The top 9 books to read in July 2020

Here are

The top 9 books
I plan to read in July 2020

Click on the covers to know more


A Wild Sheep Chase  Celle qui pleurait sous l’eau

 Le Livre de Perle   Complètement cramé 

     Psalm 118 

I know, reading 6 books at the same time, plus 1 audiobook, that’s getting excessive. But four of these books are read-alongs, so I only read a few chapters of each every week, and I need more to satisfy my book hunger!

📚 A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), by Haruki Murakami
Reading with the Murakami online book club
“His life was like a recurring nightmare: a train to nowhere. But an ordinary life has a way of taking an extraordinary turn. Add a girl whose ears are so exquisite that, when uncovered, they improve sex a thousand-fold, a runaway friend, a right-wing politico, an ovine-obsessed professor and a manic-depressive in a sheep outfit, implicate them in a hunt for a sheep, that may or may not be running the world, and the upshot is another singular masterpiece from Japan’s finest novelist.”

We have read already half of the book, and I have absolutely NO idea how all these things are going to connect, IF they ever do! We are totally in Murakami’s universe!

📚 Celle qui pleurait sous l’eau (2020), by Niko Tackian
Reading with one of my French students.
A young woman was found dead in a public swimming pool. The main inspector thinks it’s a suicide, but his wife, also working in the police, thinks there has to be more to it.

We both love this author, who always comes up with original ideas. We have read a quarter of it, and things start slowly to emerge.

📚 Le Livre de Perle (2014), by Timothée de Tombelle
Reading with another of my French students.
I rarely read YA and fantasy, but I’ll do almost anything to adjust to the interest of my students, so here I am in a new adventure.
This author is very well know in France for these genres.
We have only read the first six chapters so far, its very beautifully written.So far, it’s a fairy who renounces her magical powers to be able to be with the boy she loves. Well, it’s more complicated than that!

📚 Complètement cramé (2012), by Gilles Legardinier
Reading with another blogger, Lory @ The Emerald City.
Lory and I read Don Quijote together last year. She wanted to read something in French this time, so we chose this one. He’s a very popular author, but I haven’t read anything by him yet. Several readers put it under “humor”, another genre I rarely read, so more of outside-my-comfort-zone!
We use Discord. If you are interested in reading and discussing this book in French, let’s know. 

📚 Psalm 118: A Commentary by Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894)
Psalm 118 is my favorite of all psalms, with its fascinating structure. This commentary is so rich! I only read a bit every day.


No Woods So Dark As These  Marie Antoinette's World

📚 No Woods So Dark as These, by Randall Silvis (Ryan DeMarco Mystery #4)
To be published on August 4th 2020 by Poisoned Pen Press
Received for review for Criminal Element
I really enjoy a lot this author. See for instance his previous book I reviewed last year.

“Former Sergeant Ryan DeMarco’s life has been spent in defiance–he’s defied death, loneliness, and betrayal all while fighting the worst parts of humanity. He’s earned a break, and following the devastation of their last case, DeMarco and his girlfriend Jayme want nothing more than to live quietly in each other’s company. To forget the horrors they’ve experienced and work on making each other whole again.
But dreams of a peaceful life together are shattered when two bodies are discovered in a smoldering car in the woods, and another is found brutally mutilated nearby. Much as he’d like to leave the case to his former colleagues, dark forces are at play and DeMarco cannot escape the vortex of lies, betrayal, and desperation. He and Jayme are dragged back into the fray, where they must confront the shady dealings of a close-knit rural community.”

📚 Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles, by Will Bashor
Toe be published on July 30 at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Received for review. This is a book tour I organize, and we still have free review copies! Click on the cover to get it.

“This riveting book explores the little-known intimate life of Marie Antoinette and her milieu in a world filled with intrigue, infidelity, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Will Bashor reveals the intrigue and debauchery of the Bourbon kings from Louis XIII to Louis XV, which were closely intertwined with the expansion of Versailles from a simple hunting lodge to a luxurious and intricately ordered palace. It soon became a retreat for scandalous conspiracies and rendezvous—all hidden from the public eye.
When Marie Antoinette arrived, she was quickly drawn into a true viper’s nest, encouraged by her imprudent entourage. Bashor shows that her often thoughtless, fantasy-driven, and notorious antics were inevitable given her family history and the alluring influences that surrounded her. Marie Antoinette’s frivolous and flamboyant lifestyle prompted a torrent of scathing pamphlets, and Bashor scrutinizes the queen’s world to discover what was false, what was possible, and what, although shocking, was most probably true.
Readers will be fascinated by this glimpse behind the decorative screens to learn the secret language of the queen’s fan and explore the dark passageways and staircases of endless intrigue at Versailles.”


