The top 8 books to read in November 2020

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in November 2020

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

The Education of Delhomme To Hold Up the Sky

📚 The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand, & la France (Nov 17, 2020), by Nancy Burkhalter
Reading for France Book Tours

Beaulieu Delhomme, a piano tuner, faces the guillotine for committing treason against the newly elected French president due to his part in the bloody worker uprisings in 1848. The one person who could save him from this fate is his former arch-rival, the celebrated author, George Sand. The plot leading to his imprisonment revolves around the triangle of composer Frédéric Chopin, his lover George Sand, and Delhomme, Chopin’s loyal piano tuner. Both Sand and Delhomme compete for the attention of Chopin, who fights a losing battle with tuberculosis. The president’s spymaster uses this triangle to lure cash-strapped Delhomme into exploiting his friendship with Chopin to spy on George Sand, whose fiery rhetoric threatens the new president.
At first, before the uprisings that marked a tumultuous period out of which France’s Second Republic grew, Delhomme favors preserving the status quo because any policy changes might jeopardize his (and Chopin’s) wealthy client base. Sand wields her pen against the oppressive laws and ridicules Delhomme for his views.
Delhomme changes his opinion of the monarchy when he sees how his nephew is abused as an orphan working in a piano factory in industrial London. Delhomme becomes a double agent, paid to spy for the president while secretly working for the resistance. Sand softens her contempt when she discovers that he has switched allegiances and now promotes workers’ rights.
Delhomme is caught working for the resistance, jailed in Paris’ infamous Conciergerie prison, and faces a trial for treason. Even Sand’s testimony is not enough to trump that of the vaunted spymaster, but her fame may be enough to persuade the new president to pardon him.”

📚 To Hold Up the Sky,  (October 20th, 2020) by Cixin Liu
Received for review.
Cixin Liu is the author of the amazing Supernova Era, that’s why I decided to read this one.

“From Cixin Liu, the New York Times bestselling author of The Three-Body ProblemTo Hold Up the Sky is a breathtaking collection of imaginative science fiction.”
It contains 11 short stories.

READING NEXT

La grande escapade Les grands cerfs

The Vexations Flood

📚 La Grande escapade (2019), by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Received for review in 2019!
By a French author I really like, this time, I should finally have time to read it.

📚 Les Grands cerfs (2019), by Claude Hunzinger
Received for review in 2019!
I’m looking forward to discovering this author, dealing with a nature theme, like several other French novels I read recently.

📚 The Vexations, (2019) by Caitlin Horrocks
I can’t believe it’s already been a year since a friend lent it to me!! I started it, but then had to stop for books received for review.
It’s a historical novel on Erik Satie!

“Erik Satie begins life with every possible advantage. But after the dual blows of his mother’s early death and his father’s breakdown upend his childhood, Erik and his younger siblings — Louise and Conrad — are scattered. Later, as an ambitious young composer, Erik flings himself into the Parisian art scene, aiming for greatness but achieving only notoriety.
As the years, then decades, pass, he alienates those in his circle as often as he inspires them, lashing out at friends and lovers like Claude Debussy and Suzanne Valadon. Only Louise and Conrad are steadfast allies. Together they strive to maintain their faith in their brother’s talent and hold fast the badly frayed threads of family. But in a journey that will take her from Normandy to Paris to Argentina, Louise is rocked by a severe loss that ultimately forces her into a reckoning with how Erik — obsessed with his art and hungry for fame — will never be the brother she’s wished for.
With her buoyant, vivid reimagination of an iconic artist’s eventful life, Caitlin Horrocks has written a captivating and ceaselessly entertaining novel about the tenacious bonds of family and the costs of greatness, both to ourselves and to those we love.”

📚 Flood, (2008) by Stephen Baxter
This one was more recently offered to me by one of my French students. He loves this author, and knowing that I like scifi, he thought I should definitely read it!

