The top 8 books to read in April 2022

Here are
The top 8 books
I plan to read in April 2022

Click on the covers to know more

I don’t have the energy to do a video today, so here is a post for my April TBR.


  Vanda    Death Going Down

La Nuit des temps

📚 Vanda, by Marion Brunet
Expected publication: April 19th 2022 by Bitter Lemon Press
Received for review
Reading for the Books in Translation Challenge

I really enjoyed Summer of Reckoning, and this one seems to be quite intense as well.

“A psychological thriller set in Southern France. Brunet has followed on from the success of “the Summer of Reckoning” with this magnificent portrait of a woman and a mother, a beautiful and often poetic tale that is unflinching about social and personal violence.
Set in Marseilles, this is the story of Vanda, a beautiful woman in her thirties, arms covered in tats, skin so dark that some take her for a North African. Devoted to her six-year-old son Noé, they live in a derelict shed by the beach. She had wanted to be an artist; she is now a cleaner in a psychiatric hospital. But Vanda is happy living alone, like a mama bear with her cub.
“The two of them against the world”, as she says. Everything changes when Simon, the father of her son, surfaces in Marseilles. He had left Vanda seven years earlier, not knowing that she was pregnant. When Simon demands custody of his son, Vanda’s suppressed rage threatens to explode. The tension becomes unbearable, both parents fully capable of extreme violence.”

📚  Death Going Down, by María Angélica Bosco
Mystery, published in 1954 (Argentina)
Reading for the #1954Club (April 18-24), hosted by Stuck in a Book
It counts for The Classics Club and for the Books in Translation Challenge

I’m just reading one book for the #1954Club, as this was the only 1954 book on my TBR shelves, and I’m really trying hard to focus on them.
I’m thrilled this is actually an Argentinian mystery, I can’t even remember if I ever read a mystery from that country. Really enjoying it so far.

“In the early hours of the morning, a woman is found in the elevator of a plush apartment block on Santa Fe Road, Buenos Aires. She’s young, gorgeous and dead. With this opening image starts one of the greatest crime novels ever written in Argentina. A woman has been murdered and it is immediately apparent that all the suspects have secrets to hide.
Death Going Down contains all the ingredients of a classic detective novel, and is set during the aftermath of World War II, when many immigrants were making their way to Argentina, some of them with dark pasts in Europe to hide…”

📚  La Nuit des temps, by René Barjavel
Science-fiction published in 1968 (France)
Was published in English as The Ice People
Reading with one of my French students.
It counts for The Classics Club

I read this book about forty years ago, and can’t remember anything of it at all. So as one of my French students enjoys classic scifi, we decided to read it together. Enjyoing the beginning.

“When a French expedition in Antarctica reveals ruins of a 900,000 year old civilization, scientists from all over the world flock to the site to help explore & understand. The entire planet watches via global satellite tv, mesmerized, as they uncover a chamber in which a man & a woman have been in suspended animation since, as the French title suggests, ‘the night of time’. The woman, Eléa, is awakened.
Through a translating machine she tells the story of her world, herself & her husband Paikan & how war destroyed her civilization. She also hints at an incredibly advanced knowledge her still-dormant companion possesses, knowledge that could give energy & food to all humans at no cost. But the superpowers of the world are not ready to let Eléa’s secrets spread, & show that, 900,000 years & an apocalypse later, humankind has not grown up & is ready to make the same mistakes again.”


The Man in the Queue    Moshi moshi

Under Lock and Skeleton Key

📚 The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant #1), by Josephine Tey
Published in 1929
Will be reading for The Classics Club (Spin #29)

“Inspector Alan Grant searches for the identity of a man killed in the line at a theater and for the identity of the killer—whom no one saw.
A long line had formed for the standing-room-only section of the Woffington Theatre. London’s favorite musical comedy of the past two years was finishing its run at the end of the week. Suddenly, the line began to move, forming a wedge before the open doors as hopeful theatergoers nudged their way forward. But one man, his head sunk down upon his chest, slowly sank to his knees and then, still more slowly, keeled over on his face. Thinking he had fainted, a spectator moved to help, but recoiled in horror from what lay before him: the man in the queue had a small silver dagger neatly plunged into his back. With the wit and guile that have made Inspector Grant a favorite of mystery fans, the inspector sets about discovering just how a murder occurred among so many witnesses, none of whom saw a thing.”

📚 Moshi Moshi, by Banana Yoshimoto
Published in 2010
Will be reading with the TW Book Club
(The Tokyo Weekender Book Club, on Goodreads)

I have read a couple of books by Yoshimoto (The Lake for instance), and am looking forward to this one.

“In Moshi Moshi, Yoshie’s much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimokitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. However, despite their attempts to move forward, Yoshie is haunted by nightmares in which her father is looking for the phone he left behind on the day he died, or on which she is trying—unsuccessfully—to call him. Is her dead father trying to communicate a message to her through these dreams?
With the lightness of touch and surreal detachment that are the hallmarks of her writing, Banana Yoshimoto turns a potential tragedy into a poignant coming-of-age ghost story and a life-affirming homage to the healing powers of community, food, and family.
Published in 2010 in Japanese in Tokyo, it has sold over 29,000 copies there so far. “In Moshi Moshi, Banana’s narrator addresses the poignant question, how do you rebuild your life when your much-loved father loses his life in shocking circumstances?”