The Murder on the Links  Poirot Investigates

📚 The Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie (1923) Hercule Poirot #2
My project is to listen to all of Hercule Poirot’s novels and stories, in chronological order, to honor the 100th anniversary of his first appearance.

“Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is summoned to France after receiving a distressing letter with a urgent cry for help. Upon his arrival in Merlinville-sur-Mer, the investigator finds the man who penned the letter, the South American millionaire Monsieur Renauld, stabbed to death and his body flung into a freshly dug open grave on the golf course adjoining the property. Meanwhile the millionaire’s wife is found bound and gagged in her room. Apparently, it seems that Renauld and his wife were victims of a failed break-in, resulting in Renauld’s kidnapping and death.”

📚 Poirot Investigates, by Agatha Christie (1923) Hercule Poirot #3
This the very first collection of short stories featuring Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings. The book contains 11 stories.


Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

Review copies available at France Book Tours


📚 20 Books of Summer 2020
I have already read 9/20

📚 Posts in connection with Paris in July?

📚 Review several books received through The Callisto Publisher’s Club. I still have several  books behind

📚 I have a few reviews to catch up with, and mostly, I’d like to post more notes from the last theological book I read, and from the one I am currently reading.

📚 Do more Tweeter/Periscope short videos for my daily reading  journal

📚 Update my Links page!

Eiffel Tower Orange



Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday:
Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases
for the Second Half of 2020

TTT for June30, 2020


Somewhat, as on top is actually a book that will be released in 2021, and really, I can’t limit myself to 10!!

Please click on the image to access the books

op ten tuesday expected titles for 2020

Plus these:

Migrations, by Charlotte McConaghy
= actually, I have already read it, it’s FABULOUS!
No Wood So Dark as These, by Randall Silvis, a favorite author of mine 8/4/2020
Marie Antoinette’s World, by Will Bashor
= I even have a few more review copies for you, check here:
FBT 7/30/2020
The Inugami Curse, by Seishi Yokomizo 8/18/2020
Killer, Come Back To Me: The Crime Stories of Ray Bradbury by Ray Bradbury 8/18/2020
The French widow, by Mark Pryor 9/15/2020

Sorry I didn’t have time to put more about what these books are about, crazy busy with French classes.

Are any of these on your list?
Any other recommendation
that you think I would enjoy?


Sunday Post #29 – 3/15/2020

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news.
A post to recap the past week on your blog,
showcase books and things we have received.
Share news about what is coming up
on your blog
for the week ahead.
See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


This post also counts for

Sunday Salon    Stacking the Shelves  Mailbox Monday2

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2  IMWAYR  WWW Wednesdays 2

#SundayPost #SundaySalon
#StackingTheShelves #MailboxMonday
#itsmonday #IMWAYR
#WWWWednesday #WWWWednesdays

Click on the logos to join the memes,
and on the book covers to access synopsis or review

It’s been quite a week…
I hope you are all doing well and keeping safe and healthy. Now is the time to stay home and enjoy those books that have been waiting for you on your shelves!


On Tyranny

📚 On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
Published in 2017
I know, this was not a scheduled reading, but I have heard so much about it recently, that I thought the time had come!
I did a post where I shared some passages that I thought very important.

📚 I also finished listening to the Book of Numbers.
See a few reflections here below, under Book Journal


Lessons From Walden   Hard-boiled wonderland

Here we go again, reading an insane number of books at the same time:

📚 Lessons from Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy, by Bob
Expected publication: March 30th 2020 by Pepperman Taylor
Received for review through Edelweiss Plus.

