2022: March wrap-up

MARCH 2022 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

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

Love in the Time of Cholera  The Year of My Life

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

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

 OTHER BOOK  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

The Final Days of Abbot Montrose

GIVEAWAYS

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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 #56

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
Deb at Readerbuzz
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

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How was YOUR month of MARCH?

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!

Sunday Post #58 – 3/27/2022

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

*** 

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Sunday Salon    Stacking the Shelves  Mailbox Monday2

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2  IMWAYR  WWW Wednesdays 2

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These last two weeks have been tough and very busy too.
So I didn’t post last Sunday, and not much since either.
And slow reading, only 3 books finished in 2 weeks, instead of the usual 3 per week…

Yesterday, for our cultural breakfast, we washed Episode 5 of The Blue Planet documentary.

Since my last post, on my 3 blogs:

📚  JUST READ 🎧 

Love in the Time of Cholera

📚  Love in the Time of the Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez
Published in 1985
Read for The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Fabulous ! About love, hope, nostalgia. And many vices as well!
Florentino and Fermina fall in love in their teens, but Fermina ends up marrying someone else.
Still, Florentino doesn’t despair and waits…
I won’t say more.
The writing is fabulous, with excellent descriptions of characters and background, and even hilarious passages (on a parrot, for instance).
Wonderful analysis of characters, with all their qualities and dark sides. Florentino, among others, is definitely not a saint, and there are some reprehensible parts in his life. But it doesn’t negate the fact that Garcia Marquez is a stunning author.
I also liked how he evoked life passing by.
I shared on Instagram a short passage I really liked.

I would like to add that this book is very different in style and content from One Hundred Years of Solitude, where you have a long saga over generations. None of that here, and the story is very easy to follow. So if you were discouraged by it, give a chance to Love in the Time of Cholera.

The Clairvoyant Countess

🎧  The Clairvoyant Countess, by Dorothy Gilman
240 pages/6H48
Narrated by Ruth Ann Phimister

Published in 1975
Mystery/Paranormal

I so enjoyed Gilman’s series with Mrs Pollifax, so I decided to listen to this one.
Madame Karitska is a very kind, human, and compassionate woman, just like Emily Pollifax.
This was a neat book, easy but with richly depicted characters.
And we have here a very unusual duo: Madame Karitska is a clairvoyant, who can “read” your life by holding an object you own. With her talents, she helps Detective Pruden, who is at first very skeptic, as his last name seems to hint. Then a nice friendship develops between them. The book is a collection of cases they solve together.
After reading a heavy and dark nonfiction, this positive audiobook was quite refreshing.
The narrator is not the fabulous Barbara Rosenblat (Emily Pollifax), but Ruth Ann Phimister, who is just as excellent!

A Nun in the Closet🎧  A Nun in the Closet, by Dorothy Gilman
224 pages/6H37
Narrated by Roslyn Alexander

Published in 1975
Cozy Mystery

And then I listened to the last audiobook that had been on my audio shelf for a while!

This was quite enjoyable.
The abbey receives the anonymous gift of an old mansion. Two sisters are sent there to see what the house looks like. When the two sisters arrive, they discover a wounded person there. Their trip now gets filled with all kinds of unexpected adventures and meetings…
Great plot, with a couple of strong willed and smart nuns.
Some passages are very funny too.
The neat thing too is that it’s presented with lots of respect for religion. Sister John’s strong faith is often highlighted.
Alas, our society has changed a lot, and I doubt anyone would write that type of stories today, highlighting the same Christian values in a mystery.

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

  After the Romanovs    The Year of My Life     

L'Aiguille creuse

📚  After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War, by Helen Rappaport
March 8th 2022 by St. Martin’s Press
Ecopy received for review

Really enjoying the author’s writing. Full of lots of information. Some passages are so awfully close to what our current world is going through right now…

Paris has always been a city of cultural excellence, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. But it has also been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, never more so than before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that Belle Époque Paris had to offer, spending lavishly when they visited. It was a place of artistic experimentation, such as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. But the brutality of the Bolshevik takeover forced Russians of all types to flee their homeland, sometimes leaving with only the clothes on their backs.
Arriving in Paris, former princes could be seen driving taxicabs, while their wives who could sew worked for the fashion houses, their unique Russian style serving as inspiration for designers like Coco Chanel. Talented intellectuals, artists, poets, philosophers, and writers struggled in exile, eking out a living at menial jobs. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Political activists sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, while double agents from both sides plotted espionage and assassination. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon.
This is their story.
 ”

📚 The Year of My Life, by Kobayashi Issa
Published in 1973
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

An autobiography in haibun – a mixed form of haiku and prose.
I am still in the (excellent) introduction for now. I only found it as a pdf, and I can’t highlight passages, so I take many notes on paper, which slows down the reading.

