20 Books of Summer 2020

20 books of summer

Once again, 746books.com organizes a special challenge:

20 Books of Summer
June 1-August 31

I have never participated, so I thought I would give it a try this year.
To be honest, this is not really a challenge for me. I read 12 books in May, so between June and September, I shouldn’t have any problem reading 20 books.

But I’m doing it essentially as a way of connecting with other book bloggers, and possibly hearing about great books I have not heard about, and also to be sure I finally take the time to read books that have been waiting for too long on my shelves.

So here is the file with my 20 books. Feel free to copy the format if it’s of any help for you.
I will update it as I go along:

How many of these have you read?
Which one is your favorite?

Sunday Post #29 – 3/15/2020

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,
and on the book covers to access synopsis or review

It’s been quite a week…
I hope you are all doing well and keeping safe and healthy. Now is the time to stay home and enjoy those books that have been waiting for you on your shelves!


On Tyranny

📚 On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
Published in 2017
I know, this was not a scheduled reading, but I have heard so much about it recently, that I thought the time had come!
I did a post where I shared some passages that I thought very important.

📚 I also finished listening to the Book of Numbers.
See a few reflections here below, under Book Journal


Lessons From Walden   Hard-boiled wonderland

Here we go again, reading an insane number of books at the same time:

📚 Lessons from Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy, by Bob
Expected publication: March 30th 2020 by Pepperman Taylor
Received for review through Edelweiss Plus.

Throughout this original and passionate book, Bob Pepperman Taylor presents a wide-ranging inquiry into the nature and implications of Henry David Thoreau’s thought in Walden and Civil Disobedience.
As Taylor says in his introduction, ” Walden is a central American text for addressing two of the central crises of our time: the increasingly alarming threats we now face to democratic norms, practices, and political institutions, and the perhaps even more alarming environmental dangers confronting us.”
Taylor pursues this inquiry in three chapters, each focusing on a single theme: chapter 1 examines simplicity and the ethics of “voluntary poverty,” chapter 2 looks at civil disobedience and the role of “conscience” in democratic politics, and chapter 3 concentrates on what “nature” means to us today and whether we can truly “learn from nature”–and if so, what does it teach?
Taylor considers Thoreau’s philosophy, and the philosophical problems he raises, from the perspective of a wide range of thinkers and commentators drawn from history, philosophy, the social sciences, and popular media, breathing new life into Walden and asking how it is alive for us today

📚 Civil Disobedience, by Thoreau
Published in 1849
Reading for The Classics Club

I started this one months ago, shortly after finishing Walden, but never finished it. To better understand Lessons from Walden, which is also about Civil Disobedience, I decided to restart reading it from the beginning.

📚 Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami
This is the book we are reading now in our online Murakami book club.
Reading it to for the Japanese Literature Challenge

We had to read sections 7-13 this week.
After Norwegian Wood, it’s a relief to find again the real Murakami, with some weird settings, making you wonder where you are at: in reality, almost, or not at all. And there are some hilarious details at the same time.

📚 Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün
New edition published in 2019, by Salvator
Received for review

This is a collection of short essays by a German Benedictine monk, on essential values to live a successful life, drawing from so many different cultural sources.

📚 The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel. Yes, I just started her third book on Cromwell!

And I’m still listening to the latest book by Michel Bussi
📚 Au Soleil redouté
An author has invited five women to a writing workshop on The Marquesas islands, and now he has disappeared. Is it part of the writing prompts? Or is he dead? drowned? Murdered?
So far, the audio is a bit confusing, because I’m not yet able to identify completely whose writing journals we are reading. It would have been great to have different narrators for this one. I may have to read it after I listen to it. Or it might be just as confusing in the writing text, as the author is great at tricking his readers.


Summer of Reckoning

📚 Summer of Reckoning, by Marion Brunet, Gregor Katherine (Translator)
To be published on 4/15, by Bitter Lemon Press
Received for review

“A psychological thriller set in the Luberon, a French region that evokes holidays in magnificent pool-adorned villas. For those who live there year-round, it often means stifling poverty and boredom. Sixteen-year-old Céline and her sister Jo, fifteen, dream of escaping to somewhere far from their daily routine, far from their surly, alcoholic father and uncaring mother, both struggling to make ends meet.
That summer Celine falls pregnant, devastating news that reopens deep family wounds. Those of the mother Severine whose adolescence was destroyed by her early pregnancy and subsequent marriage with Manuel. Those of the father Manuel, grandson of Spanish immigrants, who takes refuge in alcoholism to escape the open disdain of his in-laws. Faced with Celine’s refusal to name the father of her child, Manuel needs a guilty party and Saïd, a friend of the girls from an Arab family, fits Manuel’s bigoted racial stereotype. In the suffocating heat of summer he embarks on a drunken mission of revenge.”


