Book review: In Praise of Shadows

In Praise of Shadows

In Praise of Shadows
by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
陰翳礼讃 in 1933
Translated by
Edward G. Seidensticker
and Thomas J. Harper
Leete’s Island Books
56 pages


Last week, I explained how I got lead to wabi sabi and to In Praise of Shadows. This is indeed the main classic book at the root of this Japanese concept highlighting the “wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life” as called by Beth Kempton.
Click to continue reading


The top 8 books to read in February 2021

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in February 2021

Click on the covers to know more


The Stars Now Unclaimed  L'Anomalie

📚 The Stars Now Unclaimed, by Drew Williams
Published in 2018
Personal recommendation from my public library

“Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the Pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages.
Hot on her trail is the Pax–a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the Pulse.
Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers.
And that’s just the beginning . . ”

📚 L’Anomalie, by Hervé Le Tellier
Published in 2020, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt


  In Praise of Shadows   A cat a man and two women

  Devils in Daylight Encre sympathique

📚 In Praise of Shadows, by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
Published in 1933
Will read for Japanese Reading Challenge 14Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

“An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight, and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure.”

📚 A Cat, a Man, and Two Women, by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
Published in 1936
Will read for the Japanese Reading Challenge, for the Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

““Considering all I’ve sacrificed, is it too much to ask for one little cat in return?”
Shinako has been ousted from her marriage by her husband Shozo and his younger lover Fukuko. She’s lost everything: her home, status, and respectability. Yet the only thing she longs for is Lily, the elegant tortoiseshell cat she shared with her husband. As Shinako pleads for Lily’s return, Shozo’s reluctance to part with the cat reveals his true affections, and the lengths he’ll go to hold onto the one he loves most.
A small masterpiece, A Cat, a Man, and Two Women is a novel about loneliness, love, and companionship of the most unexpected kind. In this story of Japanese society and manners, Tanizaki gives us a perfectly-formed oddball comedy, and a love triangle in which the only real rival is feline..

📚 Devils in Daylight, by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
Published in 1918
Will read for the Japanese Reading Challenge, for the Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

Seeing a theme here? As I was planning to read these books by Tanizaki, I thought I might as well read them during the same month. That will complete Some Prefer Nettles, read last month

“One morning, Takahashi, a writer who has just stayed up all night working, is interrupted by a phone call from his old friend Sonomura: barely able to contain his excitement, Sonomura claims that he has cracked a secret cryptographic code based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Gold-Bug and now knows exactly when and where a murder will take place—and they must hurry if they want to witness the murder, because it’s later that very night! Sonomura has a history of lunacy and playing the amateur detective, so Takahashi is of course reluctant to believe him. Nevertheless, they stake out the secret location, and through tiny peepholes in the knotted wood, become voyeurs at the scene of a shocking crime…”

📚 Encre sympathiquw, by Patrick Modiano
Published in 2019 by Gallimard
Ok, after Japan, a little stop in France will be good.
I have read lots of books by Modiano (see here my latest review), and it’s often the same style, but another reader presented it to me, and it does sound intriguing. Plus it;s really great writing, so let’s try it.

«Et parmi toutes ces pages blanches et vides, je ne pouvais détacher les yeux de la phrase qui chaque fois me surprenait quand je feuilletais l’agenda : “Si j’avais su…” On aurait dit une voix qui rompait le silence, quelqu’un qui aurait voulu vous faire une confidence, mais y avait renoncé ou n’en avait pas eu le temps.»


Murder in Mesopotamia  La Vallée

📚 Murder in Mesopotamia (Hercule Poirot #14) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1936
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

I am very disappointed that Hugh Fraser didn’t record this one. I wonder if it’s because the main narrator is a woman? Anyway, I don’t like at all the narrator Anna Massey, but there was no other option. Plus, I think I remember who did it, from the series, so it does take away some of the enjoyment.

