Sunday Post #72 – 01/01/2023


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What better way to begin 2023 than with a Sunday Post!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year,
and of course tons of awsome books to discover in 2023!

2022 ended with some great books for me.
As usual, during this coming week I will post detailed stats, but suffice it to say for now that I’m very happy with my 2022 year of reading:
140 books read, so that’s 20 more than my goal (117%).

I only posted once this week:

Here are the 2 books I finished recently:


Progress Report

📚 Progress Report,
by Roman Lando
on 12/9/2022
Scifi technothriller
239 pages

VERDICT: Fabulous sci technothriller with kickass characters and excellent plot, to start your 2023 year of reading with a bang!

These days, I rarely request a review copy and even less often accept one. But when Roman Lando contacted me about his self-published scifi technothriller, I thought the genre had some potential. I was hooked when I read the synopsis and the first pages.
I am so glad I accepted to read Progress Report. I devoured it in a couple of days and can close my 2022 reviews with a bang!
Click on the cover to read my ecstatic review! 

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

🎧 The Wonderful Adventures of Nils/
The Further Adventures of Nils Holgersson
by Selma Lagerlöf

Classics children’s lit
Published in 1906-1907
It counts for The Classics Club

This is a wonderful children’s classic.
The young naughty boy Nils is transformed into an elf and travels all over his country on the back of a goose.
It’s a delightful way of presenting the whole of Sweden, its geography and landscapes, though sometimes some passages are a bit long.
It’s all mixed with the style of fantasy and fairy tales (for instance with animals talking, and the use of repetitive structure of sentences).
And ultimately, it’s a delightful coming of age story.

I listened to this book through the Cloud Library App (provided by my public library), and their version is actually from Librivox.
The narrator is Lars Rolander, who is Swedish I believe. That was great for the correct pronunciation of place names, etc. He is excellent at dialogues, at making different voices for all the animals. Alas, he is not as good when it comes to the narrative itself, and sometimes quite boring in these lines, with often the same intonation. Sad, as he is so good for the dialogues.


Death of a Red Heroine

📚 Death of a Red Heroine
(Inspector Chen Cao #1), 

by Qiu Xialong
Chinese Mystery
First published in 2000 (in English)
482 pages

Every year, my publisc library organizes a Winter Reading Challenge: you tell them the books you like or don’t like, and the last four books you’ve read, and the staff picks a book for you to read.
As I highlighted my love for Japanese mysteries, I guess they thought I had to expand my horizon to Chinese thrillers!
I’m only around page 50, but finding it very good so far.

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

Week-end à Zuydcoote📚 Week-end à Zuydcoote,
by Robert Merle

French historical fiction
Published in 1949
244 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

My French student F. wanted to try a French historical novel. Among the titles I proposed, she chose this one, set during WWI, in June 1940 at Dunkirk.
It was actually trasnalted into English as Weekend in Dunkirk.

I had not read any book by Robert Merle for a very long time, so it’s nice to go back to his writing.
This book is raw, and yet a lot of humor at the same time. It tells the life of a group of French soldiers trapped in the pocket of Dunkirk, for two days, after the Franco-British defeat.

The Red Thumb Mark

🎧The Red Thumb Mark
(Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries
by R. Austin Freeman
Published in 1907
224 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

I have heard a lot about this author recently, so I was eager to discover Dr Thorndyke.
Richard Austin Freeman (1862-1943) was a British writer of detective stories, mostly featuring the medicolegal forensic investigator Dr Thorndyke. He invented the inverted detective story and used some of his early experiences as a colonial surgeon in his novels. 

“In this first book of the series, Dr. Jervis encounters his old friend Dr. Thorndyke; soon after they are drawn into a mystery in which a man is accused of murder and his own bloody thumbprint – evidence that cannot be denied – places him absolutely at the scene of the crime. But for Thorndyke, things may not be quite as straightforward as they seem. Can one forge a thumb print? As Thorndyke investigates, it becomes apparent that he is too much of a threat, and must be removed…”

This edition I’m listening to, narrated by Luke Barton, has a good and fairly developped introduction on and by the author.


Gaspard Melchior & Balthazar

📚  Gaspard, Melchior & Balthazar,
by Michel Tournier
French historical fiction
288 pages
Published in 1978
Was translated into English as The Four Wise Men

I ended up reading lighter books, so haven’t started this one yet.
Thankfully, my Nativity comes only on January 7th, so when I finally start reading it, I should still be in the Christmas season!

“Displaying his characteristic penchant for the macabre, the tender and the comic, Michael Tournier presents the traditional Magi describing their personal odysseys to Bethlehem–and audaciously imagines a fourth, “the eternal latecomer”‘ whose story of hardship and redemption is the most moving and instructive of all.
Prince of Mangalore and son of an Indian maharajah, Taor has tasted an exquisite confection, “rachat loukoum,” and is so taken by the flavor that he sets out to recover the recipe. His quest takes him across Western Asia and finally lands him in Sodom, where he is imprisoned in a salt mine. There, this fourth wise man learns the recipe from a fellow prisoner, and learns of the existence and meaning of Jesus.”




📚 Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays, by Mary Oliver
Nonfiction, poetry, essays
88 pages
Published in 2003

“Within these pages Mary Oliver collects twenty-six of her poems about the birds that have been such an important part of her life-hawks, hummingbirds, and herons; kingfishers, catbirds, and crows; swans, swallows, and, of course, the snowy owl; among a dozen others-including ten poems original to this volume. She adds two beautifully crafted essays, “Owls,” selected for the Best American Essays series, and “Bird,” one that will surely take its place among the classics of the genre.”



Progress Report

See details above

Click on the cover to see my review
And share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday




27 thoughts on “Sunday Post #72 – 01/01/2023

  1. You can always rely on Mary Oliver’s poetry to deliver some new human insight, so I think you’ll like Owls… But I’m also fascinated by Wonderful Adventures of Nils, which seems like a perfect cozy read. Happy New Year, and I hope you’ll find many hidden gems this 2023.


  2. Pingback: 2022: December wrap-up | Words And Peace

  3. Progress Report is sure going on my list. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils and Owls and Other Fantasies look good too. I hope you have a Happy New Year and Happy Reading!


  4. The Dunkirk book looks interesting. In the book Wine and War the authors follow the story of a winegrower who also became trapped with his men on the Northern French coast. They weren’t lucky enough to escape and the winegrower spent the rest of the war in an officer’s POW camp which was no picnic.


  5. Pingback: Friday Face Off: The Wonderful Adventures of Nils | Words And Peace

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