Sunday Post #85 – 05/14/2023

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Already 3 weeks since my last participation, time flies too fast. Did I already say that last time? lol

I posted twice since last Sunday:

In case you want to use some time this summer to read a novel in French, Lory at Entering the Enchanted Castle and I will start reading Voyage au centre de la Terre, by Jules Verne, on June 15.
We are planning on reading one chapter a day, so until end of July.
And we’ll be commenting in French on this Discord channel.
You are most welcome to join us. There’s one channel per chapter, so you can read at your own pace. 
NB: it’s not a French class, just sharing, so no problem if you make French mistakes, we’ll just focus on what you mean.

I only finished 2 books this past week, BUT I reached book 60 of the year, that is, already half of my 2023 goal.

Unusually for these recent months, 4 of the following books are review copies.
I need to watch out and go back to reading more of my TBR shelves.


Blank Canvas 3

📚  Blank Canvas:
My So-Called Artist’s Journey, Vol. 3
by Akiko Higashimura
かくかくしかじか 3
was first published in Japanese in 2019
Translated by Jenny McKeon
Published in 2024
156 pages
Nonfiction / Autobiography / Art / Manga

I really enjoy this manga autobiography series, as we follow Akiko from her art school to her current status of manga artist. It’s an intense and rough road.
The neat lesson from this book is that for some people, you really need to be at the end of the tunnel to finally move it and do something!

Don’t read the following if you have not read the book yet!
Spoilers ahead.
Now Akiko is close to graduating, but she still doesn’t know what she’s going to do, and her parents are fed up paying big money for her studies, and no real job perspective.
Her dad has an idea, which is definitely not to Akiko’s liking.
So under pressure, she FINALLY draws some manga, and send it to a manga magazine.

I’m really baffled that it takes 3 full volumes in this series before she FINALLY tells her special art teacher what type of art (manga) she wanted to do from the get go.
Was it considered so bad at the time? Was she so ashamed? The world of manga was all her life, so why not open about it earlier?
Has it got to do with something in Japanese culture?
I’m curious. Let me know if you have some idea.

WarCross🎧 Warcross (Warcross, #1)
by Marie Lu
353 pages
Scifi / Dystopia / YA / Gaming

Oh wow, now I understand why everyone was so gaga about this book!
I’m glad I didn’t listen to it back then, but now, as it happens that at the same time, I’m reading a nonfiction book on AI (Is the Algorithm Plotting Against Us? A Layperson’s Guide to the Concepts, Math, and Pitfalls of AI). It was not planned, and it is working perfectly!
You may wonder why I’m mentioning this, but sorry, you will have to read the whole book of Warcross to understand.
I loved the background stories, the settings, especially Tokyo, the main characters, with their complex layers.
I had been expecting the very last revelation for a while, it was so obvious to me, but still, the book was very enjoyable, with the major questions it raises near the end – which I cannot talk about without spoiling it. So I won’t specify.
I recently read the very disappointing Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, where there was actually not much about gaming per se. Now here in Warcross, there are so many awesome scenes with real gaming going on.
I also liked obviously all the enhanced technology.

The audio narrator Nancy Wu is excellent, with perfect tone, especially for the main character Emika, with lots of intensity, passion, and despair in the voice.
I need to listen to another audiobook right now, but I am so looking forward to listen to book 2 ( Wildcard ) after that.


… an insane amount of books at the same time (13!!!). I always do, but this is over the top. 
For a bunch of them, I only read a few chapters a week (with students or parishioners for instance).
I will only highlight a few here:

Is the Algorithm Ploting Against Us📚 Is the Algorithm Plotting Against Us?
A Layperson’s Guide to the Concepts, Math,

and Pitfalls of AI,
by Kenneth Wenger
May 1, 2023
264 pages
Nonfiction / Artificial intelligence
Received for review

I received the offer to read this book from the author at the perfect time when I thought I needed to read more on the topic.
The subtitle says what it’s trying to do.
I’m only in the first part, but I really appreciate how the author goes into technical details of how it works, and how it all started.

The Captain📚 The Captain (17 Planets, #1)
by A. R. Alexander
Expected publication June 15, 2023
300 pages
Received for review

I was intrigued enough by how the author presented the book to me, so I accepted a review copy. This was originally written in Italian.
But the beginning is a bit confusing for now, I need to restart and print the introduction to better follow who’s who.
The synopsis is actually not as thrilling as the author’s pitch in the email she sent me.

“A woman with an extraordinary mind and a dark past demanding revenge. 17 planets divided into four factions whose leaders forgot their inhabitants all arrived from the same place: Planet Earth. A threat that could turn a tool that saves everyone’s life into the worst imaginable nightmare. Elizabeth, a chameleonic and seductive woman, is the only one who can make a difference, but her uniqueness weighs on her shoulders like the world weighs on Atlas’ shoulders.
These are just some of the ingredients of this novel where action scenes alternate with political ones and the relationship between the many characters, as much as the suffering and the claustrophobic anguish, alternate with the human need for love and loyalty. All seasoned with a drops of eroticism and a hint of humour.”
Hoepfully, this will turn out ok.

The Ferryman🎧The Ferryman,
by Justin Cronin
Narrated by 
Scott Brick & Suzanne Elise Freeman
May 2, 2023
560 pages / 19H55
Science fiction
Free audiobook for review, received through Libro.Fm

Now, this one is also a bit confusing. I may also have to either reliste to the beginning or read what I have listened to so far!
This is my first experience with this author.

“Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.

Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process–and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he’s been dreaming–which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.
Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group–known as “Arrivalists”–who may be fomenting revolution.Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized–and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia–where the truth isn’t what it seems.”

Here is the list of all the books I am currently reading/listening to,
if you are curious.
Come to think of it, I think this is what I’m going to do from now on:
just feature a few, and let you go see the full list if you wish.
It will make shorter posts, and a better chance to post on a regular basis!


Café Unfiltered📚 Café Unfiltered,
by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Translated by Alison Anderson
Café sans filtre
was first published in French on April 22, 2022
Literary fiction
Expected US publication July 11, 2023
232 pages
Received for review, from New Vessel Press

I have read a couple of books by Blondel, especially The 6:41 to Paris, that I enjoyed a lot, so I let mysef be tempted by this one!

“At a classic café in the French provinces, anonymity, chance encounters, and traumatic pasts collide against the muted background of global instability. Jean-Philippe Blondel, author of the bestselling The 6:41 to Paris, presents a moving fresco of intertwined destinies portrayed with humor, insight, and tenderness.

In the span of twenty-four hours, a medley of characters retrace the fading patterns of their lives after a long disruption from Covid. A mother and son realize their vast differences, a man takes tea with a childhood friend he had once covertly fallen for, and a woman crosses paths with the ex who abandoned her in Australia.
Amidst it all, the café swirls like a kaleidoscope, bringing together customers, waiters, and owners past and present. Within its walls and on its terrace, they examine the threads of their existence, laying bare their inner selves, their failed dreams, and their hopes for the uncertain future that awaits us all.”


The Beacon Hill Murders


📚 The Beacon Hill Murders (Inspector Kane, #1), by Roger Scarlett
Around 200 pages?

The Beacon Hill Murders: Boston’s Beacon Hill, a distinguished neighborhood of old mansions and old money, has been invaded, much to its mortification, by the Suttons, a family of well-heeled parvenus. The latest daring play of the head of the clan, rags-to-riches stock exchange gambler Frederick Sutton, is to break into Boston society—but this ambitious move proves his most daunting stake yet. On the night Frederick Sutton hosts for dinner at his grand estate his prim and disapproving attorney, Mr. Underwood, and that widow of impeccable taste and irresistible charm, Mrs. Anceney, the final course for the night turns out to be death!

When a murderer’s bullet puts an end to Frederick Sutton’s lofty social ambitions, there is only one person, seemingly, who could possibly have done the foul deed. But surely this person cannot be guilty of such an egregious social faux pas as murder! Then a second slaying takes place at the Sutton mansion, this one even more mystifying than the first, in a room guarded by Boston’s finest. Fortunately keen-minded Inspector Kane, as chronicled by the admiring Mr. Underwood, has the acumen necessary to solve the baffling Beacon Hill murders.”



I received these 3 books for review:

  Is the Algorithm Ploting Against Us The Captain The Ferryman  Please check the presentation of each above.

Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday




40 thoughts on “Sunday Post #85 – 05/14/2023

  1. Your book list is very interesting, especially the classic-era murder mystery/detective story.
    best, mae at


    • I have restarted listening to The Ferryman, and it makes more sense. I think the problem is that I already have tons of ideas of what could possibly be going one, so I may add even more confusion to the plot, lol.
      OMG, you haven’t read Warcross yet? Please do. Actually really good as audio


  2. Emma, I am very tempted to join you for your readalong with Lory in French. But my French is so weak (maybe that of a one-year-old, but that may be exaggerating my skills too positively—lol). Maybe on your next readalong?

    And you sold me on Café Unfiltered. I will definitely be looking for that book.

    Good luck with your thirteen books! Wow.


    • That’s not on a blog, just in a small Discord group (possibly 3 or 4 participants), and all participants are French as 2nd or 3rd language. And for this, I DO not put my French teacher hat on! Let me know if you want the epub version of our book


  3. J’ai lu Voyage au centre de la terre il y a quelques années, mais en anglais; malheureusement j’ai pas une édition en français pour participer avec Lory et vous. Bien dommage, désolé!


  4. Congrats on reaching your half way goal early. By coincidence I am also on 60 books, but that’s only 40% of my goal.
    With the rise of ChatGTP I should probably make the effort to develop a better understanding about AI.

    Wishing you a wonderful week of reading


  5. Lots of interesting books here. I am interested in Warcross, The Beacon Hill Murders, and more.
    What a nice idea to share a read-along in French. I had one year of French back in 6th Grade! But interestingly, I have always been able to read a little in French, better than in Spanish after three years of that language. I would like to join your read along but I don’t think I will have the time yet this summer.
    I hope your week is going well. Happy Reading!


    • Oh yes, you need to try Warcross, and as you listen to a lot of audio, this is te way to go. Great narrator!
      Yes, reading French is actually quite easy. There are tons of cognates with English


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  7. The manga artist’s graphic autobiography sounds interesting. And I remember reading Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth in English, in my early teens. I enjoyed it, although I was more fond of the Nemo books (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mysterious Island.) Verne could certainly tell a good story! I’m not a French speaker or student (I’m currently revisiting Spanish, which I haven’t studied in over 35 years), so I won’t join your readalong, but I hope you and Lory have a wonderful time with it.


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