Posts tagged ‘Dante’

Book review: Hell’s Gate

Hell's Gate

Hell’s Gate

Let’s be honest: when I received Hell’s Gate from Gallic Books, who are so gracious to send me many novels translated from the French, I warned them I might not read it.

The reason being a few expressions in the synopsis that usually tell me the book is not for me: “supernatural elements”, “relationship between the living and the dead” (I am a Christian, and do believe in such a relationship, but the way novelists treat it is rarely compatible with my faith), and “a way he could bring his son back from the dead.”
On the other hand, the author was Laurent Gaudé, who won the Prix Goncourt for another of his novels, and I have actually never read this author! And I usually do recognize the worth of that French literary award. So I thought I give it a try and go from there.
So I started very hesitantly. So much so that at 50% of the book, I still was not sure I was going to continue! And then something clicked, and oh my!

Click to continue reading


Year of reading 2016 part 3

And after my list of 2016 favorites,
as well as my 2016 stats,
here is to a fun wrap up:

Year of reading 2016 part 3

There are a lot of those online, but these are my favorites. The idea is to finish the sentences and answer the questions exclusively with titles I read in 2016.

If you are intrigued by a title, just copy and paste it in the search button, and you will access the review.

– When I was younger I was : The Vatican Princess
– People might be surprised to discover that I’m: Michelangelo’s Ghost
– I will never be: The Queen of the Night
– At the end of a long day I need: French Rhapsody
– Right now I’m feeling: Too Close to the Edge
– Someday I want to: (be) The Madonna of Notre Dame
– At a party you’d find me: The Vegetarian
– I’ve never: (been) Red Handed
– I really don’t enjoy: Tainted Tokay
– In my next life I want to be: The Paris Librarian

– If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Café Budapest
– Your favorite form of transportation: Trip Through Your Wires
– Your best friend is: The Girl who Stayed
– You and your friends are: The Rivals of Versailles
– What’s the weather like: Blue Moon
– Favorite time of day: Le temps retrouvé
– If your life was: The House Between Tides
– What is life to you: The Pilgrim’s Progress
– Your fear: Oblivion
– What is the best advice you have to give: Bury Your Dead
– Thought for the Day: All is not Forgotten
– How I would like to die: Toward the Endless Day
– My soul’s present condition: The Long Way Home

I began the day with The White Cat and the Monk.
On my way to work I saw a Murder on the Quai
and walked by The Sacred Combe
to avoid (the) Thirsty Dragon,
but I made sure to stop at Max Gate.
In the office, my boss said : Too Dark to Sleep !
and sent me to research The Secret of the Old Clock.
At lunch with The Other Einstein,
I noticed The Black Notebook
under The Sword of the Maiden,
then went back to my desk, The Empty Throne.
Later, on the journey home, I bought The Collected Poems
because I have The President’s Hat;
then settling down for the evening, I picked up (the) Highland Steel
and studied Couple Mechanics
before saying goodnight to (the) Sleeping Giants.

I have so much fun with this every year!
Have you tried with the titles of the books you read in 2016?


In 2016, I participated in 12 Reading Challenges, and many virtual book tours.

I finished the following challenges. (Unfortunately, I’m far behind in my reviews. But you can see the titles I read for each challenge here.

  1. Audiobook Challenge: 13/10-15
  2. Books on France: 42/25
  3. Ebook Challenge: 31/25
  4. Cloak & Dagger: 29/21-30
  5. Historical fiction: 17/15
  6. New authors: 53/50
  7. New Release: 42/30
  8. Nonfiction: 15/15
  9. Books in Translation: 29/12
  10. I am very happy with my first year of The Classics Club, with 12/50 (I have until 2020 to reach 50)

I did not manage to finish the following challenges:

  1. What’s in a Name: 5/6
  2. Japanese Literature Reading Challenge: have not read anything!
  3. Still working on Where are you reading? (on all the States in the US) = currently 20/50
  4. I am very happy with my first year of The Classics Club, with 12/50




Here are the very few reading challenges I signed up for 2017

The emphasis will be on my TBR.
And my 2nd year in the Classics Club. Having done Dante this year, I may go back to Milton, among many other titles.

A big Thank You to all of you,
book bloggers
and other readers who subscribed to this blog
through email, bloglovin, wordpress, facebook, twitter, linkedin, pinterest, instagram, youtube,
thanks for stopping by and leaving comments!
There’s been some woonderful conversations going on here, plus great reading recommendations!
Thanks again for following this blog!

