The top 9 books to read in May 2021

Here are

The top 9 books
I plan to read in May 2021

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

  FutureofBuildingsBookCover    Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

  The Archipelago of Another Life    Monet and Oscar

📚 The Future of Buildings, Transportation, and Power, 
by Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber
Published in July 2020
See my latest words about it here.

📚 Dictionnaire amoureux du polar, by Pierre Lemaitre
Published on October 22, 2020
See my latest words about it here.

📚 The Archipelago of Another Life/ L’Archipel d’une autre vie, by Andreï Makine
Published in French in 2016
Published July 11th 2019 by MacLehose Press

Buddy read with Carol from Cas d’intérêt. Bilingual Q&A on her blog and mine. I will try to post about next part later on today!

📚 Monet & Oscar, by Joe Byrd
Release date: May 1st, 2021
Am reading for France Book Tours
There are still review copies available: click on the link or on the book cover to get your free copy!

“At the end of WWI, Oscar, an American soldier in a French Army hospital, learned of his mother’s death while recovering from his war wounds. He remained in France to search for his father, an Impressionist painter, whose identity his mother never revealed. Through curious circumstances, he’s hired to be a gardener for Claude Monet.   Oscar jumped at the opportunity to further his landscaping career by working in Monet’s world-famous garden at Giverny. He hoped the most renowned Impressionist could help him find his father.
Monet, tired and disheartened by his ailing health and deteriorating eyesight, took Oscar along on visits to his previous painting venues and allowed him to meet some of his art-world friends. These meetings provided insights into Monet’s life and art and clues to Oscar’s father’s identity.
On a train returning from Paris to Giverny, Oscar met and fell in love with Isabelle, a beautiful young American artist, who introduced him to the emerging 1920’s fashions and mores. She is the daughter of one of Monet’s major American clients, which interests him. Over Monet’s daughters’ objections, Isabelle and Oscar become regular guests at family gatherings as their infatuation blossoms into a unique love affair. Oscar’s past, present, and future collide in a way that he could not have anticipated.”

READING NEXT

People Like Them  The Andromeda Strain

Project Hail Mary

📚 People Like Them, by Samira Sedira
Expected publication: July 6, 2021, by Penguin Books
Will be reading for Criminal Element

“A prizewinning psychological suspense novel inspired by a true story about a couple in an insular French village whose lives are upended when a family of outsiders moves in.
Everything started one Saturday in July of 2015…
Anna and Constant Guillot live with their two daughters in the peaceful, remote mountain village of Carmac, largely deaf to the upheavals of the outside world. Everyone in Carmac knows each other, and most of its residents look alike–until Bakary and Sylvia Langlois arrive with their three children.
Wealthy and flashy, the family of five are outsiders in the small town, their impressive chalet and three expensive cars a stark contrast to the modesty of those of their neighbors. Despite their differences, the Langlois and the Guillots form an uneasy, ambiguous friendship. But when both families begin experiencing financial troubles, the underlying class and racial tensions of their relationship come to a breaking point, and the unthinkable happens.
With piercing psychological insight and gripping storytelling, People Like Them asks: How could a seemingly normal person commit an atrocious crime? How could that person’s loved ones ever come to terms with it afterward? And how well can you really know your own spouse?”

📚 The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
Published in 1969
Julie Anna at Julie Anna’s Books and I really enjoyed our buddy read experience on Before the Coffee Gets Cold, so we decided to do it again, this time with science-fiction. Let us know if you are planning to read it with us, we will be starting on May 10.

“The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.
Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to collect organisms and dust for study. One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona.
Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town’s inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

📚 Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
Expected publication: May 4th 2021 by Ballantine Books
Review ecopy received through Netgalley
My experience with Andy Weir went form 5 stars for The Martian, to 2 to Artemis, so I’m giving him another chance.

“Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.”

📚 If all goes well, I will also read:
Cinq cartes brûléesby Sophie Loubière, with one of my French students
La Disparition, by Georges Perec, with another French student
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, with a friend
Languages of Truth: Essays 2003-2020, by Salman Rushdie, received for review
History in English Words, by Owen Barfield, for The Classics Spin #26

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

  The Regatta Mystery Sad Cypress  

📚 The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot #21) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1939
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“A collection of nine of Agatha Christie’s intriguing short stories.
Mr. Parker Pyne must recover a priceless diamond which disappears during a dinner party trick; Hercule Poirot proves that a crowd is the best cloak for a murder, and Miss Marple solves a baffling crime by the fireside. And there are six more good ones in this anthology of mystery tales.
The stories are: 1. The Regatta Mystery, 2. The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest, 3. How Does Your Garden Grow, 4. Problem at Pollensa Bay, 5. Yellow Iris, 6. Miss Marple Tells a Story, 7. The Dream, 8. In a Glass Darkly, and 9. Problem at Sea.”

