The top 8 books to read in December 2020

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in December 2020

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

  The Vexations La grande escapade

📚 The Vexations, (2019) by Caitlin Horrocks
A historical novel on Erik Satie! Loving it so far

📚 La Grande escapade (2019), by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Received for review in 2019
By a French author I really like. Not too sure where this is going, and I’m a quarter done.

READING NEXT

Flood

  The Letter Killers Club  Upstream

📚 The Red Notebook (2014), by Antoine Laurain
I have read several books by this author, and especially enjoyed his most recent one, but I have never read this famous one. This is the latest book my Online French Book Club has chosen, so actually I’ll be reading the original French text.
Let me know if you want to join us, on Discord.

“Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There’s nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there’s all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?”

📚 Flood, (2008) by Stephen Baxter
This one was more recently offered to me by one of my French students. He loves this author, and knowing that I like scifi, he thought I should definitely read it!

It begins in 2016. Another wet summer, another year of storm surges and high tides. But this time the Thames Barrier is breached and central London is swamped. The waters recede, life goes on, the economy begins to recover, people watch the news reports of other floods around the world. And then the waters rise again. And again.
Lily, Helen, Gary and Piers, hostages released from five years captivity at the hands of Christian Extremists in Spain, return to England and the first rumours of a flood of positively Biblical proportions…
Sea levels have begun to rise, at catastrophic speed. Within two years London and New York will be under water. The Pope will give his last address from the Vatican before Rome is swallowed by the rising water. Mecca too will vanish beneath the waves.
The world is drowning. A desperate race to find out what is happening begins. The popular theory is that we are paying the price for our profligacy and that climate change is about to redress Gaia’s balance. But there are dissenting views. And all the time the waters continue to rise and mankind begins the great retreat to higher ground. Millions will die, billions will become migrants. Wars will be fought over mountains.”

📚 The Letter Killers Club (1926), by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
This is the book I got for Classics Spin #25.

“Original Writers are professional killers of conceptions. The logic of the Letter Killers Club, a secret society of “conceivers” who commit nothing to paper on principle, is strict and uncompromising. Every Saturday they meet in a fire-lit room hung with blank black bookshelves to present their “pure and unsubstantiated” conceptions: a rehearsal of Hamlet hijacked by an actor who vanishes with the role; the double life of a medieval merry cleric derailed by a costume change; a machine-run world that imprisons men’s minds while conscripting their bodies; a dead Roman scribe stranded this side of the River Acheron. The overarching scene of this short novel is set in Soviet Moscow, in the ominous 1920s. Known only by pseudonym, like Chesterton’s anarchists in fin-de-siècle London, the Letter Killers are as mistrustful of one another as they are mesmerized by their despotic president. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is at his philosophical and fantastical best in this extended meditation on madness.”

📚 Upstream: Selected Essays (2016), by Mary Oliver
I have been trying to drastically reduce my TBR, by stopping as much as possible requesting books through Netgalley and Edelweiss, but my public library started a special recommendation service, and I couldn’t resist. (And I’m going to get another book to read chosen by the staff, for the usual Winter Reading Challenge!)
Among the five titles they suggested, I chose this one.

“Comprising a selection of essays, Upstream finds beloved poet Mary Oliver reflecting on her astonishment and admiration for the natural world and the craft of writing.
As she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, finding solace and safety within the woods, and the joyful and rhythmic beating of wings, Oliver intimately shares with her readers her quiet discoveries, boundless curiosity, and exuberance for the grandeur of our world.
This radiant collection of her work, with some pieces published here for the first time, reaffirms Oliver as a passionate and prolific observer whose thoughtful meditations on spiders, writing a poem, blue fin tuna, and Ralph Waldo Emerson inspire us all to discover wonder and awe in life’s smallest corners.

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

  Atom[ka] Three Act Tragedy

📚 Atom[ka] (2012) by Franck Thilliez
Did I say I was going to stop reading this author?
Well, I couldn’t resist. His books often contain some horrific details, BUT they are always so smart as well. This time, looks like there are three threads together, one of them having to do with Chernobyl – incidentally, I just read a fabulous nonfiction graphic “novel” on Fukushima!

📚 Three Act Tragedy,  (Hercule Poirot #11, 1934) by Agatha Christie
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club
I don’t think I have ever read this one.

“At an apparently respectable dinner party, a vicar is the first to die…Thirteen guests arrived at dinner at the actor’s house. It was to be a particularly unlucky evening for the mild-mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, who choked on his cocktail, went into convulsions and died. But when his martini glass was sent for chemical analysis, there was no trace of poison — just as Poirot had predicted. Even more troubling for the great detective, there was absolutely no motive!”

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR DECEMBER

📚 Posting more reviews??

Eiffel Tower Orange

HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR DECEMBER?

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2020: November wrap-up

November 2020 WRAP-UP

Phew, that was actually a busy month, reading-wise and otherwise, for instance with 3 new French students. In a way, I’m glad we are back in confinement, so less opportunity for distractions! And obviously, less chances to catch the virus.

I have FINALLY restarted a Newsletter. It has a small fee, but each month 11 subscribers will receive a book based on their favorite genres!
10 will receive an ecopy and 1 a print copy (as long as Bookdepositery ships to their country). If you haven’t signed up yet, here is the November Newsletter as a sample, with the form to subscribe near the end.

November is the month about Nonfiction, and I had a great time with this event.

