Sunday Post #74 – 01/15/2023

 

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      Mailbox Monday2

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

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

Click on the logos to join the memes

Another crazy busy week with more big church events. I am also currently repainting our church outdoor sign, so that keeps me busy, in between of course my teaching hours.
BUT I did manage to finish AND review two books this week.

Sadly, I have been very slow at reading and replying to all your recent comments. Thanks for your visits, and many comments, they will soon be visible, do not despair!

Posted this week:

Here are the book I finished this past week:

📚JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧 

Hell Screen

 

📚Hell Screen,
by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Short-stories/Horror
First published in 1918
This edition:
Translation by Jay Rubin
58 pages
2/1/2011 by Penguin Group
It counts for The Classics Club
and for The Japanese Literature Challenge 16

It was interesting to discover a very different style in Akutagawa’s short stories.
Please click on the book cover to read my full review.

Week-end à Zuydcoote

 

📚 Week-end à Zuydcoote,
by Robert Merle
Historical fiction / WWII
Published in 1949
244 pages
It counts for The Classics Club
Read with a French student

This is a rather different type of WWII historical novel. As the title says, the book focuses on a week-end at Zuycoote, close to Dunkirk, right after the Allies defeat.
And we follow four French soldiers who became friends.
Each of the four is well described and you can really know their distinct personalities.

“Ils étaient heureux d’être ensemble, tous les quatre, sous le soleil.”

There’s a lot of humor, especially at the beginning, which made me fear for the worst: indeed, my experience is that an author tends to insert a lot of humor in a really tough book, to make it a bit more bearable.
The dialogues sound very true, the type of conversation and vocabulary that soldiers would use.

The main themes are the importance of friendship and the stupidity and absurdity of war.

” Pour moi, la guerre est absurde. Et pas telle ou telle guerre. Toutes les guerres. Dans l’absolu. Sans exception. Sans régime de faveur. Autrement dit, il n’y a pas de guerre juste, ou de guerre sacrée, ou de guerre pour la bonne cause. Une guerre, par définition, c’est absurde.”

The author did a remarkable job at highlighting it that in a rather short novel (244 pages).
And there are great passages on fear and heroism.

A movie (Dunkirk) was made on this book, with the famous Jean-Paul Belmondo, but knowing the end of the book, I’m definitely staying away.
As you already know, this is not a spoiler to say that all does not end well.

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

Death of a Red Heroine

📚 Death of a Red Heroine
(Inspector Chen Cao #1), 

by Qiu Xialong
Chinese Mystery
First published in 2000 (in English)
482 pages

Still working on this one for my local public library Winter Reading Challenge.

I really like more and more the descriptions of Shanghai and all the political and social background. In Asia, but so different from my usual Japanese novels!

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

L'Os de Lebowski📚  L’Os de Lebowski,
by Vincent Maillard
French mystery
Published in 2021
202 pages
Reading with French student S.

S. wanted to read a contemporary French mystery, and in my list, she chose this one.
This is my first book by Maillard. I like the humoristic style, and I’m at the point where the plot starts getting intriguing!

The book hasn’t been translated into English.
It’s narrated in the first person by Jim Carlos, a gardener working at Prés Poleux, owned by a rich family.
Jim has a very lazy dog (Lebowski), who spends its time sleeping, but one day it manages to dig, and finds a human bone (hence the title: Lebowski’s bone).
So, whose bone is it? What happened to that person?
Why is the bone on this property?
And then, Jim disappears…!

L'empire de la mort

🎧 L’Empire de la mort (N.E.O. #3), by Michel Bussi
French YA fantasy
Published on June 16, 2022
640 pages
16H24

With all the painting I had to do, I listened to a huge part of it and I (with the protagonists) now know what N. E. O. stands for!

It is set in post-apocalytic time in and around Paris and Versailles, with different groups of young people who survived a weird cloud that may have killed all adults.
The book reminds me of Supernova Era, with teens having to reinvent a new world, and in both books, the new society is struggling to stay away from the nastiness of the old one!

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

Master of the Uncanny📚 Okamoto Kidō: Master of the Uncanny,
by Okamoto Kidō
Japanese short stories
Published between 1897-1931
Translated by Nancy H. Ross
Published in 2020
168 pages
It counts for the Japanese Literature Challenge
and The Classics Club

“Born just after Japan transitioned from the Shogunate to Meiji, Kidō grew up in a samurai-oriented world being transformed by the West in many ways. As a reporter he covered domestic development and overseas wars, while also marrying a traditional geisha, eventually becoming a playwright and author. In addition to a number of well-received plays, he also penned more than fifty horror stories over a roughly ten-year period starting in the mid-1920s. Just prior to this period, the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 destroyed almost everything in Tokyo that remained from the Edo era, and Japanese horror itself was transitioning from the traditional uncanny stories to more modern horror structures.
While many of Kidō’s stories are retellings of tales from China and other nations, he also drew on a diverse range of traditions, including the heritage of Edo-era storytellers such as Ueda Akinari and Asai Ryōi, to produce a dazzling array of work covering the entire spectrum from time-honored ghost tropes to modern horror. The majority of his stories were collected in four volumes: Seiadō kidan (1926), Kindai iyō hen (1926), Iyō hen (1933), and Kaijū (1936).
Kidō remains popular for his elegant, low-key style, subtly introducing the “other” into the background, and raising the specter of the uncanny indirectly and often indistinctly. His fiction spans an enormous range of material, much of it dealing with the uncanny, and as a pioneer in the field his work formed the foundation for the new generation of Japanese authors emerging in post-Restoration literature.
This selection presents a dozen of his best stories: pieces which remain in print almost a century later, and continue to enchant readers—and writers—today. Finally, English-reading audiences can enjoy his strange visions as well.”

