Throwback Thursday: February 2013


Throwback Thursday


Revisiting what I posted 10 years ago
(my blog was born on September 29, 2010)
following the idea I found at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog
(click on this link or the logo to see where the idea started from,
and to post the link to your own post).

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Today, I’m revisiting February 2013.
I published 12 posts, 7 of which being book reviews.

Of these books, here is the one that received most views then:

Click on the cover to access my review

The Dervish


I liked it too, but the most powerful one I presented that month, and that has stayed with me since, is:

Shadows Walking

If you are interested in German history, in the Nazi era, and in what happened then, you need absolutely to read this novel. Fruit of 20 years of study and work, it is extremely rich and multi-layered.

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Any other novel you know on th Nuremberg Trials?
My next post on this meme will be on June 8


The top 7 books to read in May 2023

Here are
The top 7 books
I plan to read in May 2023

Here is a sample of what I am planning on reading this month, another nice mix.


A History of the Island

📚 A History of the Island,
Translated by Lisa C. Hayden
Оправдание Острова
was first published in 2020

Historical fiction
To be published on May 23, 2023
by Plough Publishing
320 pages
Ebook received rhough Netgalley

I was very impressed by Laurus, by the same author, and I first thought this was some kind of sequel.
Well, I am 15% in and so far, I don’t see it as a sequel. Right now, I have no idea where this is going, nor if it’s even going anywhere.
I requested it, and I always finish books I request for review, so I do hope things ae going to get moving.

“Monks devious and devout – and an age-defying royal pair – chronicle the history of their fictional island in this witty critique of Western civilization and history itself.
Eugene Vodolazkin, internationally acclaimed novelist and scholar of medieval literature, returns with a satirical parable about European and Russian history, the myth of progress, and the futility of war.
This ingenious novel, described by critics as a coda to his bestselling Laurus, is presented as a chronicle of an island from medieval to modern times. The island is not on the map, but it is real beyond doubt. It cannot be found in history books, yet the events are painfully recognizable. The monastic chroniclers dutifully narrate events they witness: quests for power, betrayals, civil wars, pandemics, droughts, invasions, innovations, and revolutions. The entries mostly seem objective, but at least one monk simultaneously drafts and hides a “true” history, to be discovered centuries later.

And why has someone snipped out a key prophesy about the island’s fate?
These chronicles receive commentary today from an elderly couple who are the island’s former rulers. Prince Parfeny and Princess Ksenia are truly extraordinary: they are now 347 years old. Eyewitnesses to much of their island’s turbulent history, they offer sharp-eyed observations on the changing flow of time and their people’s persistent delusions. Why is the royal couple still alive? Is there a chance that an old prophecy comes to pass and two righteous persons save the island from catastrophe?
In the tradition of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, Julian Barnes’s A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, Vodolazkin is at his best recasting history, in all its hubris and horror, by finding the humor in its absurdity.

For readers with an appetite for more than a dry, rational, scientific view of what motivates, divides, and unites people, A History of the Island conjures a world still suffused with mystical powers.”

I am also currently reading:

  • Perché legere i classici? by Italo Calvino
  • Les Trois Mousquetaires, by Alexandre Dumas (with French student E.)
  • L’Arabe du futur #3 : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1985*1987, by Riad Sattouf (with French student F. We are planning to read the 6 volumes)
  • Les Vacances du petit Nicolas (Le petit Nicolas vol. 3), by René Goscinny (with French student I.)
  • Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and Acquiring the Orthodox Christian Mind, by  Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou (slow weekly reading with the catechumens of my Orthodox parish)
  • The Transfiguration of Christ in Greek Patristic Literature from Irenaeus of Lyons to Gregory Palamas, by Christopher Veniamin
  • John the Theologian and his Paschal Gospel: A Prologue to Theology, by John Behr (reading with another Orthodox parishioner)


Café Unfiltered📚 Café Unfiltered,
by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Translated by Alison Anderson
Café sans filtre
was first published in French on April 22, 2022
Literary fiction
Expected US publication July 11, 2023
232 pages
Received for review, from New Vessel Press

I have read a couple of books by Blondel, especially The 6:41 to Paris, that I enjoyed a lot, so I let mysef be tempted by this one!

“At a classic café in the French provinces, anonymity, chance encounters, and traumatic pasts collide against the muted background of global instability. Jean-Philippe Blondel, author of the bestselling The 6:41 to Paris, presents a moving fresco of intertwined destinies portrayed with humor, insight, and tenderness.

In the span of twenty-four hours, a medley of characters retrace the fading patterns of their lives after a long disruption from Covid. A mother and son realize their vast differences, a man takes tea with a childhood friend he had once covertly fallen for, and a woman crosses paths with the ex who abandoned her in Australia.
Amidst it all, the café swirls like a kaleidoscope, bringing together customers, waiters, and owners past and present. Within its walls and on its terrace, they examine the threads of their existence, laying bare their inner selves, their failed dreams, and their hopes for the uncertain future that awaits us all.”

Descent into Hell

📚 Descent into Hell,
by Charles Wiiliams
Literary fiction/fantasy/Christianity
208 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

This is the result of my jar pick for last month. I didn’t have time to read it in April, because of other unexpected books, but will get to it hopefully this month.
This will be my first book by an Inkling I have yet to discover.

