2020: March wrap-up

MARCH 2020 WRAP-UP

Amazing how the world has changed since my February wrap-up!
I hope you are all doing well and keeping safe.

Actually, life is still about the same for me, as I work from home, teaching French, and this keeps me really busy these days, with among others, two of my students preparing two different and very demanding exams.

The only major change is Church. We closed our Church on March 14, so besides our usual home prayers, we are watching services from a monastery through livestreaming videos. We have also organized some Skype Conferences for our parishioners, and also social hour, just to chat together.
Last time we left home was basically on March 11, so we are doing good so far.

The above and many phone calls, skype sessions, and emails with many people, parishioners, friends, and family members, have kept me super busy.
Hence so little activity on this blog for a while. I apologize for those who have left comments, and that I haven’t approved yet. I haven’t visited many other blogs recently either. And now I am a few reviews behind.
Some days, I’m too exhausted to read in the evening. So my pace has slowed down a bit.

📚 So here are the titles I read in March:

7 books:
6 in print 
with 1,139 pages, an average of 36 pages/day
1 in audio
= 2H44
, an average of 5 minutes

5 in nonfiction:

  1. Theological Territories: a David Bentley Hart Digest, by David Bentley Hart – ebook, for review. See notes (to be continued, upcoming review)
  2. On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder
  3. The Book of Numbers – audiobook
  4. Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau – ebook
  5. Le petit livre de la vie réussie, by Anselm Grün – for review

2 in mystery:

  1. Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien, by Georges Simenon – ebook
  2. La tête d’un homme, by Georges Simenon – ebook

MY FAVORITE BOOK IN MARCH

Theological Territories

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 24/50 (from October 2019-until September 2024)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 8 books read

Total of books read in 2020 = 31/110
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 12

OTHER BOOKS I REVIEWED IN MARCH

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

  The Missing Sister   Creativity for Kids

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Civilizations

click on the cover to access my review 

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
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BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

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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 April


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How was YOUR month of March?

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 #28 – 3/8/2020

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

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Sunday Salon    Stacking the Shelves  Mailbox Monday2

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

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#itsmonday #IMWAYR
#WWWWednesday #WWWWednesdays

Click on the logos to join the memes,
and on the book covers to access synopsis or review

JUST READ

Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien   Theological Territories

📚  Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien, [The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien] which is Maigret #4, by Georges Simenon, read with one of my French students.

This time, the book is not set in France, but at the border between Germany and The Netherlands.
Maigret follows a man that seems to be dong something suspicious, and then he witnesses the man committing suicide. This is another way of presenting his inspector as a anti-hero, as Maigret understands he’s probably the one to blame: the man must have killed himself because of Maigret’s tracking him and its consequence.
The first chapter on the cat-mouse chase is really good!
And then obviously, Maigret can only follow his investigation to know what was really going on.
Like in book 3, there’s some identity issue at play. But I was totally unable to guess what this was all about. And the “arrival” of the hanged man of the title was a surprise.

I really enjoy more and more how Simenon manages to recreate the ambiance of places. And some of his descriptions of characters and of their looks are excellent as well.
Some details given make you really see a scene, like Maigret thinking and chewing on the end of his pipe between two sentences he’s writing down. It’s almost cinematographic.
Same for some very intense scenes near the end of the novel with all the main characters gathered in the same room. This may make you think of Poirot’s denouements, but no, this is all about ambiance.

📚 Theological Territories, by David Bentley Hart
Expected publication: 4/15/2020 by University of Notre Dame Press
Received through review through Edelweiss.
I’m going to try to review it this week

CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO

Lessons From Walden   Hard-boiled wonderland

📚 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.

I am actually just starting this one.
I really enjoyed Walden last year, so I thought it might be good to revisit it this year through this analysis:
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
.”

📚 Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami
This is the book we are reading now in our online Murakami book club.

We had to read the first 6 sections 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.

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 authoris great at tricking his readers.

And I’m currently listening as well to The Book of Numbers.

BOOK UP NEXT

 

Le petit livre de la vie réussie

📚 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.

LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR

  The Sleeping Lord Tokyo Performance

📚 The Sleeping Lord, by David Jones
Published in 1974

I found reference to this book in the collection of theological essays I’m reading. I’m intrigued by this modernist poet. Have you read anything by him?
“‘The Sleeping Lord is perhaps the best introductory volume to Jones’s work; the contours can be seen most clearly here, and the textures, though rich, are less elaborate than in The Anathemata, since there is an open, dramatic quality running through the book.’ Peter Scupham, New Statesman.
Published months before David Jones’s death in 1974, and modestly presented by the author himself as a collection of ‘fragments’, The Sleeping Lord continued the exploration of themes begun by its predecessors In Parenthesis and The Anathemata. Set mainly in different parts of the Roman Empire, either in the Holy Land or on the Celtic fringes, animated by his Catholic faith and by his own experiences as a soldier, formidably erudite and of a visionary intensity, the book springs from a lifetime’s concern with questions of history, culture and religion. Mysterious, musical and alive with a sense of the wilderness and the elements, the poems show the startling development of Jones’s imagination in his later years.”

📚 Tokyo Performance, by Roger Pulvers
Published on 11/23/2018
Recommended by Davida 

“Tokyo Performance is set in the pre-internet age, brilliantly captures the zeitgeist of Japan at the time. In this riveting, entertaining and wholly poignant tale, a Japanese celebrity receives a phone call while live on air that will change his life forever.
Nori, a high profile Tokyo-based celebrity chef with his own weekly television show, is famous and beloved and he knows it – but he’s about to put in his strangest performance.
Award-winning writer, playwright and film director, Roger Pulvers, brings his love and deep fascination for Japanese culture to Tokyo Performance, a funny and, at times, tragic story, which explores the cost of fame.”

BOOKS RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK

  Dont Look for Me Vocabulary Workbook for 6th Grade

📚 Don’t Look For Me, by Wendy Walker
Expected publication: 9/15/2020 by St. Martin’s Press
Received for review for Criminal Element.
Too bad the picture doesn’t do justice to the cover. The rain (? I assume) is actually all silvery and embossed. It really create a gorgeous. effect.

I have really enjoyed Wendy Walker’s three previous books, for instance The Night Before, so I’m really looking forward to this one.
“The greatest risk isn’t running away.
It’s running out of time.
The car abandoned miles from home.
The note found at a nearby hotel.
The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together.
They called it a “walk away.”
It happens all the time.
Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over.
But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?”

📚 The Vocabulary Workbook for 6th Grade, by Kelly Anne Mclellan
Expected publication: 3/24/2020 by Rockridge Press
Received for review

“Turn your 6th grader into a real word wizard with these vocab-boosting challenges.
Improving vocabulary is essential for young readers, so why not help them power up? The Vocabulary Workbook for 6th Grade is packed with fun activities that help kids learn new terms perfectly suited for their current reading level!
Each weekly lesson in this vocabulary workbook focuses on a handful of words, reinforcing what they mean and how they’re used over a series of different activities, like determining a word’s definition based on usage, exploring its roots, or finding synonyms and antonyms. Get ready to be wowed―your 6th grader is about to develop an outstanding vocabulary!”

BOOK JOURNAL

This past week for the first week of Lent, in the Christian Orthodox Church.
The first week is intense, with prayer services every night. So my reading time got reduced by half, and I focused more on spiritual reading. And didn’t really take time to write much for this journal. So here are just a few notes.

3/2
📚 The last part of Theological Territories, by David Bentley Hart, is fascinating and much easier to understand. These essays focus on his recent translation of The New Testament.
Some of these pages are fascinating and real eye openers, like the one about how the Our Father reads in Greek, and what it really meant before the spiritualization we made of it. DBH focuses on the words, and the meaning of these words in the time and culture when they were written, using other works written around the same time, to better understand their real meaning.
📚 In keeping with this special week, and especially today, Clean Monday, I didn’t listen to my current French thriller (Au Soleil redouté), but instead started listening to The Book of Numbers.

3/3
📚 Theological Territories
📚 I started reading to the second half of Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien. To be sure I’m done when I have my next class with my French student, for our readalong.

3/4
📚 Theological Territories
📚 I finished Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien. See my review above.
📚 With my online Murakami book club, we will start our conversation on Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
on Sunday 3/8. So I started reading a few sections.

3/5
📚 Theological Territories
📚 More sections of Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

3/6
📚 Theological Territories
📚 I finished section 6 of Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
So I’m ready for our Sunday conversation.

