Sunday Post #67 – 09/18/2022

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This past week was very important for my reading of the classics, as you can see with what I just posted:

  • Tuesday: Top 10 Books With Geographical Terms in the Title
  • Wednesday: The Classics Club: 2020-2025, 3rd list recap (137 titles)
  • Thursday: The Classics Club: 2022-2027, my 4th list (150 titles)
  • Friday: Friday Face-Off: Clocks
  • Saturday: My list for The Classics Club Spin #31

Here are the 3 books I recently finished:



📚 Eventide, by Kent Haruf
Literary fiction
Published in 2004

I so enjoyed this book!
It was great meeting again the McPheron brothers, and Victoria. The brothers are two old farmers, living and working together on this isolated farm  near the very small village of Holt, Colorado.
Victoria is a young woman they sheltered in the previous book (Plainsong), when she was in trouble. She now has a young child, and she is going back to school.
I really enjoyed the slow pace, the description of the landscape, of the daily chores on the farm. And obviously the study of the relationships between people in this city. The focus is really on relationships, within different families, in different social milieus.
And Haruf is so good at dialogs, especially at evoking the accent and speech characteristics of these two old guys. I read the book, I didn’t listen to the audiobook, but still, their voice was so alive to me through Haruf’s writing!
He wrote a 3rd book in this trilogy (Benediction), but it’s not about the same characters. I’m disappointed, as Raymond is kind of turning a new page in his life (you are never too old for that), and I wanted to know more about that. I also wanted more on the young boy DJ. But alas the author has passed away, so no more adventures coming on these characters I feel like I met in real life.

  The Witch in the Wood  The Ill-Made Knight  

🎧  The Witch in the Wood (The Once and Future King #2),
🎧  The Ill-Made Knight (The Once and Future King #3), by T. H. White

Children’s Historical fiction
Published in 1939-1940
They count for The Classics Club

If Book 1 is clearly for a children’s audience, the series is growing with the child and now dealing with themes more related to coming of age and even YA themes.
As such, maybe I didn’t enjoy Book 2 as much. There’s a lot about learning to go to battle, and nastiness with the Orkney clan – this is still in Book 4 that I just started listening to yesterday night.
BUT I did enjoy a lot Book 3, which focuses on Lancelot, my I believe first ever literary crush – I was around 8 or 9!
It was really neat meeting him again. And now almost 50 years later, I can better understand why I loved him so much!
I love his eagerness to learn, to be loyal and faithful, and his struggle between his friendship with King Arthur and his love for Arthur’s wife, Guinevere. And in between, the call for following God’s summons – even if T.H. White first presents his going on the Grail Quest as a way of leaving Guinevere and escaping this inner struggle.
Maybe one day, I’ll read Chrétien de Troyes’s or Malory’s version, to see their views (I’ve read that T.H. White kind of follows Malory’s), to check also how the Grail Quest begins – here it’s presented as some spiritual occupation needed, after the kniggts no longer have real other fights to do. They are bored, and tend to go back to their old quarrels, whereas King Arthur was trying to create a better world away from the use of brute force for brute force sake.


Absolutely on Music

📚 Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa, by Haruki Murakami
Nonfiction, music
Published in 2016

If you are familiar with my blog, you know how much I enjoy Japanese literature, and especially Haruki Murakami.
Several years ago, I bought this book in a neat bookstore in “Three Pines, Quebec”, and am FINALLY reading it, as part of my 2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge.
Murakami is a big fan of jazz music, as it shows in many of his novels, but he loves classics music as well, and knows a lot about it. So these are fascinating conversations!
“A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and his close friend, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Haruki Murakami’s passion for music runs deep. Before turning his hand to writing, he ran a jazz club in Tokyo, and from The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood to Franz Liszt’s Years of Pilgrimage, the aesthetic and emotional power of music permeates every one of his much-loved books. Now, in Absolutely on Music, Murakami fulfills a personal dream, sitting down with his friend, acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa, to talk, over a period of two years, about their shared interest. Transcribed from lengthy conversations about the nature of music and writing, here they discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more. Ultimately this book gives readers an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of the two maestros. It is essential reading for book and music lovers everywhere.”

