Book club January 2022 and Friday Finds

Bookshelf4
Picture from my bookshelves
edited with Pixlr
#Fridayfinds

I’m presenting here the books we shared
at our last block Book Club meeting
– it’s a potluck book club,
meaning each member shares about his/her latest good read.
Awesome for diversity in books, lively conversations,
and your TBR getting suddenly taller!
(synopsis taken from Goodreads.com)

Not sure why, but I stopped sharing about these three years ago.
This past week, our book club celebrated its 10th anniversary, and it suddenly gave me the idea to share again about the titles we talked about.
So here are the 9 books we talked about for our January 2022 meeting.

Les FourmisHere is the stunning international bestseller in the tradition of Watership Down but with a dark, original twist. Unique, daring, and unforgettable, it tells the story of an ordinary family who accidentally threaten the security of a hidden civilization as intelligent as our own–a colony of ants determined to survive at any cost….
Jonathan Wells and his young family have come to the Paris flat at 3, rue des Sybarites through the bequest of his eccentric late uncle Edmond. Inheriting the dusty apartment, the Wells family are left with only one warning: Never go down into the cellar.
But when the family dog disappears down the basement steps, Jonathan follows–and soon his wife, his son, and various would-be rescuers vanish into its mysterious depths.
Meanwhile, in a pine stump in a nearby park, a vast civilization is in turmoil…
Empire of the Ants is a brilliant evocation of a hidden civilization as complex as our own and far more ancient. It is a fascinating realm where boats are built of leaves and greenflies are domesticated and milked like cows, where citizens lock antennae in “absolute communication” and fight wars with precisely coordinated armies using sprays of glue and acids that can dissolve a snail. Not since Watership Down has a novel so vividly captured the lives and struggles of a fellow species and the valuable lessons they have to teach us.
My own review is here

The Shadow of the WindBarcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

 

a-gentleman-in-moscowOn 21 June 1922, Count Alexander Rostov – recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt – is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.
Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. But instead of his usual suite, he must now live in an attic room while Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval.
Can a life without luxury be the richest of all?

 

 

36295979The year is 1930. In a small Tartar village, a woman named Zuleikha watches as her husband is murdered by communists. Zuleikha herself is sent into exile, enduring a horrendous train journey to a remote spot on the Angara River in Siberia. Conditions in the camp are tough, and many of her group do not survive the first difficult winter.
As she gradually settles into a routine, Zuleikha starts to get to know her companions. The eclectic group includes a rather dotty doctor, an artist who paints on the sly, and Ignatov, Zuleikha’s husband’s killer. Together, the group starts to build a new life, one that is far removed from those they left behind.
Guzel Yakhina’s smooth prose describes Zuleikha’s adjustment to a new reality and her discovery of a new form of happiness, and covers a range of cultural, ethnic, religious and socio-political issues. This outstanding debut novel from an exciting new talent has been showered with prizes and is capturing the hearts of readers all over the world.

4975993Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh was one of the most respected churchmen, spiritual writers and broadcasters of the last few decades. His books have become classics, and as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Britain he was one of the most prominent Orthodox personalities on the world stage. But who was Metropolitan Anthony, the inner man behind the public preacher and pastor? How did his life story and personality mould his Christianity? How did his work – as monk, doctor, bishop and, almost to the end, parish priest and spiritual father – affect his ministry and other writings? In this, the first comprehensive examination of Metropolitan Anthony’s life and work, Gillian Crow presents a compelling portrait of a complex human being: both a charismatic, warm person, aglow with the joy of his faith, and also someone who fought hard with inner demons of shyness, insecurity and at times depression. This sympathetic yet honest portrayal will be essential reading for all those who have been touched by Metropolitan Anthony’s own writing and who wish to find out more about his

82535Picking up where his bestselling memoir Never Have Your Dog Stuffed left off–having been saved by emergency surgery after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile–beloved actor and acclaimed author Alan Alda offers an insightful and funny look at some impossible questions he’s asked himself over the years: What do I value? What, exactly, is the good life? (And what does that even mean?) Here, Alda listens in on things he’s heard himself saying at critical points in his life–from the turbulence of the sixties, to his first Broadway show, to the birth of his children, to the ache of September 11, and beyond. Reflecting on the transitions in his life and in all our lives, he notices that “doorways are where the truth is told,” and wonders if there’s one thing–art, activism, family, money, fame–that could lead to a “life of meaning.” In a book that is candid, wise, and as questioning as it is incisive, Alda amuses and moves us with his uniquely hilarious meditations on questions great and small.