3/7
📚 I finished Theological Territories
📚
I listened to chapters 8-9 from The Book of Numbers

THIS PAST WEEK ON
WORDS AND PEACE
MYRTLE SKETE
and FRANCE BOOK TOURS

📚 Book of the month giveaway: The Missing Sister

COMING UP ON
WORDS AND PEACE
MYRTLE SKETE
FRANCE BOOK TOURS

    Japanese Literature 13

  • More book notes from Orthodox Prayer Life
  • More book notes from Theological Territories…
  • …And hopefully the review of it as well
  • Book review: Word Detective 3
  • 3/13: Spotlight and giveaway: Landing by Moonlight

 

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?

 

Sunday Post #21 – 1/19/2020

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

Goddess Power  Sanshiro

Goddess Power: review live on 1/20
Sanshiro was reviewed here

CURRENTLY READING

Theological Territories  And Then

Theological Territories: A David Bentley Hart Digest
Received for review through Edelweiss
Release date April 15
Orthodox theology book on Edelweiss.  By an author I like, but this collection of 26 essays is not so much about Orthodoxy so far.
See details below in the Book Journal section.

And Then, by Natsume Soseki (1909)
Reading for the  Japanese Literature Challenge 13 and for The Classics Club.
This is the 2nd volume in the trilogy I started, with Sanshiro.
“One of the central masterpieces of 20th-century Japanese literature, The Gate describes the everyday world of the humble clerk Sosuke and his wife Oyone, living in quiet obscurity in a house at the bottom of a cliff. Seemingly cursed with the inability to have children, the couple find themselves having to take responsibility for Sosuke’s younger brother Koroku. Oyone’s health begins to fail, and news that her estranged ex-husband will be visiting nearby finally promotes a sense of crisis in Sosuke and forces him temporarily to quit his life of quiet domesticity. Highly prized for the beauty of its description of the understated love between Sosuke and Oyone, the novel has nevertheless remained in many ways mysterious. An analysis of the novel by Damian Flanagan casts fresh insights into its complex symbolism and ideas, establishing The Gate as one of the most profound works of the modern age. ”

Audio book

The Haunted Bookshop

The Haunted Bookshop (1918), by Christopher Morley
Sequel to the delightful classic book on books: Parnassus on Wheels
Am listening to it for The Classics Club.
“The new life the itinerant bookman delivers to Helen McGill, the narrator of Parnassus on Wheels, provides the romantic comedy that drives the novel. Published in 1917, Morley’s first love letter to the traffic in books remains a transporting entertainment. Its sequel, The Haunted Bookshop, finds Mifflin and McGill, now married, ensconced in Brooklyn. The novel’s rollicking plot provides ample doses of diversion, while allowing more room for Mifflin (and Morley) to expound on the intricacy of the bookseller’s art.”

BOOK UP NEXT

The Gate

Last book in the trilogy after Sanshiro and And Then.
Will be reading for Japanese Literature Challenge 13 and The Classics Club.

“One of the central masterpieces of 20th-century Japanese literature, The Gate describes the everyday world of the humble clerk Sosuke and his wife Oyone, living in quiet obscurity in a house at the bottom of a cliff. Seemingly cursed with the inability to have children, the couple find themselves having to take responsibility for Sosuke’s younger brother Koroku. Oyone’s health begins to fail, and news that her estranged ex-husband will be visiting nearby finally promotes a sense of crisis in Sosuke and forces him temporarily to quit his life of quiet domesticity. Highly prized for the beauty of its description of the understated love between Sosuke and Oyone, the novel has nevertheless remained in many ways mysterious. An analysis of the novel by Damian Flanagan casts fresh insights into its complex symbolism and ideas, establishing The Gate as one of the most profound works of the modern age. ”

LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR

  Lanark  The Good Soldier

Lanark
Published in 1981
Found on a book blog
“This work, originally published in 1981, has been hailed as the most influential Scottish novel of the second half of the 20th century. Its playful narrative techniques convey a profound message, personal and political, about humankind’s inability to love and yet our compulsion to go on trying.”

