The top 7 books to read in November 2021

Here are
The top 7 books
I plan to read in November 2021

Click on the covers to know more

November is a major month for book bloggers: it’s Nonfiction November (the links send you to the host) and Novellas in November. I’ll be participating in these.
And I’m co-hosting a read-along on The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie!
But it’s also German Literature Month and SciFiMonth!
And on top of that, if you are also a writer, there’s of course Nanowrimo.

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

  The Satanic Verses   Katherine's Wish

Ficciones

📚 The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
Published in 1988

I’m co-hosting a read-along on this with Marianne (at Let’s Read).
On Monday, we posted questions and answers before starting reading.
Feel free to read with us, comment on our posts, or create your own blog posts.

“Just before dawn one winter’s morning, a hijacked jetliner explodes above the English Channel. Through the falling debris, two figures, Gibreel Farishta, the biggest star in India, and Saladin Chamcha, an expatriate returning from his first visit to Bombay in fifteen years, plummet from the sky, washing up on the snow-covered sands of an English beach, and proceed through a series of metamorphoses, dreams, and revelations.”

📚 Katherine’s Wish, by Linda Lappin
Re-released in 2021. Review copy received through France Book Tours.
Click here to get your own copy (you can review it in your own time) and/or to enter the giveaway

“In this dramatic, fictional retelling of New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield‘s final years, and of the events which led up to her meeting with P.D. Ouspensky and G. I Gurdjieff, novelist Linda Lappin transports the reader like a time traveler into Mansfield’s intimate world.
Scrupulously researched and richly evocative, the novel has been praised by Mansfield scholars as “creative scholarship.”
With vivid detail and beautiful language and style, Lappin has built on journals, letters, and diaries to fashion a true-to-life mosaic, using themes, motifs, and methods of Mansfield’s own writing.
Katherine’s Wish celebrates Mansfield’s deep love of life and its final message is a life-affirming one of joy and of wholeness achieved.”

📚  Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges
Published in 1944
Started reading with The World’s Literature Goodreads Club, it was their October selection.
I will keep reading. It counts for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge.

“The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything else in between.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

The Invention of Morel  A Man Lay Dead

📚 The Invention of Morel, by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Published in 1940
Will be reading for Novellas in November hosted by 746books, and for The Classics Club

“Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of The Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy’s novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.
Inspired by Bioy Casares’s fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to live a secret life of its own. Greatly admired by Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, and Octavio Paz, the novella helped to usher in Latin American fiction’s now famous postwar boom. As the model for Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Last Year at Marienbad, it also changed the history of film.”

📚 A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn #1), by Ngaio Marsh
Published in 1934
Will be reading for The Classics Club.
This is the book I got for Spin #28.

“At Sir Hubert Handesley’s country house party, five guests have gathered for the uproarious parlor game of “Murder.” Yet no one is laughing when the lights come up on an actual corpse, the good-looking and mysterious Charles Rankin. Scotland Yard’s Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to find a complete collection of alibis, a missing butler, and an intricate puzzle of betrayal and sedition in the search for the key player in this deadly game.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

   Third Girl   Halloween Party

🎧 Third Girl (Hercule Poirot #40), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1966 – Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“Three young women share a London flat. The first is a coolly efficient secretary. The second is an artist. The third interrupts Hercule Poirot’s breakfast confessing that she is a murderer—and then promptly disappears.
Slowly, Poirot learns of the rumors surrounding the mysterious third girl, her family, and her disappearance. Yet hard evidence is needed before the great detective can pronounce her guilty, innocent, or insane.”

🎧 Hallowe’en Party (Hercule Poirot #41), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1969 – Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

Almost perfect timing! I prefer to read them in order, so I didn’t make it happen that way.
After that one, only 6 left in the series! Or maybe less, I need to check if I actually listened to some stories in previous collections.

“A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples… At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…”

🎧 I will probably listen to 3 other books with Hercule Poirot.

GIVEAWAYS

UNTIL 11/30

Double Identity new cover    Katherine's Wish

BOOKS AVAILABLE TO REVIEW
1 more book coming on November 4!
Get them now, review in your own time!

