Armchair BEA 2013: Literary fiction

Armchair BEA

Day 3:  Literary Fiction

Day 1 was a total blast for me with Introductions.
Day 2 was about Blog Development
Day 3 is also giveaway day – don’t miss my post, I have 4 books for grab!

What books have you read this year that would fit into this category? Is there anything coming up that you’re particularly excited about? What authors/novels would you recommend to someone new to the genre? Are there any misconceptions or things that you’d like to clear up for people unfamiliar with literary fiction? What got you started into this kind of book? Name a novel that hasn’t received a lot of buzz that definitely deserves it.”


I love literature and have studied it for many years, both in French and in English. I have a passion for words, and a book can highly satisfy me even if there’s basically no plot, only great use of words, great descriptions, you know like a very slow contemplative movie where nothing really happens but you are grabbed to live in that world.

Here are some of my favorites reviewed in this blog, by alphabetical order of titles.
Click on the book covers to access my reviews:

1q84 all is forgotten

1. Murakami: simply one of my favorite authors

2. beautifully crafted by an author who went through the Iowa workshop, you can feel it

Bel Canto elegance of the hedgehog

3. great ambiance!

4. cool reflections of a young “philosopher”, and the movie is awesome!

ella minnow pea everything beautiful began after

5. so clever book with pangrams!

6. hauntingly beautiful!

evolution_of_bruno_littlemore  if on a winter's night

7. enter the mind of a monkey, really cool!

8. ah the great Calvino, like an exercise here in all kinds of literary forms

Three Lives Tomomi Tree of man

9. You love Murakami and Calvino? you have to try Benjamin Constable, book coming out June 4th, read my ecstatic review!

10. well maybe it’s a classic, but I enjoyed so much the writing as the author made me live in Australia in the bush for a lifetime


Armchair BEA 2013: Development + Genre fiction

Armchair BEA

Day 2:  Development

Day 1 was a total blast for me with Introductions.

Day 2 we talk about how we develop ourselves as bloggers.  Have you branched out into your community? Do you partner with other bloggers?  Have you gone “pro” or begun supplementing your income through your blog?”


Branching out:

* Little by little, I started being part of Reading Challenges and memes. And then I launched my own reading challenge [click on the banner here]:

Books on France

It has had 30 readers signed up, for its first year, so I’m very happy. I wished more people were taking part in my weekly meme:

I Love France

where you can post about anything French, books or not. But I’m not posting faithfully on it every week…

* Since my book blog was born, outside the blogosphere I launched a book club for my block. We have been meeting monthly for a year and a half. We trade titles, that is, instead of all reading the same book, we share about the book we read since our last meeting. We are about 10, men and women, we love it!

* My dream is to meet face to face with local book bloggers, we are several in the same Chicagoland. Hopefully I will soon meet with Under the Apple Tree, a great book blogger and birder – books and birds are my 2 passions. Have you ever seen her gorgeous bird pictures? Please go visit.

Income and “pro”:

* I signed up with WordAds, but as you may know, that’s pretty slow. Hopefully I will finally get something out of it in 2014. It should cover the cost of shipping books for giveaways.

* Much more importantly, I just recently launched

France Book Tours Banner

France Book Tours: virtual book tours for books having some type of connection with France, which has little by little become a kind of niche for my book blog.  I am very happy, as 10 books are already signed up!
The fees are very affordable for authors, and there are great perks for book bloggers. Do you mind going having a look if that would be something good for you? And if you could even subscribe through email to it, that would be awesome! Thanks!

* If you go and visit, do you mind giving me some feedback, and advice on how to improve? Thanks again for your visit today!



As for the genre, sorry I do not have too much time to write a separate post, I can say that book blogging has definitely opened my reading horizon: I am reading lots of historical fiction now, and some YA from time to time, both genres that I was not reading too much before book blogging.

Why historical fiction? I enjoy the way an author builds a story on an important background job of serious and accurate information. So in that sense, I enjoy the mix of reality and fiction.

Now I can hardly resist any new HF, and my problem is that there are too many good ones coming out every month.

There are the famous ones, by Hilary Mantel of course and others, but there are lots of original ones, more obscure. I would like to highlight 2 I read recently, less known, but very good in their writing and original. Click on the covers to access my reviews:

Chronicle of the Mount Builde Syncopation


BBAW 2011: Day 2

I was excited some weeks ago to sign in to be partnered with another book blogger for today’s feature.

And here is the heroine of the day I am presenting to you. And oh My gosh, I had written this earlier on today, and YES she’s heroine of the day, as she’s one of the organizers of Armchair BEA, which just won the Best Book Blogging Event Award!! Congratulations Tif:


and her not less beautiful book blog:

She had great ideas for how to proceed for our mutual interview. We ended up asking and answering questions via email, an email that was getting longer and longer, and more interesting every day.

