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More cold and more snow!
- Not much going on beside my job (online French classes) and reading
- In the kitchen, what best with that weather, than a big pot of Chinese soup (my variation on it)?
- Cultural Saturday breakfast (that’s now how I call them. This is the only day we can have a leisurely breakfast. We watch a documentary or opera, or symphony, etc).
Yesterday: Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie (PBS, 2019), watched on Kanopy. Excellent!
Since last Sunday, on the blog:
- January wrap up
- Top Ten Tuesday: Books with names in the title
- Top 12 Books on my February TBR (video)
- Throwback Thursday: January 2012
- February 2022 Books of the month giveaway: your choice between 5
- Friday Face Off: a grey cover
JUST READ / LISTENED TO
📚 Agatha Christie Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, by Mark Aldridge
Published March 9th 2021 by William Morrow
After listening to all of Hercule Poirot short stories and novels, I decided to conclude my experience with this book.
An essential book for Agatha Christie’s fans.
Review now available here.
🎧 Intuitio, by Laurent Gounelle
Not yet available in English
Published on 4/7/2021
This was an intriguing thriller on a fascinating topic: intuition.
A woman working for the FBI knows about this author (main character in the book) who seems to have an amazing intuition. So they hire him to try to identify a terrorist who’s been bombing towers all over the US, and also to try to identify the next target.
It’s based on real scientific data. In fact, Gounelle explains that he went through these tests, and they seem to work. And some police forces do use these techniques.
I liked the pace, and some great twists in the plot.
There are also plenty of characters that you get to wonder in which camp they are, with the author, or with the killer.
The book raised major issues related to the environment, and how big companies and countries just keep polluting without care, for the sake of economics and politics, even though they may show a nice ecological front. Quite scary. The information about oil tankers was a shock to me.
One aspect I thought was getting weird in the book was about knowing ahead what some people were going to do. I think this was pushing it too much.
But it’s still a fascinating and very enjoyable mystery.
CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO
A glimpse on a weird social portrait: this rich and powerful man asks his own wife to go and find him a young concubine…
I like the description of complex characters, full of conflicting emotions, like the wife Tomo.
“The beautiful, immature girl whom she took home to her husband was a maid only in name. Tomo’s real mission had been to find him a mistress. Nor did her secret humiliation end there. The web that his insatiable lust spun about him soon trapped another young woman, and another … and the relationships between the women thus caught were to form, over the years, a subtle, shifting pattern in which they all played a part. There was Suga, the innocent, introspective girl from a respectable but impoverished family; the outgoing, cheerful, almost boyish Yumi; the flirtatious, seductive Miya, who soon found her father-in-law more dependable as a man than his brutish son…. And at the center, rejected yet dominating them all, the near tragic figure of the wife Tomo, whose passionate heart was always, until that final day, held in check by an old-fashioned code.
In a series of colorful, unforgettable scenes, Enchi brilliantly handles the human interplay within the ill-fated Shirakawa family. Japan’s leading woman novelist and a member of the prestigious Art Academy, she combines a graceful, evocative style that consciously echoes the Tale of Genji with keen insight and an impressive ability to develop her characters over a long period of time. Her work is rooted deep in the female psychology, and it is her women above all-so clearly differentiated yet all so utterly feminine-who live in the memory. With The Waiting Years, a new and important literary figure makes her debut in the Western world. ”
📚 Lean on Me, by Serge Joncour
Translated from the French by Louise Rogers Lalaurie and Jane Aitken
US publication date: March 1, 2022
by Gallic Books
Received for review
Reading it also for
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
I have not read much so far, but I enjoy the ambiance: how the arrival of a couple of crows in a Paris courtyard has been disturbing this woman.
“Winner of the prestigious Prix Interallié.
When a flock of crows invades their shared apartment block, farmer-turned-debt collector Ludovic and fashion designer Aurore speak for the first time. With nothing but the birds in common, the two are destined for separate lives, yet are drawn inexplicably together.
Though their story is set in Paris, the tale of Ludovic and Aurore is far from an idyllic romance. With one trapped in an unhappy marriage and the other lost in grief, the city of love has brought each of them only isolation and pain. As Aurore faces losing her business and Ludovic questions the ethics of his job, they begin a passionate affair. Love between such different people seems doomed to failure, but for these two unhappy souls trapped in ruthless worlds, perhaps loving one another is the greatest form of resistance.
From the award winning author of Wild Dog, Lean on Me explores the realities of unlikely love, and how connection and intimacy offer us an escape from all that is harsh and cold in our modern day lives.”
