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A post to recap the past week on your blog,
showcase books and things we have received.
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These past weeks have been too busy for me to participate in this meme and to post much on this blog. I have been restarting slowly. Hopefully, I’m back for quite a while.
- Tuesday: Book review: The Sound and the Fury
- Wednesday: My top 8 books for the 1929 Club
- Friday: Friday Face-Off: Black Covers
I have finished only 2 books this past week, but I am in the process of reading a whole bunch, particularly 4 different books as read-along with students, so I only read a few chapters per week.
JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧
I am a bit disappointed by this one, but am planning to try another apparently better book by the same author.
VERDICT: Challenging novels are worth it! Stream of consciousness at its best?
I wrote a full review. It’s this way.
CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO
by Guy de Maupassant
French literary fiction
Published in 1885
Reading with French student F.
It counts for The Classics Club
With French student F., I recently reread Le Horla, Maupassant’s most famous collection of short stories among French students.
We loved it and decided to read one of his novels.
Maupassant impresses me more and more in his style and talent at describing characters.
“Guy de Maupassant’s scandalous tale of an opportunistic young man corrupted by the allure of power.
Young, attractive and very ambitious, George Duroy, known to his admirers as Bel-Ami, is offered a job as a journalist on La Vie française and soon makes a great success of his new career. But he also comes face to face with the realities of the corrupt society in which he lives – the sleazy colleagues, the manipulative mistresses, and wily financiers – and swiftly learns to become an arch-seducer, blackmailer and social climber in a world where love is only a means to an end. Written when Maupassant was at the height of his powers, “Bel-Ami” is a novel of great frankness and cynicism, but it is also infused with the sheer joy of life – depicting the scenes and characters of Paris in the belle époque with wit, sensitivity, and humanity.”
📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon
Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
It counts for The Classics Club
With French student E., we have already read the first 19 novels by Simenon featuring Inspector Maigret.
We decided to keep the chronological order of publication, so we are now in the first collection of short stories.
These are 20 short stories written between 1936-1938.
It’s really neat to see that Simenon displays the same quality of writing, in his plots and his way of creating bleak atmosphere, than in his novels.
by Niko Tackian
Published on January 5, 2022
I have already read and really appreciated 3 books by Tackian, for instance Avalanche hôtel.
So when French student S. asked if we could read together a contemporary French mystery, I knew where to go.
We have read 30% of the novel so far, and it’s very intriguing. We have no idea what’s really going on, and like the main protagonist, even where we are at.
The book is actually based on the Japanese social phenomenon of the Jōhatsu (lit. “evaporation”, hence the name in French of “Les Évaporés”) . It refers to the people in Japan who purposely vanish from their established lives without a trace.
Actually, I already read a French novel based on this phenomenon last year: Les Évaporés, by Reverdy.
“The very white sand, the turquoise ocean. This is what Yohan discovers when he wakes up. A heavenly place where he will start a new life. Have a second chance to be happy. To arrive on this unknown island, he signed up with a mysterious company that promised to make him disappear and erase all traces of his past.
During the first few days, Yohan savored his rediscovered carelessness. Even if little by little, a feeling of strangeness gets over him. The island is home to a dozen inhabitants, each more enigmatic than the next. Yet the abandoned houses, the deserted stalls in the windswept streets, suggest that they were once much more numerous. Where have the others gone?
Yohan wants to understand. But he should never have looked behind the scenes. Because it is well known that knowledge can shatter Paradise…”
🎧 The Leavenworth Case (Mr. Gryce #1)
by Anna Katharine Green
Published in 1878
It counts for The Classics Club
Wow, what a neat discovery!
“Anna Katharine Green (1846-1935) was an American poet and novelist.
She was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America and distinguished herself by writing well plotted, legally accurate stories.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, her early ambition was to write romantic verse, and she corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson.
When her poetry failed to gain recognition, she produced her first and best known novel, The Leavenworth Case (1878). She became a bestselling author, eventually publishing about 40 books. She was in some ways a progressive woman for her time-succeeding in a genre dominated by male writers-but she did not approve of many of her feminist contemporaries, and she was opposed to women’s suffrage.”
I’m almost done listening to this fairly long mystery (439 pages – 12H03), and it’s been fabulous. I actually identified the murderer very early on (and for reasons different from those of the detective), but still, it was fascinating to see how the author plotted the whole thing and was trying to make her readers follow a different track.
This is really good, great plot and excellent descriptions of characters.
I’m listening to it through Hoopla. They say the narrator is Tamara Davis, which doesn’t sound correct. Unfortunately, Audible doesn’t seem to have this same edition, so I cannot identify for sure the excellent narrator, who is so good at changing his voice and accent for the various people involved.
“The novel begins when a wealthy retired merchant named Horatio Leavenworth is shot and killed in his library. When investigator Ebenezer Gryce and lawyer Everett Raymond look into the case, it is revealed that no one could have left the Manhattan Mansion before the body was discovered the next day. As the story progresses, Leavenworth’s orphaned nieces Mary and Eleanore, Hannah the maid, and a mysterious gentleman who appears on the scene all factor into the investigation”.
I am also almost done with an xth rereading of Le petit prince, with my French student I.
I am so loving each page of Revenge of the Librarians, a collection of cartoons by the so-gifted Tom Gauld.
And I’m reading two books on Orthodoxy.
BOOK UP NEXT
“The Lifted Veil is a novella by George Eliot, first published in 1859.
Quite unlike the realistic fiction for which Eliot is best known, The Lifted Veil explores themes of extrasensory perception, the essence of physical life, possible life after death, and the power of fate. The novella is a significant part of the Victorian tradition of horror fiction, which includes such other examples as Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897).
LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR
The Poisoned Chocolates Case (Roger Sheringham Cases #5),
by Anthony Berkeley
Published in 1929
This is the other book by Berkeley I mentioned above I should read.
“After arriving at his London club at 10:30 am precisely, which he has been doing every morning for many years, Sir Eustace Pennefather, a known womanizer whose divorce from his current wife is pending, receives a complimentary box of chocolates through the post.
Disapproving of such modern marketing techniques, Sir Eustace is about to throw away the chocolates in disgust but changes his mind when he learns that Graham Bendix, another member of the club whom he hardly knows, has lost a bet with his wife Joan and now owes her a box of chocolates.
Bendix takes the box home and, after lunch, tries out the new confectionery together with his wife. A few hours later Joan Bendix is dead, whereas her husband, who has eaten far fewer chocolates, is taken seriously ill and hospitalized.”
📚 NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