It begins in 2016. Another wet summer, another year of storm surges and high tides. But this time the Thames Barrier is breached and central London is swamped. The waters recede, life goes on, the economy begins to recover, people watch the news reports of other floods around the world. And then the waters rise again. And again.
Lily, Helen, Gary and Piers, hostages released from five years captivity at the hands of Christian Extremists in Spain, return to England and the first rumours of a flood of positively Biblical proportions…
Sea levels have begun to rise, at catastrophic speed. Within two years London and New York will be under water. The Pope will give his last address from the Vatican before Rome is swallowed by the rising water. Mecca too will vanish beneath the waves.
The world is drowning. A desperate race to find out what is happening begins. The popular theory is that we are paying the price for our profligacy and that climate change is about to redress Gaia’s balance. But there are dissenting views. And all the time the waters continue to rise and mankind begins the great retreat to higher ground. Millions will die, billions will become migrants. Wars will be fought over mountains.”

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

La Chute du soleil de fer Lord Edgware Dies

📚 La Chute du soleil de fer, (N.E.O. #1, Oct 1st, 2020) by Michel Bussi
I really enjoy a lot Michel Bussi, and have listened to almost all of his books. He usually writes thrillers, but for the first time, he’s trying YA fantasy, Two genres I usually don’t read, but how could I resist Bussi?
I have actually already listened to half of it, and am loving it!
The description of the setting are fantastic, and I have no idea how things are going to evolve.

📚 Lord Edgware Dies,  (Hercule Poirot #9, 1933) by Agatha Christie
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“An Agatha Christie mystery story. Poirot had been present when Jane bragged of her plan to ‘get rid of’ her estranged husband. Now the monstrous man was dead. And yet the great Belgian detective couldn’t help feeling that he was being taken for a ride. After all, how could Jane have stabbed Lord Edgware to death in his library at exactly the same time she was seen dining with friends? And what could be her motive now that the aristocrat had finally granted her a divorce?”

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR NOVEMBER

📚 I’ll be participating in Nonfiction November. My first post will be on Novelber6
📚 I hope to finalize my plans for a  monthly Newsletter, with special content.
Let me know what you would like to find in it.

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

Save

The top 8 books to read in October 2020

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in October 2020

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

L'énigme de la chambre 622    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle 

The Girl Behind the Wall

📚 L’Énigme de la chambre 622 (2014), by Joël Dicker
Reading in French with the French Book Club (on Discord).
Dicker is the author of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

So far, I find this one a bit confusing, there’s a lot of back and forth, and going back ito different times in the past.

“Une nuit de décembre, un meurtre a lieu au Palace de Verbier, dans les Alpes suisses. L’enquête de police n’aboutira jamais.
Des années plus tard, au début de l’été 2018, lorsqu’un écrivain se rend dans ce même hôtel pour y passer des vacances, il est loin d’imaginer qu’il va se retrouver plongé dans cette affaire.
Que s’est-il passé dans la chambre 622 du Palace de Verbier?”

📚 The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994), by Haruki Murakami
Reading with the Haruki Murakami Online Book Club (on Discord)

There are some amazing passages I so enjoy here, for instance about the well, and some type of Transfiguration-like experience.
And at some other passages, I’m nearing a Murakami-overdose!!

“Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.
In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.”

📚 The Girl Behind the Wall: Edgar Allan Poe, The Girl, And the Mysterious Raven Murders  (October 21st, 2020), by Bruce Wetterau
Received for review.

I’m about half done, and so far, this is one of those self-published gem. It is a fascinating use of so many stories and poems by Poe!

Did Edgar Allan Poe know more about murder than he revealed in his bizarre stories of murder and mayhem? Was he in fact guilty of killing a girlfriend in a fit of rage many years before he became famous?
Bruce Wetterau’s taut thriller weaves a murder mystery worthy of Poe himself as it follows Poe through actual events in the last months of his life. The year 1849 saw the real-life Poe dealing with his alcoholism, failing health, poverty, and painful memories of his recently deceased child-bride wife. His life had become a psychological pressure cooker, with severe anxiety attacks and bouts of strange hallucinations.
The Girl Behind the Wall opens in early 1849. Poe is being tormented by frightening visions about murdering Annabel Lee while he was a student at the University of Virginia. Afraid of the hangman’s noose, Poe knows he can never tell anyone about the repressed memories haunting him. But a newspaper reporter named Sam Reynolds has overheard him talking erratically about Annabel while in a drunken stupor. That a man as famous as Poe could be a murderer would be the scoop of a lifetime and Reynolds will do anything to get it.
Flash forward nearly two hundred years to the present. The book’s hero, Clay Cantrell, accidentally uncovers damning evidence–Annabel’s skeleton and a locket from Poe–behind an old brick wall at the university. While the mystery of Annabel’s murder and Poe’s strange visions unfolds in flashbacks, Cantrell and friends launch a search of their own for the truth about Annabel’s death. But another murder mystery much closer to home overtakes them when a cold-blooded serial killer named the Raven claims his first victim, a UVA coed.
Obsessed with Poe, the Raven stages his murders with clever ties to Poe’s works. Clay tries to stop the murders and soon winds up in the Raven’s cross hairs. Though this isn’t the first vicious killer Clay has fought, he doesn’t know the Raven has a diabolical plan to execute him.
Will Poe finally reveal the truth about Annabel, or will he take the secret to his grave? Can Clay escape the Raven’s plot, find what drives the Raven’s murderous obsession with Poe, and at last answer the question, who killed Annabel Lee?

