Sunday Post #27 – 3/1/2020

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

JUST READ

 

  The Ten Loves of Nishino The Missing Sister

📚 The Ten Loves of Nishino
Read for Japanese Literature Challenge 13
Received for review through Edelweiss Plus.
My review is here.

📚The Missing Sister
Received for review for Criminal Element
Release date: April 1st
My review will be published on Criminal Element, around mid March
Shayna is called to identify the remains of her twin sister Angela found in Paris. But she discovers a clue that Angela might actually still be alive, so she decides to investigate what’s going on.
The book kept getting creepier and creepier. Very atmospheric for sure, but I think there were some issues in the plot. I have to let it sit a bit before writing my review.

I also listened to The Book of Exodus, and The Book of Leviticus.
I can’t find them listed on Goodreads. It’s odd, they only show some titles of all the Bible books recorded by Alexander Scourby, though he did narrate the whole Bible, Old and New Testament, back in the 1950s. He was the first one to narrate the whole Bible. All his recording are on YouTube.

CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO

Lessons From Walden   Hard-boiled wonderland

📚 Lessons from Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy, by Bob
Expected publication: March 30th 2020 by Pepperman Taylor
Received for review through Edelweiss Plus.
I really enjoyed Walden last year, so I thought it might be good to revisit it this year through this analysis:
Throughout this original and passionate book, Bob Pepperman Taylor presents a wide-ranging inquiry into the nature and implications of Henry David Thoreau’s thought in Walden and Civil Disobedience.
As Taylor says in his introduction, ” Walden is a central American text for addressing two of the central crises of our time: the increasingly alarming threats we now face to democratic norms, practices, and political institutions, and the perhaps even more alarming environmental dangers confronting us.”
Taylor pursues this inquiry in three chapters, each focusing on a single theme: chapter 1 examines simplicity and the ethics of “voluntary poverty,” chapter 2 looks at civil disobedience and the role of “conscience” in democratic politics, and chapter 3 concentrates on what “nature” means to us today and whether we can truly “learn from nature”–and if so, what does it teach?
Taylor considers Thoreau’s philosophy, and the philosophical problems he raises, from the perspective of a wide range of thinkers and commentators drawn from history, philosophy, the social sciences, and popular media, breathing new life into Walden and asking how it is alive for us today
.”

📚 Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami
This is the book we are reading now in our online Murakami book club.
‘A narrative particle accelerator that zooms between Wild Turkey Whiskey and Bob Dylan, unicorn skulls and voracious librarians, John Coltrane and Lord Jim. Science fiction, detective story and post-modern manifesto all rolled into one rip-roaring novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the tour de force that expanded Haruki Murakami’s international following. Tracking one man’s descent into the Kafkaesque underworld of contemporary Tokyo, Murakami unites East and West, tragedy and farce, compassion and detachment, slang and philosophy.’ 

I’m also reading:
📚  Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien, which is Maigret #4, by Georges Simenon, with one of my French students.
📚 Theological Territories, by David Bentley Hart.
Slowly but surely, I’m still reading this collection of essays. I hope to finish it this month.

And I’m listening to the latest book by Michel Bussi
📚 Au Soleil redouté

BOOK UP NEXT

Summer of Reckoning

Maybe this one:

📚 Summer of Reckoning, by Marion Brunet, translated from the French
Expected publication: April 15, 2020 by Bitter Lemon
Received for review
“The story takes place in the suffocating atmosphere of a social housing estate in the south of France. Sixteen-year-old Céline and her sister Jo, fifteen, dream of escaping to somewhere far from their daily routine, far from their surly, alcoholic father and uncaring mother, both struggling to make ends meet.