Un Chien à ma table

📚 Un Chien à ma table, by Claudie Hunzinger
Literary fiction/Autofiction?
Published on August 24, 2022

Ah, a book that was not on my TBR lists!
I enjoyed a lot Les grands cerfs by this author. I went to (dangerous move!) to check something, and saw that her latest book was available!
I’m about 25% done and am really enjoying all the nature descriptions as well. The narrator is getting old here, as the author.
I think it’s one of these books between fiction and autobiography that the French to write these days. I usually don’t like the autofiction genre, but it works with Hunzinger.

Here is my personal translation of the synopsis:
“One evening, a young dog with a broken chain, witness of the tough life she’s had with her owners, appears at the door of an old couple: Sophie, a novelist, who loves nature and walking in the forest, and her companion Grieg, living out of the world, sleeping by day and reading by night, and surviving through literature.
Where does this wounded dog come from? What has she been through? Is somebody tracking her?
Her sudden arrival will transform the old world and the old couple. It is an ode to life, showing us that another path is still possible.
Un Chien à ma table [A Dog at my Table] connects rebellious femininity and the devastation of the environment: if our disturbing time seems to be threatening our future and that of books, poets in times of distress can save what we have left of humanity.”

And I’m still reading two books with my French students:
Le Chant du monde [The Song of the World], by Jean Giono
Autour de la Lune [Round the Moon], by Jules Verne.

Check my previous Sunday Post to get more details on these.

The Candle in the Wind🎧  The Candle in the Wind (The Once and Future King #4), by T. H. White
Children’s Historical fiction
Published in 1940
It counts for The Classics Club

The Candle in the Wind is the fourth book from the collection The Once and Future King by T. H. White. It deals with the last weeks of Arthur’s reign, his dealings with his son Mordred’s revolts, Guenever and Lancelot’s demise, and his perception of right and wrong.

I’m just 30 minutes into the book. I have the feeling it’s going to be tough, emotionally.


Murder in the Crooked House

📚  Murder in the Crooked House (Kiyoshi Mitarai #2), by Soji Shimada
Japanese mystery
Published in 1982
Translated by Louise Heal Kawai (2019)

This is the sequel to The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.
Now, it will have to be after Hunzinger’s book!!

“The Crooked House sits on a snowbound cliff at the remote northern tip of Japan. A curious place to build a house, but even more curious is the house itself – a maze of sloping floors and strange staircases, full of bloodcurdling masks and uncanny dolls. When a guest is found murdered in seemingly impossible circumstances, the police are called. But they are unable to solve the puzzle, and more bizarre deaths follow.
Enter Kiyoshi Mitarai, the renowned sleuth. Surely if anyone can crack these cryptic murders it is him. But you have all the clues too – can you solve the mystery of the murders in The Crooked House first?”


The Thin Man

📚 The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett
Published in 1934

Well, I had put The Glass Key by Hammett in my brand new 4th list of classics, and talked about it with one of French students, who knows his classics really well.
He encouraged me to switch The Glass Key with The Thin Man (NB: I also have The Maltese Falcon on the list!). So I followed his lead.
What do you think, is this a good move??

“Nick and Nora Charles are Hammett’s most enchanting creations, a rich, glamorous couple who solve homicides in between wisecracks and martinis. At once knowing and unabashedly romantic, The Thin Man is a murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners.”


Un Chien à ma table

See above about it.




52 thoughts on “Sunday Post #67 – 09/18/2022

    • I guess we both were in great company.
      Yes, there are actually 5 books – I goofed and listed only 4 on my new classics list, so here we go, I’ll be soon adding a book I read that was not listed, lol


  1. The way you described Eventide – slow paced, beautiful writing, evocative, family relationships – made me think of One For the Blackbird, One For the Crow – that I would use the same words to describe. If you haven’t read it yet, you might enjoy it. The Shimada book sounds intriguing – I like books set in Japan….
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys


  2. The Thin Man is one I’d be interested in. I found your thoughts on the grail quest from TH White interesting as well- I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie Excalibur but John Boorman (the director) spent a lot of time on that and Lancelot’s travails as well. A lot of the Grail stuff went over my head as a kid (especially since I hadn’t read the source material other than popular retellings) but it hit differently in adulthood.


