Bout of Books 31: Day 4 recap

Day 4 recap

Bout of Books 31

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The Bout of Books readathon is organized
by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple.
It’s a weeklong readathon that begins Monday, May 10
and runs through Sunday, May 16 in YOUR time zone.
Bout of Books is low-pressure.
There are reading sprints, Twitter chats,
and exclusive Instagram challenges,
but they’re all completely optional
For Bout of Books 31 information and updates,
visit the Bout of Books blog
From the Bout of Books team


Here is what I read on DAY 4:

  1. Project Hail Mary = 23 pages
  2. Audiobook: The Book of Isaiah = 2 hours = 29 pages = FINISHED
  3. Audiobook: Sad Cypress = 50 minutes = 43 pages

Total for Day 4:  95 pages
TOTAL so far:  395/525 pages


Here is what I read on DAY 3:

  1. La Disparition = 14 pages
  2. Cinq cartes brûlées = 49 pages
  3. Project Hail Mary = 19 pages
  4. Audiobook: The Book of Isaiah = 29 minutes  = 7 pages

Total for Day 3:  89 pages
TOTAL so far:  300/525 pages


Here is what I read on DAY 2:

  1. The Andromeda Strain = 85 pages
  2. La Disparition = 9 pages

Total for Day 2:  94 pages
TOTAL so far:  211/525 pages


Here is what I read on DAY 1:

  1. The Andromeda Strain = 52 pages
  2. Audiobook: The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories
    = 52 minutes  = 32 pages = FINISHED
  3. Audiobook: The Book of Zechariah = 33 minutes  = 13 pages = FINISHED
  4. Audiobook: The Book of Malachi = 10 minutes  = 4 pages = FINISHED
  5. Audiobook: The Book of Isaiah = 1H05  = 16 pages

Total for Day 1:  117 pages
TOTAL so far:  117/525 pages

📚 I did the Instagram challenge


Like for Bout of Books 31, I’m setting my goal at 525 pages, that is, 75 pages per day. 

Here are the books I plan to read from. Some I’m currently reading.
A whole bunch, as 3 of them are buddy-reads, so I only read a set number of pages per week.

  1. The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
  2. La Disparition, by Georges Perec
  3. People Like them, by Samira Sedira
  4. Cinq cartes brûlées, by Sophie Loubière
  5. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
  6.  Audiobook: The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
  7. Audiobook: The Book of Zechariah (Bible) = FINISHED
  8. Audiobook: The Book of Malachi = FINISHED
  9. Audiobook: The Book of Isaiah = FINISHED
  10. Audiobook: Sad Cypress, by Agatha Christie


No daily challenges will be hosted on our blog. Instead, we’ll have reading-in-place times!
Reading-in-place times, or reading sprints, happen daily on Twitter. If you don’t have Twitter, make note of these times and report your reading progress on your platform of choice.
There may be events also on Discord

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The top 8 books to read in March 2021

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in March 2021

Click on the covers to know more


  Kusamakura FutureofBuildingsBookCover

  Less Than Fully Catholic Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

📚 Kusamakura, by Natsume Soseki
Published in 1906
Reading for Japanese Reading Challenge 14Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

“”Natsume Sōseki’s Kusamakura follows its nameless young artist-narrator on a meandering walking tour of the mountains. At the inn at a hot spring resort, he has a series of mysterious encounters with Nami, the lovely young daughter of the establishment. Nami, or “beauty,” is the center of this elegant novel, the still point around which the artist moves and the enigmatic subject of Sōseki’s word painting. In the author’s words, Kusamakura is “a haiku-style novel, that lives through beauty.” Written at a time when Japan was opening its doors to the rest of the world, Kusamakura turns inward, to the pristine mountain idyll and the taciturn lyricism of its courtship scenes, enshrining the essence of old Japan in a work of enchanting literary nostalgia.”

📚 The Future of Buildings, Transportation, and Power, 
by Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber
Published in July 2020

See my latest words about it here.

📚 Less Than Fully Catholic: Losing My Religion, Finding My Faith, by Trisha Day
Published in 2018, by a friend of mine

“”Less than fully Catholic.” Some bishops use the phrase pejoratively to describe those who struggle to find a place in the Church today. But for Trisha Day, to be less than fully Catholic is to reconcile what is harmful about the Church with what is beautiful and life-giving about it by looking for the wisdom buried beneath the Church’s questionable doctrines and antiquated liturgical language. In describing her struggles with Catholicism, Day focuses on what she has learned in the process of questioning her religion, as well as on what the Church’s great contemplative monastic tradition has taught her about what is genuinely sacred in life and the responsibilities we all have to one another, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Less Than Fully Catholic affirms the importance of doubt as well as the necessity of confronting what we do not believe about religion in order to discover what it means to be a person of faith.”

📚 Dictionnaire amoureux du polar, by Pierre Lemaitre
Published on October 22, 2020

See my latest words about it here.