I also finished my 2nd list of 50 classics, and launched into my 3rd list, with 137 titles this time.

📚 Here is what I read in November.
Actually more audiobooks (with record time this month!) than printed books, I guess this has become a trend for me in 2020, maybe due to Covid-19?

11 books:
4 in print 
with 1,288 pages, a daily average of 42 pages/day
7 in audio
= 33H54
, a daily average of 1H07

4 in mystery:

  1. Black Coffee, A Mystery Play in Three Acts, #7 by Agatha Christie – for The Classics Club
  2. Lord Edgware Dies, #9 by Agatha Christie – audio, for The Classics Club
  3. Écouter le noir, by various authors – French audio
  4. Murder on the Orient Express, #10 by Agatha Christie – audio, for The Classics Club

4 in nonfiction:

  1. The Book of Tobit – audio, for The Classics Club
  2. The Book of Judith – audio, for The Classics Club
  3. The Book of Esther – audio, for The Classics Club
  4. Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, by Kazuto Tatsuta – graphic “novel”

1 in historical fiction:

  1. The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand, & la France, by Nancy Burkhalter – for France Book Tours 

1 in science fiction:

  1. To Hold Up the Sky, by Liu Cixin – ebook for review, received through Netgalley  

1 in YA:

  1. La Chute du soleil de fer, by Michel Bussi – French audio

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

  La Chute du soleil de fer

Actually this month both my favorites are French, and not yet translated.
Écouter le noir is a fascinating collection of thriller short stories, some actually almost horror, mostly based on the theme of deafness. A neat twist to these stories, by some authors I had never heard of. Very enjoyable collection!
As for La Chute du soleil de fer, this was really neat surprise: a YA fantasy (both genres I rarely read), by one of my favorite French authors. There was no way I was going to pass his latest novel, even if it was not in his usual mystery genre. And I am sure glad I took the plunge.
It’s set in Paris in a post-apocalyptic world, with two groups of teenagers and younger children. The adults are all gone. I loved these kids, and the settings, and how they try to make sense of what as survived form our world.
I can’t wait for next volume in the series!

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 2/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 9 books read during the challenge + 7 since.

Total of books read in 2020 = 106/110
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 20

OTHER BOOK I REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

Alina_A Song For the Telling

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

And we offer a Book Box!
And monthly raffle with a Newsletter
(see sample with link to sign up)

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Alina_A Song For the Telling

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Born a Crime readalong

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Shelf Aware
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!

TOP COMMENTERS 

Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Deb at Readerbuzz
Karen at Booker Talk

please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,253 posts
over 5,380 followers
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📚

Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in December,
and some major milestone!!


Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

How was YOUR month of November?

2019-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up_300

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!

The Classics Club: what I got for The Classics Spin #25

classicsclub

#theclassicsclub
#ccspin

The Classics Club
2020-2025

MY FULL CLASSICS CLUB LIST IS HERE

The Classics Spin #25

Twitter hashtag: #ccspin

For this Classics spin #25, I got #14, which on my list was

The Letter Killers Club

I usually don’t read many short stories, but I just finished listening to a collection and read another one, and the spin ends up on a collection of Russian short stories!
I’m really looking forward to reading The Letter Killers Club (1926), as I don’t know the author Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, and it sounds deliciously meta-literature.

“Original Writers are professional killers of conceptions. The logic of the Letter Killers Club, a secret society of “conceivers” who commit nothing to paper on principle, is strict and uncompromising. Every Saturday they meet in a fire-lit room hung with blank black bookshelves to present their “pure and unsubstantiated” conceptions: a rehearsal of Hamlet hijacked by an actor who vanishes with the role; the double life of a medieval merry cleric derailed by a costume change; a machine-run world that imprisons men’s minds while conscripting their bodies; a dead Roman scribe stranded this side of the River Acheron. The overarching scene of this short novel is set in Soviet Moscow, in the ominous 1920s. Known only by pseudonym, like Chesterton’s anarchists in fin-de-siècle London, the Letter Killers are as mistrustful of one another as they are mesmerized by their despotic president. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is at his philosophical and fantastical best in this extended meditation on madness.”

Have you read it? What did you think?

It’s never too late to challenge yourself to (re)discover the classics and connect and have fun with other Classics lovers. See here what this is all about.

📚 📚 📚 

Here is what I got for the previous Classics Spins:

A wizard of Earthsea Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Arsene Lupin

For Classics Spin #14, I got #1: A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin
For Classics Spin, #15, I got #12: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
For Classics Spin, #16, I got #4: Arsène Lupin, by Maurice Leblanc

The Face of Another A Moveable Feast The Dream of the Red Chamber

For Classics Spin, #17, I got #3: The Face of Another, by Kobo Abe (not yet reviewed!!)

For Classics Spin, #19, I got #1: A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

For Classics Spin, #20, I got # 19: The Dream of the Red Chamber
by Cao Xueqin

On the Edge of the World  Sanshiro The Sleepwalkers

For Classics Spin, #21, I got # 5: On the Edge of the World, by Nikolai Leskov

For Classics Spin, #22, I got # 13: Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki

For Classics Spin, #24, I got # 18: The Sleepwalkers, by Hermann Broch, which I didn’t take time to read!!

 

📚 📚 📚 

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT DID YOU THINK?

IF YOU ARE MEMBER OF THE CLASSICS CLUB,
WHAT BOOK DID YOU GET FOR THIS SPIN?

MY FULL CLASSICS CLUB LIST IS HERE

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