Sunday Post #74 – 01/15/2023


Sunday Post

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Another crazy busy week with more big church events. I am also currently repainting our church outdoor sign, so that keeps me busy, in between of course my teaching hours.
BUT I did manage to finish AND review two books this week.

Sadly, I have been very slow at reading and replying to all your recent comments. Thanks for your visits, and many comments, they will soon be visible, do not despair!

Posted this week:

Here are the book I finished this past week:


Hell Screen


📚Hell Screen,
by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
First published in 1918
This edition:
Translation by Jay Rubin
58 pages
2/1/2011 by Penguin Group
It counts for The Classics Club
and for The Japanese Literature Challenge 16

It was interesting to discover a very different style in Akutagawa’s short stories.
Please click on the book cover to read my full review.

Week-end à Zuydcoote


📚 Week-end à Zuydcoote,
by Robert Merle
Historical fiction / WWII
Published in 1949
244 pages
It counts for The Classics Club
Read with a French student

This is a rather different type of WWII historical novel. As the title says, the book focuses on a week-end at Zuycoote, close to Dunkirk, right after the Allies defeat.
And we follow four French soldiers who became friends.
Each of the four is well described and you can really know their distinct personalities.

“Ils étaient heureux d’être ensemble, tous les quatre, sous le soleil.”

There’s a lot of humor, especially at the beginning, which made me fear for the worst: indeed, my experience is that an author tends to insert a lot of humor in a really tough book, to make it a bit more bearable.
The dialogues sound very true, the type of conversation and vocabulary that soldiers would use.

The main themes are the importance of friendship and the stupidity and absurdity of war.

” Pour moi, la guerre est absurde. Et pas telle ou telle guerre. Toutes les guerres. Dans l’absolu. Sans exception. Sans régime de faveur. Autrement dit, il n’y a pas de guerre juste, ou de guerre sacrée, ou de guerre pour la bonne cause. Une guerre, par définition, c’est absurde.”

The author did a remarkable job at highlighting it that in a rather short novel (244 pages).
And there are great passages on fear and heroism.

A movie (Dunkirk) was made on this book, with the famous Jean-Paul Belmondo, but knowing the end of the book, I’m definitely staying away.
As you already know, this is not a spoiler to say that all does not end well.


Death of a Red Heroine

📚 Death of a Red Heroine
(Inspector Chen Cao #1), 

by Qiu Xialong
Chinese Mystery
First published in 2000 (in English)
482 pages

Still working on this one for my local public library Winter Reading Challenge.

I really like more and more the descriptions of Shanghai and all the political and social background. In Asia, but so different from my usual Japanese novels!

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

L'Os de Lebowski📚  L’Os de Lebowski,
by Vincent Maillard
French mystery
Published in 2021
202 pages
Reading with French student S.

S. wanted to read a contemporary French mystery, and in my list, she chose this one.
This is my first book by Maillard. I like the humoristic style, and I’m at the point where the plot starts getting intriguing!

The book hasn’t been translated into English.
It’s narrated in the first person by Jim Carlos, a gardener working at Prés Poleux, owned by a rich family.
Jim has a very lazy dog (Lebowski), who spends its time sleeping, but one day it manages to dig, and finds a human bone (hence the title: Lebowski’s bone).
So, whose bone is it? What happened to that person?
Why is the bone on this property?
And then, Jim disappears…!

L'empire de la mort

🎧 L’Empire de la mort (N.E.O. #3), by Michel Bussi
French YA fantasy
Published on June 16, 2022
640 pages

With all the painting I had to do, I listened to a huge part of it and I (with the protagonists) now know what N. E. O. stands for!

It is set in post-apocalytic time in and around Paris and Versailles, with different groups of young people who survived a weird cloud that may have killed all adults.
The book reminds me of Supernova Era, with teens having to reinvent a new world, and in both books, the new society is struggling to stay away from the nastiness of the old one!


Master of the Uncanny📚 Okamoto Kidō: Master of the Uncanny,
by Okamoto Kidō
Japanese short stories
Published between 1897-1931
Translated by Nancy H. Ross
Published in 2020
168 pages
It counts for the Japanese Literature Challenge
and The Classics Club

“Born just after Japan transitioned from the Shogunate to Meiji, Kidō grew up in a samurai-oriented world being transformed by the West in many ways. As a reporter he covered domestic development and overseas wars, while also marrying a traditional geisha, eventually becoming a playwright and author. In addition to a number of well-received plays, he also penned more than fifty horror stories over a roughly ten-year period starting in the mid-1920s. Just prior to this period, the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 destroyed almost everything in Tokyo that remained from the Edo era, and Japanese horror itself was transitioning from the traditional uncanny stories to more modern horror structures.
While many of Kidō’s stories are retellings of tales from China and other nations, he also drew on a diverse range of traditions, including the heritage of Edo-era storytellers such as Ueda Akinari and Asai Ryōi, to produce a dazzling array of work covering the entire spectrum from time-honored ghost tropes to modern horror. The majority of his stories were collected in four volumes: Seiadō kidan (1926), Kindai iyō hen (1926), Iyō hen (1933), and Kaijū (1936).
Kidō remains popular for his elegant, low-key style, subtly introducing the “other” into the background, and raising the specter of the uncanny indirectly and often indistinctly. His fiction spans an enormous range of material, much of it dealing with the uncanny, and as a pioneer in the field his work formed the foundation for the new generation of Japanese authors emerging in post-Restoration literature.
This selection presents a dozen of his best stories: pieces which remain in print almost a century later, and continue to enchant readers—and writers—today. Finally, English-reading audiences can enjoy his strange visions as well.”


Chronicle of a Death Foretold


📚 Chronicle of a Death Foretold,
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Magical Realism
120 pages

“A man returns to the town where a baffling murder took place twenty-seven years earlier, determined to get to the bottom of the story. Just hours after marrying the beautiful Angela Vicario, everyone agrees, Bayardo San Roman returned his bride in disgrace to her parents. Her distraught family forced her to name her first lover; and her twin brothers announced their intention to murder Santiago Nasar for dishonoring their sister.
Yet if everyone knew the murder was going to happen, why did no one intervene to try and stop it? The more that is learned, the less is understood, and as the story races to its inexplicable conclusion, an entire society–not just a pair of murderers—is put on trial.”


Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday




Top Ten Books with a Unit of Time In the Title

Top Ten Books with a Unit of Time In the Title

TTT for June 7, 2022

📚  📚 📚

For this list, I started from my latest reads and considered the prompt a bit loosely.

Click on the picture to access my shelf,
where you can easily access details on each book.

Top ten Tuesday_Unit of time

Have YOU read
or are YOU also planning to read any of these?
Please leave the link to your own list,
so I can visit.

2022: March 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


Love in the Time of Cholera  The Year of My Life


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


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Before the Coffee Gets Cold

click on the cover to access my review


Sunday Post #56


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How was YOUR month of MARCH?


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