UNTIL 11/12
Mystery

Double Identity new cover

UNTIL 11/14
Histfic on Katherine Mansfield

Katherine's Wish

PLANS FOR NOVEMBER

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

2021: October wrap-up

OCTOBER 2021 WRAP-UP

And again an awesome reading month, with some very short books as well as some very long ones!
If I keep my yearly average for this year, I will be able to read 164 books, which is about 50 more books than usual!

📚 Here is what I read in October:

13 books:
10 in print 
with 2,894 pages, a daily average of 93 pages/day
3 in audio
= 28H24
, a daily average of 54 minutes

5 in mystery:

  1. Double Sin and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot #38), by Agatha Christie
  2. The Clocks (Hercule Poirot #39), by Agatha Christie – these first 2 were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club
  3. La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin (Inspecteur Maigret #10), by Georges Simenon
  4. La Guinguette à deux sous (Inspecteur Maigret #11), by Georges Simenon – these 2 were read with a French student. They count for The Classics Club
  5. Double Identity, by Alison Morton – received for review through France Book Tours. This book is available for review (in your own time). My review will be live on Nov 10

3 in literary fiction:

  1. Speedboat, by Renata Adler
  2. A River Runs Through it, by Norman Maclean – these two were read for the #1976Club
  3. The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield – audiobook

2 in poetry:

  1. Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku, by Richard Wright
  2. Haiku: This Other World, by Richard Wright

2 in nonfiction:

  1. A Bird Watcher’s Guide to Blue Jays, by Katherine Ponka
  2. The New Testament, (new translation) by David Bentley Hart. For the Books in Translation Challenge and for The Classics Club.

1 in science-fiction:

  1. Termination Shock, by Neal Stephenson. My review will be live on Nov 11

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

  the thirteenth tale Haiku This Other World

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 86/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 12 books
#20BooksofSummer21: 37/20 books
Total of books read in 2021 = 138/120 (114%)

Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 18

OTHER BOOKS  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

The Hands On French Cookbook  Rider on the Rain

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

Books available for swapping

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

Posted 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

A River Runs Through it
click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #28

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

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

TOP COMMENTERS 

Marianne at Let’s Read
Lexlingua
Karen at Booker Talk
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,399 posts
over 5,530 followers
over 229,390 hits

📚

Come back on November 3
to see the books I plan to read in November,
and all the wonderful blogging events
I will take part in!

📚 📚 📚

How was YOUR month of October?

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

My top 10 books for the 1976 Club

1976-club

#1976Club

For several years, Simon at Stuck in a Book, has been organizing club years, in which he encourages everybody to read books published in the same year.

This time, he chose 1976

I think the main idea is to draw a literary portrait of that year.
If you are curious, you can check on this Goodreads list or on this one (less complete, but you can compare with the books you have read), or on this wikipedia page (more complete I think) titles of books published that year.

Before considering what to read for this club, it seems I had read 8 books published that year.

Click on the book covers to discover my reviews

2 mysteries: 

  Mrs Pollifax on Safari   Sleeping Murder  

Mrs. Pollifax on Safari is the #5 in this delightful series with Mrs. Pollifax.
Imagine: Emily Pollifax is retired and is bored, so she goes to the CIA if by any chance they would have some little jobs for her. Who would think twice about this grand-mother who loves flowery hats? She would actually be a perfect spy. So in each book of these books, she’s sent on a mission in a different country.

You may not all know Mrs. Pollifax, but you all know Miss Marple.
Sleeping Murder is #12.

1 poetry in prose:

Alphabet

I recently fell again in love with Paul Valéry, and I read this one a few months ago.
It’s a collection of vignettes each starting by a letter of the alphabet, written as poetry prose. Powerful gem!

1 classic nonfiction:

Roots

I read Roots in my late teens, in French.

3 spiritual nonfiction books:

  The Genesee Diary   One Yet Two

For those who are into spirituality, Henri Nouwen is an important author. Combine that to the milieu of a Trappist monastery in his Genesee Diary (Genesee is a Trappist abbey in Piffard, NY), and you have quite a nourishing book!

When looking for a cover for this post, I was shocked to discover that One Yet Two: Monastic Tradition East and West, edited by the Trappist monk Basil Pennington is no longer available in print.
Very sad, as it was an excellent compilation of the Orthodox-Cistercian Symposium that was held at Oxford University, from August 26 to September 1st, 1973. A very important symposium for unity of Christians. The articles were excellent.

