Sunday Post #31 – 6/7/2020

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

Hmm, it’s been a while since my last Sunday Post, things are so busy. Many people keep talking about how much more time they have thanks to the quarantine, but I have experienced just the opposite. So the first things to go is blogging time.

But I have been doing a lot of reading recently, including catching up with review requests from 2019!


  Un crime en Hollande   Berezina


📚 Un crime en Hollande, by Georges Simenon
Published in 1931. Counts for The Classics Club
This is book 8 in the Maigret series, that I have been reading along with one of my French students.
His books are getting more and more atmospheric. This one, as most so far, takes place near the water (sea and canals).
Maigret is called to investigate the death of Professor Popinga in Holland, as he died the day after a visiting French professor gave a conference there. The French teacher is the culprit. So what happened to Popinga, and why?
There were great details about the ambiance in the port town of Delfzijl, way up north, with the local lazy workers, spending most of their time gossiping around the harbor and spitting away, and different other groups in the city, their obvious or hidden relationships,  their behaviors influenced by their religious stance, and the façade they keep towards each other. An asphyxiating milieu for younger people… The pettiness of it made me think about Jacques Brel’s song Les bourgeois…
Simenon’s details makes you feel and smell the places he talks about. There are also real time pieces, like people listening to these very old radio transistors. As for local details, I learned about the common juniper drink in Holland, basically the origin of our current gin.
It seems Maigret understands quite quickly what’s going on, but it takes him time to be able to unveil concrete proofs of it. In this one, I actually felt that the dénouement scene was dragging on a bit too long. And maybe it’s because I had actually identified the culprit and even the motive (for once!) behind what was done!

📚 Berezina, by Sylvain Tesson
Published in 2015. Audiobook
Tesson and a few friends decided to drive on sidecars from Moscow to Paris, to retrace Napoleon’s route after his debacle.
As usual in all the Tesson’s books I have read or listened to, the narrative is absolutely stunning, here full of details about the environment and the Russian culture that Sylvain appreciates so much.
It is obviously also packed with historical details, thanks to books and memoirs the team reads by night. The descriptions of this episode I read in French textbooks a few decades ago are miles away from the horrific reality. Some passages here sounded worthy of a horror novel, alas that was reality, as described in journals of soldiers who experienced the whole thing.
I like how Tesson tries to capture Napoleon’s character, and how Russians and French see him.
If you love reading books about Napoleon, you absolutely need to read this one – it is available in English, with the same title.
If you understand French, I obviously recommend it in the original, or even in its audio form: Franck Demesdt is an excellent narrator that made me feel I was part of this unusual expedition.

📚 Inhabitation, by Teru Miyamoto
Published in 2019. Review upcoming.
A new to me author, and I definitely want to read more by him, even if I found it a bit dragging after a while.


  Or What You Will And the Earth Will Sit on the Moon


📚 Or What You Will, by Jo Walton
Expected publication: July 7th 2020 by Tor Books
Received for review

Just starting. I’m curious about this novel about books, and wondering how it’s a fantasy, a genre a bit outside my comfort zone, with a few exceptions.

He has been too many things to count. He has been a dragon with a boy on his back. He has been a scholar, a warrior, a lover, and a thief. He has been dream and dreamer. He has been a god.
But “he” is in fact nothing more than a spark of idea, a character in the mind of Sylvia Harrison, 73, award-winning author of thirty novels over forty years. He has played a part in most of those novels, and in the recesses of her mind, Sylvia has conversed with him for years.
But Sylvia won’t live forever, any more than any human does. And he’s trapped inside her cave of bone, her hollow of skull. When she dies, so will he.
Now Sylvia is starting a new novel, a fantasy for adult readers, set in Thalia, the Florence-resembling imaginary city that was the setting for a successful YA trilogy she published decades before. Of course he’s got a part in it. But he also has a notion. He thinks he knows how he and Sylvia can step off the wheel of mortality altogether. All he has to do is convince her.”

📚 And the Earth Will Sit on the Moon: Essential Storiesby Nikolai Gogol
Published December 5th 2019 by Pushkin Press.
Received for review through Edelweiss.

I usually don’t like too much the short story genre, but I’m curious to read more from this Russian master. I read Dead Souls years ago, but can’t remember anything about it.
This new collection contains five of the most famous ones.
I like how the editor connects their themes to the author’s life.

📚 And in audiobook, Migrations, by  Charlotte McConaghy
Expected publication: August 4th 2020 by Flatiron Books.
Receive through

Loving it!

