My top 10 books for the 1976 Club

1976-club

#1976Club

For several years, Simon at Stuck in a Book, has been organizing club years, in which he encourages everybody to read books published in the same year.

This time, he chose 1976

I think the main idea is to draw a literary portrait of that year.
If you are curious, you can check on this Goodreads list or on this one (less complete, but you can compare with the books you have read), or on this wikipedia page (more complete I think) titles of books published that year.

Before considering what to read for this club, it seems I had read 8 books published that year.

Click on the book covers to discover my reviews

2 mysteries: 

  Mrs Pollifax on Safari   Sleeping Murder  

Mrs. Pollifax on Safari is the #5 in this delightful series with Mrs. Pollifax.
Imagine: Emily Pollifax is retired and is bored, so she goes to the CIA if by any chance they would have some little jobs for her. Who would think twice about this grand-mother who loves flowery hats? She would actually be a perfect spy. So in each book of these books, she’s sent on a mission in a different country.

You may not all know Mrs. Pollifax, but you all know Miss Marple.
Sleeping Murder is #12.

1 poetry in prose:

Alphabet

I recently fell again in love with Paul Valéry, and I read this one a few months ago.
It’s a collection of vignettes each starting by a letter of the alphabet, written as poetry prose. Powerful gem!

1 classic nonfiction:

Roots

I read Roots in my late teens, in French.

3 spiritual nonfiction books:

  The Genesee Diary   One Yet Two

For those who are into spirituality, Henri Nouwen is an important author. Combine that to the milieu of a Trappist monastery in his Genesee Diary (Genesee is a Trappist abbey in Piffard, NY), and you have quite a nourishing book!

When looking for a cover for this post, I was shocked to discover that One Yet Two: Monastic Tradition East and West, edited by the Trappist monk Basil Pennington is no longer available in print.
Very sad, as it was an excellent compilation of the Orthodox-Cistercian Symposium that was held at Oxford University, from August 26 to September 1st, 1973. A very important symposium for unity of Christians. The articles were excellent.

Second Look at Saint Bernard

And same for A Second Look at Saint Bernard (by Jean Leclercq, the Belgian authoritative voice on Saint Bernard of Clairvaux), which I read back then in French.
So sad to see that very solid spiritual books published a mere 35 years ago are already out of print!

And I just read 2 this month for the #1976 club, which I am reviewing here:

Speedboat

Speedboat,
by Renata Adler
Published in 1976
192 pages
Literary fiction
Goodreads

My first reading for the #1976Club left me rather disappointed.
Speedboat is a novel without any plot, that reads more like a rather boring nonfiction work (though most of the nonfiction I read is NOT boring!).

The narrator is a young journalist in New York. She writes a collection of short vignettes with for the most part no beginning and no end, and which seem more or less random.
I actually often understood the connection between them, a keyword, or the type of connection that happens in your thoughts or during your dreams or nightmares, but still it left me rather cold. If I read experimental fiction, I prefer the real thing, coming from Oulipo writers especially.

As for the content, it looks like Adler is intending to provide us with glimpses into the cultural world of New York in the 1970s, with the variety of people you could have met then and there.
I’m too young to feel it as being familiar, especially as I didn’t grow up in the US.
1976 was a very important year for me, but that was thousands of miles away from the confused American youth.

My own mind is a tenement. Some elevators work.

“I have lost my sense of the whole” says the narrator. And that’s definitely the impression given by the book.

A few aphorisms did talk to me in the first quarter of the work, but not enough to make the whole book really interesting. 

I think sanity is the most profound moral option of our time.

Actually, in the one cultural element I had in common, my experience was vastly different.
The narrator was invited for a surprise event. It turned out it was a five-hour performance of Parsifal. She ends up being totally bored and her boyfriend who invited her sleeps during most of it.
When I was 16, Parsifal came out as an opera-movie. We had a special theater in my French city that would exclusively show that type of cultural movie. This was the closest for me to going to Bayreuth, which of course I would never have been able to afford.

So I went (by myself, no one else I knew was interested) to watch the five-hour opera-movie. Like in Speedboat, we were just a few in the room. But I didn’t sleep and it totally fascinated me. To this day, I remember some words of it in German.

Final verdict: A rather boring glimpse on the chaotic New York society of the 1970s. Skip.