“In this provocative, classic metaphysical thriller, a group of suburban amateur actors plagued by personal demons and terrors explore the pathways to heaven and hell.
Certain inhabitants of Battle Hill, a small community on the outskirts of London, are preparing to mount a new play by the neighborhood’s most illustrious resident, the writer Peter Stanhope. Each actor struggles with self-absorption, doubt, fear, and sin. But “the Hill” is not like other places. Here the past and present intermingle, ghosts walk among the living, and reality is often clouded by dreams and the dark fantastic. For young Pauline Anstruther, who is caring for an aging grandmother and frightened by the specter of a doppelgänger who gets closer with each visitation, the prospect of heaven exists in the renowned playwright’s willingness to bear the burden of her terror. For eminent historian Lawrence Wentworth, the rejection of his desire pulls him deeper inside himself, leaving him vulnerable to the lure of the succubus and opening wide the entrance to hell.
A brilliant theological thriller, Descent into Hell is an extraordinary fictional meditation on sin and personal salvation by one of the twentieth century’s most original and provocative literary artists. Charles Williams, a member of the Inklings alongside fellow Oxfordians C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Owen Barfield, has written a powerful work at once profoundly disturbing and gloriously uplifting, an ingenious amalgam of metaphysics, religious thought, and darkest fantasy.

Dirty Story


📚 Dirty Story (Arthur Simpson #2),
by Eric Ambler
Mystery / Espionage
224 pages

Eric Ambler was one of my main discoveries in 2022, with Epitaph for a Spy.
Last month, I listened to The Light of Day – much more fascinating that the movie Topkapi, losely based on it.
So I need to read the sequel! I couldn’t find it in audio, so I’ll read it.

“Fleeing to Central Africa to save his skin, Arthur Simpson convinces his new employers that he is an accomplished soldier of fortune. That gets him mixed up with a multinational corporation who is vying for mineral rights in a hotly contested border area where no one trusts no one.”

Sur la dalle

📚 Sur la dalle (Commissaire Adamsberg #12),
by Fred Vargas
Expected publication May 17, 2023
521 pages

This is the result of random pick ang the books I added to my TBR last month.
What a nice surprise!
Some time ago, Vargas declared she no longer had time to write novels, and wanted to focus on her fight to protect nature, raising our awareness agsint global warming and other phenomema.
So this was a great surprise to realize I’ll soon be meeting Adamsberg for the 12th time. This is a great series, so well written!

“- Le dolmen dont tu m’as parlé, Johan, il est bien sur la route du petit pont ?- À deux kilomètres après le petit pont, ne te trompe pas. Sur ta gauche, tu ne peux pas le manquer. Il est splendide, toutes ses pierres sont encore debout.- Ça date de quand, un dolmen ?- Environ quatre mille ans.- Donc des pierres pénétrées par les siècles. C’est parfait pour moi.- Mais parfait pour quoi ?- Et cela servait à quoi, ces dolmens ? demanda Adamsberg sans répondre.- Ce sont des monuments funéraires. Des tombes, si tu préfères, faites de pierres dressées recouvertes par de grandes dalles. J’espère que cela ne te gêne pas.- En rien. C’est là que je vais aller m’allonger, en hauteur sur la dalle, sous le soleil.- Et qu’est-ce que tu vas foutre là-dessus ?- Je ne sais pas, Johan.”


WarCross The Ferryman

🎧 Warcross, by Marie Lu
YA scifi
366 pages / 11H46
Narrated by Nancy Wu

This is the result of my book jar pick (containing only books about which I keep saying, I want to read this one).

“For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.”

🎧  The Ferryman, by Justin Cronin
Science fiction
May 2, 2023
560 pages / 19H55
Narrated by Scott Brick & Suzanne Elise Freeman
Free audiobook for review, received through Libro.Fm

I have never read a book by Cronin, so this generous offer was tempting.

“Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh.

Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process–and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he’s been dreaming–which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.
Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group–known as “Arrivalists”–who may be fomenting revolution.

Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized–and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Passage comes a riveting standalone novel about a group of survivors on a hidden island utopia–where the truth isn’t what it seems.

Eiffel Tower Orange


2023: April wrap-up


The month of April has been crazy busy, especially with Church related activities,
and my reading stats are not the best.
Still with 10 books, I’m happy, especially as I finished two long books,
and I read/listened to some fascinating works.
I only posted four times this past month, and am a bit late on reviews,
but hoping to catch up soon.

📚 Here is what I read in April:

10 books 
6 in print 
with 1,467 pages, a daily average of 48 pages/day.
4 in audio
= 42H04
, a daily average of 1H24 minutes/day

5 in mystery:

  1. Hag’s Nook (Dr Gideon Fell #1), by John Dickson Carr
  2. Hide and Geek (Hide and Geek #1), by T.P. Jagger
  3. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiel Hammett – audio
  4. Skin Deep, by Antonia Lassa – for book tour, review live on May 22
  5. The Light of Day, by Eric Ambler – audio

2 in historical fiction:

  1. Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of The Oxford Translators’ Revolution, by R. F. Kuang (histfic and fantasy) – audio
  2. Homecoming, by Kate Morton – audio

1 in scifi:

  1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams – audio

1 in adventure/middlegrade:

  1. Les Récrés du petit Nicolas (Le petit Nicolas #2), by René Goscinny – read with French student I.

1 in nonfiction:

  1. L’Arabe du futur #2 : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1984-1985, by Riad Sattouf – read with French student F.


Babel Homecoming


Classics Club 4th list: 47/150 (from September 2022-until September 2027)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 15 books
Total of books read in 2023 = 56/120 (47%, 17 books ahead)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 26




Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

click on the cover to access my unhappy review


Sunday Post #84


Stuck in a Book
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!


Marianne at Let’s Read
Deb at Readerbuzz

Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog
please go and visit them,
they have great blogs


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Come back tomorrow to see
my exciting reading plans for May!
How was YOUR month of April?


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