Franny Stone has always been a wanderer. By following the ocean’s tides and the birds that soar above, she can forget the losses that have haunted her life. But when the wild she so loves begins to disappear, Franny can no longer wander without a destination. She arrives in remote Greenland with one purpose: to find the world’s last flock of Arctic terns and follow them on their final migration. She convinces Ennis Malone, captain of the Saghani, to take her onboard, winning over his salty, eccentric crew with promises that the birds she is tracking will lead them to fish.
As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s new shipmates begin to realize that the beguiling scientist in their midst is not who she seems. Battered by night terrors, accumulating a pile of letters to her husband, and dead set on following the terns at any cost, Franny is full of dark secrets. When the story of her past begins to unspool, Ennis and his crew must ask themselves what Franny is really running toward—and running from.
Propelled by a narrator as fierce and fragile as the terns she is following, Migrations is a shatteringly beautiful ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened. But at its heart, it is about the lengths we will go, to the very edges of the world, for the people we love.


A Wild Sheep Chase

📚 A Wild Sheep Chase, by Haruki Murakami
Published in 1982.

This is the next book the Online Murakami Bookclub (on Discord) will be talking about, so I’ll start reading the first chapters around June 14.

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.”


  White Rage Marie Antoinette's World

📚 White Rage, by Carol Anderson
Published in 2016

I was looking for a serious, scholarly book on the issue, and looks like this one is excellent:

“From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America.
As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,” historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,” she writes, “everyone had ignored the kindling.”
Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House.
Carefully linking these and other historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America..

📚 Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles, by Will Bashor
Release date: June 15, 2020
at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

I have already read two excellent books by the author on Marie Antoinette. He’s really excellent.

Now the good news is I’m organizing a virtual book tour for it, and I still have a few free copies for you! Click on the cover to reserve your spot!
The author writes really well, not dry at all!

“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.”


Strength Training Over 40

📚 Strength Training Over 40: A 6-Week Program to Build Muscle and Agility, by Alana Collins
Expected publication: June 16, by Rockridge Press
received for review through Callisto Publisher’s Club

“Start the next stage of your life strong with a comprehensive 6-week strength training program that guides you through building and maintaining total-body strength, so you can keep doing the things you love to do for years to come. You’ll find illustrated exercises and stretches, complete with step-by-step instructions and weekly home and gym workout routines that put all the moves together.


📚 I listened for about 30 minutes to Berezina. I really enjoy Sylvain Tesson art of description. As often, there’s a lot of vodka flowing, but I guess you can forgive him when his books are so fascinating! This is a real page of history, as Tesson and a few friends are driving on sidecar from Moscow to Paris, to retrace Napoleon’s route after his debacle. Amazing details!
📚 Reading Inhabitation. I wonder how this is going to evolve between the two main characters, not to mention the lizard! A new Japanese author to me, I’ll definitely will want to read more.

📚 Almost done with Un crime en Hollande, #8 by Georges Simenon, that I read along with one of my French students
The series is getting so atmospheric! I think I have identified the killer, but at 91%, we still don’t know for sure. Maigret makes the dénouement scene drag on and on, delightful and painful at the same time!

📚 Today I finished Un crime en Hollande and my audiobook Berezina. See the review to both at the beginning of this post.
📚 So I began Migrations. I had to double check if it was really a novel! It sounds so real and on the hot theme of what we have been doing to our planet.
📚 Inhabitation is a bit less fun now. There’s so much packed in this book, and the long discussion on Lamentations of Divergences, a late 13th century short Buddhist text, got boring.

📚 I’m really going to love Migrations, with Franny’s wild project, to follow the migration path of possibly the last arctic terns.

📚 I finished Inhabitation. The ending is perfect! I need to try another book by this author. Any suggestion?
📚 Migrations is getting more complex. I love all the back and forth between Franny’s current project and her past. It’s getting more and more mysterious.

📚 I did tons of gardening today, major weeding, and separating and replanting about 60 leeks, so I got to listen a lot to Migrations and I am half done already.
Now we have different periods of Franny’s past, and more and more dark elements surfacing. I have read the ending is heart wrenching, so I’m starting to prepare. The writing is excellent and the narrator has it perfect!
I wonder f we even know what year that trip is actually taking place.


📚 Book of the month giveaway: your choice between two books


  • Reviews of books received from Callisto Publisher’s Club
  • A few late reviews
  • More Orthodox book notes

As I’m catching up on things, I didn’t participate in the Classics Spin. BUT I’ll be talking about 20 Books of Summer 2020



Bout of Books 28: Day 6 recap

Day 6 recap

Bout of Books 28

NB: This is my 15th participation in #boutofbooks

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized
by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple.
It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th
and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in.
Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.
For all Bout of Books 28 information and updates,
be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 
– From the Bout of Books team


Here is what I read on DAY 6:

  1. The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel = 27 pages – FINISHED
  2. Lessons from Walden, by Bob Pepperman Taylor = 12 pages
  3. A Hundred Million Years and a Day, by Jean-Baptiste Andrea = 5 pages
  4. Psalm 118: A Commentary by Saint Theophan the Recluse = 13 pages