📚 Sad Cypress (Hercule Poirot #22) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1940
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity and the means to administer the fatal poison.Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty: Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows…”

📚 I will probably also listen to Hercule Poirot #23 and #24; plus at least 5 Biblical books (Zechariah, Malachai, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch), and a French audiobook. 

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

Review copies available: 

    Island on Fire Monet and Oscar  Church of Tango

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR MAY

📚 Several buddy-reads, as mentioned above
📚 Bout of Books 31: May 10-16

Eiffel Tower Orange

HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR MAY?

2021: April wrap-up

April 2021 WRAP-UP

Phew, this was a busy month, ending with a liturgical marathon, as we finally had our Great Week (Orthodox services are so deep and powerful, and also quite long, especially during this very special week) and Pascha (aka Easter), almost a month after everyone else.

I have been also reading a lot, as much needed time off at the end of the day, but as I’m in the middle of so many books, my stats are actually not very impressive.
The big news was my first participation ever in the Club organized by Simon at Stuck in a Book. This time, in was the #1936Club.

Two other big highlights were
my buddy read of Before the Coffee Gets Cold,
and the beginning of another buddy read: The Archipelago of Another Life

📚 Here is what I read in April:

18 books:
6 in print 
with 1,377 pages, a daily average of 45 pages/day
12 in audio
= 24H39
, a daily average of 49 minutes

9 in nonfiction:

  1. The Book of Micah
  2. The Book of Joel
  3. The Book of Obadiah
  4. The Book of Jonah
  5. The Book of Nahum
  6. The Book of Habakkuk
  7. The Book of Zephaniah
  8. The Book of Haggai – these first 8 books were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge
  9. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life, by George Saunders

5 in mystery:

  1. Murder in the Mews (Hercule Poirot #18), by Agatha Christie
  2. Appointment With Death (Hercule Poirot #19), by Agatha Christie
  3. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Hercule Poirot #20), by Agatha Christie – these first three were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club
  4. Double Indemnity, by James M. Cain – ebook for the #1936Club and The Classics Club
  5. Piège pour Cendrillon, by Sébastien Japrisot – French ebook for the The Classics Club

2 in literary fiction:

  1. The Old Capital, by Yasunari Kawabata –  ebook for  The Classics Club
  2. First Person Singular, by Haruki Murakami

1 in historical fiction:

  1. The Swedish Cavalier, by Leo Perutz – ebook for the #1936Club and The Classics Club

1 in science-fiction:

  1. How to Mars, by David Ebenbach – ebook received for review

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

A Swim in the Pond in the Rain    The Swedish Cavalier

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 47/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 12 books 

Total of books read in 2021 = 60/120 (yes, already at 50%!)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 11

OTHER BOOK  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

The Black Lizard

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

Books available for swapping

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

Posted on my homepage

And we offer a Book Box!
And monthly raffle with a Newsletter
(see sample with link to sign up)

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Arsene Lupin

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

My top 10 books for the 1936 Club

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Stuck in a Book
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!

TOP COMMENTERS 

Marianne at Let’s Read
Iza at Books & Livres
Judy at Keep the Wisdom
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,326 posts
over 5,470 followers
over 219,700 hits

📚

Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in May

📚 📚 📚

How was YOUR month of April?

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!

 

Sunday Post #42 – 4/11/2021

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

Already a month since last time I was able to participate in the #SundayPost #SundaySalon! And I have missed it!
It’s been a bit crazy here schedule wise, with more Church services (yeah, I am still in Lent until May 2, the Orthodox Pascha/Easter this year!), a lot of French classes, and a lot more business at France Book Tours, including the preparation for our first webinar: “French artists in fiction: four lives, four authors”. 

📚 JUST READ / LISTENED TO 🎧

Since last post a month ago, I have read 8 books and listened to 5 novels, plus listened to 11 Biblical books. So as usual, I’m actually only going to talk to you about what I finished this past week.

  The Swedish Cavalier  Appointment with Death  

📚 The Swedish Cavalier, by Leo Perutz
Published in 1936
Read for the #1936Club, the Classics Club, and the Books in Translation Challenge.