🎧 L’Aiguille creuse, by Maurice Leblanc
Published in English as The Hollow Needle
224 pages/7H36
Narrated by Philippe Colin

Published in 1909
Mystery

I started listening to Code Lupin, by Michel Bussi. Then I quickly realized it was focusing on L’Aiguille creuse [The Hollow Needle]. I had only read the first book on Arsène Lupin, so I decided to stop Bussi to listen to this classic first. It’s actually #3 in the Arsène Lupin series.
A succession of events lead to a mysterious castle. The whole plot focuses on a battle of the minds between the brilliant Arsène Lupin and Isidore, a young student in rhetoric.
The style is older of course (1909), and sometimes over dramatic, but still I am enjoying the plot and the characters. There are funny references to “Herlock Sholmes”, lol. Hmm, I see that in the English translation, they twisted it into Holmlock Shears. Too bad.
I was surprised when I understood the meaning of the title, which of course cannot actually be properly translated inti English.
The narrator is great at doing so many different voices. There are also background sound effects, like for a play.

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

La Nuit des temps

📚 La Nuit des temps, by René Barjavel
Published in English as The Ice People
Published in 1968
Will be reading with one of my French students
and for The Classics Club
Science fiction

One of my French students likes science fiction, so we are going to read this classic together. I will probably start reading it tonight.
Here is for you the official synopsis in English, which reveals too much, as too often:

“When a French expedition in Antarctica reveals ruins of a 900,000 year old civilization, scientists from all over the world flock to the site to help explore & understand. The entire planet watches via global satellite tv, mesmerized, as they uncover a chamber in which a man & a woman have been in suspended animation since, as the French title suggests, ‘the night of time’. The woman, Eléa, is awakened. Thru a translating machine she tells the story of her world, herself & her husband Paikan & how war destroyed her civilization. She also hints at an incredibly advanced knowledge her still-dormant companion possesses, knowledge that could give energy & food to all humans at no cost. But the superpowers of the world are not ready to let Eléa’s secrets spread, & show that, 900,000 years & an apocalypse later, humankind has not grown up & is ready to make the same mistakes again.”

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

Le Manteau de Fortuny

📚  Le Manteau de Fortunyby Gérard Macé
Nonfiction – I think
Published in 2016

A kind of variation on the world of Proust.

📚  NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

📚  GIVEAWAY, in French 📚 

Le Promeneur sur le cap

📚  BOOK IN FRENCH AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW 📚

Le Promeneur sur le cap

Request today, review whenever you want.
And win credits towards gift cards!

📚📚📚

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

Sunday Post #54 – 2/20/2022

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

*** 

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Sunday Salon    Stacking the Shelves  Mailbox Monday2

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2  IMWAYR  WWW Wednesdays 2

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#itsmonday #IMWAYR
#WWWWednesday #WWWWednesdays

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More cold, more snow. Nothing new here.

  • On Friday, we had our monthly book club meeting online. Will share the books we talked about on February 24.
  • Yesterday, for our Cultural Saturday breakfast, we watched the first episode of The Blue Planet, one of many fabulous documentaries by David Attenborough. We are twenty years late, I know, but it is still enjoyable today. This should keep us busy for a few months.
  • We may actually use another Saturday morning to finish watching the ballet Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, in a modern choreography by Nureyev (Opéra de Paris).

