Reviews of French novels – I love France #126

I LOVE FRANCE
And maybe you do too!
If you have recently read a good book in connection with France,
please mention it in the comment section
and add a link to your review if you have one.
I will regularly post a recap of all the books mentioned.

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These books count for the following Reading Challenges:

books-on-france-14

 

I read a few new to me French authors this year. They are very popular in France, but I had never had the chance to discover them before.

Here are 2 books by the so famous Amélie Nothomb:

Hygiène de l'assassin Amélie Nothomb is one of Europe’s most successful and controversial authors. She wrote Hygiene and the Assassin, her first published novel, when she was only twenty-five, and it became an instant bestseller across Europe. Winner of the Fournier and René-Fallet prizes.

Prétextat Tach, Nobel Prize winner and prolific author is dying. A few journalists go to interview him, and they are rudely and meanly rebuked.
Then comes  a female journalist, 
Nina, possibly the only person who read and knows really well his twenty-some books.
She does not let him break her and actually is just as good as he is with her own tough remarks, as she has dug into his unknown and mysterious life. She eventually manages to have him confess something she suspected about his younger days, a truth that will affect her and change her forever.

There are interesting passages on secrecy in the life of authors, but Tach is an ugly character. I enjoyed the construction of the book, but the ambiance is really ugly and gross, just as gross as the dying Tach. Yuck!

 

 

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Tokyo Fiancée

 

Tokyo Fiancée

“Amélie is a young language teacher living in Tokyo.
When she succumbs to the attentions of a student
–the shy, wealthy, and oh-so-Japanese Rinri–
the lovers find themselves swept along by an affair that is as unusual as it is tender.”

This was a lovely short book,
maybe like a love letter to Japan,
the country where the author actually grew up.

 

 

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Monsieur Ibrahim

You may be familiar with Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Qur’an, the award-winning film starring Omar Sharif. It is based on this short book. This is actually part of a trilogy focused on religion. Obviously this one is about Islam.

I really enjoy very much this author’s style: it is extremely simple but manages to go deep in evoking relationships, with lots of lively and genuine sounding dialogs. By the way, if you want to read something easy in French, go for it!

It’s a very moving coming of age short novel/play.
Momo, 11, lives in a Jewish neighborhood of Paris. His family situation is tough with his mother gone and his dad not assuming his role. After a special event, Momo becomes friend with Ibrahim, and old Sufi grocer.
Ibrahim introduces Momo to the richness of life.
It’s about connection and friendship, about beauty, humor, simple wisdom in life, and how to be happy really.
The passage on the whirling dervishes is brilliant.
I liked this passage, that all French tourists should read:

Ah non, pas l’autoroute, Momo, pas l’autoroute. Les autoroutes, ça dit: passez, y a rien à voir. C’est pour les imbéciles qui veulent aller le plus vite d’un point à un autre. Nous, on fait pas de la géométrie, on voyage. Trouve-moi de jolis petits chemins qui montrent bien tout ce qu’il y a à voir.
p.70

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Then I read another book of the trilogy, the one about Christianity:

 Oscar et la dame rose

Oscar and the Lady in Pink is also extremely moving, dealing with the topic of sick children.
Oscar, about 10, is dying of cancer.
Mami-Rose, One of the ‘ladies in pink’ who come to visit the patients, makes friends with him.
She suggests that he should write to God and pretend that each of the following 12 days is a decade of his imaginary life.
Oscar writes ten letters to God that are sensitive, funny, heartbreaking and, ultimately, life-affirming.

There’s also the theme of how parents deal with the sickness of their children.
This is so well done.
I enjoyed chapter 11 when Oscar experiences a kind of epiphany
and prays for others he knows to make the same experience.

So this is also a coming of age novella, as a very young boy becomes so wise in the context of his sickness.

 

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HAVE YOU READ ANY OTHER BOOK BY THESE AUTHORS?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COMING OF AGE NOVEL?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN A COMMENT PLEASE

 

A month of favorites: A Year in Books Timeline

A MONTH OF FAVORITES

a month of favorites#amonthoffaves

All December-long,
Estella’s Revenge,  Girlxoxo, and Traveling with T
will be sharing our fave bookish
(and sometimes non-bookish)
experiences from throughout the year
AND we want YOU to join us!

