2022: February wrap-up

FEBRUARY 2022 WRAP-UP

With the world events, I debated sharing about the books I have read.
Praying is definitely more important than reading at this point, but I guess some of you may experience comfort in the usual routine, so here we go.

February had only 28 days, so it seemed I read less. In fact, my average page per day was higher than in January, and I also had more listening time for audiobooks.

So far, I have managed to review everything.

📚 Here is what I read in February:

12 books:
9 in print 
with 2,082 pages, a daily average of 74 pages/day
3 in audio
= 40H05
, a daily average of 1H25

4 in mystery:

  1. Intuitio, by Laurent Gounelle – French audio
  2. Gataca [Bred to Kill], by Franck Thilliez – French audio
  3. The Final Days of Abbot Montrose, by Sven Elvestad – Norwegian classic
  4. Maigret chez les Flamands (Maigret #15), by Georges Simenon – read with a French student

3 in literary fiction:

  1. Star, by Yukio Mishima
  2. Lean on me, by Serge Joncour – publication day today!
  3. Les Dimanches de Monsieur Ushioda, by Yasushi Inoue

2 historical fiction:

  1. Chemin de femmes [The Waiting Years], by Fumiko Enchi
  2. Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield – audio

2 in nonfiction:

  1. Agatha Christie Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, by Mark Aldridge
  2. A Brush With Birds: Paintings and Stories from the Wild, by Richard Weatherly

1 in picture book:

  1. Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

Gataca The Waiting Years

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 107/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 6/12 books
2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 0/12 books
2022 books in translation reading challenge
: 9/10+

Total of books read in 2022 = 27/120 (23%)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 30

NO OTHER BOOK  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

Books available for swapping

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

Posted on my homepage

And we offer a Book Box!

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
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Sunday Post #51

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
Greg at Book Haven
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,496 posts
over 5,580 followers
over 241,390 hits

📚

And here are the books
I plan to read in March
(
video)

📚 📚 📚

How was YOUR month of FEBRUARY?

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!

Friday Face Off: Hate to love

Friday Face Off

The Friday Face-Off was originally created by Books by Proxy:
each Friday, bloggers showcase book covers on a weekly theme.
Visit Lynn’s Books (@LynnsBooks) for a list of upcoming themes.
Please visit also Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy (@tammy_sparks)
thanks to whom I discovered this meme.

📚 📚 📚 

This week, the theme is “hate to love

Last week, when I saw what the theme would be for this week, I had no idea what to do with this. And then I reviewed The Waiting Years, a fabulous classic Japanese novel, and I happened to write the following lines:
“Women are shown in their rich complexity, sometimes even experiencing opposite feelings at the same time, and in their often difficult relationships with men and other women. At one point, Tomo can’t even point out if she feels love or hate for her husband.”

As I realized I had written the words love and hate, I knew this was the perfect book to feature today!

The Waiting Years

Click on the cover to read my review

Several publishers went with the “waiting” part. Though in other languages, like in French, the title is very different: Chemin de femmes, something like, the way of women, which seems to be closer to the original Japanese.

Click on the picture if you want to identify the various editions
You can also right click and ‘open image in new tab’ to zoom in

WHICH COVER IS YOUR FAVORITE? WHY?

Friday face off love hate

My favorite is the first cover, the Japanese-American edition (Kodansha-US).
It shows less the idea of waiting than some type of resignation and sadness, which is so important in the book. I especially like the dull sepia like colors.
Lots of covers are cute and very colorful, with gorgeous flowers, but really they don’t reflect at all the ambiance of the book.

And I totally encourage you to read this excellent novel.

📚 📚 📚 

Have you read this book?
WHICH COVER IS YOUR FAVORITE? WHY?
Next Friday: Made for each other

Sunday Post #53 – 2/13/2022

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,
and on the book covers to access synopsis or review

Finally one day less cold, that allowed us to WALK to the library!! It felt like vacation.

  • My addiction to Wordle continues: English, French, Spanish, Italian, (I tried German a few days and decided to stop, it’s too far in my brain), I tried Dordle (you guess 2 words at a time), but then was introduced to Quordle (4 words at a time). I’m also doing Nerdle (math), and yesterday Carol @ Cas d’intérêt introduced me to Worldle, where you have to guess a country – only the French would come up with a geographic version. Merci Carol!
  • Yesterday, for our Cultural Saturday breakfast, we watched this fascinating documentary on Yukio Mishima.
    I have read several books by him, especially for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15, and will actually post a review on one of his books tomorrow.
    A literary genius, but also an intense and totally sick character if you ask me.
    The documentary The Strange Case Of Yukio Mishima (1985) BBC Documentary (available on YouTube) was excellent at presenting the various facets of his personality and the social and historical background.

Since last Sunday, on the blog:

📚  JUST READ / LISTENED TO 🎧 

  The Waiting Years  Star  

Gataca

📚  The Waiting Years, by Fumiko Enchi
Published in 1957
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

VERDICT: Fabulous foray into woman psychology! Exquisite portraits of Japanese women, at a time when they lived in the shadow of men.
Click on the cover to access my full review

📚 Star, by Yukio Mishima
Published in 1961
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Very interesting portrait of a young movie star.
Come back tomorrow to read my review!

