2020: February wrap-up

FEBRUARY 2020 WRAP-UP

📚 Well, my January trend is still at work!
I have again read a lot this month, in fact even more than in January. But the real feat is that so far, I have reviewed everything as well, mostly thanks to my Sunday Post, where I post short reviews as needed.
My daily Book Journal is helping me too, I believe.
And I have restarted posting more often on Myrtle Skete, my Orthodox blog.

📚 Like in January, besides The Classics Club, I have been doing the Japanese Literature Challenge (until March), I joined the #Pondathon (a reading competition: I earn points for my #Xiaolong team based on the number of pages I read and the number of books I finish), and the Murakami online Book Club.

So here are the titles I read in February:

13 books:
9 in print 
with 2,275 pages, an average of 78 pages/day
4 in audio
= 23H10
, an average of 47 minutes

6 in mystery:

  1. Le Charretier de la Providence, by Georges Simenon – ebook
  2. Monsieur Gallet, décédé, by Georges Simenon – ebook
  3. Second Sister, by Chan Ho-Kei – ebook, for review
  4. Complot, by Nicolas Beuglet – audio
  5. L’ile du diable, by Nicolas Beuglet – audio
  6. The Missing Sister, by Elle Marr – my review will be live on Criminal Element mid March

2 in literary fiction:

  1. Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami  – ebook
  2. The Ten Loves of Nishino, by Hiromi Kawakami – ebook, for review

3 in nonfiction:

  1. The Book of Ichigo Ichie, by Héctor Garcia
  2. The Book of Exodus – audio
  3. The Book of Leviticus – audio

2 in poetry:

  1. Selected Poems, by Masaoka Shiki
  2. The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa, by Robert Hass

MY FAVORITE BOOKS IN FEBRUARY

Second Sister  The Essential Haiku

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 20/50 (from October 2019-until September 2024)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 8 books read

Total of books read in 2020 = 24/110
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 27

OTHER BOOKS I REVIEWED IN JANUARY

Besides the books above listed, this month I also reviewed:

The Gate

Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults New SAT Vocabulary Workbook Once Upon a Word

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

The Gate

click on the cover to access my review 

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Sunday Post #24

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Caffeinated Reviewer
please go visit

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Judy at Keep the Wisdom
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please go and visit them,
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Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in March


Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

How was YOUR month of February?

2019-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up_300

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

 

Sunday Post #25 – 2/16/2020

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

JUST READ

     Complot  The Book of Ichigo Ichie

             Second Sister  Norwegian Wood

 Once Upon a Word

Yes, I managed to finish 5 books this week!

📚 Complot, by Nicolas Beuglet
Published in May 2018. 496 pages. Alas, not yet available in English, I’m afraid.
I actually listened to it, it was 12H20 minutes

I really enjoyed book 1 in this series. So I decided to listen to the sequel right away.
Sarah is asked to investigate the death of the Norwegian Prime Minister.
She discovers some weird stuff on the scene of the crime, like a bull’s head, and some strange codes on her body. “Strange” is a weird that keeps coming at the beginning of the book.
I loved the setting, on this very isolated island in the Barents Sea. But actually, as Sarah follows clues, she goes to the ancient city of Byblos (Lebanon) and to the Vatican.
There are some crazy suspenseful scenes, so well done by this great writer.
This author loves to use real data and go from there, data that most people don’t usually know about. This time, the plot is partially connected to archaeology, and the mysterious Late Bronze Age Burial Pit 3666 in Cliffs End Farm, Isle of Thanet, Kent. I learned a lot about that, fascinating!
Some major themes of the theme are feminism, masculinism (with a brilliant analysis of the recent evolution of Western Christianity), and religion.
I had the great satisfaction of guessing which Ludmila we were going to meet, because years ago, I read the book Out of the Depths: a Biography of Ludmila Javorová, by Miriam Therese Winter.
There are intriguing data about ancient religious texts, though some analysis may need to be taken with a grain of salt.
And all along, there are also issues about Sarah’s relationships with her friend Christopher and his son.
I was shocked though by the end of the books, and as book 3 is available in audio, I’m listening to it now. But I’m worried it’s only 5 hours long. In so short of a book, what am I going to learn about Sarah’s past?
The French narrator is fantastic!