That summer Celine falls pregnant, devastating news that reopens deep family wounds. Those of the mother Severine whose adolescence was destroyed by her early pregnancy and subsequent marriage with Manuel. Those of Manuel, grandson of Spanish immigrants, who takes refuge in alcoholism to escape the open disdain of his in-laws. Faced with Celine’s refusal to name the father, Manuel needs a guilty party and Saïd, a childhood friend of the girls and conveniently Arab, seems to fit the role perfectly. In the suffocating heat of summer Manuel embarks on a drunken mission of revenge. A dark and upsetting account of an ailing society, filled with silent and murderous rage.”

📚 I may also re-read The Brothers Karamazov with a group of parishioners. Not sure yet about this, as I have a lot of books going on already.

LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR

  La soustraction des possibles ShadowPlay

📚 La soustraction des possibles, by Joseph Incardona
Release date 1/02/20
I found this on a French blog, and the plot intrigues me.

📚 Shadowplay, by Joseph O’Connor
Published on 6/6/2019
A historical novel on three people, Bram Stoker being one of them.
Lory at The Emerald City recommends it as a complement to Dracula, a classic which I still plan on reading one day!

BOOKS RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK

Believe it or not, I received 14 books this past week!!
On Thursday, I discovered a BIG box at my door. I couldn’t remember ordering anything, so I was really intrigued, plus I couldn’t really identify the sender.
I opened the box with trepidation (I know, I should have done a video!!), and discovered, surprise surprise, they were books. Then I realized there were 12 books, so I now understood: this one the gift I won at Shooting Star Mags.
Back in August, Lauren organized a giveaway to celebrate her 12 years of blogging. Her generous gift was 12 books, and I ended up being the winner.
Working with my tastes and my Goodreads shelves, Lauren did an AMAZING job at picking books I would be interested in. So there are classics, thrillers, and books in translation. Thanks again Lauren.
Please, I recommend you go visit her great book blog! Not too many bloggers have been around for 12 years. And she has a cool Facebook book club too.

I also received two books for review:

BOOK JOURNAL

2/23
📚 I was at a wedding, so only had time to read a few pages from Theological Territories, by David Bentley Hart. He totally trounces two Roman Catholics authors about their view of capital punishment.

2/24
📚 I finished The Ten Loves of Nishino. See review above

2/25
📚 The Missing Sister, by Elle Marr, is raising more and more questions
📚 I listened to The Book of Exodus (audiobook on youtube), chapters 16-23. There’s actually so much in this book about the life of migrants, to use contemporary vocabulary.

2/26
📚 The Missing Sister is actually getting more and more creepy. I wonder where this is going. The identity issue comes even more to the surface, as we get to know more about the characters of both twins, about their life as kids and teens.
📚 Today, as I listened to chapters 24-35 of The Book of Exodus,
I discovered a detail I had not been aware before. As Moses is going down from the mountain, having just received the Tables of the Law, he hears noise in the camp and wonders what’s going on. He realizes they are partying, with a golden calf. As we recently had the passage of the Prodigal Son at Church, it made me think of the elder brother, coming back from the fields, and hearing sounds in his house. He is told his family is partying for the return of his younger brother, and they have killed a calf to celebrate.
I don’t think I have ever read exegetical studies on this parallel. Has anyone read anything about this? I’m curious.
Which makes me highlight the importance to read a (Biblical or other) text in different translation, or format, as you get to discover things you have never paid attention to, especially if it;s a text you basically think you know by heart.
📚 I started reading Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien, which is Maigret #4, by Georges Simenon, as a read-along with one of my French students.
I like the atmospheric setting from the very beginning. This book is not set in France, but at the border between Germany and the Netherlands.

2/27
📚 I discover that I really still know nothing about who did what in The Missing Sister . Talk about unreliable narrators and red-herrings!!
📚 I finished listening to The Book of Exodus, and listened to the whole book of Leviticus. In these days of coronavirus, it’s interesting to read about all these laws of purification, which I believe had also a hygiene value.