🎧 Gataca, by Franck Thilliez
Translated as Bred to Kill in English
Originally published in 2011
Thriller

The first chapters are VERY depressing, but then, it becomes so fascinating with Thilliez’ usual gift at inserting awesome and accurate science into his novels.
Here genetics and evolutionary paleontology. I learned so much, for instance on laterality. The parts about lactose intolerance were so informative.
And the way this author connects different plots always blows my mind. Plus, you get to do some unusual travel (I will not reveal the destination, to avoid spoilers).
His characters are complex and tormented, in their inner self, plus from the outside – maybe the parts with the cop enmity was not necessary?
So if you are OK with some rough and gruesome scenes, you need to try this author, because really he writes so well.

“Lucie Henebelle and Inspector Sharko have reunited to take on the case of the brutal murder of Eva Louts, a promising graduate student who was killed while working at a primate research center outside of Paris. But what first appears to be a vicious animal attack soon proves to be something more sinister. What was Eva secretly researching?”

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

 Lean On Me   Les Dimanches de Monsieur Ushioda

Once Upon a River

📚 Lean on Me, by Serge Joncour
Translated from the French by Louise Rogers Lalaurie and Jane Aitken
US publication date: March 1, 2022
by Gallic Books
Literary fiction

Received for review
Reading it also for
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge

Almost done. I seem to be into a series of books looking closely at the complexity of human psychology. Not sure this one will end well, I feel some looming danger here.
Great writing, you cannot expect less from Joncour.

“Winner of the prestigious Prix Interallié.
When a flock of crows invades their shared apartment block, farmer-turned-debt collector Ludovic and fashion designer Aurore speak for the first time. With nothing but the birds in common, the two are destined for separate lives, yet are drawn inexplicably together.
Though their story is set in Paris, the tale of Ludovic and Aurore is far from an idyllic romance. With one trapped in an unhappy marriage and the other lost in grief, the city of love has brought each of them only isolation and pain. As Aurore faces losing her business and Ludovic questions the ethics of his job, they begin a passionate affair. Love between such different people seems doomed to failure, but for these two unhappy souls trapped in ruthless worlds, perhaps loving one another is the greatest form of resistance.
From the award winning author of Wild Dog, Lean on Me explores the realities of unlikely love, and how connection and intimacy offer us an escape from all that is harsh and cold in our modern day lives.”

📚  Les Dimanches de Monsieur Ushioda, by Yasushi Inoué
Published in 1970
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Another Japanese novel not available in English!
The beginning seems funny and light, but I assume things are going to evolve.

Inoué deals heer with social problems in a humorous way. Mr. Ushioda, the CEO of a large company, has only three years left before retirement.
He would like to enjoy a peaceful Sunday. Alas, his wife, his friends, the whole world seem to be in league to disturb him under the most futile and compelling pretexts.

🎧 Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield
464 pages/16H27
Published December 4, 2018 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Historical fiction

I am going through the audiobooks I have had for a while. So a little break in French audio with this book.
I enjoyed so much The Thirteenth Tale, that I decided to try this one as well.

“On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.
Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.
Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.
Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, the beginning of this novel will sweep you away on a powerful current of storytelling, transporting you through worlds both real and imagined, to the triumphant conclusion whose depths will continue to give up their treasures long after the last page is turned.”

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

The Box Man

📚 The Box Man, by Kobo Abe
Published in 1973
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

I am looking forward to going back to Kobo Abe. Another weird Japanese author, that I have really enjoyed. I reviewed The Woman in the Dunes 11 years ago, and also loved The Face of Another – I have notes somewhere, it may give me finally the occasion to finalize my review!!

“Kobo Abe, the internationally acclaimed author of Woman in the Dunes, combines wildly imaginative fantasies and naturalistic prose to create narratives reminiscent of the work of Kafka and Beckett.
In this eerie and evocative masterpiece, the nameless protagonist gives up his identity and the trappings of a normal life to live in a large cardboard box he wears over his head. Wandering the streets of Tokyo and scribbling madly on the interior walls of his box, he describes the world outside as he sees or perhaps imagines it, a tenuous reality that seems to include a mysterious rifleman determined to shoot him, a seductive young nurse, and a doctor who wants to become a box man himself. The Box Man is a marvel of sheer originality and a bizarrely fascinating fable about the very nature of identity.”

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

Buried Alive

📚  Buried Alive, by Arnold Bennett
Published in 1908

An ingenious satire, “Buried Alive” (1908) is Bennett at his most charming and wittiest. It is the story a renowned but exceedingly shy painter, Priam Farll, who assumes the identity of his dead valet, Henry Leek, as a means of avoiding press attention.

📚   BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK  📚 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

📚 Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin
416 pages
Expected publication: July 12, 2022 by Knopf Publishing Group
Received through Netgalley

I succumbed to Netgalley again this week, but I enjoyed so much The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, that I couldn’t ignore her upcoming novel, especially with the theme of the digital world.

“Let the games begin! From the New York Times best-selling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry–a glorious and immersive novel about two childhood friends, once estranged, who reunite as adults to create video games, finding an intimacy in digital worlds that eludes them in their real lives.
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. They borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo a game where players can escape the confines of a body and the betrayals of a heart, and where death means nothing more than a chance to restart and play again. This is the story of the perfect worlds Sam and Sadie build, the imperfect world they live in, and of everything that comes after success: Money. Fame. Duplicity. Tragedy.
Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, games as artform, technology and the human experience, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.”

📚  GIVEAWAY: choose 1  📚 

Constellation Red is my Heart

 The Most Beautiful Book in the WorldThe Woman with the BouquetThree Women in a Mirror 

📚  NO BOOK AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW 📚
One is coming on February 15!

📚📚📚

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