  3. Big fan of Haruki Murakami here! I haven’t read any of his nonfiction, probably should. I’m less a fan of Japanese locked room mysteries. Too contrived — though that’s the point, they aren’t really novels they are puzzles.

    best… mae at


  4. I’ve read & enjoyed The Maltese Falcon – American crime is so different to the British writers around the same time. It’s a bit darker & the tecs are pretty tough & a bit lawless!
    I’ve just finished Endo’s book ‘Silence’ – gradually getting into Japanese literature. 🙂


  5. I read a few Dashiell Hammet novels when I was a teenager going through a hard boiled/noir mystery phase, but I don’t have a stand out memory of any except The Thin Man, I’m pretty sure it was my favourite. I hope you enjoy it.

    Wishing you a great reading week


  6. I’ve read Eventide and the T.H. White book(s), Emma, but long ago. I may need to re-read some? I have kept my copy of The Once and Future King! Thanks for the others, too. (FYI – the link for #IMWAYR is not working. You may need to post again.) Have a great week!


  7. One of the first classical LPs I bought in the late 60s (before I even had a record player!) was Seiji Ozawa conducting Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, so it’s weird to think he’s still going strong in his late 80s!

    As for Lancelot, if you ever get round to it Chrétien de Troyes’ introduction of the character may be different from why you may have expected. Chrétien named him first, and the best explanation of the name I’ve come across is that, as l’ancelot (from Latin anculum, ‘manservant’) he was the unnamed personal servant of Arthur’s queen.

    For most of ‘Le Chevalier de la Charrette’ neither the knight nor the queen are named except through their roles. It’s likely Chrétien never finished ‘The Knight of the Cart’ and that it was completed by someone who added Guinevere’s name and perhaps assumed ‘l’ancelot’ was a forename. The poem alludes of course to the medieval tradition of courtly love.


    • Thanks for the refresher! I’m French actually, so I did study Chrétien de Troyes (plus I lived 10 years 15 miles away from Troyes!!) in my younger years, so that’s a long time ago. I’m debating to go back to him, yes.

      Yes, Ozawa is amazing. Actually they did these interviews when he was rather sick and around surgery times

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry to have gone into lecture mode, Emma, of course I knew you’re française, it’s just that I’d got the impression that “maybe, one day” you’d read Chrétien’s Lancelot – still, I shouldn’t’ve have leapt into my habitual teacher role!


        • Oh no, I love it. I’m a teacher as well, so I’m often in that mode as well, lol.
          And you are totally right, why on earth am I hesitating revisiting Chrétien de Troyes? I actually studied an excerpt with a student of mine (preparing for AP French).
          So the maybe one day could come from the fact that I’m daily aware of my getting on years, and focusing more on shorter works these days. Also, I did a look a but around, and I was a bit confused about which edition to look for, to tell the truth. And ways to find that edition at a cheap price – not that easy for French books in the US. I can use interlibrary loan, but there’s usually no renewable dates on these, so it would be a challenge to take time to enjoy the book. We’ll see

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for understanding! Yes, I do empathise with that increasing desire for shorter works to read; and I find that I’m reading less and less nonfiction these days too. I know what you mean about editions too; I have a Livre de Poche edition of ‘Perceval ou le Conte du Graal’ in modern French which is better than nothing, but a few years ago I would’ve been happier to pore over an annotated parallel text edition of the original…


  8. I am just down the road from you in Chicago, Emma. Can you see me waving hi?

    I feel 100% certain, based on your reviews, that I would love to read Plainsong and Eventide. I have added them to my life list, and I hope I find a way to read them soon.

    The characters—King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot—are so compelling that many people can’t resist writing about their lives. It would be fun to read other versions of their stories.


  9. I wonder how many of us read A Once and Future King back when we were enamored of Arthur and Camelot?
    The Music title looks like one you would like.
    Have a good week and Happy Reading!


  10. Pingback: 2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: September checkpoint | Words And Peace

  11. Pingback: 2022: September wrap-up | Words And Peace

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