2/28
📚 Tonight was my book club, but I still managed to read a lot. It was really hard to have to go to bed with only a few pages of The Missing Sister. But it was getting so intense, I knew it might not be good to read before trying to sleep…
📚 I read some of the more cozy style in Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien. Maigret seems to be totally confused after what he did. He may actually have been the cause of someone’s death. That’s not too good for a detective. Well, we’ll see what the story reveals.
📚 But mostly, as I had to do lots of house chores, I listened to 20% of the latest book by Michel Bussi: Au soleil redouté. (published on 2/6/20). Bussi loves an island as his setting, this time it’s The Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia), an important place for Jacques Brel and Gauguin, among others.
Five women from around the world go there for a writing workshop. Au Soleil redouté is actually the name of the resort where the workshop is held.
And then the author leading the workshop disappears, apparently staging his latest writing prompt. So, is he dead, murdered, drowned, or just hidden? If he was killed, who did it? One of these 5 women? Why?
There are references to And Then There Were None, so I believe this is just the beginning… Plus Bussi is really good at tricking his readers…
Beside the suspense, I love all the passages on writing, and the different narrators, including a local teenager.

2/29
📚 Yeah, an extra day of reading!! Oh boy, I’m really glad I didn’t finish The Missing Sister last night. There was a rather horrific scene…

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

Today:
📚 Book of the month giveaway:
The Missing Sister! see above. Mystery set in Paris

COMING UP ON
WORDS AND PEACE
MYRTLE SKETE
FRANCE BOOK TOURS

    Japanese Literature 13

  • 3/2: February wrap-up
  • 3/3: March titles
  • 3/4: Book review: Creativity for Kids
  • 3/5: More notes of Theological Territories
  • 3/7: 6 Degrees of Separation
  • Throughout the week, I’ll do several posts on book notes from the Orthodox book Orthodox Prayer Life

 

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

 

Sunday Post #26 – 2/23/2020

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

JUST READ

The Essential Haiku Monsieur Gallet décédé

l ile du diable

 

📚 The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa, edited by and with introduction by Robert Hass
Published in 1994.
Read for Japanese Literature Challenge 13

As I read Natsume Soseki’s trilogy, there were several references to haiku masters, especially three. And my library happened to have a book on them three!
This was an excellent book, with a great introduction and final notes on the historical origin and the development of the haiku form.
I had no idea that it was first the first verses of a renga, a communal poem really, first started by a poet, then another poet would right the next stropha, without knowing what the previous stropha was, etc. So it ended up being a collective and whimsical effort.
Then Hass offers a shorter introduction at the beginning of each part dedicated to one of these three masters, highlighting the important elements in their life and art.
Matsuo Basho (1644-16940. Yosa Buson (1716-1783), and Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827).
Highly recommended if you want to discover this poetry form.

I posted several haiku form this book on Twitter and Instagram. Here is one:

📚 Monsieur Gallet, décédé [The Late Monsieur Gallet]
Published in 1931. Maigret #3, read with one of my French students.
Counts for The Classics Book Club
Hmm, this was not an easy Maigret. The title gave me the idea there was some type of identity issue, but of course I didn’t guess what was really happening, and it was far more complex than at first sight: basically, Maigret has to investigate the death of a man. And obviously I was suspecting the wrong culprit.
I do enjoy this type of mysteries, when you think it’s simple, and then little by little, you discover there’s so much more to it, and you realize you really have no clue!
Also, in this this Maigret story, I found lots of humor, in the description of some characters (une concierge, of course, like in so many novels) and in some dialogs. Like this old woman coming up, because she heard there was some reward if you had seen somebody near the crime of the scene. She’s trying to get three times the reward, because she saw the culprit three times. It sounds really funny in the dialog.
And some settings sound so familiar, like the local village worker spending his latest cash reward at the village café on wine with friends! It sounded so much like my little village still in the 1970s.
There are even some cool images:

Un orage avait éclaté pendant la nuit, mais on sentait que le ciel n’était pas vidé
Chapter 8

Which is poorly translated as “There had been a storm during the night, but you could feel that there was more rain to come.” in the latest edition (2013).
I would suggest: “A thunderstorm had hit the city during the night, but you could feel the rain had not yet all been emptied out.” Not great, but at least I kept the image.