Dec 10 is for
A Year in Books Timeline {Which month did you … read the most, the least, read the book you liked LEAST for the year, read your longest book, tried a new genre, fell hard for a book boyfriend, re-read a favorite, finished an epic series, read something you’ve been wanting to read for a long time etc. } – link-up hosted at Girlxoxo

JANUARY= when I read the most nonfiction books = 4
FEBRUARY= when I read the most literary fiction books= 5
MARCH= when I FINALLY read a book by Amélie NothombHygiène de l’assassin
APRIL= when I re-read (first it was in French, now in English) Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses, by Larchet
MAY= when I discovered Pierre Lemaitre, with Au revoir là-haut
JUNE= when I read the least, only 4 books!
JULY= when I read the most books = 11 (10 in print + 1 in audio)
AUGUST= when I sadly finished the whole series of Mrs Pollifax, by Dorothy Gilman

Dorothy Gilman, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (1966) audio
Dorothy Gilman, The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax (1985) audio
Dorothy Gilman, The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax – audio
Dorothy Gilman, A Palm For Mrs. Pollifax (1973) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax on Safari (1992) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station  – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha  – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle (1988) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax And The Whirling Dervish (1990) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief  – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax Pursued  – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax and The Lion Killer – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist (1997) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled – audio

SEPTEMBER= when I read the most = 3,007 pages, that is, 100/day
OCTOBER= when I listened the most to audiobooks= 24.41 hours, that is 47 mn/day
NOVEMBER= when I read for the first time 2 heavy crime fiction novels, especially the amazing Irène by Pierre Lemaitre (just officially released yesterday, by the way!)
DECEMBER= the first time I plan to read 3 Christmas related mysteries in December

 

WHAT WAS SPECTACULAR
IN YOUR YEAR OF READING?

 

 

 

2014: June wrap-up

June has been very nice weather, which means more hiking, and less time for reading.

Here is what I read in June:

4 books only!!
with 1,280 pages, that is:  42.6 pages/day, lowest average of the year so far
I have not finished any audiobook. I’m almost done with All The Light We Cannot See, and am really enjoying it

1 mysteries:

  1. The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair, by Joel Dicker – certainly the best mystery I have read this year so far! The link goes to my vlog when I received the book, not my review yet!

1 nonfiction:

  1. Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer, by Vicki Lesage – ebook. sorry Vicki I have not yet taken time to post my review of your awesome book!

1  literary fiction:

  1.  Kira-kira, by Cynthia Kadohata – for the Japanese Literature Challenge

1 play:

  1. The Jedi Doth Return, by Ian Doescher

My favorite this month:

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

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Reading Challenges recap

Audiobook: 6/12
Books on France: 29/24
Ebook challenge: 12/25
Historical fiction: 17/25
Japanese literature: 1/6
New authors challenge: 33/50
My Kind of Mysteries: 11/20
TBR challenge: 1/12
What’s in a Name: 3/5
Where Are You Reading?: 15/50 – to be finished in 2014
Australian Literature Month: 0/1

Total of books read in 2014 = 45

Number of books added to my TBR in May = 21

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Blog recap

  1. 2  of the 4books read this month were received for review

  2. Already 44 reviews for my Books on France Challenge, don’t forget to link yours.

  3. I organized 4 giveaways this month. There’s always one going on at France Book Tours, be sure to check the July Giveaway! an awesome memoir of life on a barge in France! Can life get better than that??

  4. There were some great events this past month: I took part in the fun Literary Blog Hop Giveaway
  5. I posted some of my Eiffel Tower hand-painted rocks for sale,
  6. I finally did my first 3 vlogs
  7. I posted about the first novel I translated from English to French – if you want to support a translator, encourage all your speaking French to read it plea, it’s just a few $, available in the US,Canada,UK and France
  8. I have now my own online newspaper at paper.li
  9. and I joined the fun Japanese Literature Challenge

So that was actually a busy blogging month

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Most popular book review last month

Baudelaire's Revengeclick on the cover to access my review

Most popular post last month – non book review

Literary Blog Hop Giveaway

Book blog that brought me
most traffic this past month

Leeswammes’ Blog

please go visit

Blog milestones

over 1,770 subscribers
over 63,100 hits

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Blog plans for July

I’m taking part in Paris in July.
Apart from that, I do hope to post reviews on awesome books I read these past 2 months, and do more vlogs

 

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How was YOUR month of  June?