🎧 Gataca, by Franck Thilliez
Translated as Bred to Kill in English
Originally published in 2011
Each time I finish listening to a book by Thilliez, (and I have listened to a lot of them), I say, this is the last one! Indeed, his books can be quite dark, disturbing, and gruesome.
BUT then I remember how fascinating they are in the way the author uses very solid scientific data, and how much I have learned through his books. So I got caught and am listening to this one!
The first chapters are VERY depressing, and then… we end up in paleontology, and it’s so so interesting! I have to say, bravo for the English title!
Here is part of the synopsis – the one on Goodreads reveals way too much!!:”Lucie Henebelle and Inspector Sharko have reunited to take on the case of the brutal murder of Eva Louts, a promising graduate student who was killed while working at a primate research center outside of Paris. But what first appears to be a vicious animal attack soon proves to be something more sinister. What was Eva secretly researching?
With his unmatched ability to inject cutting-edge science into his novels, Thilliez draws on genetics, paleontology, and the dark side of human nature to create this smart, adrenaline-fueled thriller. Bred to Kill moves from the rain-slick streets of Paris to the heart of the Alps to the remote Amazon jungle, as Lucie and Sharko work to solve the murder—before whoever killed Eva comes for them.”
BOOK UP NEXT
I have read and enjoyed two books by Mishima, the last one was a play, Dojoji. Looks like his style can be so very different between his various books, so I’m curious for this one, a short story (96 pages).
“All eyes are upon Rikio. And he likes it, mostly. His fans cheer from a roped-off section, screaming and yelling to attract his attention—they would kill for a moment alone with him. Finally the director sets up the shot, the camera begins to roll, someone yells “action”; Rikio, for a moment, transforms into another being, a hardened young yakuza, but as soon as the shot is finished, he slumps back into his own anxieties and obsessions.
Being a star, constantly performing, being watched and scrutinized as if under a microscope, is often a drag. But so is life. Written shortly after Yukio Mishima himself had acted in the film “Afraid to Die,” this novella is a rich and unflinching psychological portrait of a celebrity coming apart at the seams. With exquisite, vivid prose, Star begs the question: is there any escape from how we are seen by others?”
LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR
The Parable of the Blind, by Gert Hofmann
Published in 1985
“Inspired by Parabel der Blinden (1568), a painting by Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel, the novel tells the story of the work’s creation from the point of view of the six blind men depicted in the painting. The story is recounted in the present tense, first person plural. The “we” that comprises the six blind men often seems to consist of one entity; however, most of the men have separate names and identities and will sometimes say or do things that distinguish them from the group. ”
BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK
📚 Upgrade, by Blake Crouch
Expected publication: July 19th 2022 by Ballantine Books
Automatically approved on Netgalley
Sorry if I’m making some envious here…
I haven’t yet read anything by Crouch, and the synopsis and totally along the lines of books I have recently enjoyed, so I had no choice but say yes!
“Logan Ramsay is about to get the brain he always dreamed of. But will he be transformed into something more than human…or something less? The mind-blowing new thriller from the ‘New York Times’ best-selling author of ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Recursion’.
When the SWAT team gives the all-clear and Logan Ramsay steps into the basement, he has no idea that everything’s about to change.
Then there’s the hiss of aerosol. The explosion. The shrapnel that punctures his hazmat gear. Logan wakes up to find himself in a hospital bed, attended by doctors in their own hazmat suits, his wife and daughter looking on from behind the glass.
The doctors say he’s been infected by a virus–one designed not to make him sick, but to modify his very genetic structure. In a world where the next-generation gene-editing tool known as Scythe is widely available–and has already reaped disastrous consequences–the possibilities are too many and terrifying to count.
Except that after the fever, the pain, the fear…the virus is gone. And according to his government bosses, Logan’s got a clean bill of health.
But the truth is that with each day that passes, Logan’s getting smarter. Seeing things more clearly. He’s realizing that he’s been upgraded in ways that go beyond even Scythe’s capabilities–and that he’s been given these abilities for a reason.
Because a holy grail of genetic engineering–one that could change our very definitions of humanity–has just been unearthed. And now it’s up to him to stop it from falling into the wrong hands.
Logan’s becoming something more. Something better. Even with the whole world hunting for him, he might be able to outthink his opponents and win the war that’s coming.
But what if it’s at the cost of being himself?”
GIVEAWAY: choose 1
NO BOOK AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW
One is coming on February 15!