As usual, it’s fun to see how Maigret is attentive to every detail he can find.
In only three novels, I can see the evolution of Simenon’s writing, things are getting more subtle and complex. I’d love to keep reading or listening to those. Who knows, I may end up reading them all, that would be my longest series, as there are no less than 75 Maigret books!!

📚 L’ile du diable, by Nicolas Beuglet,
third book in theSarah Geringën series.
I listened to it, right after volume 1 and 2, eager to see what was going to happen next.
This one is much shorter than the previous two, and it focused on Sarah’s inner issues, as she investigates the mysterious murder of her own father.
This time, Beuglet focuses on fascinating data related to epigenetics. In lay terms, it’s about how for example some events experienced by some of your ancestors can impact your own DNA, or how they behave. So for instance, you could experience strong depression or anxiety, that’s rooted not in what you have personally been through, but in a trauma experienced by your father or grandmother. I didn;t know about this science and found it very interesting.
However, some torture scenes were really tough.
The end of the book opens up on an important turn in Sarah’s life, but I’m glad I’ll probably have at least a year before next book comes out to decide if I keep reading this series or not.

CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO

 The Ten loves of Mr Nishino The Missing Sister

📚 The Ten Loves of Nishino
Reading for Japanese Literature Challenge 13 .
Received for review through Edelweiss Plus

“Each woman in this book has succumbed, even if only for an hour, to that seductive, imprudent, and furtively feline man who managed to glide so naturally into their lives. But who really was Mr. Nishino?
Through a collection of chapters, we hear from the narration of different women who were part of Mr. Nishino’s sex life. And from there, we get to know little by little who he is. I have over 60% of the book, and am getting to see the manipulative man.

📚 The Missing Sister
Received for review for Criminal Element
Release date: April 1st
Shayna is called to identify the remains of her twin sister Angela fund in Paris. But she discovers a clue that Angela might actually still be alive, so she decides to investigate what’s going on. I really like the setting descriptions and the suspense so far.

📚 Theological Territories, by David Bentley Hart.
Slowly but surely, I’m still reading this collection of essays.

📚 The Book of Exodus
In audiobook, I started The Book of Exodus. I plan to listen also to Leviticus, before listening to The Mysterious Affair at Styles – to finally start my project of listening to the whole Hercule Poirot canon, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his appearance.

BOOK UP NEXT

Lessons From Walden

📚 Lessons from Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy, by Bob Pepperman Taylor
Expected publication: March 30th 2020 by University of Notre Dame Press
Received for review through Edelweiss Plus.
I really enjoyed Walden last year, so I thought it might be good to revisit it this year through this analysis:
Throughout this original and passionate book, Bob Pepperman Taylor presents a wide-ranging inquiry into the nature and implications of Henry David Thoreau’s thought in Walden and Civil Disobedience.
As Taylor says in his introduction, ” Walden is a central American text for addressing two of the central crises of our time: the increasingly alarming threats we now face to democratic norms, practices, and political institutions, and the perhaps even more alarming environmental dangers confronting us.”
Taylor pursues this inquiry in three chapters, each focusing on a single theme: chapter 1 examines simplicity and the ethics of “voluntary poverty,” chapter 2 looks at civil disobedience and the role of “conscience” in democratic politics, and chapter 3 concentrates on what “nature” means to us today and whether we can truly “learn from nature”–and if so, what does it teach?
Taylor considers Thoreau’s philosophy, and the philosophical problems he raises, from the perspective of a wide range of thinkers and commentators drawn from history, philosophy, the social sciences, and popular media, breathing new life into Walden and asking how it is alive for us today
.”

LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR

 The Empire and the Five Kings Kallocain

📚 The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World
Release date 2/12/20
I haven’t read anything by the controversial BHL, as we call him in France for a long time. I’m curious about his view of the US, in this book just reeived from a friend. Thanks Rick!
One of the West’s leading intellectuals offers a provocative look at America’s withdrawal from world leadership and the rising powers who seek to fill the vacuum left behind.
The United States was once the hope of the world, a beacon of freedom and the defender of liberal democracy. Nations and peoples on all continents looked to America to stand up for the values that created the Western worldand to oppose autocracy and repression. Even when America did not live up to its ideals, it still recognized their importance, at home and abroad.
But as Bernard-Henri Lévy lays bare in this powerful and disturbing analysis of the world today, America is retreating from its traditional leadership role, and in its place have come five ambitious powers, former empires eager to assert their primacy and influence. Lévy shows how these five—Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Sunni radical Islamism—are taking steps to undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilization.
The Empire and the Five Kings is a cri de coeur that draws upon lessons from history and the eternal touchstones of human culture to reveal the stakes facing the West as America retreats from its leadership role, a process that did not begin with Donald Trump’s presidency and is not likely to end with him. The crisis is one whose roots can be found as far back as antiquity and whose resolution will require the West to find a new way forward if its principles and values are to survive.

📚 Kallocain
Swedish scifi and dystopia published n 1940!
I found it on a book blog, and it does sound like a great classic to discover.
“This is a novel of the future, profoundly sinister in its vision of a drab terror. Ironic and detached, the author shows us the totalitarian World-state through the eyes of a product of that state, scientist Leo Kall. Kall has invented a drug, kallocain, which denies the privacy of thought and is the final step towards the transmutation of the individual human being into a “happy, healthy cell in the state organism.” For, says Leo, “from thoughts and feelings, words and actions are born. How then could these thoughts and feelings belong to the individual? Doesn’t the whole fellow-soldier belong to the state? To whom should his thoughts and feelings belong then, if not to the state?”
As the first-person record of Leo Kall, scientist, fellow-soldier too late disillusioned to undo his previous actions, Kallocain achieves a chilling power and veracity that place it among the finest novels to emerge from the strife-torn Europe of the twentieth century.


BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK

The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World.
See details above.

BOOK JOURNAL

2/16
📚 Reading The Ten Loves of Nishino, forJapanese Literature Challenge 13.
I was wondering if I had already read it, but no. It’s intriguing to see how all the stories are connected, through the character of Mr. Nishino.

2/17
📚 I finished The Essential Haiku, see review above.
📚 I listened to L’ile du diable for a total of two hours today!
It’s tackling a psychological disease I really didn’t see coming – sorry, I won’t reveal spoilers here, I do have French students who read this blog and the sane books in French!
It’s quite intense, for us readers, as much as for Sarah, secretly investigating the death of her own father and discovering so many things she didn’t know about him.

2/18
📚 Monsieur Gallet, décédé is getting more and more complex. See review above

2/19
📚 I finished Monsieur Gallet, décédé and L’ile du diable. There was a very disturbing torture scene in the latter. See review above.

2/20
📚 I keep discovering new facet of Mr Nishino, with narratives of other women in The Ten Loves of Nishino.
📚 And I’m diving into the very suspenseful The Missing Sister, by Elle Marr. 

2/21
📚 This was a busy week, with several meetings with friends. I only read a few pages of The Ten Loves of Nishino tonight.

2/22
📚 I started listening to The Book of Exodus (audiobook on youtube)
📚 I finished essay 10 in Theological Territories, by David Bentley Hart. It was a very difficult analysis on From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds, by Daniel C. Dennett, which I haven’t read and am not planning to read. DBH can be very mean in his critiques, though the critique does seem justified.

THIS PAST WEEK ON
WORDS AND PEACE
and FRANCE BOOK TOURS

📚 Book of the month giveaway

COMING UP ON WORDS AND PEACE

    Japanese Literature 13

January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13

  • 2/24: Book review: New SAT Vocabulary Workbook
  • 2/25: More notes of Theological Territories
  • 2/26: Book review: Creativity for Kids
  • More haiku?

