Sunday Post #40 – 2/28/2021

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

And yes, I can finally change refrain!
We still have lots of snow (in Chicagoland) on the ground, but yesterday afternoon we had a heat wave in the mid 50s. I walked an hour and a half on our sunny close-by university campus, marveling at tree buds, then soaked in the sun sitting in our yard. It was so warm, yet we were inches away from still a lot of snow pilled up. I even opened our windows for a few hours. I feel like reviving. And even some birds are getting into their spring songs.

📚 JUST READ / LISTENED TO 🎧

  Gone by Midnight Jourde & Naulleau  

La Vallée

📚 Gone by Midnight, by Candice Fox
Published on March 10, 2020 (US publication)

I finished two thrillers this past week, and they actually had common elements. They both involved children, suffering because of crazy adults.

This is book 3 in this series, after Crimson Lake and Redemption Point.
A few couples were staying at a hotel. While the parents were downstairs drinking ad having a nice time together, their kids stayed together playing in their room. When Sara goes up to check on them, her own son is gone.
She decides to ask Ted’s help because of his life experience: in the previous books, policeman Ted was accused of kidnapping a girl.
No denying this is great writing, and I really enjoyed most of it. The author is fabulous at creating creepy ambiance (related to people, to settings, and even landscape, here involving muggy Australian areas infested with crocodiles) and suspense. But then when the reality of what happened surfaced, it got too much for me.
I know this is life, and alas, lots of kids go through hell here on earth because of some insane adults, and I really mean pathologically insane people.
Thankfully, the book also features some adults trying to build a positive future for next generations.
Still, these days, I no longer feel like reading about these heavy themes, so I’m going to try to stay away from that type of thrillers for a while.

🎧 La Vallée, by Bernard Minier
Published on April 2, 2020
Not yet available in English

My decision to stay away from these types of books got confirmed by the French thriller I just finished listening to.
A woman disappeared. Then eight years later, police inspector Martin Servaz receives a phone call from her, asking for his help, in a remote valley.
Again, I do believe the author is masterful in the areas highlighted above, although this time we are in France. He also had powerful red herrings.
But again, the ambiance and the topic got worse and worse, with more pathologically insane adults, here using kids to put their evil plans to work. Here too, alas I know the scenario could be totally plausible, as I know probably about less than 1% of what’s really happening through the dark net. But I really don’t need to know more, I know enough of human condition to take it all in my prayer.
Besides the main plot is a subplot about the growing difficulty for the police to do their daily job. All very true and disturbing as well.
You could say one of the main reasons I read novels is for escapism, I agree. I counterbalance this with reading nonfiction to get informed and spiritual books to nourish my prayer and inner life.
Even though there were here also a few adults really trying to help younger generations to have the tools to grow and be happy, some passages seemed to be steeped in a very negative view on humanity. Even though we are surrounded by a lot of evil, I still think there’s an underlying goodness at the bottom of each heart, and that no, humans are not born evil. I’m a Christian Orthodox, and our view of human nature is very far from Saint Augustine’s.

📚 Le Jourde & Naulleau, by Perre Jourde and Éric Naulleau
Published in 2008

In a totally different genre, I finished this hilarious pastiche on a famous collection of French literature textbooks. I loved it, and had great laughs at all the smart references, though I’m sure I missed a lot more.
Seventeen authors are presented, with excerpts of their books. The excerpts are real, though sometimes the style and content is so bad indeed that I had to check if Jourde & Naulleau had made them up. They had not! And some of these authors did receive some literary awards…
The fun comes with the notes and comments added to these excerpts by Jourde & Naulleau. It is really typical French humor, sometimes acerbic to the max! So actually 280 pages was a good length, I don’t think I could have gone on much more with it.

📚 CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧

 Dictionnaire amoureux du polar      FutureofBuildingsBookCover

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

Lemaitre, a very renowned author of thrillers (see for instance Three Days and a Life – highly recommended) himself, shares his love of the genre by presenting other authors, books, and themes related to it.
His comments are not too academic, I like the style, and I am starting listing all kinds of books I want to try!

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

I featured this book a few weeks ago and won it at the giveaway.
It’s technical, but very accessible and fascinating, about current and future use of buildings, transportation and power, and the interaction between the three. I am learning all kinds of interesting facts about  current trends in these areas, and how they may impact our planet in the years to come.

📚 I am also reading three spiritual books:

  • a 19th century Orthodox commentary on Psalm 118
  • a book by a friend, in which she shares her experience as a former member of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • I am listening to the Book of Ecclesiastes (for my project to listen to the whole Bible)

And I am the first reader for a thriller wrote by a friend, the author of Stone Killer. He sends me a chapter at a time and I send him my remarks. I do hope it’s not going to turn too dark and sinister like the two above thrillers.

📚 BOOK UP NEXT 📚

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

📚 Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Published in 2015, translated by Geoffrey Trousselot in 2019

My next book is going to be Japanese, for the Japanese Literature Challenge.
It may be this one, that I would read along with another lover of Japanese lit. If he is not available now, I will read another of the Japanese books I listed here for March.

What would you change if you could go back in time?
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?”

📚 LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚

    One of Us is Lying   Untraceable

I know I wrote above I was going to stay away from too dark and creepy thrillers. So is it wise considering reading these? Let me know.

📚 One of Us is Lying, by Karen M. McManus
Published in 2017

This is a YA thriller, a genre I rarely read, but the geeky social media aspect is intriguing.

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

📚 Untraceable, by Sergei Lebedev
Published February 2, 2021 by New Vessel Press

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book I read by this contemporary Russian author, Oblivion. My experience with his next book was not as good. Still, I am very interested in the topic of this one, so I hope it will work for me.

“In 2018, a former Russian secret agent and his daughter were poisoned with a lethal neurotoxin that left them slumped over on a British park bench in critical condition. The story of who did it, and how these horrendous contaminants were developed, captivates and terrifies in equal measure. It has inspired acclaimed author Sergei Lebedev’s latest page-turning novel. At its center is a scheming chemist named Professor Kalitin, obsessed with developing an absolutely deadly, undetectable and untraceable poison for which there is no antidote. He becomes consumed by guilt over the death of his wife, the first accidental victim of his Faustian pact to create the ultimate venom, and the deaths of hundreds of test subjects. After he defects from the Soviet Union to spend his “retirement” years in the West, two Russian secret agents are dispatched to assassinate him. In this fast-paced, genre-bending novel, Lebedev weaves tension-filled pages of stunningly beautiful prose exploring the historical trajectories of evil. From Nazi labs, Stalinist plots, the Chechen Wars, to present-day Russia, Lebedev probes the ethical responsibilities of scientists supplying modern tyrants and autocrats with ever newer instruments of retribution, destruction and control. Lebedev, one of Russia’s most important and exciting writers, has never been better.”

📚 BOOKS RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚

I recently won two books, and they both arrived the same day!

  Before the Coffee Gets Cold The Code Breaker

📚 Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Published in 2015, translated by Geoffrey Trousselot in 2019

As you know, I have been participating in the Japanese Literature Challenge for several years, and this year, I won this book! Thanks Meredith! Plus, she joined a gorgeous picture of Japanese trees taken during one of her trips, and a cute Japanese bookmark!!
See description above.

📚 The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, by Walter Isaacson
Expected publication: March 9, 2021 by Simon & Schuster

I have read two books by Isaacson: his biography of Benjamin Franklin, and more recently, I really enjoyed a lot The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.
So when I saw there was a Goodreads giveaway for his upcoming book, I entered right away, and I won! I haven’t won a book on Goodreads for ages.
I have run into Jennifer Doudna recently, so to speak, because I was studying a bit the CRISPR with my French International Baccalaureate student (because in 2020, Doudna with French scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this technique).
This was one of the top nonfiction on my 2021 TBR, thanks Goodreads!