Throughout this original and passionate book, Bob Pepperman Taylor presents a wide-ranging inquiry into the nature and implications of Henry David Thoreau’s thought in Walden and Civil Disobedience.
As Taylor says in his introduction, ” Walden is a central American text for addressing two of the central crises of our time: the increasingly alarming threats we now face to democratic norms, practices, and political institutions, and the perhaps even more alarming environmental dangers confronting us.”
Taylor pursues this inquiry in three chapters, each focusing on a single theme: chapter 1 examines simplicity and the ethics of “voluntary poverty,” chapter 2 looks at civil disobedience and the role of “conscience” in democratic politics, and chapter 3 concentrates on what “nature” means to us today and whether we can truly “learn from nature”–and if so, what does it teach?
Taylor considers Thoreau’s philosophy, and the philosophical problems he raises, from the perspective of a wide range of thinkers and commentators drawn from history, philosophy, the social sciences, and popular media, breathing new life into Walden and asking how it is alive for us today

📚 Civil Disobedience, by Thoreau
Published in 1849
Reading for The Classics Club

I started this one months ago, shortly after finishing Walden, but never finished it. To better understand Lessons from Walden, which is also about Civil Disobedience, I decided to restart reading it from the beginning.

📚 Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami
This is the book we are reading now in our online Murakami book club.
Reading it to for the Japanese Literature Challenge

We had to read sections 7-13 this week.
After Norwegian Wood, it’s a relief to find again the real Murakami, with some weird settings, making you wonder where you are at: in reality, almost, or not at all. And there are some hilarious details at the same time.

📚 Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün
New edition published in 2019, by Salvator
Received for review

This is a collection of short essays by a German Benedictine monk, on essential values to live a successful life, drawing from so many different cultural sources.

📚 The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel. Yes, I just started her third book on Cromwell!

And I’m still listening to the latest book by Michel Bussi
📚 Au Soleil redouté
An author has invited five women to a writing workshop on The Marquesas islands, and now he has disappeared. Is it part of the writing prompts? Or is he dead? drowned? Murdered?
So far, the audio is a bit confusing, because I’m not yet able to identify completely whose writing journals we are reading. It would have been great to have different narrators for this one. I may have to read it after I listen to it. Or it might be just as confusing in the writing text, as the author is great at tricking his readers.


Summer of Reckoning

📚 Summer of Reckoning, by Marion Brunet, Gregor Katherine (Translator)
To be published on 4/15, by Bitter Lemon Press
Received for review

“A psychological thriller set in the Luberon, a French region that evokes holidays in magnificent pool-adorned villas. For those who live there year-round, it often means stifling poverty and boredom. Sixteen-year-old Céline and her sister Jo, fifteen, dream of escaping to somewhere far from their daily routine, far from their surly, alcoholic father and uncaring mother, both struggling to make ends meet.
That summer Celine falls pregnant, devastating news that reopens deep family wounds. Those of the mother Severine whose adolescence was destroyed by her early pregnancy and subsequent marriage with Manuel. Those of the father Manuel, grandson of Spanish immigrants, who takes refuge in alcoholism to escape the open disdain of his in-laws. Faced with Celine’s refusal to name the father of her child, Manuel needs a guilty party and Saïd, a friend of the girls from an Arab family, fits Manuel’s bigoted racial stereotype. In the suffocating heat of summer he embarks on a drunken mission of revenge.”


  Why We Sleep The Operator

📚 Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker
Published 6/19/18

“With two appearances on CBS This Morning and Fresh Air‘s most popular interview of 2017, Matthew Walker has made abundantly clear that sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when it is absent. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remains more elusive.

Within the brain, sleep enriches a diversity of functions, including our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. Dreaming creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge, inspiring creativity.”

📚 The Operator, by Gretchen Berg
Published on 3/3/20

“Nobody knows the people of Wooster, Ohio, better than switchboard operator Vivian Dalton, and she’d be the first to tell you that. She calls it intuition. Her teenage daughter, Charlotte, calls it eavesdropping.
Vivian and the other women who work at Bell on East Liberty Street connect lines and lives. They aren’t supposed to listen in on conversations, but they do, and they all have opinions on what they hear… especially Vivian. She knows that Mrs. Butler’s ungrateful daughter, Maxine, still hasn’t thanked her mother for the quilt she made, and that Ginny Frazier turned down yet another invitation to go to the A&W with Clyde Walsh.
Then, one cold December night, Vivian listens in on a call between that snob Betty Miller and someone whose voice she can’t quite place and hears something shocking. Betty Miller’s mystery friend has news that, if true, will shatter Vivian’s tidy life in Wooster, humiliating her and making her the laughingstock of the town.
Vivian may be mortified, but she isn’t going to take this lying down. She’s going to get to the bottom of that rumor—get into it, get under it, poke around in the corners. Find every last bit. Vivian wants the truth, no matter how painful it may be.
But as Vivian is about to be reminded, in a small town like Wooster, one secret usually leads to another. . . .”