📚 The Book of Ichigo Ichie: The Art of Making the MOst of Every Moment, the Japanese Way, by Héctor Garcia and Francesc Miralles,
Published in December 2019.
By the same authors as Ikigai, a book I fully enjoyed. So I thought I would also read this one, as I am in a Japanese mood. The authors are Spanish, but they have been living in Japan for at least 10 years.
I think this book is excellent if you feel part of the rat race, and you need to rediscover peace in your everyday life, and have no religion upbringing.
For me, deeply rooted in Orthodoxy (which is really Christian spirituality as it used to be at its very beginning, that is, with a very mystical dimension that has alas mostly been lost in Western Christianity), it actually didn’t bring me much.
It’s definitely much more zen oriented than Ikigai.
It actually even made me sad, as I know some readers will feel like discovering something totally new and exotic coming from the Far East, without knowing that actually this spirituality of attention to the present moment is there in Christian spirituality.
We even have a long tradition, starting in about the third century, of silent meditation in connection with breathing (see The Jesus Prayer, if you are curious).
But many Christians no longer know about it, as so many Western Churches have got rid of all their symbols and other mystical elements, and put the emphasis strictly on the social dimension, thinking this is the only way they’ll be relevant to our current times. Sad.
I did learn some interesting cultural things about Japan, for instance related to the blooming of the cherry trees.
And I had no idea Steve Jobs had been so immersed in zen.

📚 Second Sister
Received for review through Edelweiss
Release date: February 18
VERDICT: If you are looking for something different, geeky, suspenseful, and smart, don’t wait, read Second Sister now.
My full review is here

📚 Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami
Published in English December 2000
Read with the Murakami Online Book Club.
My review, mostly quotations actually, will be live on 2/19

📚 Once Upon a Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids–Building Vocabulary Through Etymology, Definitions & Stories
Release day 2/25/20, received for review through The Callisto Publisher’s Club
My review will be live tomorrow

CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO

Monsieur Gallet décédé The Essential Haiku

📚 Monsieur Gallet, décédé [The Late Monsieur Gallet]
Published in 1931. Maigret #3, reading with one of my French students.
Counts for The Classics Book Club
“In the third Maigret mystery, the circumstances of Monsieur Gallet’s death all seem fake: the name he was traveling under, his presumed profession, and, more worryingly, his family’s grief. Their haughtiness seems to hide ambiguous feelings about the hapless man. Soon Maigret discovers the appalling truth and the real crime hidden beneath the surface of their lies.”

📚 The Essential Haiku
Reading for Japanese Literature Challenge 13
“American readers have been fascinated since their exposure to Japanese culture late in the nineteenth century, with the brief Japanese poem called the hokku or haiku.

The seventeen-syllable form is rooted in a Japanese tradition of close observation of nature, of making poetry from subtle suggestion. Infused by its great practitioners with the spirit of Zen Buddhism, the haiku has served as an example of the power of direct observation to the first generation of American modernist poets like Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams and also as an example of spontaneity and Zen alertness to the new poets of the 1950s.
This definitive collection brings together in fresh translations by an American poet the essential poems of the three greatest haiku masters: Matsuo Basho in the seventeenth century; Yosa Buson in the eighteenth century; and Kobayashi Issa in the early nineteenth century.
Robert Hass has written a lively and informed introduction, provided brief examples by each poet of their work in the haibun, or poetic prose form, and included informal notes to the poems. “

Audio book

l ile du diable

📚  L’ile du diable:
This is the sequel to Complot, presented above.
It definitely tackles Sarah’s past!

BOOK UP NEXT

The Ten loves of Mr Nishino

📚 The Ten Loves of Nishino
Do you think I will FINALLY get to it soon?? for Japanese Literature Challenge 13 and also because it’s been on my egalley shelf for a while.
“Each woman in this book has succumbed, even if only for an hour, to that seductive, imprudent, and furtively feline man who managed to glide so naturally into their lives. But who really was Mr. Nishino?
Still clinging to the vivid memory of his warm breath, his indecipherable silences, and his nonchalance, ten women who have loved him tell their stories as they attempt to recreate the image of the unfathomable and seemingly unattainable Mr. Nishino. Through accounts that are full of humor, intelligence, and the bittersweet joys of love, these women evoke Nishino’s image but reveal themselves. Each perspective is both captivating and sensual, droll but important, and each is a variation on themes of love and identity.”

LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR

  Persona Toms Midnight Garden

📚 Persona
Release date 2/20/20
I keep running into this French title. A thriller involving GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft). Sounds totally like the genre I like!

📚 Tom’s Midnight Garden
1958
Two bloggers have recently recommended Philippa Pearce to me. This is the last book by her I heard about.
“Lying awake at night, Tom hears the old grandfather clock downstairs strike . . . eleven . . . twelve . . . thirteen . . . Thirteen! When Tom gets up to investigate, he discovers a magical garden. A garden that everyone told him doesn’t exist. A garden that only he can enter . . .
A Carnegie-Medal-winning modern classic that’s magically timeless.”

