WWW Wednesday January 23

  WWW Wednesdays 2

 WWW Wednesdays


click on the covers to know more about them


Hear our Defeats


The Plotters


Are We French Yet

For the first 2 titles, click on the covers to access my review.
My review for Are We French Yet? will be live on February 6.
But I can already tell you my
VERDICT: Nice collections of funny and culturally aware vignettes highlighting how life can be enriched by being familiar with two cultures
Come back on January 28 to enter the giveaway!



The Goose Fritz



The Moonstone

The Goose Fritz: 
Two years ago, I was stunned by the quality of Sergei Lebedev’s writing in Oblivion. So I HAD to try his upcoming one (March 19). I just started. It’s related to Russian history.

Don Quixote:
Continuing to thoroughly enjoying this classic. Quite hilarious!

The Moonstone:
And still listening to this classic – 22 hours in audio. It really helps that the edition I chose has a cast of different narrators, it makes it easier to follow the different levels of the story. I think I know what’s going on with this mysterious precious stone, but I may be totally wrong!



The Library of Lost and Found


a deadly affection



The Library of Lost and Found
“When Martha discovers a clue within a book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever”.
Books? Library? Clues? I’m in!
By the author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

A Deadly Affection:
Another book received during BEA in Chicago (2016!) that I have not read yet…
“In 1907 New York, a psychiatrist, Dr Genevieve Summerford, must prove her patient’s innocence…or risk being implicated in a shocking murder”. Should be good.

“A seemingly effortlessly blend of historical truth, personal memory, and Laurent Binet’s remarkable imagination, HHhH—an international bestseller and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman—is a work at once thrilling and intellectually engrossing, a fast-paced novel of the Second World War that is also a profound meditation on the nature of writing and the debt we owe to history”.
About time to read/listen to this book. I had so loved The Seventh Function of Language


There are 2 giveaways featured
on the homepage



Bout of Books 24: final recap

boutofbooks 24


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, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

DAY 7 RECAP – and final recap

Bout of Books 24 is over.
I read a total of 761, which is less than my target of 805. And I finished 2 books.
It’s an average of 108 pages per day, which is actually slightly less (111) than my previous book of books. Still, I’m happy about being over 100 pages a day.

I also did a few challenges, and several instagram challenge. I didn’t have time to join the Twitter chats. I followed a few new book bloggers, but not too many, as most seem to be too many decades younger than me, and I start feeling the gap in our reading interests.
All in all, a good experience.

I will be posting about the winner tomorrow Hope to seeing you at Boot of Books 25 on May 13.

Let me tell you a bit more on what I read:

prayers by the lakePrayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic
Saint Nikolaj Velimirovic  (1920-1956) was a bishop in the Serbian Orthodox Church. He’s very famous for the Orthodox, for his numerous writings, especially The Prologue from Ohrid, a collection of lives of the saints and homilies for everyday of the year.
The book I’m reading right now, Prayers by the Lake is a “century”, that is, a collection of 100 prayers written in a “poetic prose” style. They re very profound and intense, and use a lot the imagery of nature. So a few per day gives you a lot to chew on.

Are We French Yet


Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle
I finished this book. It’s a good collection of memoirs of a couple of American expats spending a few months every year in Provence. Funny, cute, and right on target. I’ll be reviewing it for France Book Tours at the beginning of February.


berlin alexanderplatz


Berlin AlexanderPlatz, by Alfred Döblin
I started reading this with NYRB Goodreads group.
Like several other readers in this group, I’m struggling, but trying to persevere with it. It’s weird, and the style is reminding me a bit of Ulysses, by James Joyce, though slightly easier so far. But I have heard it’s going to get worse… So I may DNF it, we’ll see.
Have YOU read it? What did you think? Should I keep going?

Hear our Defeats


Hear Our Defeats, by Laurent Gaudé
Another intense and a bit weird book as well. Though Gaudé’s writing is amazing. I have to chew a bit more on it before writing my review, to be able to highlight the ultimate meaning of the book. It’s like a collage of major defeats in world history, (Hannibal, American Civil War, etc), with some contemporary elements.

The Plotters


The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim
As I had finished my ebook, I decided to start another one, and chose this one, as I have to review for the end of the month.
An unusual Korean thriller set in Seoul, with a special kind of mafia. It starts with lots of humor, but gets darker…
I really enjoy his writing style

don quijoteDon Quixote, by Cervantes
I started to read it all (why do I keep reading classics that are not on my list of 50 classics I set myself to read over 5 years?), when I realized Nick was doing a readalong on it. Actually, he’s quite busy, so not posting much about it. Yesterday, I discovered Silvia was also doing a readalong, with lots of resources.
I read excepts of it as a young teen, but I don’t think I read it all. Though so far, everything sounds very familiar.
What strikes me when I reread classics that I read decades ago (far too young for most of them), I realize at the age I read them, it seems I was unable to identify the humoristic part of them. Is it something characteristic of young readers? I wonder, unless it means my world back then (before I actively rediscovered my Christian faith), must have been quite gloomy.
I experienced the same thing a couple of years ago when I reread Proust. Believe it or not, there’s a lot of humor in Proust, but again, I had never see it before.
Don Quixote contains so many hilarious premises and scenes! As such, and with other metatextual elements, it was a revolutionary novel for its time. I’m also interested in the many passages related to books, to the effect of reading on your life. There’s even a reflection on translation.

