The top 10 books to read in December 2022

Here are
The top 10 books
I plan to read in December 2022

This month, I’ll focus on a few “Christmas time” books, and trying to finish a few projects.

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret

📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon

Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
Reading with French student E.
It counts for The Classics Club

This is the first collection of short stories in the Maigret series (written between 1936-1938).

We have read 5 out of the 19  short stories included, and so far have been enjoing finding in this shorter genre the same quality of writing as in Simenon’s novels.

Du fond des âges

📚 Du Fond des âges, by René Manzor
French Mystery and scifi?
Published on October 19, 2022
Reading with French student F.

This is my our novel by Manzor and so far we are really enjoying it, though we have no idea what’s going on and where it’s going.
This is not available yet un English.

“New Zealand. A little boy runs breathlessly through the streets of Christchurch, chased by an armed man.
Gunshots erupt. At the hospital, they discover that the child was reported missing three years ago.
His name is Nateo, he is the son of the famous explorer Marcus Taylor.
Why has he been found now? Was he kidnapped? Did he run away? And who would want to kill an eight-year-old child?
A year earlier, glaciologist Marcus Taylor led a mission of scientists on a base in the middle of Antarctica.
When they arrived there, they discovered ransacked and deserted buildings. The previous team disappeared without a trace.
What connection is there between the reappearance of the child and this expedition which turns into a nightmare?
One thing is certain. It’s too late to be afraid…”

Wanderlust📚 Wanderlust, by Rebecca Solnit
Nonfiction / History and Travel Essays
Published in 2001
Reading for the 2022 TBR Pile Challenge

I ended up reading another nonfiction this past month, the new Murakami: Novelist as a Vocation, so I haven’t finished Wanderlust yet.
I really like how Solnit explores various topics in relation to walking, like pilgrimages, mazes, labyrinths, or memorization techniques!

“This volume provides a history of walking, exploring the relationship between thinking and walking and between walking and culture. The author argues for the preservation of the time and space in which to walk in an ever more car-dependent and accelerated world.”

I am also reading an excellent Orthodox book by Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou: Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and Acquiring the Orthodox Christian Mind.
But I am going slow, as we organize weekly discussions with our catechumens focused on it.

📚 READING NEXT 📚

A Death in Tokyo📚 A Death in Tokyo (Kyoichiro Kaga #9),
by Keigo Higashino

Japanese mystery
Published in March 2011/December 13, 2022
by Minotaur books.
Received for review through Netgalley

I enjoy a lot this author. It’s the 9th book in the series in Japanese, but actually the 3rd in English translation, after Malice and Newcomer.

“In the latest from international bestselling author Keigo Higashino, Tokyo Police Detective Kaga is faced with a very public murder that doesn’t quite add up, a prime suspect unable to defend himself, and pressure from the highest levels for a quick solution.
In the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo an unusual statue of a Japanese mythic beast – a kirin – stands guard over the district from the classic Nihonbashi bridge. In the evening, a man who appears to be very drunk staggers onto the bridge and collapses right under the statue of the winged beast. The patrolman who sees this scene unfold, goes to rouse the man, only to discover that the man was not passed out, he was dead; that he was not drunk, he was stabbed in the chest. However, where he died was not where the crime was committed – the key to solving the crime is to find out where he was attacked and why he made such a super human effort to carry himself to the Nihonbashi Bridge. That same night, a young man named Yashima is injured in a car accident while attempting to flee from the police. Found on him is the wallet of the murdered man.

Tokyo Police Detective Kyoichiro Kaga is assigned to the team investigating the murder – and must bring his skills to bear to uncover what actually happened that night on the Nihonbashi bridge. What, if any, connection is there between the murdered man and Yashima, the young man caught with his wallet? Kaga’s investigation takes him down dark roads and into the unknown past to uncover what really happened and why.

A Death in Tokyo is another mind-bending mystery from the modern master of classic crime, finalist for both an Edgar Award and a CWA Dagger, the internationally bestselling Keigo Higashino.”

A World of Curiosities

 

📚  A World of Curiosities
(Armand Gamache #18), by Louise Penny

Mystery
Published on November 29, 2022

Did you hear? Sounds like a Three Pines series will start being available on Amazon Prime tomorrow, December 2!

I have devoured every volume of this series. They were already 8 people ahead of me when I requested it at my library, like six months ago! But hopefully, they will buy more copies and I can read it in December.

“Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in the eighteenth book in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny’s beloved series.
It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.
But something has.
As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.
But to what end?
Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?
As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.
In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.”

