The top 7 books to read in December 2021

Here are
The top 7 books
I plan to read in December 2021

Click on the covers to know more

This month, I think I’m going to slowly venture towards what could be my 2022 reading journey: mostly focusing on my various TBRs.

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

  Katherine's Wish    Ficciones

📚 Katherine’s Wish, by Linda Lappin
Re-released in 2021. Review copy received through France Book Tours.
Click here to get your own copy (you can review it in your own time).

“In this dramatic, fictional retelling of New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield‘s final years, and of the events which led up to her meeting with P.D. Ouspensky and G. I Gurdjieff, novelist Linda Lappin transports the reader like a time traveler into Mansfield’s intimate world.
Scrupulously researched and richly evocative, the novel has been praised by Mansfield scholars as “creative scholarship.”
With vivid detail and beautiful language and style, Lappin has built on journals, letters, and diaries to fashion a true-to-life mosaic, using themes, motifs, and methods of Mansfield’s own writing.
Katherine’s Wish celebrates Mansfield’s deep love of life and its final message is a life-affirming one of joy and of wholeness achieved.”

📚  Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges
Published in 1944
Started reading with The World’s Literature Goodreads Club, it was their October selection.
I will keep reading. It counts for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge.

“The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything else in between.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

  L'ombre chinoise   Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

The Blackhouse

📚 L’ombre chinoise (Inspector Maigret #13), by Georges Simenon 
Published in 1932. Translated as The Shadow Puppet
Will be reading in French with one of my French students, and for The Classics Club

“Gripping domestic tragedy, set in Simenon’s very own neighborhood.
One by one the lighted windows went dark. The silhouette of the dead man could still be seen through the frosted glass like a Chinese shadow puppet. A taxi pulled up. It wasn’t the public prosecutor yet. A young woman crossed the courtyard with hurried steps, leaving a whiff of perfume in her wake. Summoned to the dimly-lit Place des Vosges one night, where he sees shadowy figures at apartment windows, Maigret uncovers a tragic story of desperate lives, unhappy families, addiction and a terrible, fatal greed.
 ”

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

I can’t believe I started reading this book last February. I loved it, but then other more urgent things came up. Time to finish it!
Lemaitre, a very renowned author of thrillers (see for instance Three Days and a Life – highly recommended) himself, shares his love of the genre by presenting other authors, books, and themes related to it.
His comments are not too academic, I like the style, and I am listing all kinds of books I want to try!

📚 The Black House (Lewis Trilogy #1), by Peter May
Published on 2/1/2011

This is one of the 3 books I planned to read last summer and never did. Really looking forward to it, as I enjoyed a lot Coffin Road.

“A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith.
A MURDER
Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.
A SECRET
Something lurks within the close-knit island community. Something sinister.
A TRAP
As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface, and soon he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

Noor  Les Mystères de Paris 2

🎧 Noor, by Nnedi Okorafor
Published on 11/9/2021 – Audiobook received through Libro.fm

I really enjoyed a lot the Binti trilogy by this author. This is also African futurism – a mix of science-fiction and African culture. Quite unique and fascinating!

From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.
Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt…natural, and that’s putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong.
Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn’t so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.
 ”

🎧  Les Mystères de Paris, volume 2, by Eugène Sue
Translated as: The Mysteries of Paris

Published in 1843 – French audiobook, for The Classics Club. 

I listened to book 1 in September and really loved it. It’s fun to see what Victor Hugo took from it and how he transformed it.

“The brilliant epic novel that inspired Les Misérables.
From July 1842 through October 1843, Parisians rushed to the newspaper each week for the latest instalment of Eugene Sue’s The Mysteries of Paris, one of France’s first serial novels. The suspenseful story of Rodolphe, a magnetic hero of noble heart and shadowy origins, played out over ninety issues, garnering wild popularity and leading many to call it the most widely read novel of the 19th century. Sue’s novel created the city mystery genre and inspired a raft of successors, including Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo.
Sensational, steamy, tightly-plotted, pulpy, proto-socialist, heartbreaking, and riveting, The Mysteries of Paris is doubtless one of the most entertaining and influential works to emerge from the 19th century.”

GIVEAWAYS – until 12/31, your choice between these 3

  Alina_A Song For the Telling Seven Houses in France The Queen's Lover  

BOOK AVAILABLE TO REVIEW
Get it now, review in your own time!

UNTIL 12/31
Memoir

The Vanished Collection

PLANS FOR DECEMBER

  • Write some short reviews?? Sounds like a joke…

Eiffel Tower Orange

HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR DECEMBER?

The top 7 books to read in November 2021

Here are
The top 7 books
I plan to read in November 2021

Click on the covers to know more

November is a major month for book bloggers: it’s Nonfiction November (the links send you to the host) and Novellas in November. I’ll be participating in these.
And I’m co-hosting a read-along on The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie!
But it’s also German Literature Month and SciFiMonth!
And on top of that, if you are also a writer, there’s of course Nanowrimo.