6404803Now a major motion picture from Clint Eastwood, starring Tom Hanks—the inspirational autobiography by one of the most captivating American heroes of our time, Capt. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger—the pilot who miraculously landed a crippled US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew.
On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed a remarkable emergency landing when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger skillfully glided US Airways Flight 1549 onto the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew. His cool actions not only averted tragedy but made him a hero and an inspiration worldwide. His story is now a major motion picture from director / producer Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks, Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhart.
Sully’s story is one of dedication, hope, and preparedness, revealing the important lessons he learned through his life, in his military service, and in his work as an airline pilot. It reminds us all that, even in these days of conflict, tragedy and uncertainty, there are values still worth fighting for—that life’s challenges can be met if we’re ready for them.

52578297Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?
A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

56922687“Any story that starts will also end.” As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this truth in these wise essays that afford a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart.
At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a suprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both.
A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be.
From the enchantments of Kate di Camilo’s children’s books to youthful memories of Paris; the cherished life gifts given by her three fathers to the unexpected influence of Charles Schultz’s Snoopy; the expansive vision of Eudora Welty to the importance of knitting, Patchett connects life and art as she illuminates what matters most. Infused with the author’s grace, wit, and warmth, the pieces in These Precious Days resonate deep in the soul, leaving an indelible mark—and demonstrate why Ann Patchett is one of the most celebrated writers of our time.

  Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange 

 HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Book club Nov 2015 and Friday Finds

meme-FridayFinds-brown-boxedFRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’
and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list…
whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever!
(they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

I’m presenting here the books we shared
at our last block Book Club meeting
– it’s a potluck book club,
meaning each member shares about his/her latest good read.
Awesome for diversity in books, lively conversations,
and your TBR getting suddenly taller!

 

1. ALTERED GENES, TWISTED TRUTH: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public, by Steven Druker (2015)
presented by A.

This book uncovers the biggest scientific fraud of our age. It tells the fascinating and frequently astounding story of how the massive enterprise to restructure the genetic core of the world’s food supply came into being, how it advanced by consistently violating the protocols of science, and how for more than three decades, hundreds of eminent biologists and esteemed institutions have systematically contorted the truth in order to conceal the unique risks of its products–and get them onto our dinner plates.
Altered Genes, Twisted Truth provides a graphic account of how this elaborate fraud was crafted and how it not only deceived the general public, but Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and a host of other astute and influential individuals as well. The book also exposes how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was induced to become a key accomplice–and how it has broken the law and repeatedly lied in order to usher genetically engineered foods onto the market without the safety testing that’s required by federal statute. As a result, for fifteen years America’s families have been regularly ingesting a group of novel products that the FDA’s own scientific staff had previously determined to be unduly hazardous to human health.
By the time this gripping story comes to a close, it will be clear that the degradation of science it documents has not only been unsavory but unprecedented–and that in no other instance have so many scientists so seriously subverted the standards they were trained to uphold, misled so many people, and imposed such magnitude of risk on both human health and the health of the environment.

2. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2001)
also presented by A. [we can share 2 books when we are a small group only]

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

3. The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down, by Colin Woodard (2007)
presented by W.

The inspiration for the NBC series Crossbones. In the early eighteenth century a number of the great pirate captains, including Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and “Black Sam” Bellamy, joined forces. This infamous “Flying Gang” was more than simply a thieving band of brothers. Many of its members had come to piracy as a revolt against conditions in the merchant fleet and in the cities and plantations in the Old and New Worlds. Inspired by notions of self-government, they established a crude but distinctive form of democracy in the Bahamas, carving out their own zone of freedom in which indentured servants were released and leaders chosen or deposed by a vote. They were ultimately overcome by their archnemesis, Captain Woodes Rogers—a merchant fleet owner and former privateer—and the brief though glorious moment of the Republic of Pirates came to an end. In this unique and fascinating book, Colin Woodard brings to life this virtually unexplored chapter in the Golden Age of Piracy.

4. Ghost Boy, by Martin Pistorius, (2011)
presented by P.

They all thought he was gone. But he was alive and trapped inside his own body for ten years.
In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.
Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.
Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.
We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin’s emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.

5. The Obituary Writer, Ann Hood (2013)
presented by S.

On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.