Since last Sunday, on the blog:

📚  JUST READ 📚

 Lean On Me   Les Dimanches de Monsieur Ushioda

Strega Nona

📚 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/romance

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

VERDICT: Romance and social analysis of the impact of urban life on human nature. An exquisite French mix.
My full review is here

📚 Les Dimanches de Monsieur Ushioda, by Yasushi Inoue
Published in 1970
Translated by Jean-François Laffont and Tadahiro Oku
Read for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

VERDICT: Humoristic take on Japanese modern life. With warnings related to the environment.
Come back tomorrow to read my full review.

📚Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola
Picture book published in 1975

I saw this on another blog, and the cover was so cute I checked it out right away at my library.
The illustrations are indeed fabulous, this is a style I thoroughly enjoyed.
The beginning of the story was great, but I didn’t like at all the ending. I thought the choice of the punishment was stupid and didn’t really fit with the original intention of the boy.
Strega Nona could have turned the boy’s action into something so much more positive than this stupid thing to do. Definitely not eco-sensitive either.

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

The Box Man  The Final Days of Abbot Montrose

Chez les Flamands

Once Upon a River

📚 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

“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.”

📚  The Final Days of Abbot Montrose, by Sven Elvestad
Published in 1917
Reading for The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

I was contacted by Kazabo Publishing. They specialize in forgotten gems, best-sellers in their country of origin at one point, but never yet translated into English. Totally my type of books, especially for classic mysteries. This one is a classic from Norway.

“From the founder of the modern Norwegian crime novel, a story that will keep you thrilled and mystified.
It is an evening in early May when the quiet of Montrose Abbey is shattered by the sounds of shouting and broken glass. When the police arrive, they find the abbey library ransacked and bloodstained. Broken furniture and a burning carpet bear witness to a violent struggle. And the abbot himself, the scholarly Abbot Montrose, is missing. Only a torn fragment of his cassock remains, caught in the wrought-iron fence surrounding the abbey.
The police, the press, and citizens of this northern city fear the worst. What could have befallen the missing abbot? Has he been murdered? Abducted?
As world-renowned Detective Asbjørn Krag and his partner, Detective Sirius Keller, begin to unravel the tangled knot of clues left behind, they find themselves in the city’s infamous Krydder District, “where the dark doorways are as close together as rat holes in an old warehouse.” The more answers they find, the more questions seem to pop up.
This well-constructed, evocative and witty mystery by Sven Elvestead, also known as Stein Riverton (for whom the Norwegian Riverton Prize was named), will keep you guessing until the very last page.”

📚  Maigret chez les Flamands (Maigret #15), by Georges Simenon
Published in 1932
Available in English as The Flemish House.
Reading for The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

I am reading this one with one of my French students.
With this #15 (out of 75!), we are back near the water, this time in France near the Belgian border. Awesome greyish ambiance as always with Simenon.
Talking about Maigret, this week a new movie, Maigret, is coming out in France, with Gérard Depardieu as Maigret himself. I have the feeling this is going to be really good. I can’t wait to have it available in streaming.

“Maigret is asked to the windswept, rainy border town of Givet by a young woman desperate to clear her family of murder. But their well-kept shop, the sleepy community and its raging river all hide their own mysteries.”

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

I have a few more hours to go, and not sure yet where this is going. It’s good, but I find it too long and not as good as The Thirteenth Tale.

“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 Year of My Life

📚 The Year of My Life, by Kobayashi Issa
Published in 1973
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

An autobiography in haibun – a mixed form of haiku and prose.

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

L'Oiseau bleu

📚  L’oiseau bleu, by Maurice Maeterlinck
Play published in 1905 – Belgian classic
Available as The Blue Bird in French

There was a mention to it in Les Dimanches de Monsieur Ushioda! Now I’m intrigued!

“A story of a brother and sister who help a little girl whose illness can only be cured by the magical Blue Bird of Happiness. To find the bird, Mytyl and Tyltyl quest through the Land of Memory to the Palace of Night. The children get help from the good fairy Bérylune.”

📚   BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK  📚 

The Final Days of Abbot MontroseSee information above.

📚  1st GIVEAWAY in French 📚 

Le Promeneur sur le cap

📚  2nd GIVEAWAY: choose 1  📚 

Constellation Red is my Heart

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

📚  BOOK IN FRENCH AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW 📚

Le Promeneur sur le cap

Request today, review whenever you want.
And win credits towards gift cards!

📚📚📚

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