BOOKS RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK

 The First Men in the Moon Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults

 New SAT Vocabulary Workbook Creativity for Kids

📚 The First Men in the Moon
1901. This is one of the two books I won and chose at the occasion of Chris Wolak’s bookgiversary! With her generous gift, I was able to purchase another book, I chose an Orthodox book: The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentaryby Archbishop Dmitri Royster.
Thanks Chris!
Please go visit her wonderful book blog, full of so many resources. She also cohosts a great podcast!
“In the 1901 classic The First Men in the Moon, Wells reveals not only a fertile imagination at ease with biological and astronomical phenomena, but also a passionate concern for man and society. His “first men in the moon” prove to be the eccentric Mr. Cavor and his traveling companion, Mr. Bedford, who navigate a gravity-defying sphere through space before executing a rough landing on the moon. As castaways from earth, they practice lunar locomotion, get lost in the wilds of a moon jungle, and confront intelligent life forms living in lunar caverns. Through the adventures of these two earthlings, the author is able to look at mankind from a distance and, in his words, “burlesque the effects of specialization.” The result is a delightful tale filled with adventure, romance, and fantasy that is still capable of stirring the imagination of readers in the 21st century.”

📚 Tricky Logic Puzzles for Adults
Release day 2/25/20, received for review through The Callisto Publisher’s Club
“It’s time to give your mental muscles a real workout! Stuffed full of clever and cunning challenges, this collection of logic puzzles for adults is perfect for puzzlers looking to prove (and improve) their skill.
Featuring a variety of puzzle types–including Sudoku, Masyu, Logic Grids, and Nonograms–these easy-to-understand (but tough-to-solve) puzzles will help keep your mind sharp as you remain engaged and entertained for days to come. Brainpower on!

📚 New SAT Vocabulary Workbook
Release day 2/25/20, received for review through The Callisto Publisher’s Club
“Seberson Method: New SAT® Vocabulary Workbook helps students master more than 700 high-frequency words that frequently appear on the test’s Reading, Writing, and Essay sections. The book’s approach reflects changes made to the SAT in recent years, focusing on more contextual vocabulary understanding than rote memorization.
Each of the 145 bite-size lessons features a theme to help improve vocabulary retention, and each includes an activity to test understanding. It’s a modern workbook designed to give college-bound students the edge needed to improve their SAT scores.”

📚 Creativity for Kids
Release day 3/10/20, received for review through The Callisto Publisher’s Club
“Make creativity their superpower with 75 imaginative exercises for kids!
Help children explore their curiosity and learn how to be more creative! Creativity for Kids provides fun and helpful activities that will not only help kids express themselves but also build confidence and enhance problem-solving skills as they make creativity a part of everything they do.
Go beyond artistic expression with guided activities―like the Bridge-Building Challenge or the Cut-Out Story―that help your child learn how to take innovative and inventive approaches to a variety of situations and challenges. They’ll also have a super-fun time with each activity whether working independently or in a group.”

BOOK JOURNAL

2/10-11
📚 Oops, I have been forgetting to keep track. These two days, I read Complot and Second Sister, already reviewed.

2/12
📚 I finished Complot and Ichigo Ichie, also presented above.
I also finished reading the chapter of The Essential Haiku (edited by Robert Hass) on Basho. And felt inspired to write my first haiku!

2/13
📚 Having finished Complot, with a crazy end, I couldn’t wait to know what was going to happen next. So I started book 3 in this series, L’ile du diable.
I’m worried that it’s so short, 5 hours instead of 12 hours for book 2.
In case this series gets translated in English and you’ll read them, I will avoid spoilers. Just to say that the book opens 1 year after book 2. And it gets very focused on Inspector Sarah’s life from the get go. I hope I’ll know more about her past and her family in 5 hours…

2/14
📚 It’s interesting that I finished Norwegian Wood by Murakami on Saint Valentine’s Day! On the 19, I will post a review, or at least quotations I enjoyed the book.
I know it’s a must book by my favorite author, but this is actually not a book I enjoyed. It didn’t totally feel like all the other books I read by Muramaki.
Let’s just  say, why would you read Fifty Shades of Grey when you have Norwegian Wood??
📚 I read half of Maigret #3, Monsieur Gallet, décédé (see above).
I am thoroughly enjoying it. As many series, the books seem to get better and better.
In this one, I start seeing a lot of humor in Simenon’s style, something that was not as apparent in the previous two books. It’s very atmospheric.

THIS PAST WEEK ON
WORDS AND PEACE
and FRANCE BOOK TOURS

📚 Book of the month giveaway

COMING UP ON WORDS AND PEACE

    Japanese Literature 13

January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

 

Book review: Second Sister

Second Sister

Second Sister
by Chan Ho-Kei
網內人
was first published in 2017
Translated by Jeremy Tiang
Grove Atlantic/Black Cat
2/18/2020
Thriller/Chinese Literature
512 pages

Goodreads

Buy the book

Chan Ho-Kei is a renowned Chinese author of thrillers. He’s famous for The Borrowed, which I haven’t read yet. So I seized the opportunity to read his upcoming Second Sister. It will certainly not be the last book by him I read. Read further to know why. Click to continue reading