Total for Day 6:  57 pages
TOTAL so far:  425/525

I only did 1 challenge:

– on Instagram, Highly Anticipated release. Can you guess which?
– the other challenge consisted in reviewing a book we have read this week. So far, I have only finished the Book of Deuteronomy in audio.
I can only say that I hadn’t read from verse 1 to last for a while. And this time I was struck that it was a very harsh book. When you have discovered the source of life and decide to go away from it, obviously things cannot go well.
Not necessarily as a punishment, but as a natural consequence, like if you are hiking in the desert, and you know exactly whereto find water, but you decide to go the other way. You see what I mean. Well, I guess it is some type of reviw after all, lol


Here is what I read on DAY 5:

  1. The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel = 24 pages
  2. Lessons from Walden, by Bob Pepperman Taylor = 12 pages
  3. Audiobook: The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie = 24 pages

Total for Day 5:  60 pages
TOTAL so far:  368/525

I also did 2 challenges:

– on Twitter, Share Your Favorites
– on Instagram, Blown Away
I featured the same book on both. Can you guess which?


Here is what I read on DAY 4:

  1. The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel = 36 pages
  2. Lessons from Walden, by Bob Pepperman Taylor = 5 pages

Total for Day 4:  41 pages
TOTAL so far:  308/525

I also did 2 challenges:

– on Twitter, Bookish Matchmaking. If you don’t use Twitter, maybe you can help.
I’m looking for cyber thrillers. Please only your favorite novels. Thanks!
– on Instagram, Color Me Happy – in brown!


Here is what I read on DAY 3:

  1. Au Soleil redouté, by Michel Bussi = 82 pages
  2. Lessons from Walden, by Bob Pepperman Taylor = 4 pages

Total for Day 3:  86 pages
TOTAL so far:  267/525

I also did 2 challenges:

– on Twitter, Book to Movie
– on Instagram, Diverse Books


Here is what I read on DAY 2:

  1. Wind/Pinball, by Haruki Murakami = 39 pages
  2. Audiobook: The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie = 65 pages

Total for Day 2:  104 pages
TOTAL so far:  181/525

I also did 2 challenges:

– on Twitter, If This, Then That
– on Instagram, Seasonal Readings


Here is what I read on DAY 1:

  1. Lessons from Walden, by Bob Pepperman Taylor= 7 pages
  2. The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel = 41 pages
  3. Audiobook: The Book of Deuteronomy = 29 pages FINISHED

Total for Day 1:  77 pages
TOTAL so far:  77/525

Phew, 2 pages above my goal! Although I didn’t have the feeling of reading  a lot.

I also did 2 challenges:

– on Twitter, Introduce yourself #insixwords
– on Instagram, currently reading


I’m setting my goal at 525 pages, that is, 75 pages per day. 

I will try to organize a giveaway!

Here are the books I plan to read (from).

  1. Wind/Pinball, by Haruki Murakami
  2. Lessons from Walden, by Bob Pepperman Taylor
  3. Au Soleil redouté, by Michel Bussi
  4. The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel – FINISHED
  5. A Hundred Million Years and a Day, by Jean-Baptiste Andrea
  6. Psalm 118: A Commentary by Saint Theophan the Recluse
  7. Audiobook: The Book of Deuteronomy FINISHED
  8. Audiobook: The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie


**This is the overall list for the challenges offered during Bout of Books 28. Make sure you check the blog each day of the read-a-thon for instructions and details on how to complete the daily challenges**

Wednesday 5/13
Book to Movie

Thursday 5/14
Bookish Matchmaking

Friday 5/15
Share Your Favorites

Saturday 5/16
Leave a Review

Sunday 5/17
Stretch Goal

Twitter Chats
(chats last approximately one hour)
TZC = Time Zone Conversion

Saturday: 10am CST (TZC)


Sunday Post #30 – 4/26/2020

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

Hmm, it’s been a month since my last Sunday Post.
I hope you are all well.
I’m good. My usual life style being usually on the quiet side, the present situation hasn’t really changed much for me, except ordering food for delivery and the one major thing: not being able to go to church. Thanks to the Internet, we have been praying with the monks of Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia, as we have live stream videos of their prayer services and Divine Liturgy. So Holy Week and Easter (for us Orthodox Christians on April 19) were actually extremely prayerful.

One more change actually: we have already been having our monthly book club virtually twice. I like to use Google Meet: you generate a link that people just have to click on and it opens in their browser. You can even join the audio conversation with a regular phone number and PIN to join. Nothing to download.

