2022: March wrap-up

MARCH 2022 WRAP-UP

March was a very hard month, with the situation in Ukraine. It was harder to take time to read – plus very busy work (lots of new French students!) and Church schedule.
I managed to read as many books as in February, but much shorter books.
I actually listened to one extra book, as I took time to listen to audiobooks while coloring books, to try to get stress relief.
I didn’t visit as many blogs as usual, and I have been very late in reading your comments, even though I so much appreciate you taking time to leave meaningful comments.

📚 Here is what I read in March:

13 books:
9 in print 
with 14,439 pages, a daily average of 46 pages/day
4 in audio
= 36H53
, a daily average of 1H11

5 in mystery:

  1. The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain – read with the Goodreads Mystery, Crime, and Thriller group 
  2. Le Fou de Bergerac (Maigret #16), by Georges Simenon – read with a French student
  3. The Clairvoyant Countess, by Dorothy Gilman – audiobook
  4. A Nun in the Closet, by Dorothy Gilman – audiobook
  5. L’Aiguille creuse (Arsène Lupin #3), by Maurice Leblanc – audiobook

2 in literary fiction:

  1. The Box Man, by Kobo Abe
  2. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez

2 in poetry:

  1. River of Stars, by Yosano Akiko
  2. The Year of my Life, by Issa Kobayashi

2 in nonfiction:

  1. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, by Kate Moore – audiobook
  2. After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War – received for review through Netgalley

2 in picture book:

  1. Love in the Library, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Yas Imamura
  2. The Night Gardener, by the Fan Brothers

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

Love in the Time of Cholera  The Year of My Life

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 113/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 9/12 books
2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 0/12 books
2022 books in translation reading challenge
: 13/10+

Total of books read in 2022 = 40/120 (33%)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 7

 OTHER BOOK  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

The Final Days of Abbot Montrose

GIVEAWAYS

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Books available for swapping

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

Posted on my homepage

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MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
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Sunday Post #56

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Caffeinated Reviewer
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!

TOP COMMENTERS 

Marianne at Let’s Read
Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy
Deb at Readerbuzz
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

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📚 📚 📚

How was YOUR month of MARCH?

2022-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up400

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 #58 – 3/27/2022

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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These last two weeks have been tough and very busy too.
So I didn’t post last Sunday, and not much since either.
And slow reading, only 3 books finished in 2 weeks, instead of the usual 3 per week…

Yesterday, for our cultural breakfast, we washed Episode 5 of The Blue Planet documentary.

Since my last post, on my 3 blogs:

📚  JUST READ 🎧 

Love in the Time of Cholera

📚  Love in the Time of the Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez
Published in 1985
Read for The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Fabulous ! About love, hope, nostalgia. And many vices as well!
Florentino and Fermina fall in love in their teens, but Fermina ends up marrying someone else.
Still, Florentino doesn’t despair and waits…
I won’t say more.
The writing is fabulous, with excellent descriptions of characters and background, and even hilarious passages (on a parrot, for instance).
Wonderful analysis of characters, with all their qualities and dark sides. Florentino, among others, is definitely not a saint, and there are some reprehensible parts in his life. But it doesn’t negate the fact that Garcia Marquez is a stunning author.
I also liked how he evoked life passing by.
I shared on Instagram a short passage I really liked.

I would like to add that this book is very different in style and content from One Hundred Years of Solitude, where you have a long saga over generations. None of that here, and the story is very easy to follow. So if you were discouraged by it, give a chance to Love in the Time of Cholera.

The Clairvoyant Countess

🎧  The Clairvoyant Countess, by Dorothy Gilman
240 pages/6H48
Narrated by Ruth Ann Phimister

Published in 1975
Mystery/Paranormal

I so enjoyed Gilman’s series with Mrs Pollifax, so I decided to listen to this one.
Madame Karitska is a very kind, human, and compassionate woman, just like Emily Pollifax.
This was a neat book, easy but with richly depicted characters.
And we have here a very unusual duo: Madame Karitska is a clairvoyant, who can “read” your life by holding an object you own. With her talents, she helps Detective Pruden, who is at first very skeptic, as his last name seems to hint. Then a nice friendship develops between them. The book is a collection of cases they solve together.
After reading a heavy and dark nonfiction, this positive audiobook was quite refreshing.
The narrator is not the fabulous Barbara Rosenblat (Emily Pollifax), but Ruth Ann Phimister, who is just as excellent!