INTERESTING LINKS FOUND THIS WEEK

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

ABOUT BOOKS:
Cozy mysteries aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’re as popular as ever.
 

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

📚 Book of the month giveaway – last day to enter !
Loving Modigliani
📚 Books available for free this month, to review at your own pace, last day available!
Alina_A Song For the Telling
The Last CollectionThe Beautiful American  
📚
Review copies available for upcoming book tours:
Victorine  Madeleine Last French Casquette Bride in New Orleans

📚 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

  • 3/1: February recap on this site
  • 3/1: Book of the month on France Book Tours
  • 3/2: March TBR
  • 3/4: Throwback Thursday
  • 3/5: Book review?
  • 3/6: Six Degrees of Separation

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

Sunday Post #39 – 2/21/2021

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

Same refrain: cold and snow – but looks like it might be the last week of that. Finally.
This past week, however, I finished only one book. Well, that’s what happens when you are reading seven at the same time…

📚 JUST READ 📚  

Encre sympathique

📚 Encre sympathique, by Patrick Modiano
Published in 2019
It was translated in English (Invisible Ink) in 2020 by Mark Polizzotti

I first wrote my review here, and then realized it ended up being long enough for a post by itself, so it will be live tomorrow.

📚 CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧

Gone by Midnight Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

  Jourde & Naulleau  FutureofBuildingsBookCover

La Vallée

📚 Gone by Midnight, by Candice Fox
Published on March 10, 2020 (US publication)

This is book 3 in this series, after Crimson Lake and Redemption Point.
A few couples were staying at a hotel. While the parents were downstairs having a nice time together, their kids stayed together playing in their room. When Sara goes up to check on them, her own son is gone.
The police can’t find any clue at all. And as Sara has had some issues in her earlier life, she becomes a suspect herself. So she decides to ask Ted’s help because of his own experience: In the previous books, policeman Ted was accused of kidnapping a girl.

I’m halfway and really enjoying it. The author is really good at creating ambiance and suspense.

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

I have read at least five books by Lemaitre (the shortest and least disturbing as far violence is definitely Three Days and a Life – highly recommended), so when I saw a review of this book on a French book blog, I didn’t hesitate a second. And I even started reading it right away!
Lemaitre, a very renowned author of thrillers (and historical novels) himself, decided to share his love of the genre by presenting other authors. The introduction is very good. The only problem is I’m probably going to end up adding tons of titles to my TBR!

📚 Le Jourde & Naulleau, by Perre Jourde and Éric Naulleau
Published in 2008

A totally hilarious pastiche on a famous collection of French literature textbooks. Loving it!

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

I featured this book a few weeks ago, and ended up winning the giveaway!
It’s quite technical, but accessible and fascinating, about current and future use of buildings, transportation and power, and the interaction between the three. For instance, how some parking decks produce all the electricity hey need, thanks to solar panels, and even more than they need, so that nearby buildings use that surplus.

🎧 La Vallée, by Bernard Minier
Published on April 2, 2020
Not yet available n English

A woman disappeared. Then eight years later, police inspector Martin Servaz receives a phone call from her, asking for his help.
This is very good so far, but I’m a bit nervous about the role some Cistercian monks may have in the story. A zone of interest is indeed close to heir abbey, deep in the Pyrenees.

I am also reading two spiritual books.
And the author of Stone Killer has asked me to be his first reader of the thriller he is currently writing, and to send him my reactions after each chapter.

📚 BOOK UP NEXT 📚

A Fine Line

📚 A Fine Line, by Alan Burns
Published in 2017

Dan Burns in an Illinois Chicago author I met at a couple of events. I liked his style in his short story collection No Turning Back.