Arvo Pärt_Out of Silence

📚 Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence,
by Peter C. Bouteneff

Nonfiction/Music/Biography
Published in
2015
Will be reading for the 2022 TBR Pile Challenge

I hope to finish Wanderlust and then read this, my 12th and final title for this challenge.
I really enjoy a lot this composer, and I hve heard how good this book is.

“Listeners often speak of a certain mystery in the way that Arvo Pärt evokes spirituality through his music, but no one has taken a sustained, close look at how he achieves this. Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence examines the powerful interplay between Pärt’s music and the composer’s own deep roots in the Orthodox Christian faith—a relationship that has born much creative fruit and won the hearts of countless listeners across the globe.”

Gaspard Melchior & Balthazar

 

📚 Gaspard, Melchior & Balthazar,
by Michel Tournier

Literary French fiction
published in
1978

I enjoyed a lot this author when I was a teen. I started this book years ago, but for some reason put it aside. December is a perfect month to go back to it.
It has been translated in English as The Four Wise Men – inicdentally, a very regrettable title, you will know why when you read the book. And the official English synopsis is revealing too much, so here is a translation of the French synopsis:

“The episode of the Three Kings who came from  Arabia to adore the Child Jesust is the subject of only a few lines in only one of the four Gospels, but it has magnificently inspired Western painting.
But who were these kings? Why had they left their kingdom? What did they find in Jerusalem – with Herod the Great – then in Bethlehem?
These are the questions Michel Tournier is trying to answer here, with this naive and violent story which plunges into the sources of Western spirituality.”

 

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

The Jungle

🎧 The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Historical fiction
Published in 1905
It counts for The Classics Club

Yes, I am finally listening to this Chicago classic!
I realize on the cover of this edition it talks about an uncensored edition, Ido hope the audio version I’m listening to is also the original.
Right now, I’m at the beginning, in the long wedding celebration, and I like the scene a lot, with how the emigrants connect to their roots thorugh music and feast. But it’s supposed to become bad, and someone told me, from worse to worse, we’ll see.

“Upton Sinclair’s dramatic and deeply moving story exposed the brutal conditions in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century and brought into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American Dream. Denounced by the conservative press as an un-American libel on the meatpacking industry, and condemned for Sinclair’s unabashed promotion of Socialism and unionisation as a solution to the exploitation of workers, the book was championed by more progressive thinkers, including then President Theodore Roosevelt, and was a major catalyst to the passing of the Pure Food and Meat Inspection act, which has tremendous impact to this day.”

  The Story of the Other Wise Man  An English Murder  

🎧 The Story of the Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke
Classic short story
Published in 1895
It counts for The Classics Club

Perfect time to finally listen to this classic Christmas story, plus it could be interesting to see if it would connect with Tournier’s novel, mentioned above.

“You know the story of the Three Wise Men of the East, and how they travelled from far away to offer their gifts at the manger-cradle in Bethlehem.
But have you ever heard the story of the Other Wise Man, who also saw the star in its rising, and set out to follow it, yet did not arrive with his brethren in the presence of the young child Jesus?
Of the great desire of this fourth pilgrim, and how it was denied, yet accomplished in the denial; of his many wanderings and the probations of his soul; of the long way of his seeking, and the strange way of his finding, the One whom he sought–
I would tell the tale as I have heard fragments of it in the Hall of Dreams, in the palace of the Heart of Man. — Henry Van Dyke”

🎧  An English Murder, by Cyril Hare
Classic Christmas mystery
Published in 1951
It counts for The Classics Club

I thought I would also try to listen to his one, it is the season!

“The snow is thick, the phone line is down, and no one is getting in or out of Warbeck Hall. With friends and family gathered round the fire, all should be set for a perfect Christmas, but as the bells chime midnight, a mysterious murder takes place.
Who can be responsible? The scorned young lover? The lord’s passed-over cousin? The social climbing politician’s wife? The Czech history professor? The obsequious butler? And perhaps the real question is: can any of them survive long enough to tell the tale?”

I will probably have time to listen to other audiobooks, either a French one or a classic.

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

https://linktr.ee/wordsandpeace

The top 9 books to read in November 2022

Here are
The top 9 books
I plan to read in November 2022

Two special events I’ll be participating in this month:
Nonfiction November and Novellas in November:

Nonfiction November 2022  Novellas in November 2022

Click on the images to check what this is about

And as you can see here below, besides a brand new French audiobook and a book written twenty years ago, my focus is definitely the classics, in various genres.