A Nun in the Closet🎧  A Nun in the Closet, by Dorothy Gilman
224 pages/6H37
Narrated by Roslyn Alexander

Published in 1975
Cozy Mystery

And then I listened to the last audiobook that had been on my audio shelf for a while!

This was quite enjoyable.
The abbey receives the anonymous gift of an old mansion. Two sisters are sent there to see what the house looks like. When the two sisters arrive, they discover a wounded person there. Their trip now gets filled with all kinds of unexpected adventures and meetings…
Great plot, with a couple of strong willed and smart nuns.
Some passages are very funny too.
The neat thing too is that it’s presented with lots of respect for religion. Sister John’s strong faith is often highlighted.
Alas, our society has changed a lot, and I doubt anyone would write that type of stories today, highlighting the same Christian values in a mystery.

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

  After the Romanovs    The Year of My Life     

L'Aiguille creuse

📚  After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War, by Helen Rappaport
March 8th 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
Ecopy received for review

Really enjoying the author’s writing. Full of lots of information. Some passages are so awfully close to what our current world is going through right now…

Paris has always been a city of cultural excellence, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. But it has also been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, never more so than before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that Belle Époque Paris had to offer, spending lavishly when they visited. It was a place of artistic experimentation, such as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. But the brutality of the Bolshevik takeover forced Russians of all types to flee their homeland, sometimes leaving with only the clothes on their backs.
Arriving in Paris, former princes could be seen driving taxicabs, while their wives who could sew worked for the fashion houses, their unique Russian style serving as inspiration for designers like Coco Chanel. Talented intellectuals, artists, poets, philosophers, and writers struggled in exile, eking out a living at menial jobs. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Political activists sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, while double agents from both sides plotted espionage and assassination. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon.
This is their story.
 ”

📚 The Year of My Life, by Kobayashi Issa
Published in 1973
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

An autobiography in haibun – a mixed form of haiku and prose.
I am still in the (excellent) introduction for now. I only found it as a pdf, and I can’t highlight passages, so I take many notes on paper, which slows down the reading.

🎧 L’Aiguille creuse, by Maurice Leblanc
Published in English as The Hollow Needle
224 pages/7H36
Narrated by Philippe Colin

Published in 1909
Mystery

I started listening to Code Lupin, by Michel Bussi. Then I quickly realized it was focusing on L’Aiguille creuse [The Hollow Needle]. I had only read the first book on Arsène Lupin, so I decided to stop Bussi to listen to this classic first. It’s actually #3 in the Arsène Lupin series.
A succession of events lead to a mysterious castle. The whole plot focuses on a battle of the minds between the brilliant Arsène Lupin and Isidore, a young student in rhetoric.
The style is older of course (1909), and sometimes over dramatic, but still I am enjoying the plot and the characters. There are funny references to “Herlock Sholmes”, lol. Hmm, I see that in the English translation, they twisted it into Holmlock Shears. Too bad.
I was surprised when I understood the meaning of the title, which of course cannot actually be properly translated inti English.
The narrator is great at doing so many different voices. There are also background sound effects, like for a play.

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

La Nuit des temps

📚 La Nuit des temps, by René Barjavel
Published in English as The Ice People
Published in 1968
Will be reading with one of my French students
and for The Classics Club
Science fiction

One of my French students likes science fiction, so we are going to read this classic together. I will probably start reading it tonight.
Here is for you the official synopsis in English, which reveals too much, as too often:

“When a French expedition in Antarctica reveals ruins of a 900,000 year old civilization, scientists from all over the world flock to the site to help explore & understand. The entire planet watches via global satellite tv, mesmerized, as they uncover a chamber in which a man & a woman have been in suspended animation since, as the French title suggests, ‘the night of time’. The woman, Eléa, is awakened. Thru a translating machine she tells the story of her world, herself & her husband Paikan & how war destroyed her civilization. She also hints at an incredibly advanced knowledge her still-dormant companion possesses, knowledge that could give energy & food to all humans at no cost. But the superpowers of the world are not ready to let Eléa’s secrets spread, & show that, 900,000 years & an apocalypse later, humankind has not grown up & is ready to make the same mistakes again.”

