Sunday Post #68 – 10/30/2022

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

*** 

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Sunday Salon      Mailbox Monday2

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2  IMWAYR  WWW Wednesdays 2

#SundayPost #SundaySalon
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These past weeks have been too busy for me to participate in this meme and to post much on this blog. I have been restarting slowly. Hopefully, I’m back for quite a while.

I have finished only 2 books this past week, but I am in the process of reading a whole bunch, particularly 4 different books as read-along with students, so I only read a few chapters per week.

📚JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧 

The Picadilly Murder

The Piccadilly Murder
(Ambrose Chitterwick #1),

by Anthony Berkeley
Published in 1929
352 pages
Mystery
Goodreads
It counts for The Classics Club

I am a bit disappointed by this one, but am planning to try another apparently better book by the same author.

Come this way to check my short review.

The Sound and the Fury

 

The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner
Published in 1929
366 pages
Literary fiction

Goodreads
It counts for The Classics Club
Read for The 1929 Club

VERDICT: Challenging novels are worth it! Stream of consciousness at its best?

I wrote a full review. It’s this way.

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

Bel-Ami

 

📚 Bel-Ami,
by Guy de Maupassant
 French literary fiction
Published in 1885
Reading with French student F.
It counts for The Classics Club

With French student F., I recently reread Le Horla, Maupassant’s most famous collection of short stories among French students.
We loved it and decided to read one of his novels.
Maupassant impresses me more and more in his style and talent at describing characters.

“Guy de Maupassant’s scandalous tale of an opportunistic young man corrupted by the allure of power.
Young, attractive and very ambitious, George Duroy, known to his admirers as Bel-Ami, is offered a job as a journalist on La Vie française and soon makes a great success of his new career. But he also comes face to face with the realities of the corrupt society in which he lives – the sleazy colleagues, the manipulative mistresses, and wily financiers – and swiftly learns to become an arch-seducer, blackmailer and social climber in a world where love is only a means to an end. Written when Maupassant was at the height of his powers, “Bel-Ami” is a novel of great frankness and cynicism, but it is also infused with the sheer joy of life – depicting the scenes and characters of Paris in the belle époque with wit, sensitivity, and humanity.”

Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret

 

📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon
Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
It counts for The Classics Club

With French student E., we have already read the first 19 novels by Simenon featuring Inspector Maigret.
We decided to keep the chronological order of publication, so we are now in the first collection of short stories.
These are 20 short stories written between 1936-1938.
It’s really neat to see that Simenon displays the same quality of writing, in his plots and his way of creating bleak atmosphere, than in his novels.

Respire

 

📚 Respire,
by Niko Tackian
French Mystery
Published on January 5, 2022

I have already read and really appreciated 3 books by Tackian, for instance Avalanche hôtel.
So when French student S. asked if we could read together a contemporary French mystery, I knew where to go.
We have read 30% of the novel so far, and it’s very intriguing. We have no idea what’s really going on, and like the main protagonist, even where we are at.
The book is actually based on the Japanese social phenomenon of the Jōhatsu (lit. “evaporation”, hence the name in French of “Les Évaporés”) . It refers to the people in Japan who purposely vanish from their established lives without a trace.
Actually, I already read a French novel based on this phenomenon last year: Les Évaporés, by Reverdy.

“The very white sand, the turquoise ocean. This is what Yohan discovers when he wakes up. A heavenly place where he will start a new life. Have a second chance to be happy. To arrive on this unknown island, he signed up with a mysterious company that promised to make him disappear and erase all traces of his past.
During the first few days, Yohan savored his rediscovered carelessness. Even if little by little, a feeling of strangeness gets over him. The island is home to a dozen inhabitants, each more enigmatic than the next. Yet the abandoned houses, the deserted stalls in the windswept streets, suggest that they were once much more numerous. Where have the others gone?
Yohan wants to understand. But he should never have looked behind the scenes. Because it is well known that knowledge can shatter Paradise…”

The Leavenworth Case🎧  The Leavenworth Case (Mr. Gryce #1)
by Anna Katharine Green
Mystery
Published in 1878
It counts for The Classics Club

Wow, what a neat discovery!
Anna Katharine Green (1846-1935) was an American poet and novelist.
She was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America and distinguished herself by writing well plotted, legally accurate stories.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, her early ambition was to write romantic verse, and she corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson.
When her poetry failed to gain recognition, she produced her first and best known novel, The Leavenworth Case (1878). She became a bestselling author, eventually publishing about 40 books. She was in some ways a progressive woman for her time-succeeding in a genre dominated by male writers-but she did not approve of many of her feminist contemporaries, and she was opposed to women’s suffrage.”

I’m almost done listening to this fairly long mystery (439 pages – 12H03), and it’s been fabulous. I actually identified the murderer very early on (and for reasons different from those of the detective), but still, it was fascinating to see how the author plotted the whole thing and was trying to make her readers follow a different track.
This is really good, great plot and excellent descriptions of characters.
I’m listening to it through Hoopla. They say the narrator is Tamara Davis, which doesn’t sound correct. Unfortunately, Audible doesn’t seem to have this same edition, so I cannot identify for sure the excellent narrator, who is so good at changing his voice and accent for the various people involved.

“The novel begins when a wealthy retired merchant named Horatio Leavenworth is shot and killed in his library. When investigator Ebenezer Gryce and lawyer Everett Raymond look into the case, it is revealed that no one could have left the Manhattan Mansion before the body was discovered the next day. As the story progresses, Leavenworth’s orphaned nieces Mary and Eleanore, Hannah the maid, and a mysterious gentleman who appears on the scene all factor into the investigation”.

I am also almost done with an xth rereading of Le petit prince, with my French student I.
I am so loving each page of Revenge of the Librarians, a collection of cartoons by the so-gifted Tom Gauld.
And I’m reading two books on Orthodoxy.