  Why We Sleep The Operator

📚 Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker
Published 6/19/18

“With two appearances on CBS This Morning and Fresh Air‘s most popular interview of 2017, Matthew Walker has made abundantly clear that sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when it is absent. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remains more elusive.

Within the brain, sleep enriches a diversity of functions, including our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. Dreaming creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge, inspiring creativity.”

📚 The Operator, by Gretchen Berg
Published on 3/3/20

“Nobody knows the people of Wooster, Ohio, better than switchboard operator Vivian Dalton, and she’d be the first to tell you that. She calls it intuition. Her teenage daughter, Charlotte, calls it eavesdropping.
Vivian and the other women who work at Bell on East Liberty Street connect lines and lives. They aren’t supposed to listen in on conversations, but they do, and they all have opinions on what they hear… especially Vivian. She knows that Mrs. Butler’s ungrateful daughter, Maxine, still hasn’t thanked her mother for the quilt she made, and that Ginny Frazier turned down yet another invitation to go to the A&W with Clyde Walsh.
Then, one cold December night, Vivian listens in on a call between that snob Betty Miller and someone whose voice she can’t quite place and hears something shocking. Betty Miller’s mystery friend has news that, if true, will shatter Vivian’s tidy life in Wooster, humiliating her and making her the laughingstock of the town.
Vivian may be mortified, but she isn’t going to take this lying down. She’s going to get to the bottom of that rumor—get into it, get under it, poke around in the corners. Find every last bit. Vivian wants the truth, no matter how painful it may be.
But as Vivian is about to be reminded, in a small town like Wooster, one secret usually leads to another. . . .”


  Intermittent Fasting Gone by Midnight

📚 Intermittent Fasting for Beginners: A Complete Guide to the Fasting Lifestyle, by Amanda Swaine
Expected publication: 3/31/2020 by Rockridge Press
Received for review.
I am very interested in this.

“Intermittent fasting is a practice of scheduling regular breaks from eating. A safe and simple approach, fasting helps you burn fat, achieve weight loss, have more energy, and feel younger. Intermittent Fasting for Beginners makes your fasting journey a breeze with proven advice, weeklong easy-to-follow meal plans for 6 types of fasts, and simple recipes using delicious whole foods.
Explore the science and history of fasting before learning about daily and weekly intermittent fasting plans. Learn about the incredible health benefits, including managing Type 2 diabetes and chronic inflammation―and get expert advice on combatting hunger, safely breaking your fast, and succeeding with fasting in the long-term.”

📚 Gone by Midnight, by Candice Fox
Published on 3/10/2020 by Forge
Won or received for review, not sure.

Anyway, I have really enjoyed Candice Fox’s two previous books, so I’m really glad I received this one.
“Four young boys are left alone in a hotel room while their parents dine downstairs. When Sara Farrow checks on the children at midnight, her son is missing.
Distrustful of the police, Sara turns to Crimson Lake’s unlikeliest private investigators—disgraced cop Ted Conkaffey and convicted killer Amanda Pharrell. For Ted, the case couldn’t have come at a worse time. Two years ago a false accusation robbed him of his career, his reputation, and most importantly, his family. But now Lillian, the daughter he barely knows, is coming to stay in his ramshackle cottage by the lake.
Ted must dredge up the area’s worst characters to find the missing boy. The clock is ticking, and the danger he uncovers could well put his own child in deadly peril.”


📚 Two over-filled days. I was so exhausted that I just read a few pages from On Tyranny.

📚 While doing the dishes (I tell you, just get rid of your dishwasher, you’ll have lots of opportunities to listen to audiobooks), I listened to chapters 10-15 from The Book of Numbers.
It struck we that “fake news” is alas nothing new. With all their bad consequences as well…
📚 I finished On Tyranny.
See post here.

📚 I kept reading from Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, for my online Murakami book club
📚 I also started Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün. I apologize for the wrong information I gave last week. I confused this author with another German monk. This one is still a Benedictine monk.

📚 I finished chapters 7-13 of Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, the sections my online Murakami book club will begin talking about on Sunday.

