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wow, finally back after more than two months…
My weeks are busy and I can’t seem to find the time to schedule this post.
I managed to post a few things this past week:
- Tuesday: May wrap-up
- Wednesday: My June titles
- Friday: Friday Face Off – Under the Sea
- Saturday: 6 degrees of separation: From sorrow to the Romanovs
And I finished 2 books:
JUST READ 🎧
📚 The Last House on Needless Street, by Catriona Ward
Published in 2021
Received for review
I haven’t written my review yet.
It will be very hard to write : the book is extremely well written I believe, in its style and in its relevance to the topic – which I cannot even reveal, because it would ruin the whole book for you if you haven’t read it yet.
BUT that topic was totally horrific for me. So despite some bloggers reassuring me it was more a psychological thriller, I will agree with those classifying it as horror.
🎧 The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne
Originally published in 1922
Narrated by Kristine Hughes
Read for The Classics Club
Yes, Milne wrote mysteries, for adults.
This one is really good, with a super smart plot. I guessed only part of it.
I loved the duo that investigates incognito, as amateurs Sherlock Homes and Watson.
There’s also humor, and good study of characters.
I listened to the Librivox recording, available for instance on YouTube.
The narrator Kristin Hughes is quite good.
CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO
📚 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin
Expected publication: July 5th 2022, by Knopf Publishing Group
Received for review
Eight years ago, I enjoyed a previous book by this author, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, so I thought I would give this one a try.
This is focused on video games, a topic I enjoy a lot in books, for instance in Ready Player One and Two.
I’m mostly at the beginning, but so far really liking the story and the chracters.
“In this exhilarating novel by the best-selling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry two friends–often in love, but never lovers–come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.”
📚 Liberty Bar (Inspecteur Maigret #17), by Georges Simenon
Mystery published in1932 (France)
Was published in English as Maigret on the Riviera
Reading with one of my French students.
It counts for The Classics Club
Slowly but surely, we keep going in this series with my student. But there are actually 75 (!!) Maigret books, so we still have plenty to keep us busy with!
I have read 65% of this one so far, and am liking it a lot!
There’s a lot of humor, as Maigret arrives on the Riviera in the full heat of summer, and feels more like resting, and drinking with the local cop, than investigating.
What’s special too, is that so far, in the 16 previous books, the story is usually set in cold, foggy, and greyish areas. And Maigret is really good at creating an ambiance in that type of setting.
So I was very surprised at how excellent he is here to evoke the super hot and bright sun of the Mediterranean region!
“Half an hour later, he was in Cannes . . . White everywhere! Huge white hotels, white shops, white trousers and dresses, white sails out at sea. It was as if life were no more than a pantomime fairy-tale, a white and blue fairy-tale.
Dazzled at first by the glamor of sunny Antibes, Maigret soon finds himself immersed in the less salubrious side of the Riviera when he tracks the steps of a shabby former spy who is fond of pretty women and dive bars.”
📚 Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America, by Thomas J. Craughwell
Nonfiction / History / Food and drink
Published in 2012
Will be reading for the 2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
I got this book ten years ago, didn’t read it, gave it away, and somehow, another copy landed on my shelf.
I have read only 25 pages so far, but I find it excellent at describing how and what people were eating in 18th century America.
“This culinary biography recounts the 1784 deal that Thomas Jefferson struck with his slaves, James Hemings. The founding father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along “for a particular purpose”— to master the art of French cooking. In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom.
Thus began one of the strangest partnerships in United States history. As Hemings apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for winemaking) so the might be replicated in American agriculture. The two men returned home with such marvels as pasta, French fries, Champagne, macaroni and cheese, crème brûlée, and a host of other treats. This narrative history tells the story of their remarkable adventure—and even includes a few of their favorite recipes!”
🎧 So Big, by Edna Ferber
Published in 1924
Narrated by Laural Merlington
It counts for The Classics Club
A novel I have meant to read for a while.
A friend didn’t seem too impressed, deemed it as popular literature, especially compared to Willa Cather.
I’m actually enjoying it a lot, and her descriptions of landscapes and characters seem to me just as good as Cather’s – for instance in My Ántonia.
Ferber won the Pulitzer prize for novel with it in 1925.
“Author Edna Ferber described the story of So Big as being about a “material man, son of his earth-grubbing, idealistic mother”. Left an orphan at 19 years old in the late 1880s, Selina Peake needs to support herself. She leaves the city life she has known to become a teacher in the farming community of High Prairie, IL. Her father had told her that life is an adventure, and one should make the most of it.
Selina sees beauty everywhere, including in the fields of cabbages. She has a natural curiosity about farming and oversteps the woman’s traditional role by having the audacity to ask the men questions. She soon marries Pervus DeJong, a farmer. Selina eagerly offers suggestions for operational improvements, but Pervus ignores her, preferring to use the unprofitable farming methods employed by his father.
Though she suffers many hardships, Selina always remembers the importance of beauty, and she admires those who exercise their creative talents. She tries to instill these views in her son Dirk and fights with her husband over the need for their child to get a full education. Once Dirk finishes college and starts work, will he retain Selina’s values?