My absence from blogging is only indirectly related to the Covid-19: I have right now more French classes to teach (I have been teaching one on one through Skype through 12 years), with a few students preparing very demanding exams (AP and IB) that require a lot of preparation.
So I got very late on my reading (I can only read in the evening, and I’m sometimes too exhausted after my classes) and reviewing. I’m slowly catching up with that. I still need to go through a few hundreds emails before starting visiting more of your book blogs again.


  Wild Dog La nuit du carrefour

📚 Wild Dog, by Serge Joncour
Published on 4/2/2020
stars. My review is here

📚 La nuit du carrefour, by Georges Simenon
(Maigret #7) (The Night at the Crossroads)
Read with one of my French students. Counts for The Classics Club

I’m more and more enjoying this Maigret series.
Simenon is brilliant at the evocation of a place and time period, with many passages comparable to a camera zoom, and lots of fascinating details making the events so real. He focuses often on the weather. His characters are so true to life.
The body of a diamond merchant was found in Andersen’s garage. But even after 17 hours of interrogation, Maigret didn’t get any confession from this refined character. So he has to broaden his investigation and look more closely at this intriguing group of three houses set at a crossroad.
The plot was very satisfying and the answer brilliant and original. I’m actually not sure if this was the first time thieves had that type of idea, but a quick look at news made me realize that maybe thanks to Simenon, the idea has been adopted by many since then!
The group of characters involved was quite unique!
If you need a quick and great classic mystery, try this one. You don’t need to have read the first ones in the series.


Lessons From Walden The Mirror and the Light

Three Hours in Paris

📚 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.

Slowly but surely, still reading this one.

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

📚 The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel.
Finally, third book on Cromwell. The beginning is brilliant.
I’m around age 300, where things are slowly (but surely, we already know) shifting for Crum’.

📚 I recently listened to the excellent latest mystery by Michel Bussi, Au Soleil Redouté. I’m currently reading it now, with one my French students.

📚 As for spiritual books, I’m currently reading Maximus the Confessor’s commentary on the Divine Liturgy. I’m actually reading two different translations of it at the same time. A recent one, and an older one that actually makes things easier to understand!

📚 And in audiobook, I chose a free book at
Three Hours in Paris, by Cara Black
I have read and enjoyed several mysteries by Cara Black, all set in a different neighborhood of Paris. So I saw this one among the free titles of the month and didn’t even take time to look what this was about.
It’s actually a historical mystery, set during WWII, a topic I usually try to avoid these days. So I was first disappointed it was not a regular Aimée Leduc mystery, but actually it’s very good and I’m enjoying it.


A Hundred Million Years and a Day

📚 A Hundred Million Years and a Day, by Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Sam Taylor (Translator)
To be published on 6/16, by Gallic Books
Received for review

‘On the mountain, the only monsters are the ones you take with you.’
Summer 1954. Stan has been hunting for fossils since the age of six. Now, having made a career out of studying the remains of tiny lifeforms, he hears a story he cannot forget: the skeleton of a huge creature, a veritable dragon, lies deep in an Alpine glacier. And he is determined to find it.
Leaving his life in Paris behind, Stan sets out in pursuit of a legend. But he is no mountaineer, and to attempt his dangerous expedition he must call on loyal friend and colleague Umberto, who arrives with an eccentric young assistant, and expert guide Gio. Time is short: the four men must descend before the weather turns. Bonds are forged and tested as the hazardous quest for the earth’s lost creatures becomes a journey into Stan’s own past


In Praise of Shadows Replay

📚 In praise of Shadows, by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki
Published in 1933

“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.

📚 Replay, by Ken Grimwood
Published in 1987

“Jeff Winston was 43 and trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, waiting for that time when he could be truly happy, when he died.
And when he woke and he was 18 again, with all his memories of the next 25 years intact. He could live his life again, avoiding the mistakes, making money from his knowledge of the future, seeking happiness.
Until he dies at 43 and wakes up back in college again…”


Zoo animals

📚 Zoo Animals: A Search and Find Book for Kids
Expected publication: ? May, by Rockridge Press
Received for review through Callisto Publisher’s Club

“Get everything you could want out of search and find books for kids. Not only is Zoo Animals bursting with search and finds―each with 10 different things to discover―it’s also filled with fun facts about all kinds of incredible creatures.
From the deserts of the world to the reptile house, you won’t have to search far to find (and find out about) some of the world’s wildest and most interesting animals. Challenge your knowledge of wildlife while learning about different habitats and what you can do to help keep the world healthy in one of the best word search books for kids.”


Hoping to restart doing this this coming week


  • Book review: Wild Dog
  • Restarting slowly…

📚 Book of the month giveaway: a book of your choice!


  • Reviews of books received from Callisto Publisher’s Club
  • A few late reviews
  • More Orthodox book notes

As I’m catching up on things, I didn’t participate in the Classics Spin.