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

 

Sunday Post #25 – 2/16/2020

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

JUST READ

     Complot  The Book of Ichigo Ichie

             Second Sister  Norwegian Wood

 Once Upon a Word

Yes, I managed to finish 5 books this week!

📚 Complot, by Nicolas Beuglet
Published in May 2018. 496 pages. Alas, not yet available in English, I’m afraid.
I actually listened to it, it was 12H20 minutes

I really enjoyed book 1 in this series. So I decided to listen to the sequel right away.
Sarah is asked to investigate the death of the Norwegian Prime Minister.
She discovers some weird stuff on the scene of the crime, like a bull’s head, and some strange codes on her body. “Strange” is a weird that keeps coming at the beginning of the book.
I loved the setting, on this very isolated island in the Barents Sea. But actually, as Sarah follows clues, she goes to the ancient city of Byblos (Lebanon) and to the Vatican.
There are some crazy suspenseful scenes, so well done by this great writer.
This author loves to use real data and go from there, data that most people don’t usually know about. This time, the plot is partially connected to archaeology, and the mysterious Late Bronze Age Burial Pit 3666 in Cliffs End Farm, Isle of Thanet, Kent. I learned a lot about that, fascinating!
Some major themes of the theme are feminism, masculinism (with a brilliant analysis of the recent evolution of Western Christianity), and religion.
I had the great satisfaction of guessing which Ludmila we were going to meet, because years ago, I read the book Out of the Depths: a Biography of Ludmila Javorová, by Miriam Therese Winter.
There are intriguing data about ancient religious texts, though some analysis may need to be taken with a grain of salt.
And all along, there are also issues about Sarah’s relationships with her friend Christopher and his son.
I was shocked though by the end of the books, and as book 3 is available in audio, I’m listening to it now. But I’m worried it’s only 5 hours long. In so short of a book, what am I going to learn about Sarah’s past?
The French narrator is fantastic!

📚 The Book of Ichigo Ichie: The Art of Making the MOst of Every Moment, the Japanese Way, by Héctor Garcia and Francesc Miralles,
Published in December 2019.
By the same authors as Ikigai, a book I fully enjoyed. So I thought I would also read this one, as I am in a Japanese mood. The authors are Spanish, but they have been living in Japan for at least 10 years.
I think this book is excellent if you feel part of the rat race, and you need to rediscover peace in your everyday life, and have no religion upbringing.
For me, deeply rooted in Orthodoxy (which is really Christian spirituality as it used to be at its very beginning, that is, with a very mystical dimension that has alas mostly been lost in Western Christianity), it actually didn’t bring me much.
It’s definitely much more zen oriented than Ikigai.
It actually even made me sad, as I know some readers will feel like discovering something totally new and exotic coming from the Far East, without knowing that actually this spirituality of attention to the present moment is there in Christian spirituality.
We even have a long tradition, starting in about the third century, of silent meditation in connection with breathing (see The Jesus Prayer, if you are curious).
But many Christians no longer know about it, as so many Western Churches have got rid of all their symbols and other mystical elements, and put the emphasis strictly on the social dimension, thinking this is the only way they’ll be relevant to our current times. Sad.
I did learn some interesting cultural things about Japan, for instance related to the blooming of the cherry trees.
And I had no idea Steve Jobs had been so immersed in zen.