“A Fine Line is a story about Sebastian Drake, a struggling writer working out of a dilapidated apartment in the city and trying to come up with his next story idea. Drake receives an unexpected visit from a man interested in hiring him for a project and who thinks he has just the solution to Drake’s writing challenges. He also thinks that Drake’s past and secret life with a shadow government organization is a valuable asset.
His proposition to Drake is simple: become a hired agent to investigate a cold murder case involving one of Chicago’s most powerful political families. The job comes with a decent paycheck, all the support he might need, and the types of real life experiences that can form the basis for great fiction stories.
This is a story about a man with a new lease on life, a man who leads a dual existence. By day, he is an aspiring author. By night, he is a rogue undercover and unknown vigilante. His biggest challenge is keeping intact the fine line of reality and fiction.”

📚 LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚

  The Noise of Time Yokohama Station SF

📚 The Noise of Time, by Julian Barnes
Published in 2016

We had our book club meeting yesterday night (on Google Meet). We do trading titles every month, meaning, at each meeting, each member talks about the book he/she has recently read. One member presented this one, a historical novel on Shostakovich.
I have yet to read this author (I know, really!!), but I watched this fascinating documentary on Shostakovich, so I definitely want to read this one.

“A compact masterpiece dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich: Julian Barnes’s first novel since his best-selling, Man Booker Prize–winning The Sense of an Ending.
In 1936, Shostakovitch, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken a sudden interest in his work and denounced his latest opera. Now, certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, executed on the spot), Shostakovitch reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, various women and wives, his children—and all who are still alive themselves hang in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, for decades to come he will be held fast under the thumb of despotism: made to represent Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York City, forced into joining the Party and compelled, constantly, to weigh appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music.
Barnes elegantly guides us through the trajectory of Shostakovitch’s career, at the same time illuminating the tumultuous evolution of the Soviet Union. The result is both a stunning portrait of a relentlessly fascinating man and a brilliant exploration of the meaning of art and its place in society..”

📚 Yokohama Station SF, by Yuba Isukari, Tatsuyuki Tanaka (Visual Art)
Expected publication: March 30th 2021 by Yen On

I saw mention of this on a French book blog I think. but I’m not even sure if it’s a graphic novel or not. Anyway, I like the premise of this Japanese scifi.

In a future where Yokohama Station covers most of the island of Honshu, there are two ways of life-inside the station and outside. Life within the station is strictly controlled, and those who fail to follow the rules are expelled to the harsher world outside. When one of these exiles receives a temporary ticket to go into the station, he’s also given a mission to find the leader of a group determined to free humanity. ”

📚 BOOK ACQUIRED THIS PAST WEEK 📚

Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

See above

INTERESTING LINKS

Some bloggers share links they found interesting n the past week. I have tried doing this on and off. I’ll try again. Let me know if this is something you would appreciate finding on this blog. Obviously, there will links to articles in English or French.

ABOUT BOOKS:
The genrefication of national literatures
Unseen work by Proust announced as ‘thunderclap’ by French publisher
La Villa du Temps retrouvé : un musée-maison de Marcel Proust, à Cabourg

ON MEMORY, and other important elements to live better in our current society:
Advice Given by a Famous Author [Umberto Eco] to his Grandson

ABOUT JAPANESE:
Wondrous Words: Kaika and Ikigai

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

📚 Book of the month giveaway
Loving Modigliani
📚 Books available for free this month, to review an your own pace
Alina_A Song For the Telling
The Last CollectionThe Beautiful American  
📚
Review copy available for upcoming book tour: Victorine (literary/histfic)Victorine
📚 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

  • 2/23: Top Ten Tuesday maybe, on Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud
  • 2/24: Book review: The Toughest Sudoku Puzzle Book
  • 2/26: Book Beginnings: L’Origine

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

Sunday Post #38 – 2/14/2021

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

More snow, and another cold week, the last one it looks like. Hibernation with books is still my program. I finished five books this past week! Three had actually a lot in common.