Second Look at Saint Bernard

And same for A Second Look at Saint Bernard (by Jean Leclercq, the Belgian authoritative voice on Saint Bernard of Clairvaux), which I read back then in French.
So sad to see that very solid spiritual books published a mere 35 years ago are already out of print!

And I just read 2 this month for the #1976 club, which I am reviewing here:

Speedboat

Speedboat,
by Renata Adler
Published in 1976
192 pages
Literary fiction
Goodreads

My first reading for the #1976Club left me rather disappointed.
Speedboat is a novel without any plot, that reads more like a rather boring nonfiction work (though most of the nonfiction I read is NOT boring!).

The narrator is a young journalist in New York. She writes a collection of short vignettes with for the most part no beginning and no end, and which seem more or less random.
I actually often understood the connection between them, a keyword, or the type of connection that happens in your thoughts or during your dreams or nightmares, but still it left me rather cold. If I read experimental fiction, I prefer the real thing, coming from Oulipo writers especially.

As for the content, it looks like Adler is intending to provide us with glimpses into the cultural world of New York in the 1970s, with the variety of people you could have met then and there.
I’m too young to feel it as being familiar, especially as I didn’t grow up in the US.
1976 was a very important year for me, but that was thousands of miles away from the confused American youth.

My own mind is a tenement. Some elevators work.

“I have lost my sense of the whole” says the narrator. And that’s definitely the impression given by the book.

A few aphorisms did talk to me in the first quarter of the work, but not enough to make the whole book really interesting. 

I think sanity is the most profound moral option of our time.

Actually, in the one cultural element I had in common, my experience was vastly different.
The narrator was invited for a surprise event. It turned out it was a five-hour performance of Parsifal. She ends up being totally bored and her boyfriend who invited her sleeps during most of it.
When I was 16, Parsifal came out as an opera-movie. We had a special theater in my French city that would exclusively show that type of cultural movie. This was the closest for me to going to Bayreuth, which of course I would never have been able to afford.

So I went (by myself, no one else I knew was interested) to watch the five-hour opera-movie. Like in Speedboat, we were just a few in the room. But I didn’t sleep and it totally fascinated me. To this day, I remember some words of it in German.

Final verdict: A rather boring glimpse on the chaotic New York society of the 1970s. Skip.

A River Runs Through itA River Runs Through it,
by Norman Maclean
Published in 1976
168 pages
Historical fiction
Goodreads

From a boat we go to a river and to fly fishing – totally by chance.

I know nothing about fly fishing or plain fishing, but still I thoroughly enjoyed the style of the author, with all his highlights on the beauty of nature, and the close connection between the inner landscape of his characters and the outdoors.

A River Runs Through it was published when the author was 73, and I think you can feel the tranquil wisdom of its author. Even the dramatic event concerning his brother near the end of the story is presented with a certain calmness.

It also contains a certain nostalgia at the past, at lost time, at people we have lost. 

It consists basically of reminiscences of a young boy with his brother Paul and his father, a Presbyterian minister, especially as they go fly fishing.

The first sentence grabbed me right away:

In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.

Now did you notice I actually mentioned 10 books?
So here is my fun story with my 10th:

I actually experienced a powerful memory near the end of A River Runs Through it.
A paragraph suddenly reminded me of another book about fish that I had read decades ago and had left me that same feeling of nostalgia.
It was extremely far in my memory, I couldn’t remember the author (I only thought maybe he was a Jean-Marie) nor the title (except that it was one short word and the noun of a fish).

I focused really hard with the sounds I could remember from the title, starting with something like sola, sora, to rhéa, to finally créa!! The book is Le Créa (which is a common name for un esturgeon, that is, a sturgeon) by Jean-Marc Soyez.

Le Créa

And the amazing thing is that this book was also published in 1976.
And I did manage to request it through inter-library loan.
It will be interesting to see if I experience what I felt when I read it about 45 years ago!

My year 1976 recap:
So beside my disappointment with Renata Adler, looks like this year brought a solid and memorable harvest.

HERE IS THE LINK TO ALL THE BOOKS REVIEWED FOR THE #1976CLUB

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE?
CLICK ON THE 1976 CLUB LOGO TO DISCOVER MANY MORE REVIEWS
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK PUBLISHED IN 1976?