The MoonstoneAudiobook: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
Another classic, and this time, it IS on my Classics Club list!
I enjoy it a lot, even though so far I preferred The Woman in White by the same author. It’s like a saga about a special precious stone passed along, so it requires attention to follow what’s going on, especially as an audiobook. The change of narrators for different periods does help a bit.


And here is what I read on Day 7:

  1. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 129 pages

Total for Day 7:  129


Here is what I read on Day 6:

  1. Don Quixote, by Cervantes = 12 pages
  2. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 94 pages
  3. Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic = 12 pages
  4. Audiobook [28 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 11 pages

Total for Day 6:  129
TOTAL so far: 632/805

And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day. Some people liked the picture, fine, but no one answered! You were supposed to try to guess my favorite genre from my montage (bad quality, because I too a picture of my computer screen). Any idea?

Be sure to enter my giveaway – last day!

Check my Bout of Books 24 ultimate goal



**This is the overall list for the challenges offered during Bout of Books 24. Make sure you check the blog each day of the read-a-thon for instructions and details on how to complete the daily challenges**

Monday 1/7
Introduce yourself #insixwords

Tuesday 1/8
Character dinner party

Wednesday 1/9
Six degrees of separation – based on an idea I submitted

Thursday 1/10
Synopsis rewrite

Friday 1/11
If this, then that

Saturday 1/12
Dream cast

Sunday 1/13
Stretch goal

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

Monday: 8pm CST (TZC)
Saturday: 10am CST (TZC)


Not sure why, but this was another rather slow day.

Here is what I read on Day 5:

  1. Don Quixote, by Cervantes = 48 pages
  2. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 1 page!
  3. Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic = 12 pages
  4. Audiobook [15 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 6 pages

Total for Day 5:  67
TOTAL so far: 503/805

And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day, and the like this/try that challenge


Yesterday was an exhausting day, with a very long and difficult article to translate, among other things. Plus, I had a conference call I absolutely needed to attend for my Church, and that was in the evening on my usual reading time.
Yes, one of my jobs is now to translate daily articles related to worldwide Orthodox news. And now, I’m thrilled to be translating from French to English, instead of the usual way round. Which means, you can now read my work, if you are interested in what’s going on in the world. Obviously, my English is not perfect, but I hope it is getting more and more acceptable.
So the reading result for the day is quite pathetic, and it’s putting my total below my expected average for this week.

Here is what I read on Day 4:

  1. Berlin AlexanderPlatz, by Alfred Döblin = 20 pages
  2. Don Quixote, by Cervantes = 11 pages
  3. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 13 pages
  4. Audiobook [23 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 7 pages

Total for Day 4:  51
TOTAL so far: 436/805

And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day


Here is what I read on Day 3:

  1. Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle = 74 pages – FINISHED
  2. Hear Our Defeats, by Laurent Gaudé = 5 pages – FINISHED
  3. Berlin AlexanderPlatz, by Alfred Döblin = 7 pages
  4. Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic = 12 pages
  5. The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim = 6 pages
  6. Audiobook [24 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 11 pages

Total for Day 3: 115
TOTAL so far: 385/805

The challenge was based on an idea I submitted, so here is what I did. I’ll be visiting blogs today to see what YOU did with it.
And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day


Here is what I read on Day 2:

  1. Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle = 43 pages
  2. Hear Our Defeats, by Laurent Gaudé = 55 pages
  3. Berlin AlexanderPlatz, by Alfred Döblin = 14 pages
  4. Don Quixote, by Cervantes = 6 pages
  5. Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolaj Velimirovic = 11 pages
  6. Audiobook [36 minutes]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 12 pages

Total for Day 2: 141
TOTAL so far: 270/805

And I participated in the Instagram challenge of the day


Yesterday, January 7, was the big day to celebrate Christ’s Nativity for me. I’m an Orthodox Christian, and my Church follows the Julian calendar, which runs 13 late compare to the Gregorian (civil) calendar. So December 25 + 13 days = January 7.
It’s actually nice to be far from the crazy commercial stuff surrounding the Christmas frenzy and be able to focus only on the essential.
After the Church celebration, we had a very simple meal at home and time with friends.
But in the evening, I was able to have regular reading time.

So here is what I read on Day 1:

  1. Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle = 56 pages
  2. Hear Our Defeats, by Laurent Gaudé = 46 pages
  3. Audiobook [1H07]: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins = equivalent to 27 pages

TOTAL so far: 129/805

Because of the very special day, as explained above, I didn’t have time to participate in the challenge of the day, nor in the Twitter chat.
But I posted a giveaway!