I have already experienced a lot of wow reading moments this year, with some delightful surprises. That is definitely one of them. It had been on my TBR for a while, because I heard a French author say a lot of good things about it. I now understand why.
Very unique and fascinating mix of genres, think of Cervantes and Kafka maybe. How come this Austrian author seems to be so little known? I don’t remember seeing this book on many blogs, including those covering the classics.
As it’s for the #1936Club, you will have to come back after April 12 to read my review. But here is part of the synopsis (one more, I’m not happy with the full synopsis that reveals too much):

“A thief and a nobleman, both down on their luck, cross paths on a bitter winter’s day in 1701. One, known locally as “The Fowl-Filcher,” is fleeing the gallows; the other, the callow Christian von Tornefeld, has escaped execution to fight for his Swedish king. Neither will reach his destination. Sent with a message to secure aid for von Tornefeld, the thief falls in love with his companion’s secret fiancée. He resolves to win her love for himself, and through a clever stratagem, exchanges his fate for the other man’s.”

🎧 Appointment with Death, by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #19)
Published in 1937
Listened to for the Classics Club, and personal project to listen to all of HP.

I didn’t remember this story at all. Great description of a dysfunctional family around a most detestable matriarch. There were many reasons for each of her children to kill her, so which one did it? Only the great Hercule Poirot could figure it out!
I liked the portrayal of rich tourists of the time visiting the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, and Egypt). It also made me want to visit Petra!
There was also a neat epilogue, set five years later.

“Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her.
With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard back in Jerusalem: ‘You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?’ Mrs Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he’d ever met.”

🎧 I also listened to 8 Biblical books, as part of my project to listen to the whole Bible:
these are very short books of the Minor Prophets: Jonah, Obadiah, Micah, Joel, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Nahum, Haggai.

📚 CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧

  A Swim in the Pond in the Rain The Archipelago of Another Life

Piège pour Cendrillon

📚 A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders
Published on 1/12/2021

I have never read his novels or short stories. This is based on “his class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University”. “he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.”

I have not read that type of literary criticism for a long time, and I so thoroughly enjoy how the author analyses the functioning of each story.

📚 The Archipelago of Another Life, by Andreï Makine
Published in 2016 in French and 2019 in English

I have meant to read this one since it came out, and then Carol at Cas d’intérêt proposed we do a buddy-read. You can join us, reading it either in French or in English, our posts will be bilingual. I have read the first 25%, this is gorgeous writing!

I have found 3 versions of the synopsis in English! The one on Goodreads is quite bad, compared to the French one, the one by the publisher is slightly better. The one that captures better the spirit, the ambiance, and is closest to the French is on Amazon:

“At the borders of the Russian Far East, at the limits of the Pacific Ocean, inside a land that seems to escape history, at the sundown of the Stalin era, unfolds an incredible manhunt.
Who is the criminal with many faces that Pavel Gartsev and his comrades must track into the eye of the taiga?
When Pavel discovers the true identity of the fugitive, his life will be turned on its head. The hunt will become an exalting experience that makes another life possible, in the frail eternity of love.”

🎧 Piège pour Cendrillon, by Sébastien Japrisot
Published in 1962
Listening to for the Classics Club

Before jumping into the next Hercule Poirot, I looked at my Wishlist on EStories (same as Audible really, but cheaper), and saw this title, by an icon French author of mysteries I have never read!!
The beginning is weird, at least in audio. The whole book is only 4 hours, so I have the feeling I am going to have to listen to it twice.

It has been translated as Trap for Cendrillon:
“A racy, chilling noir mystery of mistaken identity, deception, and greed by the author of A Very Long Engagement. A suspicious fire consumes a beach house at a southern French resort. Two young women — friends on the surface but deep down foes — are trapped inside. One is rich, the other poor. One is killed and the other survives, burned beyond recognition and in a state of total amnesia. Plastic surgery gives her a new pretty face, but it can not restore her memory of her identity. Who is she? The heiress or her friend? A killer or an intended victim? Only one person knows the truth about the betrayal and hair-raising terror which took place that night. And she is not about to give it away…Winner of France’s most prestigious crime-fiction award, Trap for Cinderella is an engrossing tour de force by a master of mystery and deception.”

I am also still reading:

📚 Dictionnaire amoureux du polar, by Pierre Lemaitre
Published on October 22, 2020

📚 The Future of Buildings, Transportation, and Power, 
by Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber
Published in July 2020

📚 BOOK UP NEXT 📚

Monet and Oscar

📚 Monet & Oscar: The Essence of Light, by Joe Byrd
To be published in May 1st, 2021
Will be reading for France Book Tours

This is one of the four historical novels that will be discussed during our webinar.
We have some review copies available!