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

The Lifted Veil

📚  The Lifted Veil, by George Eliot
Classics horror short story
Published in 1859
Will be reading for Novellas in November
It counts for The Classics Club

The Lifted Veil is a novella by George Eliot, first published in 1859.
Quite unlike the realistic fiction for which Eliot is best known, The Lifted Veil explores themes of extrasensory perception, the essence of physical life, possible life after death, and the power of fate. The novella is a significant part of the Victorian tradition of horror fiction, which includes such other examples as Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897).

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

The Poisoned Chocolates Case

📚 The Poisoned Chocolates Case (Roger Sheringham Cases #5),
by Anthony Berkeley

Published in 1929
256 pages
Mystery

This is the other book by Berkeley I mentioned above I should read.

“After arriving at his London club at 10:30 am precisely, which he has been doing every morning for many years, Sir Eustace Pennefather, a known womanizer whose divorce from his current wife is pending, receives a complimentary box of chocolates through the post.
Disapproving of such modern marketing techniques, Sir Eustace is about to throw away the chocolates in disgust but changes his mind when he learns that Graham Bendix, another member of the club whom he hardly knows, has lost a bet with his wife Joan and now owes her a box of chocolates.
Bendix takes the box home and, after lunch, tries out the new confectionery together with his wife. A few hours later Joan Bendix is dead, whereas her husband, who has eaten far fewer chocolates, is taken seriously ill and hospitalized.”

📚 NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

📚📚📚

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?
BE SURE TO LEAVE THE LINK TO YOUR POST

My top 8 books for the 1929 Club

The 1929 Club

The #1929Club

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

Last April, the year was 1954.
This time, Simon chose 1929

The main idea is to draw a literary portrait of that year.
If you are curious, you can check which books were published during that year, on this Goodreads list or on this wikipedia page.

Before focusing on The 1929 club, it seems I had read 5 books published that year.
Three I read several decades ago:

  1. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
  2. Marius, by Marcel Pagnol
  3. Les Enfants Terribles, by Jean Cocteau

And two more recently:

  1. The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant, #1), by Josephine Tey: I never took time to review this one, but I was very impressed by Tey’s richness of vocabulary, displayed even in this mystery
  2. Some Prefer Nettles, by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (1928/1929 on some lists)

With the #1929club in mind, I read the following:

The Roman Hat Mystery

The Roman Hat Mystery,
(Ellery Queen Detective #1),

by Ellery Queen
Published in 1929
239 pages
Mystery
Goodreads

A famous lawyer is found dead during a play at the Roman theater in New York. What puzzles the most Ellery (Inspector Queen’s son, a lover of mysteries and a mystery writer himself), is that the victim’s top-hat is missing. And obviously, every gentleman in the 1920s would have worn a top hat to go to the theater.
But why would the murderer have taken the hat with him? And where is that hat? Also, why choose a theater to kill somebody in the first place? And why kill this man?

This was the first mystery I read by Ellery Queen (the pen name for two cousins). Even though I partially guessed what was going on, I liked the way the investigation went, and the fun duo with the Inspector Richard and his son – with of course a few humoristic references to Holmes+Watson.
The dynamism and fun were enhanced by the narrator Robert Fass.
I definitely want to read/listen to more in the series.

The Picadilly Murder

The Piccadilly Murder
(Ambrose Chitterwick
#1),
by Anthony Berkeley
Published in 1929
352 pages
Mystery
Goodreads

All Golden Age mysteries are not born equal.
If I really enjoyed discovering Ellery Queen, this was not the case with this book by Anthony Berkeley.

I guess a lot of this novel, at least at the social level, is supposed to be entertaining. And I’m really not into social humor.
One funny element I did appreciate was the critics of “the English judicial system”.
But I really didn’t like at all the main character, the self-appointed investigator, Ambrose Chitterwick. He is a bachelor and lives with his aunt, 79 – and he has a hard time with aunts! To escape what he considers borderline slavery, he tries to help Scotland Yard with some investigations.
One day in London, he is having a drink in the Piccadilly Palace Hotel lounge, and believes he saw a poisoning happen right in front of him. The victim is old Mrs Sinclair and the perpetrator her own nephew Major Sinclair (another dangerous nephew-aunt relationship!).

I didn’t like Chitterwick’s social awkwardness, his lack of self-confidence, and his language.
I found the book way too long and even boring. It certainly didn’t help that I understood very quickly what was going on. The clues are really too obvious.
If I had not planned to read it for The 1929 Club, I would probably have DNFed it.

It looks like maybe I should have read another book Berkeley published in 1929: The Poisoned Chocolates Case.
This is with another investigator of his, Roger Sheringham. Though to present the series, Goodreads writes, “an obnoxious sleuth”!
Hopefully someone else read it, and I can see if I should definitely try it.

The Sound and the Fury

The Sound and the Fury,
by William Faulkner
Published in 1929
366 pages
Literary fiction
Goodreads

VERDICT:
Challenging novels are worth it! Stream of consciousness at its best?

So far, I had only read As I Lay Dying, by Faulkner, which I really enjoyed, but never dared to go further. One reason was a person who used to be in our book club and would heavily criticize The Sound and the Fury. But I was curious and finally decided to read it for The 1929 Club .And I am sure glad I did!

Click on the cover to access my full review.

My year 1929 recap:
I find it fascinating that the same year, we have a few representatives of the Golden Age of mystery, as well as a very avant-garde (for the time) narration technique, as displayed by Faulkner.
Thanks Simon for picking a most fascinating year!

HERE IS THE LINK TO ALL THE BOOKS
REVIEWED FOR THE #1929CLUB

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK PUBLISHED IN 1929?