  Intermittent Fasting Gone by Midnight

📚 Intermittent Fasting for Beginners: A Complete Guide to the Fasting Lifestyle, by Amanda Swaine
Expected publication: 3/31/2020 by Rockridge Press
Received for review.
I am very interested in this.

“Intermittent fasting is a practice of scheduling regular breaks from eating. A safe and simple approach, fasting helps you burn fat, achieve weight loss, have more energy, and feel younger. Intermittent Fasting for Beginners makes your fasting journey a breeze with proven advice, weeklong easy-to-follow meal plans for 6 types of fasts, and simple recipes using delicious whole foods.
Explore the science and history of fasting before learning about daily and weekly intermittent fasting plans. Learn about the incredible health benefits, including managing Type 2 diabetes and chronic inflammation―and get expert advice on combatting hunger, safely breaking your fast, and succeeding with fasting in the long-term.”

📚 Gone by Midnight, by Candice Fox
Published on 3/10/2020 by Forge
Won or received for review, not sure.

Anyway, I have really enjoyed Candice Fox’s two previous books, so I’m really glad I received this one.
“Four young boys are left alone in a hotel room while their parents dine downstairs. When Sara Farrow checks on the children at midnight, her son is missing.
Distrustful of the police, Sara turns to Crimson Lake’s unlikeliest private investigators—disgraced cop Ted Conkaffey and convicted killer Amanda Pharrell. For Ted, the case couldn’t have come at a worse time. Two years ago a false accusation robbed him of his career, his reputation, and most importantly, his family. But now Lillian, the daughter he barely knows, is coming to stay in his ramshackle cottage by the lake.
Ted must dredge up the area’s worst characters to find the missing boy. The clock is ticking, and the danger he uncovers could well put his own child in deadly peril.”


📚 Two over-filled days. I was so exhausted that I just read a few pages from On Tyranny.

📚 While doing the dishes (I tell you, just get rid of your dishwasher, you’ll have lots of opportunities to listen to audiobooks), I listened to chapters 10-15 from The Book of Numbers.
It struck we that “fake news” is alas nothing new. With all their bad consequences as well…
📚 I finished On Tyranny.
See post here.

📚 I kept reading from Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, for my online Murakami book club
📚 I also started Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün. I apologize for the wrong information I gave last week. I confused this author with another German monk. This one is still a Benedictine monk.

📚 I finished chapters 7-13 of Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, the sections my online Murakami book club will begin talking about on Sunday.

📚 Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün, up to chapter 26.
📚 I started reading La Tête d’un homme, Maigret #5, by Georges Simenon, a readalong with one of my online French students.
Just as Book 4 in this series started with Maigret apparently making a mistake, this time, he strongly asked important people in the law system to let a man condemned to death go. 

I listened to chapters 16-20 from The Book of Numbers. Thanks to all the ironing I had to o. I’m telling you, house chores are awesome for audiobooks.
Amazing how circumstances can give a new light to these passages of the Torah. Here all the purification laws, and the mentions of the plague…

📚 Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün, up to chapter 42.
📚 I finished reading the first 6 chapters of La Tête d’un homme, ready to share with my student on Tuesday.
We still don’t know if the apparent culprit is “crazy or innocent”. Though it does seem that Maigret has at least two or three possible culprits in mind. This is all so well done.
📚 Another crazy addition to my reading list, totally unscheduled: The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel. Yes, finally her third book on Cromwell.
📚 Civil Disobedience, by Thoreau.
I restarted reading this one to better understand Lessons from Walden, which is both on this book and Walden, read last year.


📚 Book of the month giveaway: The Missing Sister


    Japanese Literature 13

  • January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13
  • More book notes from Orthodox Prayer Life
  • It’s been a super busy week, like for many of you I’m sure. I hope to be posting more reviews this week.