Sunday Post #44 – 8/22/2021

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

How do you keep the balance between reading and reviewing, and book blogging? After over ten years of active book blogging, I still have no answer to this quandary.
I have read a lot these past weeks, and slowly but surely, I’m finally reviewing books received for review and read last year, so now it’s time to slow down and participate in this meme I so enjoy.
And pour faire d’une pierre deux coups, use this opportunity to post short reviews.

The Satanic VersesI would like also to remind you that this coming November, I will be cohosting a read-along/buddy-read with Marianne (at Let’s Read) on The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie (published in 1988 – magical realism).
Click on the title or book cover to know more, and tell us if you would like to participate, by adding your own comments to our upcoming posts or by co-hosting some on your blog as well.


I finished three books this week:

Midaq Alley Un Trou dans la toile

Three Blind Mice📚 Midaq Alley, by Naguib Mahfouz
Published in Arabic in 1947
Translated by Trevor Le Gassick in 1991
Read for the Classics Club and the Books in Translation Reading Challenge

This is a total discovery for me, and wow! No wonder Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006) won the Nobel Prize in Literature (in 1988).
Midaq Alley is wonderfully capturing daily life in a poor neighborhood of Cairo during WWII.
This is all about the inhabitants, all very colorful characters! There’s the barber, the café owner, the businessman, even a cripple, a matchmaker, and a young girl who dreams of going away and making a lot of money.
There’s love, greed, drugs, heartbreaks, hopes and disappointments. And you can easily feel you are there in the café listening to the gossip, and that you know all these people.
This is really so brilliantly depicted. I am really glad I picked this book at a local second-hand book sale.

📚 Un Trou dans la toile, by Luc Chomarat
Published in 2016

I was intrigued by this book, because of its topic.
Thomas works in advertising, though he feels more and more like a stranger to today’s digital and ultra-connected world.
Then a mysterious company proposes to use his inadequacy to the Web to find “L’Inconnu”, an unknown person who defies the order of things by living totally outside the Internet, and who paradoxically has millions of fans.
I liked the themes of people living off the internet grid, and all the identity topics related to our use of the internet, but the book as a whole was too slow and rather disappointing.
I’m actually surprised it won a major thriller award in France.

🎧 Three Blind Mice and Other Stories, by Agatha Christie
Published in 1950
Listened to for the Classics Club, and personal project to listen to all of HP.

This collection of short stories is listed for the Hercule Poirot list, though only three of the nine stories feature him, and other stories show other grey cells at work, those of Miss Marple and other detectives.
I liked a lot the first story, Three Blind Mice. Almost a variation of And Then There Were None: a couple has recently decided to open a guest house, in a very isolated house. During a snow storm preventing access to it, several lodgers are murdered. So the killer has to be one of them. Who is he, and is he going to kill them all?
The added bonus was the cast of narrators: the amazing Hugh Fraser of course, as well as David Suchet and Joan Hickson, but the incredible Simon Vance as well! I had not listened to him for a while, though he used to be my favorite narrator, so it was a fun surprise to find him here!
However, even though I like watching Miss Marple’s episodes, I didn’t like too much stories with her here. Sounded too gossipy oriented (though gossip could possibly be a great way of solving murders!). So when I’m done listening to all of Hercule Poirot, maybe I won’t do the same with Miss Marple. What do you think?


  Bomber's Moon The Village of Eight Graves  

  Tension extrème The Under Dog and Other Stories

📚 Bomber’s Moon (Joe Gunther #30), by Archer Mayor
Published in 2019

I won this thriller two years ago, and thanks to 20 Books of Summer 21, I’m finally taking time to read it now.
I usually don’t like starting a series other than with book 1. Well, this is book 30 in the series (!), but I thought I would give i w try, and so far, it seems to be working. Though I’m taking notes, because there are a lot of interconnected characters, and I need to keep track of their relationship.
There’s Joe and his team trying to solve two murders, but at work are also the PI Sally Kravitz and reporter Rachel Reiling. I’m curious to see what’s really going to happen between them all. And if manipulation is at play here.
Have you read this series? This author?