📚 Under Lock & Skeleton Key (Secret Staircase Mystery #1), byGigi Pandian
Cozy Mystery
Published March, 15 2022, by Minotaur Books
Received for review through Netgalley

I have enjoyed another book (Michaelangelo’s Ghost) by this author, and even though I’m late on this review copy, I’m looking forward to finally get to it.

Under Lock & Skeleton Key layers architecture with mouthwatering food in an ode to classic locked-room mysteries.
An impossible crime. A family legacy. The intrigue of hidden rooms and secret staircases.
After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her closer to the inevitable: working for her father’s company. Secret Staircase Construction specializes in bringing the magic of childhood to all by transforming clients’ homes with sliding bookcases, intricate locks, backyard treehouses, and hidden reading nooks.
When Tempest visits her dad’s latest renovation project, her former stage double is discovered dead inside a wall that’s supposedly been sealed for more than a century. Fearing she was the intended victim, it’s up to Tempest to solve this seemingly impossible crime. But as she delves further into the mystery, Tempest can’t help but wonder if the Raj family curse that’s plagued her family for generations—something she used to swear didn’t exist—has finally come for her.”


Code Lupin  Nouvelle Babel

🎧 Code Lupin, by Michel Bussi
French mystery
Published on 6/10/2021 

As you know, I really enjoy Michel Bussi and I have tried to listen to all his books.
This one was actually his very first book I think. He republished it last year.
I started it last month. When I realized it was speaking so much of L’Aiguille creuse (The Hollow Needle), one of the most famous novels with Arsène Lupin, I stopped to listen to this classic with Lupin (I had only read the first volume with Lupin). I even found the French audio available on Hoopla! Kuddos to my public library!
So now I’m back into this one. Bussi does an awesome spin-off on the mystery featured in The Hollow Needle and makes tons of other references to Arsène Lupin and its author Maurice Leblanc.
It’s so fascinating that now, I’m getting close to the decision to listen to all of Arsène Lupin (26 books), just as I did with Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. 

🎧  Nouvelle Babel, by Michel Bussi
Published on 2/3/2022

I have a couple of other more recent books by Bussi to listen to, this time in scifi. Or rather, it seems this one is a great mix of scifi and mystery, and possibly more!


This is a total of 8 books, and so far this year, I have an average of 13 books per month.
So I’ll probably have time to read many more. I have 3 other books received for review. And I will finally launch into my TBR Reading Challenge list.

Eiffel Tower Orange


Sunday Post #58 – 3/27/2022

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


This post also counts for

Sunday Salon    Stacking the Shelves  Mailbox Monday2

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

#SundayPost #SundaySalon
#StackingTheShelves #MailboxMonday
#itsmonday #IMWAYR
#WWWWednesday #WWWWednesdays

Click on the logos to join the memes

These last two weeks have been tough and very busy too.
So I didn’t post last Sunday, and not much since either.
And slow reading, only 3 books finished in 2 weeks, instead of the usual 3 per week…

Yesterday, for our cultural breakfast, we washed Episode 5 of The Blue Planet documentary.

Since my last post, on my 3 blogs:


Love in the Time of Cholera

📚  Love in the Time of the Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez
Published in 1985
Read for The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Fabulous ! About love, hope, nostalgia. And many vices as well!
Florentino and Fermina fall in love in their teens, but Fermina ends up marrying someone else.
Still, Florentino doesn’t despair and waits…
I won’t say more.
The writing is fabulous, with excellent descriptions of characters and background, and even hilarious passages (on a parrot, for instance).
Wonderful analysis of characters, with all their qualities and dark sides. Florentino, among others, is definitely not a saint, and there are some reprehensible parts in his life. But it doesn’t negate the fact that Garcia Marquez is a stunning author.
I also liked how he evoked life passing by.
I shared on Instagram a short passage I really liked.

I would like to add that this book is very different in style and content from One Hundred Years of Solitude, where you have a long saga over generations. None of that here, and the story is very easy to follow. So if you were discouraged by it, give a chance to Love in the Time of Cholera.

The Clairvoyant Countess

🎧  The Clairvoyant Countess, by Dorothy Gilman
240 pages/6H48
Narrated by Ruth Ann Phimister

Published in 1975

I so enjoyed Gilman’s series with Mrs Pollifax, so I decided to listen to this one.
Madame Karitska is a very kind, human, and compassionate woman, just like Emily Pollifax.
This was a neat book, easy but with richly depicted characters.
And we have here a very unusual duo: Madame Karitska is a clairvoyant, who can “read” your life by holding an object you own. With her talents, she helps Detective Pruden, who is at first very skeptic, as his last name seems to hint. Then a nice friendship develops between them. The book is a collection of cases they solve together.
After reading a heavy and dark nonfiction, this positive audiobook was quite refreshing.
The narrator is not the fabulous Barbara Rosenblat (Emily Pollifax), but Ruth Ann Phimister, who is just as excellent!