I enjoyed very much this experience, and we are even going to try to meet FOR REAL next year! How cool is that, thanks BBAW.

So here is our interview:

Hi Tif, it’s so exciting to have this opportunity to know each other.
My blog is only 11 months old, and it is the first year I participate in
How long have you been book blogging and participating in BBAW?
What do you like most about this special week?
Hello Emma!  I have been blogging about books for more than 4 years
now and this will be my third year participating in BBAW!  
I think it is a fabulous week, filled with a lot of great resources and people, but
nothing beats the blogger interviews!  That’s where you discover the
real gems behind the sites!  
In your 11 months of blogging, what has
been your favorite part so far?  And, now that the daily topics are out,
what are you most looking forward to from BBAW?
that’s a tough question, so many great things have happened since I
started blogging.
First, it has made me read even more than I used to,
I’m shooting now for 100 books/year. It is so much fun reading what
other bloggers think about this or that book… and to add numerous
titles or a long long TBR, LOL!
Also, I’m beginning to receive books form authors and publishers, and that’s really thrilling! One big highlight has been Audiobook Week, I managed to post everyday, it was great interacting with others on similar themes. And apart from the interviews and the giveaways, I’m also looking forward to that aspect
during this BBAW.
Wow, you have been blogging for 4 years! Have you been noticing some
evolution in your way of doing it? What would you recommend to a newbie
like me?

I wouldn’t really consider my time blogging as an evolution; more like
a whimsical wanderer, very reflective of who I am!  I read what I
fancy.  I write what I want.  I do things a little differently than the
majority, but I believe my passion for reading still shines through.
I’ve had some rough patches, particularly after moving and returning to
Overall, I think my blog is very reflective of who I am as a person.  That transitions nicely to my advice for you . . . BE YOURSELF!
Don’t try to copy someone else’s format.  Experiment with what may
work for you and don’t hesitate to dump something that doesn’t or even
try a new idea.  You never know what may blossom!

Total change of subject . . . tell me about some of your favorite reads and what makes them rank so high.

let me first thank you for your great advice about Being Myself. And
yes, new things are blossoming, such as my brand new meme “I love
So about my favorite reads: I’m very very choosy, and  do not hesitate to
dump a book if it’s not well crafted and written. I LOVE words, and so
if the writing is beautiful, almost like poetic, it will rank high, such
as recently Everything Beautiful Began After.
Another example, in my own language, French, is Proust. I have recently rediscovered Du côté de chez Swann (Swann’s Way), and God I love Proust’s writing! There’s very little action, but the descriptions are so hauntingly beautiful.
Along the same line, for non-fiction, if I can sense that the author did a
great homework as for his resaerch and then managed to translate his
background work into something fascinating for me the reader who may not
be as familiar with the topic, then it’s a big win. A recent example of
that would be David McCullough’s The Greater Journey.
I apply this to historical novels, that I enjoy very much, again IF
they are well researched and written.
My most favorite recently is Madame Tussaud, by Michele Moran, a fantastic novel on the French Revolution, with a genius idea of seeing it from the perspective of Madame Tussaud. I also love a lot the Middle Ages, either for non-fiction or fiction: I was sooo sad when I reached the last volume of Brother Cadfael’s stories by Ellis Peters!
Well you see my reading are very eccletic, I try a bit of everything,
including Graphic Novels. Do you like as well to try all kinds of
genres, or do you have a preference?
And what about the format? Do you read mostly hard copies, or ebooks, or audiobooks? any preference?

Wow!  You are an eclectic reader, and sadly I have not read one of the
books you have listed!  I need to look into these myself!
I also consider myself a very eclectic reader, reading anything from
children’s books (I have two children!), chapter books, young adult,
adult and just about every single genre!  
In just the last couple of
months, I have read In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (fascinating read about an American perspective on rise of Hitler), another volume of Fables (a graphic novel based on classic fairy tales),Little Black Dress (a bit of magic and a bit of reality), and Feed (total zombie apocalypse)!  
I am also in the midst of reading one of the Captain Underpants books with my son!  I really will read almost anything that is put in front of me!
 As for the medium, I typically like hardcovers or paperbacks.  I used to listen to a large number of audios, but haven’t really listened to much this year.  I am hoping to return to them soon though!  And, I do not use an e-reader at all.  I actually refuse to get one!
With your list of books, I’m wondering . . . if you could go to any literary
place, any time to view the world, either fictional or real, where would you go?
And now please run to Tif’s blog