📚 The Village of Eight Graves, by Seishi Yokomizo
Expected publication: December 2nd 2021, by Pushkin Vertigo
I’m actually reading it in the French translation (by René de Ceccatty and Ryôji Nakamura) published in 1999!

The original in Japanese was published in 1949.
Reading it for the Classics Club and the Books in Translation Reading Challenge

I recently reviewed The Inugami Curse by the same author, and one of my French students also enjoy Japanese classics, so we decided to read it together in French, as anyway neither of us can read in Japanese.
This is also part of a long series (77 books!), by one of the most famous Japanese author of thrillers. There are also a lot of characters, and the story is complex, but so far I’m loving it, especially the constant effect of doom.

“Nestled deep in the mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: in the 16th century eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village.
Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake.”
Hmm, not sure why the official English synopsis talks about a “mysterious” young man. His identity is very clear from the beginning. So now I wonder, is he who he says he is??

📚 Tension extrême, by Sylvain Forge
Published in 2017

“The Prix du Quai des Orfèvres is an annual French literature award created in 1946 by Jacques Catineau. It goes to an unpublished manuscript for a French-language police novel. The selected novel is then published by a major French publishing house, since 1965 Fayard. The jury is led by the chief of the Prefecture of Police of Paris. The name of the award refers to the former headquarters of the Paris police, located at 36, quai des Orfèvres.”
I read an except if this book with some students, and this award often chooses great titles, so I decided to read it all.
At the beginning of the book, it seems twin brothers both died at the exact same second, because their pacemakers stopped working. A thriller about AI and cyber attacks. I usually enjoy this a lot, we’ll see. I’m only at 9% so far.

🎧 The Under Dog and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot #4, by Agatha Christie
Published in 1951
Listened to for the Classics Club, and personal project to listen to all of HP.

The order of books related to Hercule Poirot is messy, whether you follow the British or American order of publication. And I’m probably going to listen twice to some stories.
Anyway, I’m trying to follow the chronological order and am now in 1951.
And it’s always fun to see Agatha Christie’s incredible creativity and the variety in her plots. This collection featured nine stories.


A Fine Line

📚  A Fine Line, by Dan Burns
Published in 2017
I have met local author Dan Burns a couple of times at Chicago literary events, and I have enjoyed his No Turning Back.

A Fine Line is a story about Sebastian Drake, a struggling writer working out of a dilapidated apartment in the city and trying to come up with his next story idea.
Drake receives an unexpected visit from a man interested in hiring him for a project and who thinks he has just the solution to Drake’s writing challenges. He also thinks that Drake’s past and secret life with a shadow government organization is a valuable asset.
His proposition to Drake is simple: become a hired agent to investigate a cold murder case involving one of Chicago’s most powerful political families.
The job comes with a decent paycheck, all the support he might need, and the types of real life experiences that can form the basis for great fiction stories.
This is a story about a man with a new lease on life, a man who leads a dual existence. By day, he is an aspiring author. By night, he is a rogue undercover and unknown vigilante. His biggest challenge is keeping intact the fine line of reality and fiction.”


How Do You Live The Japanese A History in Twenty Lives

Escapism? Yes probably. Am again fixating on books related to Japan:

📚  How Do You Live, by Yoshino Genzaburo
Published in 1937

“First published in 1937, Genzaburō Yoshino’s How Do You Live? has long been acknowledged in Japan as a crossover classic for young readers. Academy Award–winning animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited AwayMy Neighbor TotoroHowl’s Moving Castle) has called it his favorite childhood book and announced plans to emerge from retirement to make it the basis of a final film.
How Do You Live? is narrated in two voices. The first belongs to Copper, fifteen, who after the death of his father must confront inevitable and enormous change, including his own betrayal of his best friend. In between episodes of Copper’s emerging story, his uncle writes to him in a journal, sharing knowledge and offering advice on life’s big questions as Copper begins to encounter them. Over the course of the story, Copper, like his namesake Copernicus, looks to the stars, and uses his discoveries about the heavens, earth, and human nature to answer the question of how he will live.
This first-ever English-language translation of a Japanese classic about finding one’s place in a world both infinitely large and unimaginably small is perfect for readers of philosophical fiction like The Alchemist and The Little Prince, as well as Miyazaki fans eager to understand one of his most important influences.”