Mailbox Monday December 10

Mailbox Monday2 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2 WWW Wednesdays 2

Mailbox Monday,
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
and WWW Wednesdays


The Sentence is Death  The Library of Lost and Found

The Sentence is Death:
US release date June 4
Thanks Edelweiss for this book (and the next). I’m so much looking forward to reading it. By the brilliant author of The Word is Murder, among many others. And I can’t wait to see what next book title it will be in the series!! So smart!

The Library of Lost and Found:
release date March 26
I enjoyed a lot The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, so I thought I would try the latest by the same author.


click on the covers to know more about them


Kingdom of the Blind


The Shadow Land


Modern Orthodox Thinkers

Kingdom of the Blind:
I was looking forward to Armand Gamache #14 in the series!
And I was so lucky to get it so quickly: I was like number 25 on the waiting list at the library, because I had forgotten to reserve my spot as soon as I had heard it would be published in November.
Then one day, I went to the library to pick up the book the staff had chosen for me for the Winter Reading Challenge (see below). It was supposed to be at the first floor desk, but the staff there had no idea. So I went upstairs. At the second floor desk, there was a pile of books, with Kingdom of the Blind in it. I asked if the pile was prepared for somebody, and they said, oh no, it’s just that our Hot Copy display is full right now, feel free to pick what you want!!!
We are still in the delightful Three Pines, with the same great character, but also with some horrible element of life in Montreal.
I would actually only give 3.5 Eiffel Tower (my personal ranking system) to this one.
The beginning and ending were great!
But in between, I found it too choppy: choppy in content, as there were too many quick back and forths between the different threads going on. I understand the purpose, I think, but it didn’t really work for me, it was too much.
And choppy in the writing. I like short sentences, with one word sentences as well, but again, this technique was used too much and too often for me to fully enjoy it.
BUT, let’s not despair, it was still acceptable enough to make me hope the 2019 volume will be better.

The Shadow Land:
This was so good (review to come very soon), by the author of the amazing The Historian (I talked briefly about it on my older blog).

Modern Orthodox Thinkers:
It took me almost a year to read this fascinating book, so rich it is!
The author, an excellent writer (and speaker – you can find him on youtube) whom I have enjoyed in previous books, presents about 25 modern Orthodox thinkers, theologians, and spiritual mothers and sisters.
The book is divided in 21 chapters. It’s actually a revised version of public lectures, so sometimes the style is almost conversational. So for the most part, it’s fairly easy to read, but the content is very dense, depending on the author he’s talking about of course.
Each chapter focuses first on the life of the person, and then on their writings and teachings.
There are tons of references. So much so that I have taken notes, not only of great passages, but of the books I would like to (re) read.
You can find my general presentation of the book on my Orthodox blog. And at the bottom of the page, in the pingback section, you have the list of all the other posts, with my personal notes for each chapter. All my notes will be published by the end of December, they are scheduled once per week.



The Book Artist


A Moveable Feast


Visiting Tom

The Book Artist: 
Already reading a 2019 release! I really enjoy a lot the author. I have read 5 of his books, set in Paris. The last one was The Sorbonne Affair.
The beginning is very promising.

A Moveable Feast:
This is my pick for Classics Club Spin #19. I think it will be ok, thanks to the content, but so far, I’m not too impressed by the writing.

Visiting Tom:
Picked for me by my public library staff, for the Winter Reading Challenge. I like it so far, it’s about rural Wisconsin, my type of element.

I’m also actually reading 3 other books:

The Only Woman in the Room:
So far, I have read and enjoyed all the books by Marie Benedict, see for instance my review for the last one: Carnegie’s Maid.
This one is on Hedy Lamarr. I’m a quarter done, still slow, but I have the feeling things are going to move quickly from here, as she just married.

I also started another Orthodox book, this time Saint John Chrysostom’s Letters to Saint Olympia, an amazing 4th century woman. I have only read the introduction so far. It seems the content of the letters will be a lot how not to despair, which is quite à propos with all that’s going on in our world, from Ukraine-Russia to the events in France…

And my current audiobook is Maman a tort, by Bussi: a 3 year old keeps telling his mom is NOT his mom! Great suspense, as usual. It will be published in English (The Wrong Mother) on March 7.



The Joy of Forest Bathing


Hedy Lamarr


N'oublier jamais

The Joy of Forest Bathing: The Mysterious Japanese Art of Shinrin-Yoku
After Ikigai, I thought I would try this other interesting Japanese concept, plus I love so much hiking.

Hedy Lamarr:
When I visit my public library, I like to go to the Graphic “Novels” section, and see what new biography they have. There was one on Hedy Lamarr, who is the topic of The Only Woman in the room ! (see above). So I thought it would be fun to compare the two books.

N’oublier jamais:
The last audiobook by Bussi available so far!


DEC 31

Love and invention

DEC 25

$50 gift card/paypalSaint Innocent

DEC 22 

$50 Amazon
Gift Card

Crimes Past