READING NEXT

  Foundation  To Hold Up the Sky

Alina_A Song For the Telling

📚 Foundation (1951), by Isaac Asimov
I will be reading it along with Lory at The Emerald City, for The Classics Club
Let us know if you want to join. It will be a low key event.

“For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future — to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire — both scientists and scholars — and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.
But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun — or fight them and be destroyed.”

📚 To Hold Up the Sky,  (October 20th, 2020) by Cixin Liu
Received for review.
Cixin Liu is the author of the amazing Supernova Era, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

“From Cixin Liu, the New York Times bestselling author of The Three-Body ProblemTo Hold Up the Sky is a breathtaking collection of imaginative science fiction.”
It contains 11 short stories.

📚 Alina: A Song for the Telling, (October 20th, 2020) by Malve von Hassell 
Received for review, for France Book Tours

ALINA: A SONG FOR THE TELLING is the coming-of-age story of a young woman from Provence in the 12th century who travels to Jerusalem, where she is embroiled in political intrigue, theft, and murder, and finds her voice.
“You should be grateful, my girl. You have no dowry, and I am doing everything I can to get you settled. You are hardly any man’s dream.”
Alina’s brother Milos pulled his face into a perfect copy of Aunt Marci’s sour expression, primly pursing his mouth. He got her querulous tone just right. Maybe Alina’s aunt was right. She could not possibly hope to become a musician, a trobairitz—impoverished as she was and without the status of a good marriage. But Alina refuses to accept the life her aunt wants to impose on her.
At the first opportunity she and her brother embark on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to pray for their father’s soul and to escape from their aunt and uncle’s strictures. Their journey east takes them through the Byzantine Empire all the way to Jerusalem, where Alina is embroiled in political intrigue, theft, and murder.
Forced by a manipulative, powerful lord at court into acting as an informer, Alina tries to protect her wayward brother, while coming to terms with her attraction to a French knight.”

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

The Mystery of the Blue Train    L'humanité en péril

📚 The Mystery of the Blue Train, (Hercule Poirot #6, 1928) by Agatha Christie
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train to the French riviera — ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It’s the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit. And Hercule Poirot is the perfect detective to solve it…”

📚L’Humanité en péril,  (2019) by Fred Vargas
I have listened I believe to all the thrillers by Fred Vargas, an amazing French author. This time, this is her cry (nonfiction) to try to save the planet.

« Mais bon sang, comment vais-je me sortir de cette tâche insensée ? De cette idée de m’entretenir avec vous de l’avenir du monde vivant ? Alors que je sais très bien que vous auriez préféré que je vous livre un roman policier.
Il y a dix ans, j’avais publié un très court texte sur l’écologie. Et quand on m’a prévenue qu’il serait lu à l’inauguration de la COP 24, c’est alors que j’ai conçu un projet de la même eau, un peu plus long, sur l’avenir de la Terre, du monde vivant, de l’Humanité.
Rien que ça. »

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

Review copies (middlegrade/historical novel and mystery/women’s fiction)
available at France Book Tours

PLANS FOR OCTOBER

📚 Start a monthly Throwback Thursday, starting with September 2010, since I’m now 10.
📚 Looking more closely at doing a  monthly Newsletter, with special content.
Let me know what you would like to find in it.