A Japanese classic, so loved by Miyazaki? How come I have never heard of this one before?!! Have you read it?

📚  The Japanese: A History in Twenty Lives, by Christopher Harding
Published November 5th 2020 by Allen Lane

From the acclaimed author of Japan Story, this is the history of Japan, distilled into the stories of twenty remarkable individuals.
The vivid and entertaining portraits in Chris Harding’s enormously enjoyable new book take the reader from the earliest written accounts of Japan right through to the life of the current empress, Masako. We encounter shamans and warlords, poets and revolutionaries, scientists, artists and adventurers – each offering insights of their own into this extraordinary place.
For anyone new to Japan, this book is the ideal introduction. For anyone already deeply involved with it, this is a book filled with surprises and pleasures.”


     Termination Shock

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

Now, this is major. I have always wanted to read so many books by Stephenson, and never did. When I saw it on Netgalley, I finally decided to take the plunge. And this IS a major plunge: launching into a 698 pages by a new to me author!
It reminds me a bit my first experience with Murakami. I was always intrigued by this author, and finally devoured a lot of his works after my first jump. I hope this will be a similar experience.
A technothriller about climate change? That should work for me.

“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?
As only Stephenson can, Termination Shock sounds a clarion alarm, ponders potential solutions and dire risks, and wraps it all together in an exhilarating, witty, mind-expanding speculative adventure.”

What’s your favorite book by Neal Stephenson?


your choice between 8 books!

request today, review when it’s comfortable for you
Click on the covers to know more and request
The House of Shudders 2   in another life

Historical novel – WWII
Historical Fiction/Contemporary Women’s Fiction/




Sunday Post #43 – 7/11/2021

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

Weeks go by too quickly, and I haven’t participated in this meme for three months!
I am glad to be back, to try to post short reviews of recent reads.


I already read 7 books this month. Here are four of them, I don’t have time to do more today.

La Disparition The Code Breaker

  The Apothecary Diaries vol 1 Evil Under the Sun

📚 La Disparition/Les Revenentes et autres lipogrammes, by Georges Perec
Published in 1969 and 1972

Georges Perec is probably the most important author in the Oulipo group, authors who try to write differently. Another writer I really enjoy in this group is Italo Calvino.
This volume has fabulous essays on Perec and his work, short works, and two larger ones: La Disparition and Les Revenentes.
La Disparition was translated as A Void in English. It’s a very famous work, as it was written without ever using the letter e! The English translator managed the same feat! Besides the ludic aspect, it’s also a very smart work, focused indeed on a disparition. So it also reads like a thriller. It was fascinating to see all the ways the author used to be able to a-void the e, just as essential a letter in French as in English.
The book can be hilarious, but it also contains many wow moments, seeing the prouesse of the author.
And from the title of the next work, Les Revenentes (The Exeter Text in English), you can easily guess what type of lipogram is used in this one: now there’s no vowel but the e! I found it less interesting at the level of writing, as the author uses much more freedom to get around not using any over vowel. And the content was very shocking, too sexual, erotic, and even perv!

📚 The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, by Walter Isaacson
Published on 3/9/2021 – Won through Goodreads

VERDICT:  Essential, fascinating, and easily accessible presentation of Jennifer Doudna. A must if you want to stay up to date on CRISPR and its moral questions.
You can read my full review here

📚 The Apothecary Diaries vol.1, by Natsu Hyuuga
Manga published in Japanese in 2017, in English in December 2020
– read for the Books in Translation Reading Challenge

It is sometimes hard for me to find a manga I would really enjoy. I actually think I found this one first on a French blog. This is not all too common teen romance type of manga. It has an extra historical dimension, as it focuses on life in the inner palace.
Young Maomao was trained in the art of herbal medicine, but at one point she was kidnapped. She ends up as a lowly servant in the inner palace.
But she starts going up in ranks when she helps identify the cause of all the royal babies dying. Then handsome eunuch Jinshi notices her and promotes her as a court food taster. I’m now curious what Jinshi has in store for her in the next volumes.