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

 

📚 Chronicle of a Death Foretold,
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Magical Realism
120 pages
1981

“A man returns to the town where a baffling murder took place twenty-seven years earlier, determined to get to the bottom of the story. Just hours after marrying the beautiful Angela Vicario, everyone agrees, Bayardo San Roman returned his bride in disgrace to her parents. Her distraught family forced her to name her first lover; and her twin brothers announced their intention to murder Santiago Nasar for dishonoring their sister.
Yet if everyone knew the murder was going to happen, why did no one intervene to try and stop it? The more that is learned, the less is understood, and as the story races to its inexplicable conclusion, an entire society–not just a pair of murderers—is put on trial.”

📚 MAILBOX MONDAY: NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday

📚📚📚

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?
BE SURE TO LEAVE THE LINK TO YOUR POST

Sunday Post #73 – 01/08/2023

 

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      Mailbox Monday2

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

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

Click on the logos to join the memes

2023 is starting very slow, with lots of time at church for our Nativity (yesterday), and more events until Tuesday.
But I did manage to post my usuall annual stats, and even to review the first book I finished.

Posted this week:

Here are the book I finished this past week:

📚JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧 

The Red Thumb Mark

🎧 The Red Thumb Mark
(Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries #1),
by R. Austin Freeman
Mysteries
Published in 1907
224 pages
9H32
It counts for The Classics Club

This was a satisfying beginning to a new series for me.
I was really looking forward to the medical-legal elements, but they mostly really come near the end.
Even though this is not officially an inverted detective story (as apparently the author is famous for), it was all pretty obvious from the beginning, but the fun was to see how Dr Thorndyke was going to prove the man innocent with his scientific methods.
I listened to the book, and this edition has a long introduction by the editor, who insisted a LOT on the fact that he took out some elements that were too racist.
I’m not too eager on that type of edits, that makes past styles and authors judged according to our current standards, but that was the only audio version I could find, through my library.
The narrator Luke Barton was good at changing his voice for all the characters, including crazy old ladies.
I am planning on listening to volume 2.

 

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

Death of a Red Heroine

📚 Death of a Red Heroine
(Inspector Chen Cao #1), 

by Qiu Xialong
Chinese Mystery
First published in 2000 (in English)
482 pages

I had to read a good amount of pages for books I’m reading with French students, so I couldn’t go faster on this one, though it’s really good.
It was chosen for me by my local public library staff, as part of their Winter Reading Challenge.

I like all the historical and political background.

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

Week-end à Zuydcoote📚 Week-end à Zuydcoote,
by Robert Merle

French historical fiction
Published in 1949
244 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

My French student F. wanted to try a French historical novel. Among the titles I proposed, she chose this one, set during WWI, in June 1940 at Dunkirk.
It was actually trasnalted into English as Weekend in Dunkirk.

This book is raw, and yet a lot of humor at the same time. It tells the life of a group of French soldiers trapped in the pocket of Dunkirk, for two days, after the Franco-British defeat.
The humor at the beginning makes me fear this is going to get from bad to worse for the four friends…

after the Franco-British defeat.

L'Os de Lebowski📚  L’Os de Lebowski,
by Vincent Maillard
French mystery
Published in 2021
202 pages
Reading with French student S.

S. wanted to read a contemporary French mystery, and in my list, she chose this one.
This is my first book by Maillard. I like the humoristic style, and I’m at the point where the plot starts getting intriguing!

The book hasn’t been translated into English.
It’s narrated in the first person by Jim Carlos, a gardener working at Prés Poleux, owned by a rich family.
Jim has a very lazy dog (Lebowski), who spends its time sleeping, but one day it manages to dig, and finds a human bone (hence the title: Lebowski’s bone).
So, whose bone is it? What happened to that person?
Why is the bone on this property?
And then, Jim disappears…!

L'empire de la mort

🎧 L’Empire de la mort (N.E.O. #3), by Michel Bussi
French YA fantasy
Published on June 16, 2022
640 pages
16H24

I really enjoyed the first two volumes in this series,
so it’s good to go back to these characters.

It is set in post-apocalytic time in and around Paris and Versailles, with different groups of young people who survived a weird cloud that may have killed all adults.

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

 

Hell Screen📚 Hell Screen,
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Japanese short story
Published in 1918
Not sure yet of the translator
58 pages
It counts for the Japanese Literature Challenge
and The Classics Club

I have read several short stories
by this author,
but not this one yet.
I can’t remember why I put it on my TBR,
but I want to keep the surprise right now,
so am not looking at the synopsis.
I’ll tell you more about it later.