📚 Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün, up to chapter 26.
📚 I started reading La Tête d’un homme, Maigret #5, by Georges Simenon, a readalong with one of my online French students.
Just as Book 4 in this series started with Maigret apparently making a mistake, this time, he strongly asked important people in the law system to let a man condemned to death go. 

I listened to chapters 16-20 from The Book of Numbers. Thanks to all the ironing I had to o. I’m telling you, house chores are awesome for audiobooks.
Amazing how circumstances can give a new light to these passages of the Torah. Here all the purification laws, and the mentions of the plague…

📚 Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün, up to chapter 42.
📚 I finished reading the first 6 chapters of La Tête d’un homme, ready to share with my student on Tuesday.
We still don’t know if the apparent culprit is “crazy or innocent”. Though it does seem that Maigret has at least two or three possible culprits in mind. This is all so well done.
📚 Another crazy addition to my reading list, totally unscheduled: The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel. Yes, finally her third book on Cromwell.
📚 Civil Disobedience, by Thoreau.
I restarted reading this one to better understand Lessons from Walden, which is both on this book and Walden, read last year.


📚 Book of the month giveaway: The Missing Sister


    Japanese Literature 13

  • January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13
  • More book notes from Orthodox Prayer Life
  • It’s been a super busy week, like for many of you I’m sure. I hope to be posting more reviews this week.



2019: August wrap-up


Another super busy reading/book month!
There was the awesome Bout of Books week, which was my 14th participation, and probably my best ever, as far as reading is concerned, with an average of 137 pages/day over a week.

I also FINALLY took time to go through all my reviews and check which ones I had forgotten to list on my Authors’ page recap. I haven’t entered the corrections yet, so be prepared to see one day that number of total reviews actually go much higher, about 70 more!! I usually add a title to that page each time I review a book, but there were some weeks when I totally forgot!

My biggest achievement was to FINALLY finish reading Don Quixote!
I realize I had forgotten to count Book 1 when I finished it in March, so I counted both books here, which makes my average slightly higher than what it should be.
I guess earlier on, I was planning on counting the 2 volumes of Don Quixote as 1 book, and wait for the end to list it. But now that I have read it all, I realize it makes much more sense to count it as 2 different books, as there were 11 years before the publication of volume 2.

I have also caught up a bit with reviews to write,
and I’m slowly but surely cleaning my Goodreads TBR shelf.

I was thrilled to have my review of Louise Penny’s latest book, A Better Man, be a featured review on Criminal Element.

So here is what I read in August:

13 books:
7 in print 
with 2,179 pages, an average of 70 pages/day
6 in audio
= 41H17
, an average of 1H19
= this has to be my best audio time ever. I’m back to painting, that explains, as I like listening to audiobooks as I paint.
The total of books is also my highest of the year so far, even if I counted only 1 for Don Quixote.

7 in mystery:

  1. Central Park, by Guillaume Musso – French audio
  2. Goodbye Paris, by Mike Bond – for France Book Tours
  3. Un appartement à Paris, by Guillaume Musso French audio
  4. Diary of a Murderer, by Young-Ha Kim – ebook for review
  5. Le Mystère de la chambre jaune, by Gaston Leroux – audio, for Classics Club
  6. The Dark Lake, by Sarah Bailey
  7. Surface, by Olivier Norek – French audio

4 in literary fiction:

  1. Tales of Old Russia, by Paul Shukin – unpublished short stories by a friend of mine
  2. The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole – audio, for Classics Club
  3. and 4. Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, ebooks  for Classics Club

1 in manga/Film comic adaptation:

  1. The Secret World of Arrietty, vol. 1 by Hayao Miyazaki

1 in nonfiction:

  1. Dictionnaire des idées reçues, by Gustave Flaubert, French audio for Classics Club


Surface  Central Park


Classics Club: 49/50 (until end of 2020)
2019 Calendar of Crime Challenge 15/12?
Where Are You Reading?: 21/50 – to be finished in ??
Total of books read in 2019 = 65/100
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 18


I saw another book blogger including here reviews she wrote. As I often review books read months earlier, I think I’ll try.

A Better Man DonQuixote Diary of a Murderer The Sentence is Death  The Republic crimson lake Redemption Point Gomorrah Gambit

What do you think? Do you enjoy my list of recent reviews here?


The open giveaways are on my homepage



click on the cover to access my review


Six Degrees of Separation:
from Versailles to Hacking


iRead Book Tours
please go visit


Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Karen at Booker Talk
Silvia at Silvia Cachia


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Come back on Monday
to see the books I plan to read in September,
with a very special announcement,
and a treat coming!

Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

How was YOUR month of August?


Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!