A River Runs Through itA River Runs Through it,
by Norman Maclean
Published in 1976
168 pages
Historical fiction
Goodreads

From a boat we go to a river and to fly fishing – totally by chance.

I know nothing about fly fishing or plain fishing, but still I thoroughly enjoyed the style of the author, with all his highlights on the beauty of nature, and the close connection between the inner landscape of his characters and the outdoors.

A River Runs Through it was published when the author was 73, and I think you can feel the tranquil wisdom of its author. Even the dramatic event concerning his brother near the end of the story is presented with a certain calmness.

It also contains a certain nostalgia at the past, at lost time, at people we have lost. 

It consists basically of reminiscences of a young boy with his brother Paul and his father, a Presbyterian minister, especially as they go fly fishing.

The first sentence grabbed me right away:

In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.

Now did you notice I actually mentioned 10 books?
So here is my fun story with my 10th:

I actually experienced a powerful memory near the end of A River Runs Through it.
A paragraph suddenly reminded me of another book about fish that I had read decades ago and had left me that same feeling of nostalgia.
It was extremely far in my memory, I couldn’t remember the author (I only thought maybe he was a Jean-Marie) nor the title (except that it was one short word and the noun of a fish).

I focused really hard with the sounds I could remember from the title, starting with something like sola, sora, to rhéa, to finally créa!! The book is Le Créa (which is a common name for un esturgeon, that is, a sturgeon) by Jean-Marc Soyez.

Le Créa

And the amazing thing is that this book was also published in 1976.
And I did manage to request it through inter-library loan.
It will be interesting to see if I experience what I felt when I read it about 45 years ago!

My year 1976 recap:
So beside my disappointment with Renata Adler, looks like this year brought a solid and memorable harvest.

HERE IS THE LINK TO ALL THE BOOKS REVIEWED FOR THE #1976CLUB

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE?
CLICK ON THE 1976 CLUB LOGO TO DISCOVER MANY MORE REVIEWS
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK PUBLISHED IN 1976?

2021: September wrap-up

SEPTEMBER 2021 WRAP-UP

September was another great reading month, with progress on my own challenges:

  • I have already reached my reading goal for the year, which was 120 books. Seems like I need to raise the bar every year!
  • I’m almost done with listening to all of Hercule Poirot
  • Which allowed me a little break in my audio program: I then listened to a French audio, a long sequel I was really looking forward.
  • And I even just started listening to The Thirteenth Tale.
    This is actually BIG for me, as it is the title that has been for the longest time on my Goodreads TBR. When I say longest, I really mean it. This is the first title I added to my TBR 10 years ago, when I joined Goodreads. My goal is to focus more and more on these titles that I have meant to read for so many years
  • I posted my review of Lessons From Walden, so I now only have one review late for books I requested a year ago (through Edelweiss). Alas, there are many books I have read this year and never wrote a review for them, but at least I’ll be caught up soon with the books I had requested.
  • And yesterday, I celebrated my 11th blogiversary. Didn’t do anything special, beside preparing this post!!

These goals actually are not really reflected in the number of pages I have read this year. The reason being I’m currently reading two massive books (one is 900 pages or so), and I’m not done. So numbers of pages will be high next month when I’m done with these two books.

📚 Here is what I read in September:

12 books:
6 in print 
with 1,590 pages, a daily average of 53 pages/day
6 in audio
= 48H05
, a daily average of 1H36
(which is almost 20 minutes more than last month. And the reason being a lot of work in the garden, especially picking a lot of green beans, cutting them, and blanching them. Perfect activity for audio time!

5 in mystery:

  1. After the Funeral (Hercule Poirot #33), by Agatha Christie
  2. Hickory Dickory Dock (Hercule Poirot #34), by Agatha Christie
  3. Dead Man’s Folly (Hercule Poirot #35), by Agatha Christie
  4. Cat Among the Pigeons (Hercule Poirot #36), by Agatha Christie – these first 4 were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club
  5. Rider on the Rain, by Sébastien Japrisot – for the Books in Translation Challenge and for The Classics Club. My review will be live on October 4

2 in science-fiction:

  1. The Islanders, by Christopher Priest
  2. Constance, by Matthew FitzSimmons – read to prepare for the Virtual Crime Book Club (Zoom discussion on October 11)

2 in YA/Children’s Book:

  1. Les deux châteaux (N.E.O. #2), by Michel Bussi – French audiobook
  2. Kaleidoscope, by Brian Selznick

1 in historical fiction:

  1. Les Évaporés, by Thomas B. Reverdy – in French with one of my students

1 in literary fiction:

  1. Rue des boutiques obscures, by Patrick Modiano – in French another of my students. This is a reread
  2. Les Mystères de Paris, volume 1, by Eugène Sue – French audiobook, for The Classics Club. 