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

  The Satanic Verses   Katherine's Wish

Ficciones

📚 The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
Published in 1988

I’m co-hosting a read-along on this with Marianne (at Let’s Read).
On Monday, we posted questions and answers before starting reading.
Feel free to read with us, comment on our posts, or create your own blog posts.

“Just before dawn one winter’s morning, a hijacked jetliner explodes above the English Channel. Through the falling debris, two figures, Gibreel Farishta, the biggest star in India, and Saladin Chamcha, an expatriate returning from his first visit to Bombay in fifteen years, plummet from the sky, washing up on the snow-covered sands of an English beach, and proceed through a series of metamorphoses, dreams, and revelations.”

📚 Katherine’s Wish, by Linda Lappin
Re-released in 2021. Review copy received through France Book Tours.
Click here to get your own copy (you can review it in your own time) and/or to enter the giveaway

“In this dramatic, fictional retelling of New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield‘s final years, and of the events which led up to her meeting with P.D. Ouspensky and G. I Gurdjieff, novelist Linda Lappin transports the reader like a time traveler into Mansfield’s intimate world.
Scrupulously researched and richly evocative, the novel has been praised by Mansfield scholars as “creative scholarship.”
With vivid detail and beautiful language and style, Lappin has built on journals, letters, and diaries to fashion a true-to-life mosaic, using themes, motifs, and methods of Mansfield’s own writing.
Katherine’s Wish celebrates Mansfield’s deep love of life and its final message is a life-affirming one of joy and of wholeness achieved.”

📚  Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges
Published in 1944
Started reading with The World’s Literature Goodreads Club, it was their October selection.
I will keep reading. It counts for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge.

“The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything else in between.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

The Invention of Morel  A Man Lay Dead

📚 The Invention of Morel, by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Published in 1940
Will be reading for Novellas in November hosted by 746books, and for The Classics Club

“Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of The Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy’s novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.
Inspired by Bioy Casares’s fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to live a secret life of its own. Greatly admired by Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, and Octavio Paz, the novella helped to usher in Latin American fiction’s now famous postwar boom. As the model for Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Last Year at Marienbad, it also changed the history of film.”

📚 A Man Lay Dead (Roderick Alleyn #1), by Ngaio Marsh
Published in 1934
Will be reading for The Classics Club.
This is the book I got for Spin #28.

“At Sir Hubert Handesley’s country house party, five guests have gathered for the uproarious parlor game of “Murder.” Yet no one is laughing when the lights come up on an actual corpse, the good-looking and mysterious Charles Rankin. Scotland Yard’s Inspector Roderick Alleyn arrives to find a complete collection of alibis, a missing butler, and an intricate puzzle of betrayal and sedition in the search for the key player in this deadly game.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

   Third Girl   Halloween Party

🎧 Third Girl (Hercule Poirot #40), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1966 – Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“Three young women share a London flat. The first is a coolly efficient secretary. The second is an artist. The third interrupts Hercule Poirot’s breakfast confessing that she is a murderer—and then promptly disappears.
Slowly, Poirot learns of the rumors surrounding the mysterious third girl, her family, and her disappearance. Yet hard evidence is needed before the great detective can pronounce her guilty, innocent, or insane.”

🎧 Hallowe’en Party (Hercule Poirot #41), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1969 – Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

Almost perfect timing! I prefer to read them in order, so I didn’t make it happen that way.
After that one, only 6 left in the series! Or maybe less, I need to check if I actually listened to some stories in previous collections.

“A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples… At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…”

🎧 I will probably listen to 3 other books with Hercule Poirot.

GIVEAWAYS

UNTIL 11/30

Double Identity new cover    Katherine's Wish

BOOKS AVAILABLE TO REVIEW
1 more book coming on November 4!
Get them now, review in your own time!

UNTIL 11/12
Mystery

Double Identity new cover

UNTIL 11/14
Histfic on Katherine Mansfield

Katherine's Wish

PLANS FOR NOVEMBER

Eiffel Tower Orange

HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR NOVEMBER?

The top 7 books to read in October 2021

Here are

The top 7 books
I plan to read in October 2021

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Again reading a crazy number of books at the same time, but by now, this should not surprise anyone, lol.

  Termination Shock  

  Speedboat   Ficciones  

📚 Termination Shock, by Neal Stephenson
Expected publication: November 16th 2021 by William Morrow

I haven’t finished yet this technothriller about climate change. Partly because this is around 896 pages, but also because I have more urgent reading commitments for various book clubs.
Nothing much happens before around 500 pages…
I’m at 60%, and so far it’s really not blowing my mind, though I do learn a lot about many things, such as for instance the Sikh culture, martial arts, and the LAC (Line of Actual Control),  the notional demarcation line between the Indian-controlled territory and the Chinese-controlled territory.