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

Le Manteau de Fortuny

📚  Le Manteau de Fortunyby Gérard Macé
Nonfiction – I think
Published in 2016

A kind of variation on the world of Proust.

📚  NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

📚  GIVEAWAY, in French 📚 

Le Promeneur sur le cap

📚  BOOK IN FRENCH AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW 📚

Le Promeneur sur le cap

Request today, review whenever you want.
And win credits towards gift cards!

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

Sunday Post #57 – 3/13/2022

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,
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This was a super busy week, with more French online classes.
And mostly, this was the first week of Great Lent (I’m Orthodox Christian), so with prayers at Church Monday through Thursday. As my reading time is essentially in the evening after supper, I didn’t have much reading time. Still, I managed to finish 2 short ebooks and 1 audiobook.
Emotionally, this was a blue week, seeing the horrifying invasion of Ukraine still going on and even intensifying. Finally, some Orthodox bishops (Metropolitan John for instance) are finally asking Patriarch Kirill to be a better spokesman of Gospel values…

  • Yesterday, for our cultural breakfast, we washed Episode 3 of The Blue Planet documentary.

Since last Sunday, very little on this blog. And sorry for the delay in responding and approving your comments.
I’m including here posts I published on my 2 other blogs:

📚  JUST READ 🎧 

Le Fou de Bergerac

📚 Le Fou de Bergerac (Maigret #16), by Georges Simenon
Published in 1932
Available in English as 
The Madman of Bergerac.
Read with one of my French students and for
The Classics Club

This was an unusual one. For the first time in the series, there was a lot of humor, in Maigret’s situation and habits, and in the descriptions of locals.
And for once, we really get to know Madame Maigret (trying hard to prevent her husband from smoking, for the sake of his health!), and her husband even sends her on mission, as he is stuck in bed!
But as usual, the second half of the book was a bit more difficult for me, even though there’s some kind of recap of what was done by whom and for what reasons.
I guess I need to get resigned to the fact that when I’m done with a book by Simenon, I’m not completely sure I understand all that happened and why!
Is it also your experience?

The Postman Always Rings Twice

📚 The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain
Published in 1934
Read with the Goodreads Mystery, Crime, and Thriller group 
and for The Classics Club

I was impressed by Cain’s Double Indemnity, so I decided to read The Postman Always Rings Twice (for and with Goodreads’ The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group).
I found less subtlety in this plot than in Double Indemnity, but I really enjoy Cain’s voice here again, with his grittiness, his rough, toxic, and ambiguous characters (who ultimately don’t really know themselves nor each other), and down to earth dialogs.
It’s also a great picture of life in the bleak and underbelly world California in the late 1920s-early 1930s.
In a few words: Nick and his wife Cora run a sandwich shop and filling station. One day a drifter (Frank) shows up and gets a job there. A relationship starts right away between him and Cora. With many consequences.
First, I got puzzled by the title, but then realized it added a deeper almost metaphysical dimension, if you equate the postman with fate (and this applies both for Franck and Nick! Explaining more would be spoiling the story).
I read that Camus got here his inspiration for The Stranger. I can see that now, though it would never have come to mind when I read the book. I guess only Camus’s creativity could have made his work from this story.

The Radium Girls

🎧 The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, by Kate Moore
404 pages/15H52
Narrated by Angela Brazil

Published May 2, 2017, by Sourcebooks
Nonfiction/History

VERDICT: A horrifying tale. Great research but dry style.

My full review is live here.

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

  After the Romanovs    Love in the Time of Cholera   

  The Year of My Life   The Clairvoyant Countess  

📚  After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War, by Helen Rappaport
March 8th 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
Ecopy received for review

Really enjoying the author’s writing. She does a fantastic summary of several centuries of relationship between France and Russia!