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

Rider on the Rain  Les Évaporés

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 80/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 12 books
#20BooksofSummer21: 37/20 books
Total of books read in 2021 = 125/120 (104%)

Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 39

OTHER BOOKS  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

Lessons From Walden Killer Come Back to Me

Trap For Cinderella

And two short reviews:

  The Village of Eight Graves The Madness of Crowds

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

Lessons From Walden

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Top Ten Books on my Fall 2021 To-read List

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Caffeinated Reviewer
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!

TOP COMMENTERS 

Marianne at Let’s Read
Lexlingua
Greg at Book Haven
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,389 posts
over 5,500 followers
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📚

Come back on October 5
to see the books I plan to read in October

📚 📚 📚

How was YOUR month of September?

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

2021: August wrap-up

AUGUST 2021 WRAP-UP

I published a recap post yesterday on my #20BooksofSummer21, which went really well this year.
Now is time for a shorter recap, just on the month of August. I thought this month zoomed by too quickly, but I did actually manage to read a lot.
At the beginning of the year, I was averaging almost 14 books a month (more than my usual numbers), and I thought it was just because I was listening to a lot of (short) books from the Bible (Old Testament).
Well, I didn’t listen to any Bible book in August (as a little break between Old and New Testament), and still managed to read 16 books, so I’m glad with the numbers.

August has now my best statistics for 2021 so far, as for number of pages read per day.

Another neat thing is that I finally caught up with all the reviews I needed to write for Netgalley books read in 2020! I just need now to write 3 reviews for Edelweiss Plus books read in 2020, and I will be up to date on these.

It was fun participating in #BoutofBooks.
And I announced an upcoming Read-along/ buddy-read (with Marianne at Let’s Read) on The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie.

📚 Here is what I read in August:

16 books:
10 in print 
with 3,035 pages, a daily average of 97 pages/day
6 in audio
= 41H01
, a daily average of 1H19

12 in mystery:

  1. The Labors of Hercules (Hercule Poirot #27), by Agatha Christie
  2. The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories, by Agatha Christie
  3. Taken at the Flood (Hercule Poirot #28), by Agatha Christie
  4. Three Blind Mice and Other Stories, by Agatha Christie
  5. The Under Dog and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot #4), by Agatha Christie
  6. Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (Hercule Poirot #32), by Agatha Christie – these first 6 were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club
  7. Un Trou dans la toile, by Luc Chomarat – French ebook
  8. Tension extrême, by Sylvain Forge – French ebook
  9. Bomber’s Moon, by Archer Mayor
  10. A Fine Line, by Dan Burns
  11. The Madness of Crowds, by Louise Penny
  12. Le Village aux huit tombes, by Seishi Yokomizo – Japanese classic in French translation, for the Books in Translation Challenge and for The Classics Club

2 in nonfiction:

  1. History in English Words, by Owen Barfield – for The Classics Club
  2. Looking for The Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic, by Alice Kaplan

1 in historical fiction:

  1. The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy

1 in literary fiction:

  1. Midaq Alley, by Naguib Mahfouz – for the Books in Translation Challenge and for The Classics Club

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

    Midaq Alley The Madness of Crowds

Tension extrème

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 74/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 12 books
#20BooksofSummer21: 37/20 books
Total of books read in 2021 = 113/120 (94%)

Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 18

OTHER BOOKS  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

  The Inugami Curse To Hold Up the Sky

 

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

French houseclick on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Six degrees of separation: from a postcard to a riddle

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Julie Anna’s Books
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!
You might also consider joining this awesome community

TOP COMMENTERS 

Lexlingua
Marianne at Let’s Read

Greg at Book Haven
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,378 posts
over 5,490 followers
over 226,000 hits

📚

Come back on Friday
to see the books I plan to read in September

📚 📚 📚

How was YOUR month of August?

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