dan Burns a couple of times at Chicago literary events, and I have enjoyed his No Turning Back.
“A Fine Line is a story about Sebastian Drake, a struggling writer working out of a dilapidated apartment in the city and trying to come up with his next story idea.
Drake receives an unexpected visit from a man interested in hiring him for a project and who thinks he has just the solution to Drake’s writing challenges. He also thinks that Drake’s past and secret life with a shadow government organization is a valuable asset.
His proposition to Drake is simple: become a hired agent to investigate a cold murder case involving one of Chicago’s most powerful political families.
The job comes with a decent paycheck, all the support he might need, and the types of real life experiences that can form the basis for great fiction stories.
This is a story about a man with a new lease on life, a man who leads a dual existence. By day, he is an aspiring author. By night, he is a rogue undercover and unknown vigilante. His biggest challenge is keeping intact the fine line of reality and fiction.”
📚 LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚
Escapism? Yes probably. Am again fixating on books related to Japan:
📚 How Do You Live, by Yoshino Genzaburo
Published in 1937
“First published in 1937, Genzaburō Yoshino’s How Do You Live? has long been acknowledged in Japan as a crossover classic for young readers. Academy Award–winning animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle) has called it his favorite childhood book and announced plans to emerge from retirement to make it the basis of a final film.
How Do You Live? is narrated in two voices. The first belongs to Copper, fifteen, who after the death of his father must confront inevitable and enormous change, including his own betrayal of his best friend. In between episodes of Copper’s emerging story, his uncle writes to him in a journal, sharing knowledge and offering advice on life’s big questions as Copper begins to encounter them. Over the course of the story, Copper, like his namesake Copernicus, looks to the stars, and uses his discoveries about the heavens, earth, and human nature to answer the question of how he will live.
This first-ever English-language translation of a Japanese classic about finding one’s place in a world both infinitely large and unimaginably small is perfect for readers of philosophical fiction like The Alchemist and The Little Prince, as well as Miyazaki fans eager to understand one of his most important influences.”
A Japanese classic, so loved by Miyazaki? How come I have never heard of this one before?!! Have you read it?
📚 The Japanese: A History in Twenty Lives, by Christopher Harding
Published November 5th 2020 by Allen Lane
“From the acclaimed author of Japan Story, this is the history of Japan, distilled into the stories of twenty remarkable individuals.
The vivid and entertaining portraits in Chris Harding’s enormously enjoyable new book take the reader from the earliest written accounts of Japan right through to the life of the current empress, Masako. We encounter shamans and warlords, poets and revolutionaries, scientists, artists and adventurers – each offering insights of their own into this extraordinary place.
For anyone new to Japan, this book is the ideal introduction. For anyone already deeply involved with it, this is a book filled with surprises and pleasures.”
📚 BOOK RECEIVED RECENTLY 📚
📚 Termination Shock, by Neal Stephenson
Expected publication: November 16th 2021 by William Morrow
Now, this is major. I have always wanted to read so many books by Stephenson, and never did. When I saw it on Netgalley, I finally decided to take the plunge. And this IS a major plunge: launching into a 698 pages by a new to me author!
It reminds me a bit my first experience with Murakami. I was always intrigued by this author, and finally devoured a lot of his works after my first jump. I hope this will be a similar experience.
A technothriller about climate change? That should work for me.
“Neal Stephenson’s sweeping, prescient new novel transports readers to a near-future world where the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics.
One man has a Big Idea for reversing global warming, a master plan perhaps best described as “elemental.” But will it work? And just as important, what are the consequences for the planet and all of humanity should it be applied?
As only Stephenson can, Termination Shock sounds a clarion alarm, ponders potential solutions and dire risks, and wraps it all together in an exhilarating, witty, mind-expanding speculative adventure.”
What’s your favorite book by Neal Stephenson?
GIVEAWAYS AND BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW
your choice between 8 books!
BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW:
request today, review when it’s comfortable for you
Click on the covers to know more and request
Historical novel – WWII
Historical Fiction/Contemporary Women’s Fiction/
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?
I never get tired of reading Agatha Christie!
Here is my link:
Do you have favorite titles, besides Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple? I’m getting close to listening to 47 books with HP, so I guess I’m near an overdose, lol
All those Japanese books sound fascinating — I’m a big fan of Japanese literature, so I need to add them to my lists!
best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com
I’m so glad to see you are doing a Sunday posting, Emma. You have been so busy lately that I’m happy you found time to share what you’ve been up to with us.
Midaq Alley sounds like a book I’d enjoy. I’m adding it to my Possible Future Reading list.
I’d love to do a Buddy Read…and one of these days I will…as soon as life slows down a little.
I like both books set in Japan. I will look for How Do You Live, I think.
Yes, I think you would very much enjoy Midaq Alley.
Would you join us then in November for The Satanic Verses?
So many intriguing books, Emma! I like themes of living off the internet grid as well. Also like Japanese books occasionally. A Fine Line sounds really good.
As far as finding the balance between reading, reviewing and blogging – it’s tricky sometimes. At times all I want to do is read and go on to the next book. But then the last book fades and it is harder to write a review…
Have a good week!
Exactly, I guess sometimes starting a new book is like a drug, lol
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Ooooo! The Village of Eight Graves and Midaq Alley sound wonderful! On my TBR list and am hoping to read them soon. Hoping to find The Village in English…we’ll see. Thank you for sharing!
The Village of Eight Graves: Expected publication: December 2nd 2021, by Pushkin Vertigo
I hope you enjoy all of your books and your week.
Thanks, you too
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Glad to see you link up with MM. So many interesting books for you. Agatha Christie’s mysteries are definitely classics. I tend to avoid books with 600+ pages although sometimes I will listen to them. Stay well and Happy Reading!
I very rarely read super long books these days as well, but I’m now in one and will soon begin this one. Go figure
Miss Marple’s sleuthing does often involve village gossip and her style is very different than that of Poirot’s. Still, I would encourage you to try the novels – at least one. I like them a lot. I’ve read a few, but not all, of her stand alones too, so you have a few more to go before you exhaust her books. My least favorite are Tommy and Tuppance, but only because they are more thriller/adventure than actual clue finding detective novels.
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I have read several Miss Marple, maybe listening to them stresses the gossip aspect! Or maybe it’s just because I’m close to an overdose!
Thanks for the detail on Tommy and Tuppance, I didn’t know that
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I read Palace Walk by Mahfouz years and years ago and remember that I liked it. When my husband and I visited Egypt in 2018, we stumbled on the cafe where Mahfouz spent a lot of time writing (Or at least it’s named after him). That was pretty cool!
OMG, how cool is that!
I may launch into his Cairo Trilogy one day as well.
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