📚 JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧

Hikikomori   A cat a man and two women

Devils in Daylight  The Half-Finished Heaven      

📚 Hikikomori and the Rental Sister, by Jeff Backhaus
Published in 2013

As I am doing the Japanese Literature Challenge, I thought it was perfect timing to finally read this novel that has been sitting on my shelf for a while.
As shown in the title, it’s focused on a contemporary mostly Japanese social phenomenon: hikikomori. These people withdraw from society, seeking extreme degrees of social isolation and confinement.
In this novel, a wife is very concerned for her husband Thomas, who’s been a hikikomori in New York for three years. She hires Megumi, a young woman, a Japanese Korean immigrant, to try to help her husband reconnect with society. Megumi’s own brother also experienced this phase in his life.
The author is not Japanese, but still, I found something of the simple beauty and melancholy I often find in Japanese novels. It’s a powerful book about human relationships, about grief, about love.

Hikikomori p1We get to know little by little what led Thomas to that type of life.
Can Megumi’s life experience and knowledge of her brother’s issues help her come to Thomas’s rescue? And how will that impact her own life?
It’s a very deep book I think, that will stay with me. The ending was very satisfying. 

📚 A Cat, a Man, and Two Women, by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
Published in 1936
Translated by Paul McCarthy
Read for Japanese Reading Challenge 14, Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

I have read four books by Tanizaki this year, and they are all very different, including a fascinating essay on Japanese aesthetics.
This one is about a love triangle involving a cat! And a cat with a lot of character, as any cat owner would expect!
Shozo has gotten rid of his wife Shinako. Possibly under the heavy influence of his mother, who had some personal interest in Shozo choosing another wife. Shinako is lonely and experiencing a complex range of feelings towards her ex.
Remembering the importance the cat Lily had in his life, she decides to ask for the cat to be hers.
Will she get the cat, that she originally hated for taking so much room in her former husband’s heart? How will she behave with the cat? What will Shozo do without his cat? And what about the cat herself, how will she react?
This is a neat small novel also about human relationships in all its complexities, including manipulation.
Shozo  appears as a weak character, always vacillating (why is there always so much vacillation in many Japanese classics I have read so far?). He appears even weaker when we eventually discover his real feelings near the end of the book.
The book has an open conclusion, which I thought worked well with the type of characters present in the novel.
Behind it all is also a lot of comedy.
I highly recommend it to lovers of Japanese literature or to readers who have never read a Japanese novel. It’s short and is quite representative of Japanese classics, I think. And of course, it’s a must for all cat lovers!

📚 Devils in Daylight, by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
Published in 1918
Read in its French translation, Dans l’œil du démon, by Patrick Honoré and Ryoko Sekiguchi.
Read for Japanese Reading Challenge 14, Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

So after that, I right away read another book by Tanizaki, this time a mystery. I couldn’t find an English version at the ready, so I read it in French.
One day, Takahashi receives a phone call from his friend Sonomura. He says he found a note containing a secret code. Thanks to his knowledge of a similar thing in Edgar Allan Poe, he managed to decrypt the message, and knows that a murder is going to take place at a particular place.
He thinks this is pretty exciting and invites Takahashi  to accompany him to watch.
Takahashi knows his friend is kind of crazy, so he first thinks this is all an invention, but then little by little evidence piles up that this is for real…
This was a very clever short novel, again about human relationships and manipulation! Alongside an unhealthy kind of love.
I found some weird mix of language registers in the French translation, with some very literary passages along very informal or even slang. I cannot alas compare with the original version, nor with another translation, so I’m not sure if this is due to a bad translation.
Still, it’s a very good story with an unexpected twist.

📚 The Half-Finished Heaven, by Tomas Tranströmer
Published in 1962
Translated by Robert Bly
Reading for Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

And now to something totally different, a small collection of poems by Tomas Tranströmer, a Swedish poet who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011.
I forgot how I ran into him, and decided to give it a try.
I like his style, sometimes containing obscure images, but very evocative of nature and its impact on people.
If you wonder about Vermeer’s painting on the cover, it’s because Tranströmer wrote a whole poem inventing a scenario around it.
Here are a few poems I really liked:

Transtromer

🎧 And I listened to the Book of Proverbs, for my project to relisten to the whole Bible.