“A visionary technothriller about climate change.
Neal Stephenson’s sweeping, prescient new novel transports readers to a near-future world where the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics.
One man has a Big Idea for reversing global warming, a master plan perhaps best described as “elemental.” But will it work? And just as important, what are the consequences for the planet and all of humanity should it be applied?
Ranging from the Texas heartland to the Dutch royal palace in the Hague, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sunbaked Chihuahuan Desert, Termination Shock brings together a disparate group of characters from different cultures and continents who grapple with the real-life repercussions of global warming. Ultimately, it asks the question: Might the cure be worse than the disease?”

📚 The New Testament: A Translation, by David Bentley Hart
Published in 2017

David Bentley Hart’s translation IS blowing my mind, especially in the Pauline writings.  If early on, we had looked more closely at the Greek without relying so much on Saint Jerome’s Latin translation, we would not have had all these crazy notions between grace and acts for instance, as really Romans 5 for example has nothing to do with this. The acts Paul is referring to are actually the fact of observing the Mosaic Law. Each time I’m reading texts by Paul on grace/acts, I’m shocked that Mosaic observance is indeed always in the background. Hence the essential importance of translating correctly a text!

“From one of our most celebrated writers on religion comes this fresh, bold, and unsettling new translation of the New Testament.
David Bentley Hart undertook this new translation of the New Testament in the spirit of “etsi doctrina non daretur,” “as if doctrine is not given.” Reproducing the texts’ often fragmentary formulations without augmentation or correction, he has produced a pitilessly literal translation, one that captures the texts’ impenetrability and unfinished quality while awakening readers to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers.
The early Christians’ sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that they were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values and priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable and decent. “To live as the New Testament language requires,” he writes, “Christians would have to become strangers and sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. And we surely cannot do that, can we?”

📚  Speedboat, by Renata Adler
Published in 1976
Reading for #1976Club, hosted by Stuck in a Book

Planning to read two books for this club. Already halfway in this one, and really not impressed. It’s a collection of vignettes and stream of consciousness. There are a few lines I do like a lot, but I’m actually a bit disappointed by the whole thing. I’m glad it’s short.
Are you participating in #1976Club (October 11-17)? Which books are you reading for it?

“This story of a young female newspaper reporter coming of age in New York City was originally published serially in the New Yorker; it is made out of seemingly unrelated vignettes—tart observations distilled through relentless intellect—which add up to an analysis of our brittle, urban existence. It remains as fresh as when it was first published.”

📚  Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges
Published in 1944
Reading with The World’s Literature Goodreads Club and for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge.

As a teenager, I really enjoyed a lot this author. I may even already have read this one, so when I saw this Goodreads club was going to read it, I joined.
Cool collection of short stories – a genre I don’t often enjoy, unless the author is a genius.

“The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything else in between.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

A River Runs Through it

📚 A River Runs Through it, by Norman Maclean
Published in 1976
Will be reading for #1976Club, hosted by Stuck in a Book

“From its first magnificent sentence, “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing,” to the last, “I am haunted by waters,” “A River Runs Through It” is an American classic.
Based on Norman Maclean’s childhood experiences, “A River Runs Through It” has established itself as one of the most moving stories of our time; it captivates readers with vivid descriptions of life along Montana’s Big Blackfoot River and its near magical blend of fly fishing with the troubling affections of the heart.”

I will probably read a couple more books, from my Summer list I didn’t finish.

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

the thirteenth tale   The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding

🎧  The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
Published in 2006

This is the very first book I added on my TBR Goodreads list. Yes, I just started this plan of revisiting the books I added there ten years ago and read them or delete them.
OMG, why did I wait for ten years to read this? It feels a bit like Kate Morton‘s books (which I enjoy a lot), but focused on the world of books (book sellers, readers, authors). Anyway, most of you have probably read it, so you know all about it.
The narrators Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner are fabulous!

“All children mythologize their birth…So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.
The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself — all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter’s story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.
As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.
Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling but remains suspicious of the author’s sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.”

🎧 Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (Hercule Poirot #35), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1960- Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club
After this one, only 10 left.

“An English country house at Christmas time should be the perfect place to get away from it all – but nothing is ever simple for Hercule Poirot, as he finds not one but five baffling cases to solve.
First comes a sinister warning on his pillow to avoid the plum pudding…then the discovery of a corpse in a chest…next, an overheard quarrel that leads to murder…the strange case of a dead man’s eating habits…and the puzzle of a victim who dreams of his own suicide.”

🎧 I will probably also listen to 3 other books with Hercule Poirot.
🎧 And a French audiobook if I have time

GIVEAWAY

UNTIL 10/31

The Education of Delhomme

Choose between 4 books

BOOK AVAILABLE TO REVIEW
2 more books coming mid October!

UNTIL 10/31

in another life

PLANS FOR OCTOBER

  • Participate in the #1976Club – see above
  • Participate in the World’s Literature Goodreads discussion – see above
  • Watch two zoom book talks: one with Walter Mosley (Brooklyn Book Festival), one on Sandra Cisneros (AARP)
  • Write my last review for a theology book I read last year for Edelweiss Plus
  • Restart sharing reading notes on my Orthodox blog

Eiffel Tower Orange

HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR OCTOBER?