A Nun in the Closet🎧  A Nun in the Closet, by Dorothy Gilman
224 pages/6H37
Narrated by Roslyn Alexander

Published in 1975
Cozy Mystery

And then I listened to the last audiobook that had been on my audio shelf for a while!

This was quite enjoyable.
The abbey receives the anonymous gift of an old mansion. Two sisters are sent there to see what the house looks like. When the two sisters arrive, they discover a wounded person there. Their trip now gets filled with all kinds of unexpected adventures and meetings…
Great plot, with a couple of strong willed and smart nuns.
Some passages are very funny too.
The neat thing too is that it’s presented with lots of respect for religion. Sister John’s strong faith is often highlighted.
Alas, our society has changed a lot, and I doubt anyone would write that type of stories today, highlighting the same Christian values in a mystery.


  After the Romanovs    The Year of My Life     

L'Aiguille creuse

📚  After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War, by Helen Rappaport
March 8th 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
Ecopy received for review

Really enjoying the author’s writing. Full of lots of information. Some passages are so awfully close to what our current world is going through right now…

Paris has always been a city of cultural excellence, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. But it has also been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, never more so than before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that Belle Époque Paris had to offer, spending lavishly when they visited. It was a place of artistic experimentation, such as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. But the brutality of the Bolshevik takeover forced Russians of all types to flee their homeland, sometimes leaving with only the clothes on their backs.
Arriving in Paris, former princes could be seen driving taxicabs, while their wives who could sew worked for the fashion houses, their unique Russian style serving as inspiration for designers like Coco Chanel. Talented intellectuals, artists, poets, philosophers, and writers struggled in exile, eking out a living at menial jobs. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Political activists sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, while double agents from both sides plotted espionage and assassination. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon.
This is their story.

📚 The Year of My Life, by Kobayashi Issa
Published in 1973
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

An autobiography in haibun – a mixed form of haiku and prose.
I am still in the (excellent) introduction for now. I only found it as a pdf, and I can’t highlight passages, so I take many notes on paper, which slows down the reading.

🎧 L’Aiguille creuse, by Maurice Leblanc
Published in English as The Hollow Needle
224 pages/7H36
Narrated by Philippe Colin

Published in 1909

I started listening to Code Lupin, by Michel Bussi. Then I quickly realized it was focusing on L’Aiguille creuse [The Hollow Needle]. I had only read the first book on Arsène Lupin, so I decided to stop Bussi to listen to this classic first. It’s actually #3 in the Arsène Lupin series.
A succession of events lead to a mysterious castle. The whole plot focuses on a battle of the minds between the brilliant Arsène Lupin and Isidore, a young student in rhetoric.
The style is older of course (1909), and sometimes over dramatic, but still I am enjoying the plot and the characters. There are funny references to “Herlock Sholmes”, lol. Hmm, I see that in the English translation, they twisted it into Holmlock Shears. Too bad.
I was surprised when I understood the meaning of the title, which of course cannot actually be properly translated inti English.
The narrator is great at doing so many different voices. There are also background sound effects, like for a play.


La Nuit des temps

📚 La Nuit des temps, by René Barjavel
Published in English as The Ice People
Published in 1968
Will be reading with one of my French students
and for The Classics Club
Science fiction

One of my French students likes science fiction, so we are going to read this classic together. I will probably start reading it tonight.
Here is for you the official synopsis in English, which reveals too much, as too often:

“When a French expedition in Antarctica reveals ruins of a 900,000 year old civilization, scientists from all over the world flock to the site to help explore & understand. The entire planet watches via global satellite tv, mesmerized, as they uncover a chamber in which a man & a woman have been in suspended animation since, as the French title suggests, ‘the night of time’. The woman, Eléa, is awakened. Thru a translating machine she tells the story of her world, herself & her husband Paikan & how war destroyed her civilization. She also hints at an incredibly advanced knowledge her still-dormant companion possesses, knowledge that could give energy & food to all humans at no cost. But the superpowers of the world are not ready to let Eléa’s secrets spread, & show that, 900,000 years & an apocalypse later, humankind has not grown up & is ready to make the same mistakes again.”


Le Manteau de Fortuny

📚  Le Manteau de Fortunyby Gérard Macé
Nonfiction – I think
Published in 2016

A kind of variation on the world of Proust.


📚  GIVEAWAY, in French 📚 

Le Promeneur sur le cap


Le Promeneur sur le cap

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The Classics Spin #17: what I got



The Classics Club

The Classics Spin #17

Twitter hashtag: #ccspin

For Classics Spin #14, I got #1: A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin
For Classics Spin, #15, I got #12: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
For Classics Spin, #16, I got #4: Arsène Lupin, by Maurice Leblanc

For Classics Spin, #17, I got #3: The Face of Another, by Kobo Abe

The Face of Another

I’m really thrilled, because I really like Japanese literature. I have already read his The Woman in the Dunes, which is a weird story. I like his writing however, so I’m curious to discover another book by him.

So I have until end of April to read and review it.
It’s never too late to challenge yourself to (re)discover the classics and connect and have fun with other Classics lovers. See what this is all about.