Paris has always been a city of cultural excellence, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. But it has also been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, never more so than before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that Belle Époque Paris had to offer, spending lavishly when they visited. It was a place of artistic experimentation, such as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. But the brutality of the Bolshevik takeover forced Russians of all types to flee their homeland, sometimes leaving with only the clothes on their backs.
Arriving in Paris, former princes could be seen driving taxicabs, while their wives who could sew worked for the fashion houses, their unique Russian style serving as inspiration for designers like Coco Chanel. Talented intellectuals, artists, poets, philosophers, and writers struggled in exile, eking out a living at menial jobs. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Political activists sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, while double agents from both sides plotted espionage and assassination. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon.
This is their story.
 ”

📚  Love in the Time of the Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez
Published in 1985
Reading for The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Still enjoying this a lot, Really loving the various characters, and the different portrayals of love! Very rich details.
It’s also much easier to follow than One Hundred Years of Solitude.

“In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.”

📚 The Year of My Life, by Kobayashi Issa
Published in 1973
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

An autobiography in haibun – a mixed form of haiku and prose.
I am in the (excellent) introduction for now.

🎧 The Clairvoyant Countess, by Dorothy Gilman
240 pages/6H48
Narrated by Ruth Ann Phimister

Published in 1975
Mystery/Paranormal

After the dreadful The Radium Girls, I’m glad to be going to my two last audiobooks on the list of books I have had on my audio shelf for a while. This is definitely lighter, mood wise!
I have thoroughly enjoyed Mrs Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman. Emily Pollifax is probably my most favorite detective.
And in this book, I’m meeting another variation of Emily, in the person of Madame Karitska. So far, I really enjoy the unusual team between this clairvoyant and the down to earth detective Pruden.
Too bas there are only two books in this series.

“Madame Karitska has a style all her own—a rare blend of psychic power, an exotic past, and an uncanny gift for common sense. As a psychic to the public, Madame Karitska has seen a lot.
But when a chance encounter with Detective-Lieutenant Pruden of the Police Department catapults her into the unforeseen, she must use all of her resources to keep danger–and death–at bay….”

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

When I Whistle

📚 When I Whistle, by Shusaku Endo
Published in 1974
Will be reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

I was not too impressed by Endo’s short stories (Five by Endo), but I’d like to give him another chance. And I’m curious to see how it predates Ishiguro’s novel, as mentioned below.

“One of Endo’s most unusual and powerful novels is set largely in a modern hospital, with themes and scenes that eerily seem to predate Never Let Me Go.
A jaded businessman has a chance encounter with the doctor son of his best friend at school, Ozu, and memories are stirred of a former love interest of Ozu’s, Aiko. The son of his friend proves to be contemptuous of the outmoded values of his father’s world and ruthless in pursuit of success at his hospital. The story reaches a terrible climax when Aiko, now a middle-aged cancer-sufferer, is admitted to the hospital and Ozu leads the way in experimenting on her with dangerous drugs.”

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

Phantom Lady

I actually didn’t add any book on my TBR Goodreads shelf this past week (really, again??), so I decided to feature one I added recently.
Another classic noir.

📚  Phantom Ladyby William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich)
Mystery noir
Published in 1942

“Phantom lady, I was with you for six hours last night, but I can’t remember what you look like, or what you wore—except for that large orange hat. We sat shoulder to shoulder at a little bar in the east Fifties. We ate dinner together, saw a Broadway show together, shared a cab together.
The bartender, the waiter, the usher, the cab driver—none of them remembers you. The police say I was home strangling my wife at the moment I met you.
You are the only one who can prove my story—but I don’t know your name, or where you live. And I can’t search for you from a jail cell….”

📚  BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

Eat Pretty Live Well

📚 Eat Pretty Live Well: A Guided Journal for Nourishing Beauty, Inside and Out. by Jolene Hart
Diary, 160 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Chronicle Books

I won this when participating in the vvb32reads giveaway for her blogiversary. Thanks Velvet!

📚  GIVEAWAY, in French 📚 

Le Promeneur sur le cap

📚  BOOK IN FRENCH AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW 📚

Le Promeneur sur le cap

Request today, review whenever you want.
And win credits towards gift cards!

📚📚📚

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