The Good Soldier
1915
Recommended by one of my French students
“”A Tale of Passion,” as its subtitle declares, The Good Soldier relates the complex social and sexual relationships between two couples, one English, one American, and the growing awareness by the American narrator John Dowell of the intrigues and passions behind their orderly Edwardian facade. It is the attitude of Dowell, his puzzlement, his uncertainty, and the seemingly haphazard manner of his narration that make the book so powerful and mysterious. Despite its catalogue of death, insanity, and despair, the novel has many comic moments, and has inspired the work of several distinguished writers, including Graham Greene.”

BOOKS RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK

 Goddess Power   Logic Puzzles  

Goddess Power
Release day 2/4/20, received for review
Received, read, and reviewed in the same week, that’s highly unusual!!
Review live on 1/20

Logic Puzzles for Clever Kids
Release day 2/11/20, received for review

BOOK JOURNAL

1/13
📚 I managed to write 2 reviews, and I finished Sanshiro

1/14
📚 I started reading Goddess Power, and so loving it! As it’s focusing on only 10 goddesses, I was afraid it was going to be very limited, but the author actually manages to expand the focus in each chapter to offer a great overview of the whole of Greek (mostly) mythology.
📚 Am listening to The Haunted Bookshop, the sequel to Parnassus on Wheel, that I enjoyed a lot in December. Though this one starts much more slowly, with some long developments that are not very interesting and beside the plot, I think. However, like in the previous book, you can see the author had fun when he was writing it. Puns, funny remarks on society, etc.

1/15
📚 The Haunted Bookshop: more long passages outside the plot today, BUT they were actually interesting and strong positions against the War (the book was published in 1918). The plot itself is still dragging.
I wrote a review on Minimalism.
📚 I finished Goddess Power (review live on 1/20)
📚 Theological Territories: the second essay is even more difficult. It’s addressing Revelation and Givenness, by Jean-Luc Marion, an author I read decades ago. There’s also a lot about Heidegger. Alas, my fascinating philosophy years are far behind.

1/16
📚 I wrote a happy review on Sanshiro
📚
Didn’t read much tonight, as  went to see Richard III at my public library. Played by an interesting group, The Shakespeare Project of Chicago. The actors are mostly in street clothes, and they have their book, BUT believe me, it works, they are FABULOUS. I saw them play Hamlet last year. In 2020, they will play also Romeo and Juliet, and Measure For Measure.

1/17
📚 The Haunted Bookshop: it’s really not well put together, I think, at least compared to book 1 (Parnassus on Wheels) in this short series. There’s some type of mystery, but with so many digressions and reflections, it’s hardly a thriller.
Today, there were more digressions on peace/war. It made me sad to know that the author’s high hopes for peace alas after WWI , would soon be forgotten with WWII. And he died in 1957, so he witnessed another war.
There were cool passages on books. I especially like these two:
“I wish there could be an international peace conference of booksellers, for (you will smile at this) my own conviction is that the future happiness of the world depends in no small measure on them and on the librarians.”
“Long ago I fell back on books as the only permanent consolers. They are the one stainless and unimpeachable achievement of the human race. It saddens me to think that I shall have to die with thousands of books unread that would have given me noble and unblemished happiness. I will tell you a secret. I have never read King Lear, and have purposely refrained from doing so. If I were ever very ill I would only need to say to myself “You can’t die yet, you haven’t read Lear.” That would bring me round, I know it would.”
📚 I spent some time writing extensive notes for the essays I have already read in Theological Territories, to help with my final review. Otherwise, I may forget and everything will end in a mush at the end. This is NOT easy reading.

1/18
📚 Delving more in And Then. At first, the style seemed very different from Sanshiro. But now, it’s fun to identify the commonalities between these first two books of the trilogy.

THIS PAST WEEK ON
WORDS AND PEACE
and FRANCE BOOK TOURS

New book tour open for reviews/spotlights: Landing by Moonlight: a Novel of WWII, by Ciji Ware (Romantic thriller/Historical novel). Reserve your spot!

Book of the month giveaway

COMING UP ON WORDS AND PEACE

    Japanese Literature 13

January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13

  • 1/20: Book review: Goddess Power
  • 1/21: Top Ten Tuesday on most recent additions to my TBR
  • 1/22: Spotlight and giveaway on Permanent Weight Loss
  • 1/23: Book review: The Healthy Breakfast Cookbook
  • 1/24: Book review: Logic Puzzles For Clever Kids

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE?
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?