BBAW 2016: day 2: Interview

Book blogger Appreciation Week#BBAW

Book Blogger
Appreciation Week

Interview Day


Day 2 Interview day
I was paired with Nat, one of the three bloggers at

Unbridled Enthusiasm

Here are the questions Nat asked me, and my answers:

1. How long have you been blogging? What made you start?

I have been seriously book blogging since September 2010 – yeah, getting old!
I have always loved reading and talking about books.
One day, I discovered evolution had produced a rare species, book bloggens. I was overjoyed to discover there were not far from me, just a few computer keys away, and that I could communicate with them in a common language. So we started talking, and one day, I decided to join their lively community. I have not regretted it once.
So when I can’t talk books with people around me, I can always go and find other book bloggens members. Through them, I have discovered zillions of books I would never have heard about otherwise.

2. Has your translating work changed your reading habits? Are you more aware of other translators? Do you think in how you’d translate something while your reading?

Not translating in general, which I have been doing for decades now.
But translating fiction, which I started just a couple of years ago, has been changing my reading habits: to improve (there’s always room for improvement in that type of thing, just like in creating and writing, right?), I now again spend more time reading in French, not just classics (I’m in the last volume of In Search of Lost Time by Proust!), but also very recently published French novels. Thank God for the existence of!

And I follow a few translators’ blogs. I just discovered a new translation in French by  Marie Darrieussecq of A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf. I’m studying it to check how she rendered this classic and get some special insights.

Ah! You guessed it! Yeah, sometimes it’s a pain, because I get caught sometimes into wondering how I would translate this or that.

3. Is there a book you wish more people loved as much as you do?

Yes, one of my most favorite French books, but maybe it needs a new translation in English – it was published in French in 1913. Click on the cover to read my thoughts about it.

Le Grand Meaulnes

4. How do you keep track of other book blogs? 

Some through email subscription, but most through Bloglovin’, the best replacement I’ve found after the sad demise of Google Reader. According to Bloglovin’, I’m following 451 blogs (I know, I’m nuts) as of today – but probably more by the end of #BBAW!!

5. Do you have any tips for someone who has recently started blogging or is thinking about starting a blog?

  • Visit many other book blogs
  • and comment
  • reply to all the comments you receive
  • visit those who visit you and try to leave a comment on one of their posts
  • WHILE remaining who you are
  • and doing whatever you want on YOUR blog and how YOU want to do it
  • have fun, no pressure

6. And, finally, do you really hate Jane Austen? Why? I’m genuinely curious. Was it a bad experience in high-school, or something about her writing doesn’t resonate with you.

Yes, I really can’t stand her books.
I did all my studies in France, and she is not on the high school curriculum in France, as far as I can remember.
BUT I had to study her extensively for a super hard study program at university level (a super insane thing that does not exist here in the US, something like the toughest of the toughest Ivy League type of thing if you wish).
That’s not the reason I don’t like her writing (I love John Milton whom I studied during that same program). The reason It’s the social milieu she describes that gets to me, and these girls in a milieu that’s too protected.

Be sure to visit Nat’s posts. Go there for instance to see what questions I asked her for today’s interview! = sorry, she has not posted them yet
You can also follow her on Twitter and Goodreads


BBAW 2012 Day 4: Pimp that book!

Day 4 topic is:

One of the best parts about book blogging is the exposure to books and authors you might never have heard of before. Pimp the book you think needs more recognition on this day. Get creative! Maybe share snippets from other bloggers who have reviewed it or make some fun art to get your message across.


Because of lack of time today, I will focus your attention on my most favorite French novel ever! It is quite famous in France, well, at least it WAS decades ago when I was in my teen and when all the students had to read it, but I still need to meet an American reader who knows about it or even about the author!

I reread it in French this year, in fact it was my very first review of the year, but never dared to try it in English translation.

Please click on the cover to read my review.

Le Grand Meaulnes was published in French in 1912, and translated in English several times, I believe, usually under the title The Lost Estate. A search gave this result. As you can see, there’s an French translation even available as a Kindle book. I have not read enough of the online excerpt to certify that it’s a good translation.

I highly recommend this book, which should definitely be better known in the US!