When nurse Amy Leatheran agrees to look after American archaeologist Dr Leidner’s wife Louise at a dig near Hassanieh she finds herself taking on more than just nursing duties – she also has to help solve murders. Fortunately for Amy, Hercule Poirot is visiting the excavation site but will the great detective be in time to prevent a multiple murderer from striking again?”

📚 La Vallée, by Bernard Minier
Published in 2020

This is a very popular writer of French thrillers, and I have never read any by him. One of the most sold books of 2020 in France. Quite dark I think, but I am curious.

” Je crois que quelqu’un est en train d’agir comme s’il se prenait pour Dieu… ”
Un appel au secours au milieu de la nuit
Une vallée coupée du monde
Une abbaye pleine de secrets
Une forêt mystérieuse
Une série de meurtres épouvantables
Une population terrifiée qui veut se faire justice
Un corbeau qui accuse
Une communauté au bord du chaos
Une nouvelle enquête de Martin Servaz
Le nouveau thriller de Bernard Minier


Listed on the homepage 

Review copies available throughout February
Some are for book tours,
some to read and review at your own pace!

List of books I can swap with yours


📚 More reading for The Japanese Reading Challenge (January-March)
📚 Post more reviews of RockRidgePress books, I only have 5 left

Eiffel Tower Orange







Year of reading 2020 part 3

And after my list of 2020 favorites,
as well as my 2020 stats,
here is to a fun wrap up:

Year of reading 2020 part 3

There are a lot of those online, but these are my favorites. The idea is to finish the sentences and answer the questions exclusively with titles I read in 2020.

If you are intrigued by a title, just copy and paste it in the search button, and you will access the review. If nothing shows up, look it up in Goodreads

– When I was younger I was The French Widow
– People might be surprised to discover that I’m The Missing Sister
– I will never be Celle qui pleurait sous l’eau [The girl who was crying under the water]
– At the end of a long day I need (a) Second Sister
– Right now I’m feeling (like) The Girl Behind the Wall
– Someday I want to (have a) Summer of Reckoning
– At a party you’d find me… no ! Don’t Look For Me!
– I’ve never (been) Complètement cramé
– I really don’t enjoy Migrations
– In my next life I want Inhabitation

– If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Au Soleil redouté
– Your favorite form of transportation: Vesper Flights
– Your best friend is La Panthère des neiges [The Snow Leopard]
– You and your friends are The Letter Killers Club
– What’s the weather like: The Inugami Curse
– Favorite time of day: A Thousand Mornings
– If your life was: A Hundred Million Years and a Day
– What is life to you: L’Humanité en péril
– Your fear: Wild Dog
– What is the best advice you have to give: Civil Disobedience [NB: as understood by Thoreau!!]
– Thought for the Day: Or What You Will
– How I would like to die: Upstream
– My soul’s present condition: A Wild Sheep Chase

I began the day with Black Coffee.
On my way to work, I saw Le Chien jaune [The Yellow Dog]
and walked by The Gate,
to avoid The Norwegian Wood,
but I made sure to stop at The Haunted Bookshop.
In the office, my boss said, I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf 
and sent me to research The Murder on the Links.
At lunch with The One and Only Bob,
I noticed (a) Silver Spoon
under La Tête d’un homme [A Man’s Head],
then went back to my desk (in)  The Readers’ Room.
Later, on the journey home, I bought The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
because I have Three Hours in Paris.
Then settling down for the evening, I picked up The Book of Tea
and studied The Education of Delhomme
before saying goodnight to La Femme au carnet rouge [The Red Notebook].

I have so much fun with this every year!
Have you tried with the titles of the books you read in 2020?


A big Thank You to all of you,
book bloggers
and other readers who subscribed to this blog
through email, bloglovin, wordpress, facebook, twitter,
linkedin, pinterest, instagram, youtube,
thanks for stopping by and leaving comments,
with great reading recommendations!
Thanks again for following this blog!

Happy year of reading 2021 to each of you!

Please leave the link of your post in a comment
if you did some of that fun stuff
with the titles you read yourself in 2020