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


The Final Days of Abbot Montrose


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Before the Coffee Gets Cold

click on the cover to access my review


Sunday Post #56


Caffeinated Reviewer
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!


Marianne at Let’s Read
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How was YOUR month of MARCH?


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: The Box Man

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
“The most recent book you’ve read that has covers to compare”

And that would be The Box Man, by Kobo Abe.

The Box Man

I usually enjoy Kobo Abe and his quirkiness, but this time, it was over the top, and I basically didn’t understand what was going on, as I explained in my short review.
BUT it does make for a fantastic diversity of covers.


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


Friday face off the box man


My favorite is the Turkish edition, encircled in red
I think it conveys well some themes in the book, and the eyes are very important, as it is the main way the person under the box can interact with the world around him.

But I also enjoyed a lot the Persian edition (encircled in pink), for its cleverness.
There are actually so many good covers here, some eluding to the disintegration of personality for instance #12, 13, 15 and 16 – at least that’s how I interpret these covers.

📚 📚 📚 

Have you read this book?
Next Friday:
Somewhere over the rainbow – a very colorful book cover

Sunday Post #56 – 3/6/2022

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

Being Christian Orthodox, this week has been very heavy for our family, with many Russian and Ukrainian among our friends…
Reading was harder, though a couple of picture books did help, and a lovely selection of Japanese poetry.
We spent more time in prayer. Focusing on work was helpful too, sorry I didn’t take much time to visit and comment on other blogs.

  • Yesterday, the weather was very nice, in the low 70s, so we had breakfast in our yard and didn’t accompany it with a documentary.
    But we had live nature, with even the first serenade of a house finch!

Since last Sunday, on the blog:


The Box Man

📚 The Box Man, by Kobo Abe
Published in 1973
Translated by E. Dale Saunders
Read for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Kobo Abe’s style is weird, but this book tops it all. It started ok, with a guy deciding to live with a cardboard box on most of his body. I thought it was a kind of social satire of life in Tokyo, and how the poor were treated, with an interesting insight on anonymity and the lack of identity they experience.
Then somebody shoots at a box man, and then we meet another box man. Or another variation of Case A? We end up with 4 cases. Are they different persons? The same?
Was it all the content of a book? Of imagination? Of a dream?
I honestly have no idea what I just read, what this was all about.
There were really very weird scenes (sex, eroticism, drugs, anthropophagy?, suicide?, euthanasia?, murder?, voyeurism, and more!).
Have you read this one? What did you think?

River of Stars

📚 River of Stars: Selected Poems, by Yosano Akiko (1878-1942)
Published in 1997
Translated by Sam Hamill and Keiko Matsui Gibson 

Read for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Wow, what a woman! I really knew nothing about Akiko, the introduction to this short selection is really excellent.
This volume has some of her tanka and free verse poems. Very powerful, mostly on nature, love, and grief. I shared two poems on my Instagram account (@wordsandpeace1) on 3/5/2022

Love in the Library 📚 Love in the Library, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall 
and Yas Imamura (Illustrator)
Picture book 
January 25, 2022 by Candlewick Press

Wow, very powerful historical fiction presented as picture book. This is about life in an incarceration camp in Idaho for Japanese Americans in the 1940s.
The author is the grand-daughter of a woman who was detained there.
The illustrations are simple and beautiful.
I really don’t know much about this horrible page in American history, and now I want to read more about it. Another depressing topic…

The Night Gardener


📚 The Night Gardener, by the Fan Brothers
Picture book 
February 16, 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

A beautiful picture book (as hinted by the cover) by the Fan Brothers.
About how beauty and nature can change your personal life, and the life of your neighborhood.
I like the humble personality of the gardener.
The illustrations are absolutely fabulous, and with many details to look at. It’s nice to slow down and observe each page, an invitation to do the same around you.
In these times of craziness, a very refreshing and positive outlook on life.

I didn’t finish any audiobook this week


Le Fou de Bergerac  After the Romanovs

  Love in the Time of Cholera The Radium Girls  

📚 Le Fou de Bergerac (Maigret #16), by Georges Simenon
Published in 1932
Available in English as 
The Madman of Bergerac.
Reading for The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

Reading along with one of my French students. I really enjoy this one. The plot is (so far!) easy to follow, and there’s a lot of humor!

“He recalled his travelling companion’s agitated sleep – was it really sleep? – his sighs, and his sobbing. Then the two dangling legs, the patent-leather shoes and hand-knitted socks . . . An insipid face. Glazed eyes. And Maigret was not surprised to see a grey beard eating into his cheeks. A distressed passenger leaps off a night train and vanishes into the woods.
Maigret, on his way to a well-earned break in the Dordogne, is soon plunged into the pursuit of a madman, hiding amongst the seemingly respectable citizens of Bergerac.”

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

Really enjoying this, but have not read much of it.

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.

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

Really loving the various characters, and the different portrayals of love! Very rich details.

“In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.”

🎧 The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, by Kate Moore
404 pages/15H52
Narrated by Angela Brazil

Published May 2, 2017, by Sourcebooks

Looking forward to be done with this one! This is pure horror, how these young women were treated!
The writing is actually quite dry, I’m surprised it got the 2017 Goodreads winner in the history/biography category. Though the author did a fantastic background research for sure. Unfortunately, the narrator’s voice is also very dry.

“The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive—until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.
But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.
Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”


The Postman Always Rings Twice

📚 The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain
Published in 1934
Will be reading with the Goodreads Mystery, Crime, and Thriller group 
and for  The Classics Club

I was quite impressed by Cain’s Double Indemnity, so I decided to read this one with this Goodreads group. I’m really curious to see how it inspired Camus to write The Stranger!

An amoral young tramp.  A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband.  A problem that has only one grisly solution–a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve.
First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic of the roman noir. It established James M. Cain as a major novelist with an unsparing vision of America’s bleak underside, and was acknowledged by Albert Camus as the model for The Stranger.


The Treeline

I actually didn’t add any book on my TBR Goodreads shelf this past week (really??), so I decided to feature one I added recently.

📚  The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth, by Ben Rawlence
February 15, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

“In the tradition of Elizabeth Kolbert and Barry Lopez, a powerful, poetic and deeply absorbing account of the “lung” at the top of the world.
For the last fifty years, the trees of the boreal forest have been moving north. Ben Rawlence’s The Treeline takes us along this critical frontier of our warming planet from Norway to Siberia, Alaska to Greenland, to meet the scientists, residents and trees confronting huge geological changes. Only the hardest species survive at these latitudes including the ice-loving Dahurian larch of Siberia, the antiseptic Spruce that purifies our atmosphere, the Downy birch conquering Scandinavia, the healing Balsam poplar that Native Americans use as a cure-all and the noble Scots Pine that lives longer when surrounded by its family.
It is a journey of wonder and awe at the incredible creativity and resilience of these species and the mysterious workings of the forest upon which we rely for the air we breathe. Blending reportage with the latest science, The Treeline is a story of what might soon be the last forest left and what that means for the future of all life on earth.”

📚  GIVEAWAY, in French 📚 

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