📚 CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧

Gone by Midnight Encre sympathique

  Jourde & Naulleau La Vallée

It feels so good to be up to date with review copies and reading challenges, and to take time to read books from my shelves, or just any book that strikes my fancy of the moment

📚 Gone by Midnight, by Candice Fox
Published on March 10, 2020 (US publication)

I discovered Australian thriller author Candice Fox fairly recently. After Crimson Lake and Redemption Point, I’m glad I can finally read book 3 in the series, which seems to be just as good.

“Crimson Lake is where people with dark pasts come to disappear—and where others vanish into thin air…
Four young boys are left alone in a hotel room while their parents dine downstairs. When Sara Farrow checks on the children at midnight, her son is missing.
Distrustful of the police, Sara turns to Crimson Lake’s unlikeliest private investigators—disgraced cop Ted Conkaffey and convicted killer Amanda Pharrell. For Ted, the case couldn’t have come at a worse time. Two years ago a false accusation robbed him of his career, his reputation, and most importantly, his family. But now Lillian, the daughter he barely knows, is coming to stay in his ramshackle cottage by the lake.
Ted must dredge up the area’s worst characters to find the missing boy. The clock is ticking, and the danger he uncovers could well put his own child in deadly peril.”

📚 Encre synpathique, by Patrick Modiano
Published in 2019

I fell in love with Modiano‘s style back in 1978 with Rue des boutiques obscures (Prix Goncourt – translated as Missing Person). Since then, after reading several more of his novels, I got sometimes tired of his style, with so many characteristics common to all his novels.
Still, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2014. And some of his later novels had even sometimes elements closer to the mystery genre, like Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier, translated as So you don’t get lost in the neighborhood).
A French student of mine really enjoyed his latest book, and she managed to convince me to try it. I am obviously reading it in French, but it was translated in English (Invisible Ink) in 2020 by Mark Polizzotti.

“The latest work from Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano, Invisible Ink is a spellbinding tale of memory and its illusions. Private detective Jean Eyben receives an assignment to locate a missing woman, the mysterious Noëlle Lefebvre. While the case proves fruitless, the clues Jean discovers along the way continue to haunt him. Three decades later, he resumes the investigation for himself, revisiting old sites and tracking down witnesses, compelled by reasons he can’t explain to follow the cold trail and discover the shocking truth once and for all.”

📚 Le Jourde & Naulleau, by Perre Jourde and Éric Naulleau
Published in 2008

Unfortunately, this book will probably never be translated in English, and it would remain totally obscure for readers not familiar with contemporary French authors.
It is actually a totally hilarious pastiche on a famous collection of French literature textbooks, les Lagarde & Michard, that generations of French students studied with. it consists in 6 volumes, one on the Middle Ages, then on 16th, etc., until the 20th century. These books were published between 1948 and 1962. They are the most printed  French textbooks, with over 20 million copies, and are now available as ebooks.
Each volume presents the important literary movements of that century; biographies of the main authors, with excerpts of their works, notes, explanations and assignment questions for students.
So Jourde and Naulleau decided to follow that format to “analyze” low quality contemporary French authors. They also added answer keys to some of their questions. It is really totally hilarious, very disrespectful as the French know how to do. I laugh aloud at every page.

And I’m also into French with my current audiobook, a very popular author of thrillers, but that I had not read yet:

🎧 La Vallée, by Bernard Minier
Published on April 2, 2020
Not yet available n English

In the middle of the night, police inspector Martin Servaz receives a phone call from a woman asking his help. The weird thing is that she disappeared eight years before and he had not heard from her ever since.
I just listened to a passage taking place close to and in a Cistercian monastery. That was unexpected and neat, as I’m very familiar with that milieu.

📚 BOOK UP NEXT 📚

Maybe this book, or the one I received this past week,  see below.