  The Miner  To the Spring Equinox and Beyond

📚 The Miner, by Natsume Soseki
Published in 1908
Will be reading for Japanese Reading Challenge 14Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

“The Miner is the most daringly experimental and least well known novel of the great Meiji novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916). Written in 1908, it is an absurdist novel about the indeterminate nature of human personality, which in many respects anticipates the work of Joyce and Beckett. Virtually devoid of plot and characterization, it unfolds entirely within the mind of the unnamed protagonist. Focusing on a young man whose love life has fallen to pieces, The Miner follows him as he flees from Tokyo, is picked up by a procurer of cheap labor for a copper mine, and then travels toward – and finally burrows into the depths of – the mine where he hopes to find oblivion. The young man reflects at length on nearly every thought and perception he experiences along the way, in terms of what the experience means to him at the time and in retrospect as a mature adult narrating the tale. The narrator concludes that there is no such thing as human character, and the many passages in which he ruminates on the nature of personality constitute the theoretical core of the book. The intellectual distancing carries over into the style of writing as well, and instead of a tragedy of alienation, we find here an absurdist – truly absurd and comical – allegory of descent into the psyche.”

📚 To the Spring Equinox and Beyond, by Natsume Soseki
Published in 1910
Will be reading for Japanese Reading Challenge 14Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

“Legendary Japanese novelist Soseki Natsume dissects the human personality in all its complexity in this unforgettable narrative. Keitaro, a recent college graduate, lives a life intertwined with several other characters, each carrying their own emotional baggage. Romantic, practical, and philosophical themes enable Soseki to explore the very meaning of life.


I actually already listened to two short Bible audiobooks yesterday: The Book of the Song of Songs, and The Book of Wisdom.

  Cards on the Table  Dumb Witness  

📚 Cards on the Table (Hercule Poirot #15) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1936
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

A flamboyant party host is murdered in full view of a roomful of bridge players… Mr Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he was a man of whom everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Poirot that he considered murder an art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana’s private collection. Indeed, what began as an absorbing evening of bridge was to turn into a more dangerous game altogether…”

📚 Dumb Witness (Hercule Poirot #16) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1937
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“Everyone blamed Emily’s accident on a rubber ball left on the stairs by her frisky terrier. But the more she thought about her fall, the more convinced she became that one of her relatives was trying to kill her. On April 17th she wrote her suspicions in a letter to Hercule Poirot. Mysteriously he didn’t receive the letter until June 28th… by which time Emily was already dead”


Listed on the homepage 

Review copies available throughout March:
The first two for book tours,
the third one to read and review at your own pace!

  Victorine Madeleine Last French Casquette Bride in New Orleans L'Origine

List of books I can swap with yours


📚 More reading for The Japanese Reading Challenge (January-March)
📚 Post my last review of RockRidgePress books, and start catching up for reviews of books read in 2020.

Eiffel Tower Orange


Sunday Post #36 – 1/31/2021

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

Snow on Monday, and more snow this weekend, so the best is to focus on books, isn’t it?


NP  The ABC Murders

📚 NP, by Banana Yoshimoto
Published in 1990, English translation in 1995 by Ann Sherif
Read for Japanese Reading Challenge 14 and for Books in Translation Challenge
Purchased at a library book sale

This is my third Japanese novel, as planned. I didn’t like NP as much as The Lake.
Japanese author Sarao Takase has committed suicide after writing a collection of 98 short stories in English (NP stands for North Point). It doesn’t exist yet in Japanese, because the three translators died while translating the last story in Japanese. Is the book cursed?
Narrator Kazami feels strangely attracted to three people closely connected with this book or its author. During one summer, Kazami discovers many secrets behind the man and his work.
Remembering The Lake and reading this book, I realized that Yoshimoto has actually a lot in common in her writing style with Haruki Murakami, with lots of weird feelings, like impressions of déjà vu in what characters experience, or connection between their dreams and their actual life. So this dimension I really liked.

I felt weird, like the sensations from that dream had intruded on reality.
page 11
Even though she can’t actually remember what the dream was about.

A character also feels like a new universe is entering her body (page 23).
Like Murakami, Yoshimoto also uses unexpected images:

She smelled of a syrup made of boiled-down despair.
Page 147

I also appreciated passages about translation work (cf. pages 117-118 for instance).
And this passage page 179:

NP page 179

Doesn’t all this sound straight from Murakami?

What I didn’t like was more the content: suicide, and weird and sickly relationships, like incest. I know lots of victims go through this, but this is not what I enjoy finding in the books I read.
And all along there was this heavy sense of dread floating around these troubled people. Even though there was some sense of beauty sometimes, like in the excerpt shared above.

📚 The ABC Murders (Hercule Poirot #13), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1936
Listened to for The Classics Club

This is #13 in my project to listen to all of Hercule Poirot.
I really loved this one, with a smart plot built around the alphabet. A serial killer chooses his victims and place of his crimes based on the alphabet, and he is challenging Hercule Poirot to figure out what’s going on.
Though my listening was a bit challenged at one point, because the story kept making me think of the other awesome classic The Lodger (1913) –which I highly recommend if you have never read it– and I kept comparing them in my mind.
The plot is ultimately different, but there are definitely elements in common.
Audiobook performance:
Hugh Fraser is really fabulous. Obviously he has the voice his character has in the BBC series, BUT he is also just as good at doing Poirot’s and Japp’s voice, and really all the characters, adding a little something special for each, including for women characters.