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Bel-Ami📚 Bel-Ami, by Guy de Maupassant
 French literary fiction
Published in 1885
Reading with French student F.
It counts for The Classics Club

“Guy de Maupassant’s scandalous tale of an opportunistic young man corrupted by the allure of power.
Young, attractive and very ambitious, George Duroy, known to his admirers as Bel-Ami, is offered a job as a journalist on La Vie française and soon makes a great success of his new career. But he also comes face to face with the realities of the corrupt society in which he lives – the sleazy colleagues, the manipulative mistresses, and wily financiers – and swiftly learns to become an arch-seducer, blackmailer and social climber in a world where love is only a means to an end. Written when Maupassant was at the height of his powers, “Bel-Ami” is a novel of great frankness and cynicism, but it is also infused with the sheer joy of life – depicting the scenes and characters of Paris in the belle époque with wit, sensitivity, and humanity.”

Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret

📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon

Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
Reading with French student E.
It counts for The Classics Club

This is the first collection of short stories in the Maigret series.

These are 20 short stories written between 1936-1938.
It’s really neat to see that Simenon displays the same quality of writing, in his plots and his way of creating bleak atmosphere, than in his novels.

Respire

📚 Respire, by Niko Tackian
French Mystery
Published on January 5, 2022
Reading with French student S.

“The very white sand, the turquoise ocean. This is what Yohan discovers when he wakes up. A heavenly place where he will start a new life. Have a second chance to be happy. To arrive on this unknown island, he signed up with a mysterious company that promised to make him disappear and erase all traces of his past.
During the first few days, Yohan savored his rediscovered carelessness. Even if little by little, a feeling of strangeness gets over him. The island is home to a dozen inhabitants, each more enigmatic than the next. Yet the abandoned houses, the deserted stalls in the windswept streets, suggest that they were once much more numerous. Where have the others gone?
Yohan wants to understand. But he should never have looked behind the scenes. Because it is well known that knowledge can shatter Paradise…”

Wanderlust📚 Wanderlust, by Rebecca Solnit
Nonfiction / History and Travel Essays
Published in 2001

I bought this book a long time ago, and am finally reading it!
I was actually planning to read it with another blogger, but I didn’t write down who was talking about a read-along on this, and I can no longer find who it was! Let me know if you know who!

“This volume provides a history of walking, exploring the relationship between thinking and walking and between walking and culture. The author argues for the preservation of the time and space in which to walk in an ever more car-dependent and accelerated world.”

The Lifted Veil📚 The Lifted Veil,
by George Eliot
Gothic, Horror
Published in 1859
Reading it for Novellas in November
and for The Classics Club

I have already read a good chunk of it, so far it’s definitely more gothic than horror per se, though psychological horror might be a good way to look at it — so far.

“Quite unlike the realistic fiction for which Eliot is best known, The Lifted Veil explores themes of extrasensory perception, the essence of physical life, possible life after death, and the power of fate. ”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

The Snow Goose📚 The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico
Novella, Historical fiction
Published in 1941

I will be reading it
for Novellas in November.
It counts for The Classics Club.

“Classic storytelling from a bestselling author. Gallico’s most famous story, The Snow Goose,
is set in the wild,
desolate Essex marshes and is an intense and moving tale about the relationship between a hunchback and a young girl. ”

Scarlet Sails

📚  Scarlet Sails, by Alexander Grin
Novella, Classic Russian fiction
I don’t know yet the translator
Published in 1922
It counts for The Classics Club
And I will be reading it
for Novellas in November.

“In this Russian classic of romance and adventure at sea, Arthur Grey falls in love with Asole without ever having exchanged a word with her.
Also known in English translation as “Crimson Sails.”

These are just two of several (possibly 8??) novellas I’m planning to red this month.

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

  Unbeaten tracks in Japan  The Story of the Treasure Seekers

🎧 Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, by Isabella Lucy Bird
Nonfiction, Travel, Japan
Published in 1885
It counts for The Classics Club

I am very happy I am able to listen to this one.

“This classic travel book details Isabella Bird’s 1878 trip, where she set out alone to explore the interior of Japan – a rarity not only because of Bird’s sex but because the country was virtually unknown to Westerners. The Japan she describes is not the sentimental world of Madame Butterfly but a vibrant land of real people with a complex culture and hardscrabble lives.”

🎧 The Story of the Treasure Seekers (Bastable Children #1),
by
E. Nesbit
Children classic
Published in 1899
It counts for The Classics Club

It’s about time to discover this great classic.
If I like it, I may go on and listen to the 4 books in the series, we’ll see.