Doing a basic search in my library, I stumbled into these cool books my Rosalind Ashe: Literary Houses and:

This second volume presents 10 famous houses in literature, and the #10 is Les Sablonnières, the famous farmhouse of Le Grand Meaulnes. The author gives a very short biography of the author, and inserts excerpts of the book related to the house. She has great illustrations, including maps of the house!

Did you know about these books by Rosalind Ashe? They look really cool. Here are the houses described:

– in Literary Houses: Dorian Gray’s house in Grosvenor Square ; the eerie chapel of Castle Dracula; Gatsby’s mansion at West Egg; aMiss Havisham’s house;  Manderley!; Northanger Abbey;  Howard’s End, Thornfield Hall, the House of the Seven Gables, and Baserville Hall.

– in More Literary Houses: Gone with the wind, Margaret Mitchell — The portrait of a lady, Henry James — Middlemarch, George Eliot — War and peace, Count Leo Tolstoy — Blandings castle, P.G. Wodehouse — The Castle, Franz Kafka — Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann — The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa — Wide Sargasso sea, Jean Rhys — Le Grand Meaulnes, Alain-Fournier.


Well, I actually managed to recommend 3 books!



January wrap-up

Wow, I don’t know if it’s the excitement of a new beginning with the first month of the year, or the excitement of working on 20ish Reading Challenges, or pure madness, that could well be all the above:

this month has been terrific, best EVER!

Ok, I did NOT finish any audiobook, mostly for technical reasons, I’ll explain when I post the review of the audiobook I finished 24 hours too late to make it for the January count.

BUT I read 11 books, with a total of 2803 pages, that is, an insane 90.4 pages/day! I had to redo the maths several times, to be sure it was correct.

Another neat thing, is that I’m working on my end of year recap as I go along,that will save tons of times at the end, and prevent mistakes.

So for instance, I add titles and numbers after each book I read on this public google recap sheet, and I update all my Reading Challenges on that one.

The cool thing is that to list the following titles, I just add to select them form my column, et voilà!

SO, here are the titles I read:

5 fiction:

Le Grand Meaulnes, by Alain-Fournier – in original French
Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – historical novel
A Midsummer Night’s Dream , by Shakespeare – play
The Man In The Brown Suit , by Agatha Christie – mystery
Remembering Babylon , by David Malouf

I enjoyed them all, but my old love for le Grand Meaulnes was too strong against Agatha Christie, so that’s my favorite fiction this month:

6 non-fiction

Gandhi: A Manga Biography, by Kazuki Ebine – graphic format
The Adventures of Hergé, by José-Louis Bocquet – graphic format
Saint Gregory Palamas As A Hagiorite, by Hierotheos of Nafpaktos
Charles Dickens: A Life  , by Claire Tomalin
Cliffs Notes on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream , by Matthew Black
Paris My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) , by Amy Thomas – ebook

Difficult to resist the Parisian sweetness of Amy Thomas’ book, but I’m still giving my preference to this masterpiece, which I highly recommend for Dickens’ 200th anniversary coming up in a few days now:


Reading Challenges recap

Around the World in 52 books:  9/52
Around the world in 12 books: 1/12
European reading challenge: 4/5
I love Italy: 0/1-3
Dewey Decimal: 8/20
We want you to read French authors: 4/5 or 10 (ends in August)
Books in translation: 2/10-12
South Asia: 1/7
Middle East: 0/18
My own reading challenge: 0/5
What’s in a Name: 3/5
Ebook challenge: 3/10
Audiobook: 0/12
Support your library: 7/37
Finishing the series: 0/1
2nds challenge: 0/3
Foodies: 1/3
Japanese literature: 0/? (starts in June)
Historical novels: 1/7-10
New authors challenge: 8/15
A Shakespeare play a month: 1/12
Graham Green Challenge: 0/1


Blog recap

December 2011:    29 posts =  total views =  1,718  = 55/day
January 2012:        21 posts =  total views =  2,165  = 70/day

Another very exciting event in January was my starting a book club for our block, with a very special format that everybody seems to enjoy. If you have not yet read about it, it’s here.

How was YOUR month of January?