Book review: The Readers’ Room

The Readers' Room

The Readers’ Room
by Antoine Laurain
Le Service des manuscrits
was first published in Jan 2020.
Translated from the French by
Jane Aitken/Emily Boyce/Polly Mackintosh
Gallic Books
US release date 9/22/2020
176 pages
Literary fiction/Mystery


Buy the book

With his previous novels, especially The President’s Hat (2013) and Vintage 1954 (2019), Antoine Laurain has created an expectation of great plots and fascinating characters for his fans. They will not be disappointed with The Readers’ Room, with an additional plus of a book on books! Click to continue reading

The top 8 books to read in September 2020

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in September 2020

Click on the covers to know more


The French Widow  The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

 Le Livre de Perle L'énigme de la chambre 622

📚 The French Widow (Hugo Marston #9) (September 15, 2020), by Mark Pryor
Received for review

I have really enjoyed previous books by Mark Pryor, see for instance my review of The Sorbonne Affair, so I accepted this one for review.”

“A young American woman is attacked at an historic Paris chateau and four paintings are stolen the same night, drawing Hugo Marston into a case where everyone seems like a suspect. To solve this mystery Hugo must crack the secrets of the icy and arrogant Lambourd family, who seem more interested in protecting their good name than future victims. Just as Hugo thinks he’s close, some of the paintings mysteriously reappear, at the very same time that one of his suspects goes missing.”

📚 The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994), by Haruki Murakami
Reading with the Haruki Murakami Online Book Club (on Discord)

“Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.
In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.”

📚 Le Livre de Perle (2014), by Timothée de Tombelle
Reading with another of my French students.

YA, fantasy, and historical fiction. Yes, all of that together!
This author is very well know in France.
It’s very beautifully written.

📚 L’Énigme de la chambre 622 (2014), by Joël Dicker
Reading in French with the French Book Club (on Discord) – let me know if you want to join. Besides me, the participants are French second language, we do’t correct the mistakes, we just enjoy reading and sharing in French.
The book has been translated in several languages, but not yet in English, I think.

Dicker is the author of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

“Une nuit de décembre, un meurtre a lieu au Palace de Verbier, dans les Alpes suisses. L’enquête de police n’aboutira jamais.
Des années plus tard, au début de l’été 2018, lorsqu’un écrivain se rend dans ce même hôtel pour y passer des vacances, il est loin d’imaginer qu’il va se retrouver plongé dans cette affaire.
Que s’est-il passé dans la chambre 622 du Palace de Verbier?”



  The Readers' Room The Sleepwalkers  

📚The Readers’ Room, by Antoine Laurain
To be published on September 22, 2020 by Gallic Books
Received for review.

I really enjoy Antoine Laurain’s books, such as Vintage 1954, so I’m thrilled I received it for review.

“When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees.
But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story…
Antoine Laurain, bestselling author of The Red Notebook, combines intrigue and charm in this dazzling novel of mystery, love and the power of books.”

📚 The Sleepwalkers, by Hermann Broch (1932)
This is the book I got for the last Classics Spin.
I know I will not have time to finish it, but I hope to begin it at least.
Details on the link


  Pandemia  Vesper Flights

📚 Pandemia, by Franck Thilliez (2015)
This French author knows how to write thrillers! There are some pretty horrific details at times, but man, this guy knows how to write!!
I decided to read this one, as the details are so so close to what we have been going through with Covid-169, yet he write it 5 years ago!!

Julie disappeared when she was 17.
Twelve years later, her dad, a cop who investigated a lot to find her, wakes up in a hotel room, not remembering anything from the past 12 years, and with ID papers bearing another person’s name. Why? What happened? Who is he? Where’s Julie?
This plot is unbelievable, so clever, with books within the book.

📚 Vesper Flights, by Helen Macdonald (August 27 by Vintage)
Ebook received for review through Netgalley
And I just received it in audio through!!
If you have a blog and love audiobooks, you should check that link to their Influence Program. They have amazing titles this month!

I actually listened to her previous book, H is For Hawk, she’s a great narrator, so I’m really excited about this one.

“From the internationally acclaimed author of H is for Hawk comes Vesper Flights, a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world. In Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best loved pieces, along with new essays on topics and stories ranging from nostalgia and science fiction to the true account of a refugee’s flight to the UK. Her pieces ranges from accounts of swan upping on the Thames to watching tens of thousands of cranes in Hungary to seeking the last golden orioles in Suffolk’s poplar forests. She writes about wild boar, swifts, mushroom hunting, migraines, the strangeness of birds’ nests, what we do when we watch wildlife and why.
This is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us, by one of this century’s most important and insightful nature writers.”


Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

Review copies (historical novel and horror) available at France Book Tours
And another one will be posted today or tomorrow,
in Middle Grade Historical fiction!


📚 Now the big news for September 29 is my 10th blogiversary!!!
I want to do something special, but don’t know yet exactly what, so come back on September 4 to help me plan this big event!

Eiffel Tower Orange



Top Ten Book covers of the decade

Top Ten Tuesday:
Book Cover Freebie:
Top Ten Book covers of the decade

TTT for January 27, 2020


Today is a Book Cover Freebie. As I recently did a post of my favorites books in the decade, I thought I would feature today my most favorite covers.
It really helped I do a yearly recap including my favorite cover of the year, like this last one.
I’m featuring here the Book Cover I preferred every year.

Please click on the covers to access my review

IN 2019

Vintage 1954

IN 2018

On la trouvait plutot jolie

IN 2017

One Sip at a Time

IN 2016

Sleeping giants

IN 2015

Race to Tibet

IN 2014

Star For Mrs Blake

IN 2013

Consolations of the Forest

IN 2012

Equal of the Sun

IN 2011

The Invetion of Hugo Cabret

IN 2010



Have you read any of these?
Show me your covers!