Stone Killer  L'Anomalie

📚Stone Killer (2017), by Dennis M. Day
Published by a friend! Purchased.

There are a lot of characters, historical and fictional, and I think the structure could do with some editing, but the style is fabulous to recreate the ambiance and places, and the way characters speak.

“It’s 1931 and Mike Peeters, a hitman for the mob, has a contract to murder Al Capone’s traitorous accountant and a talkative stoolie. When a young couple witness the crime, Mike coerces them into becoming his protégés. As Mike prepares for his next contract—the murder of Al Capone—he introduces Gus and Hannah to the seamy underworld of the mob. But someone is on to his plans. As Mike eludes attempts on his own life, Gus and Hannah are drawn deeper and deeper into a dangerous world of snitches, dirty cops, labor rackets, and vicious warfare between mobster gangs. Just below the surface is the taut attraction between Mike and the woman he has taken under his wing. As he races to identify the snitch who hounds his every step, Mike hopes it’s not Hannah he’ll have to murder in the end.”

📚 L’Anomalie, by Hervé Le Tellier
Published in 2020, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt

I need to speed up the reading to see more the unity of the book and where this is going.


In Praise of Shadows

📚 In Praise of Shadows, by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
Published in 1933
Will read for Japanese Reading Challenge 14, Books in Translation Challenge, and for The Classics Club

Funny how this work:
in an email from a French Newsletter, I saw an interesting book on wabi sabiwhich I had never heard of.
So I started looking around about good books on that. I found this awesome post on the topic (by the way, the author Mark Robinson has published a gorgeous free ebook on “Japanese design heavily and explores topics surrounding craft, design, art, and architecture”).
And guess what, the first seminal work he lists to understand wabi sabi is In Praise of Shadows, which was on my TBR list for the Japanese Literature Challenge. So that will be my second book by Tanizaki, as I recently read Some Prefer Nettles.

“An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight, and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure.”


A Good Old Fashioned Christmas The Figure in the Carpet

📚 A Good Old-Fashioned Christmas, by Robert Benchley
Published in 1981

“Presents the author’s humorous look at Christmas and winter in Vermont.”

During a talk with my niece from France, I was horrified to discover I never read any Benchley! She highly recommended this one. What do you think?

📚 The Figure in the Carpet, by Henry James
Published in 1896

Short story also recommended by my niece.


The Unwilling

📚 The Unwilling, by John Hart
Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

I actually won this copy as audio in CDs while listening to an episode of Bookaccino Live, organized by Book Reporter. I didn’t realize this was going to be the format, which is sad, because I really no longer have a way to listen to books on CDs.
So if you are interested in this book, and maybe have a print book you could swap with me, let me know in a comment.

Set in the South at the height of the Vietnam War, The Unwilling combines crime, suspense and searing glimpses into the human mind and soul in New York Times bestselling author John Hart’s singular style.
Gibby’s older brothers have already been to war. One died there. The other came back misunderstood and hard, a decorated killer now freshly released from a three-year stint in prison.
Jason won’t speak of the war or of his time behind bars, but he wants a relationship with the younger brother he hasn’t known for years. Determined to make that connection, he coaxes Gibby into a day at the lake: long hours of sunshine and whisky and older women.
But the day turns ugly when the four encounter a prison transfer bus on a stretch of empty road. Beautiful but drunk, one of the women taunts the prisoners, leading to a riot on the bus. The woman finds it funny in the moment, but is savagely murdered soon after.
Given his violent history, suspicion turns first to Jason; but when the second woman is kidnapped, the police suspect Gibby, too. Determined to prove Jason innocent, Gibby must avoid the cops and dive deep into his brother’s hidden life, a dark world of heroin, guns and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
What he discovers there is a truth more bleak than he could have imagined: not just the identity of the killer and the reasons for Tyra’s murder, but the forces that shaped his brother in Vietnam, the reason he was framed, and why the most dangerous man alive wants him back in prison.
This is crime fiction at its most raw, an exploration of family and the past, of prison and war and the indelible marks they leave.


📚 Book of the month giveaway, last day to enter!
📚 Book available for free this month, last day!
📚 Subscribe to my Newsletter, and win a book each month!
Here is a sample, with link for subscription at the bottom
📚 Books available for swapping


  • 2/1: January recap
  • 2/1: Book of the month giveaway
  • 2/1: new books available for review
  • 2/2: Top Ten Tuesday
  • 2/2: Book tour quotations: L’Origine
  • 2/3: February titles
  • 2/4: Throwback Thursday
  • 2/6: Six Degrees of Separation
  • More reviews of Rockridge Press books
  • More memes participation for Loving Modigliani
  • And memes participation for L’Origine