A Fine Line

📚 A Fine Line, by Alan Burns
Published in 2017

Dan Burns in an Illinois Chicago author I met at a couple of events. I liked his style in his short story collection No Turning Back, so a few years ago I bought this one, a thriller.

“A Fine Line is a story about Sebastian Drake, a struggling writer working out of a dilapidated apartment in the city and trying to come up with his next story idea. Drake receives an unexpected visit from a man interested in hiring him for a project and who thinks he has just the solution to Drake’s writing challenges. He also thinks that Drake’s past and secret life with a shadow government organization is a valuable asset.
His proposition to Drake is simple: become a hired agent to investigate a cold murder case involving one of Chicago’s most powerful political families. The job comes with a decent paycheck, all the support he might need, and the types of real life experiences that can form the basis for great fiction stories.
This is a story about a man with a new lease on life, a man who leads a dual existence. By day, he is an aspiring author. By night, he is a rogue undercover and unknown vigilante. His biggest challenge is keeping intact the fine line of reality and fiction.”

📚 LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚

The Hunting Gun The Waiting Years

Two Japanese classics, surprised? lol . Two famous authors I have not read yet.

📚 The Hunting Gun, by Yasushi Inoue
Published in 1949

“The Hunting Gun, set in the period immediately following WWII, follows the consequences of a tragic love affair among well-to-do people in an exclusive suburb of the great commercial cities of Osaka and Kobe. Told from the viewpoints of three different women, this is a story of the psychological impact of illicit love. First viewed through the eyes of Shoko, who learns of the affair through reading her mother’s diary, then through the eyes of Midori, who had long known about the affair of her husband with Saiko, and finally through the eyes of Saiko herself.”

📚 The Waiting Years, by Fumiko Enchi
Published in 1957

The beautiful, immature girl whom she took home to her husband was a maid only in name. Tomo’s real mission had been to find him a mistress. Nor did her secret humiliation end there. The web that his insatiable lust spun about him soon trapped another young woman, and another … and the relationships between the women thus caught were to form, over the years, a subtle, shifting pattern in which they all played a part. There was Suga, the innocent, introspective girl from a respectable but impoverished family; the outgoing, cheerful, almost boyish Yumi; the flirtatious, seductive Miya, who soon found her father-in-law more dependable as a man than his brutish son…. And at the center, rejected yet dominating them all, the near tragic figure of the wife Tomo, whose passionate heart was always, until that final day, held in check by an old-fashioned code.
In a series of colorful, unforgettable scenes, Enchi brilliantly handles the human interplay within the ill-fated Shirakawa family. Japan’s leading woman novelist and a member of the prestigious Art Academy, she combines a graceful, evocative style that consciously echoes the Tale of Genji with keen insight and an impressive ability to develop her characters over a long period of time. Her work is rooted deep in the female psychology, and it is her women above all-so clearly differentiated yet all so utterly feminine-who live in the memory. With The Waiting Years, a new and important literary figure makes her debut in the Western world.
 ”

📚 BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚

FutureofBuildingsBookCover

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

I featured this book a few weeks ago, and ended up winning the giveaway! Sounds really fascinating.

“The evolution of buildings, transportation and power will determine how our future looks and feels, and in the book Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber argue the Energy Efficiency Megatrend will shape our future technology.
Buildings and vehicles will evolve into sentient-appearing machines such that we will be living, working and moving about inside robots. Buildings may develop personalities and the transportation system will have any manner of vehicle available at a moment’s notice. This complex, interconnected system will be powered by the clean and efficient conversion of fuels and energy flows that surround us.”

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

📚 Book of the month giveaway
📚 Books available for free this month, to review an your own pace
📚
Review copy available for upcoming book tour: Victorine (literary/histfic)
📚 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

  • 2/16: Top Ten Tuesday, with Purple, Yellow, and/or Green Book Covers
  • Possibly short reviews of classics
  • Memes participation for L’Origine

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?