🎧 Evil Under the Sun, by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #24)
Published in 1941
Listened to for the Classics Club, and personal project to listen to all of HP.

Great plot, though I found the denouement going on and on.

“It seems that no matter how hard he tries, Poirot never quite gets a holiday. This story sees him in Devon, Agatha Christie’s home county, and, of course, among the scantily clad sunbathers, a murdered woman is found.
It was not unusual to find the beautiful bronzed body of the sun-loving Arlena Stuart stretched out on a beach, face down. Only, on this occasion, there was no sun… she had been strangled. Ever since Arlena’s arrival at the resort, Hercule Poirot had detected sexual tension in the seaside air. But could this apparent ‘crime of passion’ have been something more evil and premeditated altogether?”


Languages of Truth Alphabet

Five Little PigsI don’t have time to write about these, but you can at least click on the cover to see on Goodreads what they are all about.


When All Light Fails

📚 When All Light Fails, by Randall Silvis
(Ryan DeMarco Mystery #5)
To be published in August1st, 2021
Received through Netgalley

This will be the concluding volume in this series, so I really want to read it, even though vol 4 was very dark.

“When powerful men pull strings to get what they want… someone almost always ends up dead.
There’s not much that would convince retired police sergeant Ryan DeMarco to take on another private investigation case, but he can’t refuse a nine-year-old Michigan girl begging for help finding her biological father. The road trip to the Upper Peninsula promises DeMarco and his partner, Jayme, a chance to heal from their last case, which ended in a traumatic brush with death for DeMarco. But things aren’t as they first appear in the woods of Michigan, and the seemingly simple paternity investigation soon morphs into something deadly.
The deeper DeMarco, Jayme, and the rest of their team dig, the more ugly truths they reveal, all while doing their best to keep one member of their team, from falling prey to her own kind of darkness. This investigation just might be the most emotionally troubling one DeMarco and Jayme have yet encountered, for there are plenty of people who will do whatever it takes to shut them down before the truth comes to light.”


A Beginner's Guide to Japan China in Ten Words


Received for review, from Gallic Books:

  The Sleeping Car Murders  Rider on the Rain  

Trap For Cinderella


your choice between 6 books!

request today, review when it’s comfortable for you
The House of Shudders 2Historical novel – WWII



Mailbox Monday December 23, 2019

Mailbox Monday2

Mailbox Monday


Wild Dog


Wild Dog,
by Serge Joncour
Translated from the French by 
Jane Aitken
Literary fiction
Release date 4/7/2020,
by Gallic Books

I received this book and the next through Meryl Zegarek Public Relations.

“It was as though some frenzied ritual were taking place up there in the woods, a savage brawl that seemed to be making its way towards them…
Seeking to escape the stresses of modern life, Franck and Lise, a Parisian couple who have made their living in the film industry, decide to rent out a cottage in the calm, quiet hills of the French Lot.
But nothing is quite what it seems. In this remote corner of the world, there is no phone signal. A wild dog emerges, looking for a new master. Ghosts of a dark, savage past run wild in these hills, where a mysterious German lion tamer took refuge in the First World War…
Franck and Lise are confronted with nature at its most brutal. And they are about to discover that man and beast have more in common than they think.”

A Hundred Million Years and a Day


A Hundred Million Years and a Day,
by Jean-Baptiste Andrea
Translated from the French by
Sam Taylor
Literary fiction
Release date 6/16/2020,
by Gallic Books

“Summer 1954. Stan has been hunting for fossils since the age of six. Now, having made a career out of studying the remains of tiny lifeforms, he hears a story he cannot forget: the skeleton of a huge creature, a veritable dragon, lies deep in an Alpine glacier. And he is determined to find it.

Leaving his life in Paris behind, Stan sets out in pursuit of a legend. But he is no mountaineer, and to attempt his dangerous expedition he must call on loyal friend and colleague Umberto, who arrives with an eccentric young assistant, and expert guide Gio. Time is short: the four men must descend before the weather turns. Bonds are forged and tested as the hazardous quest for the earth’s lost creatures becomes a journey into Stan’s own past.”