6. Trigger Mortis, by Anthony Horowitz- (James Bond – Extended Series #39) (September 2015) presented by J.

Incorporating original, never-before-published material from 007 creator Ian Fleming, New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz returns literary legend James Bond to his 1950s heyday in this exhilarating and dashing thriller.
The world’s most famous spy, James Bond, has just returned victorious from his showdown with Auric Goldfinger in Fort Knox. By his side is the glamorous and streetwise Pussy Galore, who played no small part in his success. As they settle down in London, the odds of Galore taming the debonair bachelor seem slim—but she herself is a creature not so easily caught.
Meanwhile, the struggle for superiority between the Soviet Union and the West is escalating. In an attempt to demonstrate Soviet strength, SMERSH plans to sabotage an international Grand Prix in the hot zone of West Germany. At the Nürburgring Racing Circuit, Bond must play a high-speed game of cat and mouse to stop them, but when he observes a secretive meeting between SMERSH’s driver and a notorious Korean millionaire, it becomes clear that this is just the infamous organization’s opening move.
An orphan of the Korean War, he has a personal reason for wanting to bring America to its knees. He’s helping SMERSH decisively end the white-hot space race—but how? With the help of an American female agent, Bond uncovers a plan that leads first to Florida and then to New York City, where a heart-stopping face-off will determine the fate of the West.
This thriller has all the hallmarks of an original Ian Fleming adventure and features welcome familiar faces, including M and Miss Moneypenny. Horowitz delivers a smooth and seductive narrative of fast cars and beautiful women, ruthless villains and breathtaking plot that will leave readers hanging until the very end

Crypt Thief

7. The Crypt Thief, by Mark Pryor (2013)
presented by me

It’s summer in Paris and two tourists have been murdered in Père Lachaise cemetery in front of Jim Morrison’s grave. The cemetery is locked down and put under surveillance, but the killer returns, flitting in and out like a ghost, and breaks into the crypt of a long-dead Moulin Rouge dancer. In a bizarre twist, he disappears under the cover of night with part of her skeleton.
One of the dead tourists is an American and the other is a woman linked to a suspected terrorist; so the US ambassador sends his best man and the embassy’s head of security—Hugo Marston—to help the French police with their investigation.
When the thief breaks into another crypt at a different cemetery, stealing bones from a second famed dancer, Hugo is stumped. How does this killer operate unseen? And why is he stealing the bones of once-famous can-can girls?
Hugo cracks the secrets of the graveyards but soon realizes that old bones aren’t all this killer wants. . .

You can read my own review here:

https://wordsandpeace.com/2015/11/09/book-review-the-crypt-thief-i-love-france-168/

Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

 HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Sunday Post #13 – 11/16/14

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
Mailbox Monday2 it's Monday www wednesdays

Mailbox Monday,
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
and WWW Wednesdays

That’s it, cold has come down upon us…. time to disappear for a few months under covers with great books, and yes I have plenty of those.
One last dreadful thought on the weather: this year, the numerous flock of sand-hill cranes flying South, lucky they, are 2 weeks earlier than last year according to my own record, not very uplifting.

And a happy thought on books: at my request, Quercus has accepted to send me books translated from the French for review, and they generously shipped me 3 books instantly! – see below.
So a big hurray to Le French Book, Gallic Books, and now Quercus for their awesome job at translating/publishing books from the French. If you want something different, you should definitely go check the gems they have in store. And in case you forget, their icons are now in my right sidebar

BOOKS JUST READ

  Death at the Fair   Five by Endo

click on the covers to know more about them

CURRENTLY READING

  Bed of Nails    The Innovators

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

  1. Bed of Nails, by Antonin Varenne: one of the books Quercus sent me. French crime fiction!
  2. The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,
    by Walter Isaacson – audiobook received from Simon & Schuster for review. FA-BU-LOUS!

BOOKS UP NEXT

  Irene    The Shadow of the Wind

  • Irene, by Pierre Lemaitre, another book shipped by Quercus!
    Pierre Lemaitre won last year le Prix Goncourt for
    Au revoir là-haut, historical novel on WWI
    and I really love his writing,
    so I’m trying now what he was most famous for before: thrillers
  • Next audio book: The Shadow of the Wind, but it won’t be too soon,
    as my current audio is very long

 LAST WEEK ON WORDS AND PEACE
and FRANCE BOOK TOUR

COMING UP ON WAP and FBT

  • 11/17: France Book Tours Newsletter #3 winner
  • 11/17: list of books shared at my October Block Book Club
  • 11/18: The Shiro Project, by David Khara: release day
  • 11/19: The Shiro Project: spotlight + giveaway
  • Bed of Nails, by Antonin Varenne: book review
  • Setting up more affiliate programs, probably Indiebound and Book Depositery

 

BOOK REVIEW MOST READ THIS PAST WEEK

No Turning Backclick on the cover to know more about it

 

POST MOST VIEWED ON FRANCE BOOK TOURS

100 Places in Franceclick on the cover to know more about it
and enter the giveaway!

 

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS      100 Places in France  Sharp Hook of Love  Deadly Tasting

click on each cover to access the giveaway entry form

BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR

      12401599  21051348   23350914
plus 2 more

BOOKS RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK

  Irene Alex

Bed of Nails  98920

Irène, Alex, and Bed of Nails: received for review from Quercus

The Bastard of Istanbul: won at Unshelfish during Literary Blog Hop

 CHECKED OUT AT THE LIBRARY

none

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?