📚 Second Sister
Received for review through Edelweiss
Release date: February 18
VERDICT: If you are looking for something different, geeky, suspenseful, and smart, don’t wait, read Second Sister now.
My full review is here

📚 Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami
Published in English December 2000
Read with the Murakami Online Book Club.
My review, mostly quotations actually, will be live on 2/19

📚 Once Upon a Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids–Building Vocabulary Through Etymology, Definitions & Stories
Release day 2/25/20, received for review through The Callisto Publisher’s Club
My review will be live tomorrow

CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO

Monsieur Gallet décédé The Essential Haiku

📚 Monsieur Gallet, décédé [The Late Monsieur Gallet]
Published in 1931. Maigret #3, reading with one of my French students.
Counts for The Classics Book Club
“In the third Maigret mystery, the circumstances of Monsieur Gallet’s death all seem fake: the name he was traveling under, his presumed profession, and, more worryingly, his family’s grief. Their haughtiness seems to hide ambiguous feelings about the hapless man. Soon Maigret discovers the appalling truth and the real crime hidden beneath the surface of their lies.”

📚 The Essential Haiku
Reading for Japanese Literature Challenge 13
“American readers have been fascinated since their exposure to Japanese culture late in the nineteenth century, with the brief Japanese poem called the hokku or haiku.

The seventeen-syllable form is rooted in a Japanese tradition of close observation of nature, of making poetry from subtle suggestion. Infused by its great practitioners with the spirit of Zen Buddhism, the haiku has served as an example of the power of direct observation to the first generation of American modernist poets like Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams and also as an example of spontaneity and Zen alertness to the new poets of the 1950s.
This definitive collection brings together in fresh translations by an American poet the essential poems of the three greatest haiku masters: Matsuo Basho in the seventeenth century; Yosa Buson in the eighteenth century; and Kobayashi Issa in the early nineteenth century.
Robert Hass has written a lively and informed introduction, provided brief examples by each poet of their work in the haibun, or poetic prose form, and included informal notes to the poems. “

Audio book

l ile du diable

📚  L’ile du diable:
This is the sequel to Complot, presented above.
It definitely tackles Sarah’s past!

BOOK UP NEXT

The Ten loves of Mr Nishino

📚 The Ten Loves of Nishino
Do you think I will FINALLY get to it soon?? for Japanese Literature Challenge 13 and also because it’s been on my egalley shelf for a while.
“Each woman in this book has succumbed, even if only for an hour, to that seductive, imprudent, and furtively feline man who managed to glide so naturally into their lives. But who really was Mr. Nishino?
Still clinging to the vivid memory of his warm breath, his indecipherable silences, and his nonchalance, ten women who have loved him tell their stories as they attempt to recreate the image of the unfathomable and seemingly unattainable Mr. Nishino. Through accounts that are full of humor, intelligence, and the bittersweet joys of love, these women evoke Nishino’s image but reveal themselves. Each perspective is both captivating and sensual, droll but important, and each is a variation on themes of love and identity.”

LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR

  Persona Toms Midnight Garden

📚 Persona
Release date 2/20/20
I keep running into this French title. A thriller involving GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft). Sounds totally like the genre I like!

📚 Tom’s Midnight Garden
1958
Two bloggers have recently recommended Philippa Pearce to me. This is the last book by her I heard about.
“Lying awake at night, Tom hears the old grandfather clock downstairs strike . . . eleven . . . twelve . . . thirteen . . . Thirteen! When Tom gets up to investigate, he discovers a magical garden. A garden that everyone told him doesn’t exist. A garden that only he can enter . . .
A Carnegie-Medal-winning modern classic that’s magically timeless.”

BOOKS RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK

 The First Men in the Moon Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults

 New SAT Vocabulary Workbook Creativity for Kids

📚 The First Men in the Moon
1901. This is one of the two books I won and chose at the occasion of Chris Wolak’s bookgiversary! With her generous gift, I was able to purchase another book, I chose an Orthodox book: The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentaryby Archbishop Dmitri Royster.
Thanks Chris!
Please go visit her wonderful book blog, full of so many resources. She also cohosts a great podcast!
“In the 1901 classic The First Men in the Moon, Wells reveals not only a fertile imagination at ease with biological and astronomical phenomena, but also a passionate concern for man and society. His “first men in the moon” prove to be the eccentric Mr. Cavor and his traveling companion, Mr. Bedford, who navigate a gravity-defying sphere through space before executing a rough landing on the moon. As castaways from earth, they practice lunar locomotion, get lost in the wilds of a moon jungle, and confront intelligent life forms living in lunar caverns. Through the adventures of these two earthlings, the author is able to look at mankind from a distance and, in his words, “burlesque the effects of specialization.” The result is a delightful tale filled with adventure, romance, and fantasy that is still capable of stirring the imagination of readers in the 21st century.”