“At the end of WWI, Oscar, an American soldier in a French Army hospital, learned of his mother’s death while recovering from his war wounds. He remained in France to search for his father, an Impressionist painter, whose identity his mother never revealed. Through curious circumstances, he’s hired to be a gardener for Claude Monet.   Oscar jumped at the opportunity to further his landscaping career by working in Monet’s world-famous garden at Giverny. He hoped the most renowned Impressionist could help him find his father.
Monet, tired and disheartened by his ailing health and deteriorating eyesight, took Oscar along on visits to his previous painting venues and allowed him to meet some of his art-world friends. These meetings provided insights into Monet’s life and art and clues to Oscar’s father’s identity.
On a train returning from Paris to Giverny, Oscar met and fell in love with Isabelle, a beautiful young American artist, who introduced him to the emerging 1920’s fashions and mores. She is the daughter of one of Monet’s major American clients, which interests him. Over Monet’s daughters’ objections, Isabelle and Oscar become regular guests at family gatherings as their infatuation blossoms into a unique love affair. Oscar’s past, present, and future collide in a way that he could not have anticipated.”

📚 LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚

    Agatha Christie's Poirot Murder for Pleasure

📚 Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, by Mark Aldridge
Published March 9th 2021 by William Morrow

Planning to read this when I finish listening to all of Hercule Poirot, as a wrap-up.

“From the publication of Agatha Christie’s very first book in 1920 to the release of Sir Kenneth Branagh’s film Death on the Nile in 2020, this investigation into the phenomenon of Hercule Poirot celebrates a century of probably the world’s favorite fictional detective.
Hercule Poirot has had a near-permanent presence in the public eye ever since the 1920 publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The detective who solves diabolical crimes using his “little grey cells” has enamored audiences not only in the original novels, short stories, and plays, but also across radio, television, and movies.
From Agatha Christie’s earliest conceptions and publication history, to forays on the stage and screen, the story of Poirot is as fascinating as it is enduring. Mark Aldridge tells this story decade-by-decade, exploring and analyzing Poirot’s many and often wildly different appearances, following the detective to present day when he is enjoying a worldwide renaissance. 
Packed with original research, never-before-published correspondence, and images from the Agatha Christie archives, Agatha Christie’s Poirot will delight fans of Hercule Poirot and mystery lovers alike.

📚 Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story, by Howard Haycraft
Published in 1941

I found this reference book it in the excellent preface to The Black Lizard, by Edogawa Rampo. As I have been reading a ot of classic mysteries, I ant to check this one out.

“Author Howard Haycraft, an expert in detective fiction, traces the genre’s development from the 1840s through the 1940s. Along the way, he charts the innovations of Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as the modern influence of George Simenon, Josephine Tey, and others. Additional topics include a survey of the critical literature, a detective story quiz, and a Who’s Who in Detection.”

📚 BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚

5-Minute Core Exercises for Seniors

📚 5-Minute Core Exercises for Seniors, by Cindy Brehse
Expected publication: April 20th 2021, by Rockridge Press

Not yet officially in the senior group, but still these exercises might be handy when I feel too busy.

“Strengthen your core and boost your confidence with 5-minute exercise routines for seniors.
Having a strong core can improve mobility, reduce aches and pains, prevent falls, and build everyday confidence. 5-Minute Core Exercises for Seniors makes it easy to incorporate daily exercise for seniors, with a collection of 40 individual movements and 25 quick routines for strengthening the major core muscles.”

INTERESTING LINKS FOUND THIS WEEK

My inspiration to add this section comes from
Book Jotter‘s posts called “Winding Up the Week”.

ABOUT BOOKS:
15 classic French mysteries/thrillers
(article in French)

BIRDS:
A gallery of fabulous bird pictures(among other categories) by a fellow birder.

THIS PAST WEEK ON
WORDS AND PEACE
MYRTLE SKETE
and FRANCE BOOK TOURS

📚 Book of the month giveaway choice between this book and four others 
The Readers' Room
📚 Book available for free this month, to review at your own pace!
Island on Fire
📚
Review copies available for upcoming book tours:
    Madeleine Last French Casquette Bride in New Orleans  Island on Fire Monet and Oscar  Church of Tango
📚 Subscribe to my Newsletter, and win a book each month!
Here is a sample, with link for subscription at the bottom
📚 Books available for swapping

COMING UP ON
WORDS AND PEACE
MYRTLE SKETE
FRANCE BOOK TOURS

  • A few reviews for the #1936Club
  • Tips on where to cross-post your reviews

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?