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?

2020: December wrap-up

December 2020 WRAP-UP

I have read tons this month (the highest month, as for number of books), so for once, I’m posting before the end of the month.
Of course I will be reading some more today, but not enough to finish a book. And I’ll be spending most of my reading time actually working on my 2020 stats!

📚 So here is what I read in December.
Note, 7 different genres!

17 books:
11 in print 
with 2,396 pages, a daily average of 77 pages/day
6 in audio
= 44H29
, a daily average of 1H26!

5 in literary fiction:

  1. La grande escapade, by Jean-Philippe Bondel – ebook for review
  2. A Very Russian Christmas – collection of classics Christmas tales, for The Classics Club
  3. The Letter Killers Club, by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky – ebook for The Classics Club spin
  4. La Femme au carnet rouge, by Antoine Laurain – ebook with the French Books online book club
  5. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens – audio, for The Classics Club

4 in science-fiction:

  1. Flood, by Stephen Baxter
  2. Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline – audio
  3. Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor
  4. Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor

2 in children/YA:

  1. Silver Spoon #2, by Hiromu Arakawa – manga
  2. A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas – audio, for The Classics Club

2 in mystery:

  1. Atomka, by Franck Thilliez – French audiobook
  2. Three Act Tragedy, (Hercule Poirot) #11 by Agatha Christie – audio, for The Classics Club

2 in nonfiction:

  1. Upstream, by Mary Oliver – a collection of essays
  2. 1st and 2nd Books of the Maccabees – audio, for The Classics Club

1 in historical fiction:

  1. The Vexations, by Caitlin Horrocks

1 in poetry:

  1. A Thousand Mornings, by Mary Oliver

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

  Flood   Ready Player Two

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 7/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 9 books read during the challenge + 7 since.

Total of books read in 2020 = 123/110 (that’s 112%)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 23

OTHER BOOK I REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

None, though I have 3 in preparation

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

And we offer a Book Box!
And monthly raffle with a Newsletter
(see sample with link to sign up)

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

How To Talk About Places You've Never Been

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Sunday Post #32

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

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

TOP COMMENTERS 

Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Deb at Readerbuzz
Iza at Books & Livres

please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,260 posts
over 5,390 followers
over 210,600 hits

📚

Come back on Monday
to see the books I plan to read in January


Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

How was YOUR month of December?

2019-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up_300

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

 

2020: November wrap-up

November 2020 WRAP-UP

Phew, that was actually a busy month, reading-wise and otherwise, for instance with 3 new French students. In a way, I’m glad we are back in confinement, so less opportunity for distractions! And obviously, less chances to catch the virus.

I have FINALLY restarted a Newsletter. It has a small fee, but each month 11 subscribers will receive a book based on their favorite genres!
10 will receive an ecopy and 1 a print copy (as long as Bookdepositery ships to their country). If you haven’t signed up yet, here is the November Newsletter as a sample, with the form to subscribe near the end.

November is the month about Nonfiction, and I had a great time with this event.

I also finished my 2nd list of 50 classics, and launched into my 3rd list, with 137 titles this time.

📚 Here is what I read in November.
Actually more audiobooks (with record time this month!) than printed books, I guess this has become a trend for me in 2020, maybe due to Covid-19?

11 books:
4 in print 
with 1,288 pages, a daily average of 42 pages/day
7 in audio
= 33H54
, a daily average of 1H07

4 in mystery:

  1. Black Coffee, A Mystery Play in Three Acts, #7 by Agatha Christie – for The Classics Club
  2. Lord Edgware Dies, #9 by Agatha Christie – audio, for The Classics Club
  3. Écouter le noir, by various authors – French audio
  4. Murder on the Orient Express, #10 by Agatha Christie – audio, for The Classics Club

4 in nonfiction:

  1. The Book of Tobit – audio, for The Classics Club
  2. The Book of Judith – audio, for The Classics Club
  3. The Book of Esther – audio, for The Classics Club
  4. Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, by Kazuto Tatsuta – graphic “novel”

1 in historical fiction:

  1. The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand, & la France, by Nancy Burkhalter – for France Book Tours 

1 in science fiction:

  1. To Hold Up the Sky, by Liu Cixin – ebook for review, received through Netgalley  

1 in YA:

  1. La Chute du soleil de fer, by Michel Bussi – French audio

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

  La Chute du soleil de fer

Actually this month both my favorites are French, and not yet translated.
Écouter le noir is a fascinating collection of thriller short stories, some actually almost horror, mostly based on the theme of deafness. A neat twist to these stories, by some authors I had never heard of. Very enjoyable collection!
As for La Chute du soleil de fer, this was really neat surprise: a YA fantasy (both genres I rarely read), by one of my favorite French authors. There was no way I was going to pass his latest novel, even if it was not in his usual mystery genre. And I am sure glad I took the plunge.
It’s set in Paris in a post-apocalyptic world, with two groups of teenagers and younger children. The adults are all gone. I loved these kids, and the settings, and how they try to make sense of what as survived form our world.
I can’t wait for next volume in the series!

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 2/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 9 books read during the challenge + 7 since.

Total of books read in 2020 = 106/110
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 20

OTHER BOOK I REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

Alina_A Song For the Telling

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

And we offer a Book Box!
And monthly raffle with a Newsletter
(see sample with link to sign up)

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Alina_A Song For the Telling

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Born a Crime readalong

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Shelf Aware
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!

TOP COMMENTERS 

Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Deb at Readerbuzz
Karen at Booker Talk

please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,253 posts
over 5,380 followers
over 208,400 hits

📚

Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in December,
and some major milestone!!


Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

How was YOUR month of November?

2019-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up_300

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