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

Wine and War

 

📚  Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure,
by
Don and Petie Kladstrup
Nonfiction, history, wine, France, WWII
290 pages
Published in 2001

“The remarkable untold story of France’s courageous, clever vinters who protected and rescued the country’s most treasured commodity from German plunder during World War II.
In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine. Like others in the French Resistance, winemakers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their extraordinary efforts has remained largely unknown-until now. This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them. Wine and War illuminates a compelling, little-known chapter of history, and stands as a tribute to extraordinary individuals who waged a battle that, in a very real way, saved the spirit of France.”

📚 MAILBOX MONDAY: NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

 

Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday

📚📚📚

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?
BE SURE TO LEAVE THE LINK TO YOUR POST

Six degrees of separation: from beach reading to beach walking

 

#6Degrees

Six degrees of separation:
from beach reading to beach walking

Time for another quirky variation on this meme – and quite quirky!
I decided to include more books that are on my Goodreads TBR,
and not just stick to books I have read, to bring in more diversity,
and I was shocked I ended up on the beach, where I started!

Using my own rules for this fun meme hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest
(see there the origin of the meme and how it works
– posted the first Saturday of every month).

Here are my own quirky rules:

1. Use your list of books on Goodreads
2. Take the first word of the title (or in the subtitle) offered and find another title with that word in it – see the titles below the images to fully understand, as often the word could be in the second part of the title
3. Then use the first word of THAT title to find your text title
4. Or the second if the title starts with the same word, or if you are stuck
5. To help you understand what I’m doing, you will find in orange the word that will be used in the following title, and in green the word used in the previous title

 

six-degrees-of-separation

We are supposed to start from Beach Read, by Emily Henry.
I have not read it, nor plan to do so.

1. Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties, by Noël Riley Fitch
I did warn you it was going to be even more quirky!
So from beach in the title, I went to beach as the author’s name.
“The story of Sylvia Beach’s love for Shakespeare and Company supplies the lifeblood of this book.” Definitelyone I want to read.

 

2.  A Beautiful Mind, by Sylvia Nasar
And we are going back to an author’s name, using a word form the previous title!
I did read this one. This is the thorough biography of “John Nash, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of his generation, who spiraled into schizophrenia in the 1950s.”
It is actually a very sad story. It’s one the rare cases where I found the movie better than the book, in the sense that in the movie, Nash’s wife is full of loving care for him.
In real life, they divorced, and things were very difficult, as can be expected with such a disturbed genius.

3. The Most Beautiful Book in the World, by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt
I have read and really enjoyed several books by this Belgian author, like Oscar and the Lady in Pink, and Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Qur’an, but I still have to read this one, which is actually a collection of 8 novellas.

4. The Fictional 100: Ranking the Most Influential Characters in World Literature and Legend, by Lucy Pollard-Gott
I have reviewed and often recommended this book, written by a book reviewer and friend.
VERDICT: Smart presentation and ranking of literary characters, across countries and times. If you believe in diversity in literature and consider yourself a lover of books, you absolutely need to have this reference volume on your shelf.

5. Six Walks in the Fictional Woods, by Umberto Eco 
Umberto is such an amazing author, novelist of course, but also essayist (I so enjoyed Chronicles of a Liquid Society), professor of semiotics, and author of many books on language. 
This book was originally a The Charles Eliot Norton Lecture.
REading the synopsis, you can understand why it would be on my TBR:
“In Six Walks in the Fictional Woods Umberto Eco shares with us his Secret Life as a reader–his love for MAD magazine, for Scarlett O’Hara, for the nineteenth-century French novelist Nerval’s Sylvie, for Little Red Riding Hood, Agatha Christie, Agent 007 and all his ladies. We see, hear, and feel Umberto Eco, the passionate reader who has gotten lost over and over again in the woods, loved it, and come back to tell the tale, The Tale of Tales. Eco tells us how fiction works, and he also tells us why we love fiction so much. This is no deconstructionist ripping the veil off the Wizard of Oz to reveal his paltry tricks, but the Wizard of Art himself inviting us to join him up at his level, the Sorcerer inviting us to become his apprentice.”

6. Six Walks: In the Footsteps of Henry David Thoreau, by Ben Shattuck
Yes, I do have 2 books on my TBR starting with “six walks!”
I added this one after I recently read two books by Thoreau, and an excellent one on him. See my review: Lessons from Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy,
by Bob Pepperman Taylor.

Here is the synopsis for this one:
“On an autumn morning in 1849, Henry David Thoreau stepped out his front door to walk the beaches of Cape Cod. Over a century and a half later, Ben Shattuck does the same. With little more than a loaf of bread, brick of cheese, and a notebook, Shattuck sets out to retrace Thoreau’s path through the Cape’s outer beaches, from the elbow to Provincetown’s fingertip.”

And here you go: from beach reading, to a book about walking the beaches!

📚📚📚

Visit other chains here

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HAVE YOU READ AND ENJOYED ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
IF YOU HAVE CREATED A CHAIN,
PLEASE LEAVE YOUR LINK IN A COMMENT