So Big was the first book to have the rare distinction of being the best-selling book of the year and win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.”
BOOK UP NEXT
📚 Le Grand Meaulnes, by Alain-Fournier
French Literary fiction
Published in English as The Lost Estate
Will be reading in French with another blogger,
it counts for The Classics Club
This is my favorite French classic. I have reread it a few times, and will again, starting on June 13, with Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle.
If you would like to practice your reading French, please join us. We will take it easy, just one chapter a day, and some chapters are very short – it will keep us busy until mid July.
If you want to join us, we will post comments on this Discord channel – in French.
Let me know if the invitation link no longer works, and I will send you a new one. It expires after a while.
Your French doesn’t need to be perfect, as long as we understand you. This is NOT a French class.
“When Meaulnes first arrives at the local school in Sologne, everyone is captivated by his good looks, daring and charisma. But when Meaulnes disappears for several days, and returns with tales of a strange party at a mysterious house – and his love for the beautiful girl hidden within it, Yvonne de Galais – his life has been changed forever. In his restless search for his Lost Estate and the happiness he found there, Meaulnes, observed by his loyal friend Francois, may risk losing everything he ever had. Poised between youthful admiration and adult resignation, Alain-Fournier’s compelling narrator carries the reader through this evocative and unbearably poignant portrayal of desperate friendship and vanished adolescence.”
LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR
The Life of Crime, by Martin Edwards
Published May 12th 2022 by Collins Crime Club
“In the first major history of crime fiction in fifty years, The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and their Creators traces the evolution of the genre from the eighteenth century to the present, offering brand-new perspective on the world’s most popular form of fiction.
The Life of Crime is the result of a lifetime of reading and enjoying all types of crime fiction, old and new, from around the world. In what will surely be regarded as his magnum opus, Martin Edwards has thrown himself undaunted into the breadth and complexity of the genre to write an authoritative – and readable – study of its development and evolution. With crime fiction being read more widely read than ever around the world, and with individual authors increasingly the subject of extensive academic study, his expert distillation of more than two centuries of extraordinary books and authors – from the tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann to the novels of Patricia Cornwell – into one coherent history is an extraordinary feat and makes for compelling reading.
📚 NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚
I loved Needless Street! It is incredibly well written and constructed, and I’m looking forward to reading all of her books😁
I’m procrastinating on my review, because how can you speak about it without spoilers?? She did an awesome job on the topic, but I did find it quite horr-ible
I have read several of the books you mentioned, and liked them, mostly. I’m sad that A.A.Milne only wrote one mystery, and he invented several of the mystery tropes that became common later. I blogged about Milne and the book here:
I also loved reading the Inspector Maigret series, the Thomas Jefferson food book, and Edna Ferber’s novel. Le Grand Meaulnes was a must-read choice (almost a cult) for French adolescents for a long time, though I didn’t find it that appealing.
Enjoy your reading!… best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Did you grow up in France? I’m French. Le Grand Meaulnes was a required reading in 6th or 7th grade, so for me that was mid 70s. I loved it a lot the first time I read it and wrote several essays on it, I wish I had kept them. I had no idea about cultish following of it, never heard of that, even though I lived in France until 2001. Maybe that was more in Alain-Fournier’s region? Did you live in that area?
I adored The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry so I should add Everything, Everything, Everything to my TBR.
Wishing you a great reading week
Hmm, did you mean everything she’s written? Or her latest, the one I’m currently reading: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I’m really loving it
Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee sounds fascinating and sad at the same time.
Sad? All depends what you know of how Jefferson treated his slaves – many he inherited when he married. actually. And he freed hundreds. He offered them education, allowed them to read – which most slave owners didn’t allow. He took James with him to Paris so he could learn French coking with the best chefs. He paid him a lot of money, same amount as his other non slave workers, and offered him the choice to be free, especially as there were no slaves in France, but James was happy with the situation. He had free time too between working for Jefferson and taking his cooking classes.
I added Storied Life to my TBR list!
Ah yes, that was a good one!
I love the idea of your readalong of a French classic. I wish my French were good enough to join in. It sounds like a lot of fun.
Gabrielle Zevin is an author I’ve enjoyed in the past, so I’m looking forward to reading her lastest book.
And now you have me curious about Edna Ferber…
As a lover of classics, I highly recommend you read this book – though I’m not done.
And Zevin’s also very good so far
I’m only familiar with Martin edwards from his editorial notes in some of the british Crime Classics books, but I’ve always enjoyed them.
Several bloggers have reviewed this book recently
Milne wrote mysteries? Intriguing. I have Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow on my review stack too. I’m looking forward to it. Come see my week here. Happy reading!
He did, to honor his dad who introduced him to the genre
These books look really good. I’ll have to check them out.
Wow, I didn’t realize the Jefferson Creme Brulee book was 10 years old. Seems like i see it around enough that I thought it was fairly new.
It’s very good, though with maybe slightly wrong subtitle, as I will explain in my review
The AA Milne book sounds interesting. I’ve not heard of it before.
It was really a neat one
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