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

Save

The top 8 books to read in September 2020

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in September 2020

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

The French Widow  The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

 Le Livre de Perle L'énigme de la chambre 622

📚 The French Widow (Hugo Marston #9) (September 15, 2020), by Mark Pryor
Received for review

I have really enjoyed previous books by Mark Pryor, see for instance my review of The Sorbonne Affair, so I accepted this one for review.”

“A young American woman is attacked at an historic Paris chateau and four paintings are stolen the same night, drawing Hugo Marston into a case where everyone seems like a suspect. To solve this mystery Hugo must crack the secrets of the icy and arrogant Lambourd family, who seem more interested in protecting their good name than future victims. Just as Hugo thinks he’s close, some of the paintings mysteriously reappear, at the very same time that one of his suspects goes missing.”

📚 The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994), by Haruki Murakami
Reading with the Haruki Murakami Online Book Club (on Discord)

“Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.
In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.”

📚 Le Livre de Perle (2014), by Timothée de Tombelle
Reading with another of my French students.

YA, fantasy, and historical fiction. Yes, all of that together!
This author is very well know in France.
It’s very beautifully written.

📚 L’Énigme de la chambre 622 (2014), by Joël Dicker
Reading in French with the French Book Club (on Discord) – let me know if you want to join. Besides me, the participants are French second language, we do’t correct the mistakes, we just enjoy reading and sharing in French.
The book has been translated in several languages, but not yet in English, I think.

Dicker is the author of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

“Une nuit de décembre, un meurtre a lieu au Palace de Verbier, dans les Alpes suisses. L’enquête de police n’aboutira jamais.
Des années plus tard, au début de l’été 2018, lorsqu’un écrivain se rend dans ce même hôtel pour y passer des vacances, il est loin d’imaginer qu’il va se retrouver plongé dans cette affaire.
Que s’est-il passé dans la chambre 622 du Palace de Verbier?”

 

READING NEXT

  The Readers' Room The Sleepwalkers  

📚The Readers’ Room, by Antoine Laurain
To be published on September 22, 2020 by Gallic Books
Received for review.

I really enjoy Antoine Laurain’s books, such as Vintage 1954, so I’m thrilled I received it for review.

“When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees.
But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story…
Antoine Laurain, bestselling author of The Red Notebook, combines intrigue and charm in this dazzling novel of mystery, love and the power of books.”

📚 The Sleepwalkers, by Hermann Broch (1932)
This is the book I got for the last Classics Spin.
I know I will not have time to finish it, but I hope to begin it at least.
Details on the link

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

  Pandemia  Vesper Flights

📚 Pandemia, by Franck Thilliez (2015)
This French author knows how to write thrillers! There are some pretty horrific details at times, but man, this guy knows how to write!!
I decided to read this one, as the details are so so close to what we have been going through with Covid-169, yet he write it 5 years ago!!

Julie disappeared when she was 17.
Twelve years later, her dad, a cop who investigated a lot to find her, wakes up in a hotel room, not remembering anything from the past 12 years, and with ID papers bearing another person’s name. Why? What happened? Who is he? Where’s Julie?
This plot is unbelievable, so clever, with books within the book.

📚 Vesper Flights, by Helen Macdonald (August 27 by Vintage)
Ebook received for review through Netgalley
And I just received it in audio through Libro.fm!!
If you have a blog and love audiobooks, you should check that link to their Influence Program. They have amazing titles this month!

I actually listened to her previous book, H is For Hawk, she’s a great narrator, so I’m really excited about this one.

“From the internationally acclaimed author of H is for Hawk comes Vesper Flights, a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world. In Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved pieces, along with new essays on topics and stories ranging from nostalgia and science fiction to the true account of a refugee’s flight to the UK. Her pieces ranges from accounts of swan upping on the Thames to watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary to seeking the last golden orioles in Suffolk’s poplar forests. She writes about wild boar, swifts, mushroom hunting, migraines, the strangeness of birds’ nests, what we do when we watch wildlife and why.
This is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us, by one of this century’s most important and insightful nature writers.”

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

Review copies (historical novel and horror) available at France Book Tours
And another one will be posted today or tomorrow,
in Middle Grade Historical fiction!

PLANS FOR SEPTEMBER

📚 Now the big news for September 29 is my 10th blogiversary!!!
I want to do something special, but don’t know yet exactly what, so come back on September 4 to help me plan this big event!

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

Save