“When their father’s business fails, the six Bastable children decide to restore the family fortunes. But although they think of many ingenious ways to do so, their well meant efforts are either more fun than profitable, or lead to trouble…”

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

https://linktr.ee/wordsandpeace

The top 7 books to read in October 2022

Here are
The top 7 books
I plan to read in October 2022

One special event I’ll be participating in this month (October 24-30):

The 1929 Club

Click on the image to check what this is about

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Absolutely on Music Maigret

📚 Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa, by Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa
Nonfiction
小澤征爾さんと、音楽について話をする in 2011
Translated by Jay Rubin in 2016

Murakami is my favorite contemporary Japanese author.
This book is doubly special, as I bought it in a bookstore in “Three Pines” in Quebec, several years ago. I am finally taking time to read it and am really enjoying all the insights on classical music.

“A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and his close friend, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Haruki Murakami’s passion for music runs deep. Before turning his hand to writing, he ran a jazz club in Tokyo, and from The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood to Franz Liszt’s Years of Pilgrimage, the aesthetic and emotional power of music permeates every one of his much-loved books. Now, in Absolutely on Music, Murakami fulfills a personal dream, sitting down with his friend, acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa, to talk, over a period of two years, about their shared interest. Transcribed from lengthy conversations about the nature of music and writing, here they discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more. Ultimately this book gives readers an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of the two maestros. It is essential reading for book and music lovers everywhere.”

📚 Maigret (Inspecteur Maigret #19), by Georges Simenon
Mystery
Published in 1934
Reading it with one of my French students

At the end of #18, we read that Maigret is going to retire.
At the beginning of this one, he has just retired, but goes back to work to help his nephew, accused of a crime.
It was indeed supposed to be the last book of the series.
The series ended up having 75 books!

I’m just 10% in the story, but I like the personal details, like the Maigrets woken up around 4am by their nephew, then Maigret half asleep bumping his head as he goes down the stairs. Very down to earth.

“Maigret’s peaceful retirement in the countryside is disrupted when a relative, his nephew, unwittingly embroils himself in a crime he did not commit. The Inspector returns to Police Headquarters in Paris once again.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke

The Picadilly Murder   The Sound and the Fury  

📚 Selected Poems, by Rainer Maria Rilke
Poems
Written between 1899-1926.
Collection published in 1948, translated by Robert Bly
It counts for The Classics Club.

This is the book I got for The Classics Club Spin #31.
It’s a bilingual edition, it will be fun going back to German.

📚  The Picadilly Murder (Ambrose Chitterwick #1), by Anthony Berkeley
Mystery
Published in 1929
It counts for The Classics Club
Will be reading for the 1929 Club

“Has Mr Ambrose Chitterwick witnessed suicide or murder at the Piccadilly Palace Hotel? Chief Inspector Moresby of Scotland Yard believes Major Sinclair, her nephew and heir, poisoned the old lady, and he has Chitterwick down as chief witness for the prosecution. Chitterwick finds himself drawn ever deeper into the case following a succession of unexpected twists and turns of the plot…”

📚  The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
Literary fiction
Published in 1929
It counts for The Classics Club
Will be reading for the 1929 Club

I think I have only read As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, and I enjoyed it a lot. But I have heard this one is very challenging. We’ll see.

The tragedy of the Compson family features some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. ”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

  The Roman Hat Mystery      The 39 Steps

🎧  The Roman Hat Mystery (Ellery Queen Detective #1), by Ellery Queen
Mystery
Published in 1929
It counts for The Classics Club
Will be reading for the 1929 Club

This is my first book by this author, and so far I really like the characters and the details.

“A fine silk custom top-hat is missing from a crooked lawyer who was poisoned by lead alcohol in the Roman theater at the close of the second act, 9:55 pm. Inspector Richard Q, sneezing snuff; a thin, multi-faced, small “Old Man”; and the Inspector’s large writer son Ellery, puffing cigarettes, investigate. They start with maps of theater, the victim’s bedroom, and a list of names appended with flavorful commentary: the finder of the body is “cranially a brachycephalic”, and Dolly “a lady of reputation”. The flavor of 1929 costume and culture, with evening attire de rigueur, and hip flasks full of bootleg liquor.”

🎧  The 39 Steps (Richard Hannay #1), by John Buchan
Mystery
Published in 1915
It counts for The Classics Club

I am really looking forward to this one. I watched the movie such a long time ago that I have no memory of it, which is a good thing, it will be a total rediscovery.

“Adventurer Richard Hannay, just returned from South Africa, is thoroughly bored with London life—until he is accosted by a mysterious American, who warns him of an assassination plot that could completely destabalise the fragile political balance of Europe. Initially sceptical, Hannay nonetheless harbours the man—but one day returns home to find him murdered… An obvious suspect, Hannay flees to his native Scotland, pursued by both the police and a cunning, ruthless enemy. His life and the security of Britain are in grave peril, and everything rests on the solution to a baffling enigma: what are the ‘thirty nine steps?'”

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

https://linktr.ee/wordsandpeace