Happy year of reading 2017 to each of you!

Please leave the link of your post in a comment
if you did some of that fun stuff
with the titles you read yourself in 2016

Year of reading 2016 statistics

After the list of my 2016 favorites, here are my statistics.
Then tomorrow you can see the fun I had with the titles I read in 2016.

Year of reading 2016
Part 2: Statistics

2016 was another very good reading year.
I read less books than last year (first time in several years I don’t hit the 100 mark), but I read bigger books, so more pages!
81 books reads (88 in 2015), and 14 listened to (21 in 2015) = 95, which is an average of 7.9/month

Books read in 2016:
. That’s an average of 6.7/month
Total of 24,993 pages (23,075 in 2015, which is an average of 68 pages/day.
Not counting the 5 books I translated into French.
That’s an average of 308 pages/book, (262 in 2015) – thanks mostly to Dante’s trilogy and books by Proust!

Books listened to in 2016:
[21 in 2015]. This is an average of 1.1/month.
Total of 9,205 mn (12,899 min in 2015) with an average of 25 mn/day.
That’s an average of over 10 hours/audiobook.

In graphs, this is what it looks like:


The low average in November is due to a big event in our family life!


The difference in December is due to painting commissions!


Nonfiction and science-fiction increased since last year


7% less ebook than last year!


= almost perfect balance, without even trying to do so!


4 more countries represented than last year


cool, only 50% of what I read was originally published in English!

In translation: 32 [28 in 2015]:

  • 21 from the French
  • 4 from the Italian
  • 2 from the Russian
  • 1 from the Korean, Romanian, Spanish, Greek, and Swedish

9 in original language: 8 in French, 1 in Spanish
5 translated by me from English-French

Out of a Total of 78 authors,
55 were new to me

Books by the same author: 27 [31 in 2015]:
4 by Louise Penny and Colleen Cross
3 by Proust, Modiano, and Dante
and 2 by Crossby, Cara Black, Pascal Garnier, Alfonso Zapico, and Antoine Laurain

L’étranger, by Camus

Oldest: The Inferno, by Dante (1308).
Newest: Occult Paris, by Tobias Churton (10/30/2016)


less of brand new books


thanks publishers and authors!!


1 new American State these books led me to: Alaska

21 other countries these books led me to (24 last year) : Algeria, Austria, Azores Islands, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, South Korea, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, on Mars, and in spiritual and imaginary lands!

Shortest bookThe White Cat and the Monk, by Jo Ellen Bogart – 32 pages (beautiful graphic novel)

Longest book: Purgatorio, by Dante – 700 pages.

Longest audio: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith – 18 hours

Funniest: The Suicide Shop, by Jean Teulé

Most tear-jerker: Home of the Brave, by Katherine Applegate

Most disappointing: Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett

Creepy: Too Dark to Sleep, by Dianne Gallagher

Eye-opener: Thirsty Dragon: China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines, by Suzanne Mustacich

Best reading companion: The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction, by M.A. Orthofer

Beautiful illustrations: Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie, by Anne Martinetti

Biggest discovery: A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Favorite characters of the year:  Armand Gamache (Louise Penny’s series), Katie (The Sword of the Maiden), Katarina (Katarina Luther), Kek (Home of the Brave), Ged (A Wizard of Earthsea), Martin (Martin of Gfenn), Francie (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)

Classics I finally got to read:
The Secret of the Old Clock, by Carolyn Keene/Mildred Benson
A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, by Dante Alighieri
The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
Le temps retrouvé, by Marcel Proust
The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux
Jerome K. Jerone, Three Men in a Boat

Books present for a while on my TBR that I finally got to read (other than the classics just mentioned):
Marcel Proust’s Search for Lost Time: A Reader’s Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past, by Patrick Alexander
The Collected Poems, by Marcel Proust
The Word Exchange, by Alena Graedon

Which authors new to me in 2016 that I now want to keep reading?
Lebedev, Pierre Bayard, Applegate, Pandian, Ursula K. Le Guin

New Series I want to pursue:
by Fred Vargas, Sylvain Neuvel, Gigi Pandian

Best title: Thirsty Dragon (China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines), by Suzanne Mustacich

Longest book title:
The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction, by M.A. Orthofer

Shortest book title: Inferno, by Dante








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