📚 Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults
Release day 2/25/20, received for review through The Callisto Publisher’s Club
“It’s time to give your mental muscles a real workout! Stuffed full of clever and cunning challenges, this collection of logic puzzles for adults is perfect for puzzlers looking to prove (and improve) their skill.
Featuring a variety of puzzle types–including Sudoku, Masyu, Logic Grids, and Nonograms–these easy-to-understand (but tough-to-solve) puzzles will help keep your mind sharp as you remain engaged and entertained for days to come. Brainpower on!

📚 New SAT Vocabulary Workbook
Release day 2/25/20, received for review through The Callisto Publisher’s Club
“Seberson Method: New SAT® Vocabulary Workbook helps students master more than 700 high-frequency words that frequently appear on the test’s Reading, Writing, and Essay sections. The book’s approach reflects changes made to the SAT in recent years, focusing on more contextual vocabulary understanding than rote memorization.
Each of the 145 bite-size lessons features a theme to help improve vocabulary retention, and each includes an activity to test understanding. It’s a modern workbook designed to give college-bound students the edge needed to improve their SAT scores.”

📚 Creativity for Kids
Release day 3/10/20, received for review through The Callisto Publisher’s Club
“Make creativity their superpower with 75 imaginative exercises for kids!
Help children explore their curiosity and learn how to be more creative! Creativity for Kids provides fun and helpful activities that will not only help kids express themselves but also build confidence and enhance problem-solving skills as they make creativity a part of everything they do.
Go beyond artistic expression with guided activities―like the Bridge-Building Challenge or the Cut-Out Story―that help your child learn how to take innovative and inventive approaches to a variety of situations and challenges. They’ll also have a super-fun time with each activity whether working independently or in a group.”

BOOK JOURNAL

2/10-11
📚 Oops, I have been forgetting to keep track. These two days, I read Complot and Second Sister, already reviewed.

2/12
📚 I finished Complot and Ichigo Ichie, also presented above.
I also finished reading the chapter of The Essential Haiku (edited by Robert Hass) on Basho. And felt inspired to write my first haiku!

2/13
📚 Having finished Complot, with a crazy end, I couldn’t wait to know what was going to happen next. So I started book 3 in this series, L’ile du diable.
I’m worried that it’s so short, 5 hours instead of 12 hours for book 2.
In case this series gets translated in English and you’ll read them, I will avoid spoilers. Just to say that the book opens 1 year after book 2. And it gets very focused on Inspector Sarah’s life from the get go. I hope I’ll know more about her past and her family in 5 hours…

2/14
📚 It’s interesting that I finished Norwegian Wood by Murakami on Saint Valentine’s Day! On the 19, I will post a review, or at least quotations I enjoyed the book.
I know it’s a must book by my favorite author, but this is actually not a book I enjoyed. It didn’t totally feel like all the other books I read by Muramaki.
Let’s just  say, why would you read Fifty Shades of Grey when you have Norwegian Wood??
📚 I read half of Maigret #3, Monsieur Gallet, décédé (see above).
I am thoroughly enjoying it. As many series, the books seem to get better and better.
In this one, I start seeing a lot of humor in Simenon’s style, something that was not as apparent in the previous two books. It’s very atmospheric.

THIS PAST WEEK ON
WORDS AND PEACE
and FRANCE BOOK TOURS

📚 Book of the month giveaway

COMING UP ON WORDS AND PEACE

    Japanese Literature 13

January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?