Book club February 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)

So here are the 8 books we talked about for our January 2022 meeting.

The Brothers Karamazov is a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and an exploration of erotic rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs involving the “wicked and sentimental” Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons―the impulsive and sensual Dmitri; the coldly rational Ivan; and the healthy, red-cheeked young novice Alyosha. Through the gripping events of their story, Dostoevsky portrays the whole of Russian life, is social and spiritual striving, in what was both the golden age and a tragic turning point in Russian culture.

 

 

Rebecca

From my review:
My post has also an awesome list of Q&A on the book.
I dived into it without reading any presentation, and had no idea what kind of water to expect. Wow, what a swim it was! I actually wanted to read over and over again the first chapter, hauntingly beautiful. I even wanted to paint it – it may actually happen one day!
I loved the descriptions of the landscapes, of the house, the sea, the people and their characters, the ambiance, definitely gothic! I felt magnetized by the book and the depth of its characters.At the beginning, the heroin seems rather shallow, too immature and almost two dimensional, but little by little, her character grows and makes for a loving and courageous person.
And the plot was not what I expected. When I finished the book, I re-read right away the first chapters, looking for the clues I had missed. It was an interesting experience.
If you have not read yet this classic, you have to give it a try.

    

With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.

Nora Ephron returns with her first book since the astounding success of I Feel Bad About My Neck, taking a cool, hard, hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future, bemoaning the vicissitudes of modern life, and recalling with her signature clarity and wisdom everything she hasn’t (yet) forgotten.

1756615

 

The noted singer and actress Kitty Carlisle Hart recounts her eventful life from her childhood in Europe, through Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s, to her life today, offering revealing insights into the many celebrities she has known

 

 

 

58935131 In this searing memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the forty-five days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life–and his family’s–as he confronted the painful loss of his son to suicide, lived through the violent insurrection in our nation’s Capitol, and led the impeachment effort to hold President Trump accountable for inciting the political violence.

 

 

 

23692271. sy475 100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.
How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power… and our future.

Agatha Christie's Poirot

After listening to all of Hercule Poirot short stories and novels, I decided to conclude my experience with Agatha Christie Poirot:
The Greatest Detective in the World.
It’s a very interesting volume.
The writing is sometimes a bit dry (hence 4 and not 5 Eiffel towers), but the content is fascinating.
The author recaps all about Hercule Poirot, in each decade.
VERDICT: An essential book for Agatha Christie’s fans.
Click on the cover to read my full review

 

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

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.

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

FRIDAY FINDS and BOOK BEGINNINGS (Jan. 24)

FRIDAY FINDS

FRIDAY 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).

So, come — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!
Click on the logo to add your link

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Today, I’m presenting the last 3 available titles added to my Goodreads TBR, with the synopsis copied from Goodreads as well.

FICTION

Pride and honourEurope, in the year of the Lord 772
The extraordinary novel, Pride and Honour, is a completely revised and rewritten version of the surprise initial success of the novel Honour and Glory by Nathaniel Burns. The author took many of his readers‘ tips, reviews and advice to heart to make his fascinating tale about Charlemagne and the Saxon King Widukind an even better read. Take this suspenseful, captivating and exciting journey back into Europe’s Dark Ages to meet the pivotal figure of Charlemagne and one of his greatest adversaries.
Like a bloody storm, Charlemagne’s armies ravage early medieval Europe, leaving devastation and misery in their wake. They have subdued the kingdom of the Langobards, defeated the duchy of Bavaria; they threaten the Moors in the west and, in the south, the pope in Rome.
Yet Charlemagne has even more ambitious plans: he covets the Saxon territories in the north. The Saxons put up an unexpectedly fierce resistance. When Charlemagne’s troops destroy the Irminsul shrine, the Saxon holy of holies, there ensues a struggle to the death. Led by the legendary Duke Widukind, for decades the Saxons fight savagely for their beliefs and their independence. And they will have their revenge…
Pride and Honour will transport the reader right into the heart of this legend-shrouded part of the Early Middle Ages. With his story, Nathaniel Burns has woven a a rich, dark tapestry of one of the pivotal periods in medieval European history. His historically accurate descriptions rich in authentic detail bring this remote, strife-ridden world to life again before your very eyes.
Go ahead, stoke the fire in the hearth, draw your armchair closer and dive into this wonderful historical novel full of royal intrigue, warriors, and battles of a bygone Europe…

Kindle Edition, 408 pages
Published October 23rd 2013 by Heiken Marketing
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Whispers of vivaldi

Venice, 1745—an age of reckless pleasures, playful artifice, and baroque excess. An accident has reduced Tito Amato’s glorious singing voice to a husky croak. A tragedy— but also an opportunity. The once celebrated male soprano is now determined to prove himself as a director. With the theater losing subscribers to a rival company headed by an unscrupulous impresario, San Marco’s Maestro Torani charges Tito with locating the perfect opera to fill the seats in time for the opening of Carnival.
Surprisingly, a second-rate composer provides the very thing—an opera so replete with gorgeous melodies the public speculates it was written by the late Antonio Vivaldi. Even more disconcerting are the rumors swirling around Angeletto, a male soprano imported from Naples to sing the lead. Is the singer truly a castrato or a female soprano engaging in a daring but lucrative masquerade?
Both matters lead the perplexed Tito into dangerous waters that turn murderous when Maestro Torani undergoes a series of increasingly vicious attacks ending in his death. And Tito is the prime suspect. His own life as well as the future of Teatro San Marco now depend on his skills as a sleuth…

Hardcover, 250 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Poisoned Pen Press

 

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NONFICTION

Open World

 

His vision is a remarkably consistent one and the same elements recur again and again—rocks, sea, mist, gulls and the natural world. The sheer range of influences reflect the extraordinary range and depth of his reading—Rimbaud, Nietzche, and Whitman amongst many others—and it is a measure of the strength of his work that such a personal voice emerges. The book is arranged chronologically and many of the poems are appearing in English for the first time. Notated and introduced by the author, this collection for the first time presents his poetry as a coherent and cross-referenced whole.

Paperback, 708 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Birlinn Ltd

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HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE
OR SOUNDS MORE APPEALING TO YOU?

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Book BeginningsPlease click on the logo to join Rose City Reader every Friday
to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading,
along with your initial thoughts about the sentence,
impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.
Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

The KabbalistClick on the cover to read more about it

“It was late. A lone monk, clad in a brown habit from head to toe, was making his way down the stairs, cautiously clinging to the railing. Having reached the end of the stairway, he opened the heavy library door, entered and flipped a switch, flooding the spacious hall with light.
The library walls were densely covered with book laden shelves. A rectangular timber table stood at its center, surrounded by wooden benches.”

Fascinating historical mystery on the the Kabbalah, the Templars, and maybe more. There’s a lot going on right now, not sure where everything will converge yet. Unfortunately the art cover art does not do justice to the book. Glad I was approached by the author before seeing the cover!

WOULD YOU KEEP READING?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE