Book club February 2022 and Friday Finds

Picture from my bookshelves
edited with Pixlr

I’m presenting here the books we shared
at our last block Book Club meeting
– it’s a potluck book club,
meaning each member shares about his/her latest good read.
Awesome for diversity in books, lively conversations,
and your TBR getting suddenly taller!
(synopsis taken from

So here are the 8 books we talked about for our January 2022 meeting.

The Brothers Karamazov is a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and an exploration of erotic rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs involving the “wicked and sentimental” Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons―the impulsive and sensual Dmitri; the coldly rational Ivan; and the healthy, red-cheeked young novice Alyosha. Through the gripping events of their story, Dostoevsky portrays the whole of Russian life, is social and spiritual striving, in what was both the golden age and a tragic turning point in Russian culture.




From my review:
My post has also an awesome list of Q&A on the book.
I dived into it without reading any presentation, and had no idea what kind of water to expect. Wow, what a swim it was! I actually wanted to read over and over again the first chapter, hauntingly beautiful. I even wanted to paint it – it may actually happen one day!
I loved the descriptions of the landscapes, of the house, the sea, the people and their characters, the ambiance, definitely gothic! I felt magnetized by the book and the depth of its characters.At the beginning, the heroin seems rather shallow, too immature and almost two dimensional, but little by little, her character grows and makes for a loving and courageous person.
And the plot was not what I expected. When I finished the book, I re-read right away the first chapters, looking for the clues I had missed. It was an interesting experience.
If you have not read yet this classic, you have to give it a try.


With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.

Nora Ephron returns with her first book since the astounding success of I Feel Bad About My Neck, taking a cool, hard, hilarious look at the past, the present, and the future, bemoaning the vicissitudes of modern life, and recalling with her signature clarity and wisdom everything she hasn’t (yet) forgotten.



The noted singer and actress Kitty Carlisle Hart recounts her eventful life from her childhood in Europe, through Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s, to her life today, offering revealing insights into the many celebrities she has known




58935131 In this searing memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the forty-five days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life–and his family’s–as he confronted the painful loss of his son to suicide, lived through the violent insurrection in our nation’s Capitol, and led the impeachment effort to hold President Trump accountable for inciting the political violence.




23692271. sy475 100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.
How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power… and our future.

Agatha Christie's Poirot

After listening to all of Hercule Poirot short stories and novels, I decided to conclude my experience with Agatha Christie Poirot:
The Greatest Detective in the World.
It’s a very interesting volume.
The writing is sometimes a bit dry (hence 4 and not 5 Eiffel towers), but the content is fascinating.
The author recaps all about Hercule Poirot, in each decade.
VERDICT: An essential book for Agatha Christie’s fans.
Click on the cover to read my full review


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Book review: Agatha Christie Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World

Agatha Christie's Poirot


Agatha Christie Poirot:
The Greatest Detective in the World
by Mark Aldridge
William Morrow
488 pages
Nonfiction / Books about books


Buy the book on my Bookshop

After listening to all of Hercule Poirot short stories and novels, I decided to conclude my experience with Agatha Christie Poirot:
The Greatest Detective in the World.

Click to continue reading

Sunday Post #52 – 2/6/2022

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

More cold and more snow!

  • Not much going on beside my job (online French classes) and reading
  • In the kitchen, what best with that weather, than a big pot of Chinese soup (my variation on it)?
  • Cultural Saturday breakfast (that’s now how I call them. This is the only day we can have a leisurely breakfast. We watch a documentary or opera, or symphony, etc).
    Yesterday: Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie (PBS, 2019), watched on Kanopy. Excellent!

Since last Sunday, on the blog:


Agatha Christie's Poirot Intuitio

📚 Agatha Christie Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, by Mark Aldridge
Published March 9th 2021 by William Morrow

After listening to all of Hercule Poirot short stories and novels, I decided to conclude my experience with this book.
An essential book for Agatha Christie’s fans.
Review now available here.

🎧 Intuitio, by Laurent Gounelle
Not yet available in English
Published on 4/7/2021

This was an intriguing thriller on a fascinating topic: intuition.
A woman working for the FBI knows about this author (main character in the book) who seems to have an amazing intuition. So they hire him to try to identify a terrorist who’s been bombing towers all over the US, and also to try to identify the next target.
It’s based on real scientific data. In fact, Gounelle explains that he went through these tests, and they seem to work. And some police forces do use these techniques.
I liked the pace, and some great twists in the plot.
There are also plenty of characters that you get to wonder in which camp they are, with the author, or with the killer.
The book raised major issues related to the environment, and how big companies and countries just keep polluting without care, for the sake of economics and politics, even though they may show a nice ecological front. Quite scary. The information about oil tankers was a shock to me.
One aspect I thought was getting weird in the book was about knowing ahead what some people were going to do. I think this was pushing it too much.
But it’s still a fascinating and very enjoyable mystery.


The Waiting Years   Gataca

Lean On Me

📚  The Waiting Years, by Fumiko Enchi
Published in 1957
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

A glimpse on a weird social portrait: this rich and powerful man asks his own wife to go and find him a young concubine…
I like the description of complex characters, full of conflicting emotions, like the wife Tomo.

The beautiful, immature girl whom she took home to her husband was a maid only in name. Tomo’s real mission had been to find him a mistress. Nor did her secret humiliation end there. The web that his insatiable lust spun about him soon trapped another young woman, and another … and the relationships between the women thus caught were to form, over the years, a subtle, shifting pattern in which they all played a part. There was Suga, the innocent, introspective girl from a respectable but impoverished family; the outgoing, cheerful, almost boyish Yumi; the flirtatious, seductive Miya, who soon found her father-in-law more dependable as a man than his brutish son…. And at the center, rejected yet dominating them all, the near tragic figure of the wife Tomo, whose passionate heart was always, until that final day, held in check by an old-fashioned code.
In a series of colorful, unforgettable scenes, Enchi brilliantly handles the human interplay within the ill-fated Shirakawa family. Japan’s leading woman novelist and a member of the prestigious Art Academy, she combines a graceful, evocative style that consciously echoes the Tale of Genji with keen insight and an impressive ability to develop her characters over a long period of time. Her work is rooted deep in the female psychology, and it is her women above all-so clearly differentiated yet all so utterly feminine-who live in the memory. With The Waiting Years, a new and important literary figure makes her debut in the Western world.

📚 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

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

I have not read much so far, but I enjoy the ambiance: how the arrival of a couple of crows in a Paris courtyard has been disturbing this woman.

“Winner of the prestigious Prix Interallié.
When a flock of crows invades their shared apartment block, farmer-turned-debt collector Ludovic and fashion designer Aurore speak for the first time. With nothing but the birds in common, the two are destined for separate lives, yet are drawn inexplicably together.
Though their story is set in Paris, the tale of Ludovic and Aurore is far from an idyllic romance. With one trapped in an unhappy marriage and the other lost in grief, the city of love has brought each of them only isolation and pain. As Aurore faces losing her business and Ludovic questions the ethics of his job, they begin a passionate affair. Love between such different people seems doomed to failure, but for these two unhappy souls trapped in ruthless worlds, perhaps loving one another is the greatest form of resistance.
From the award winning author of Wild Dog, Lean on Me explores the realities of unlikely love, and how connection and intimacy offer us an escape from all that is harsh and cold in our modern day lives.”

🎧 Gataca, by Franck Thilliez
Translated as Bred to Kill in English
Originally published in 2011

Each time I finish listening to a book by Thilliez, (and I have listened to a lot of them), I say, this is the last one! Indeed, his books can be quite dark, disturbing, and gruesome.
BUT then I remember how fascinating they are in the way the author uses very solid scientific data, and how much I have learned through his books. So I got caught and am listening to this one!
The first chapters are VERY depressing, and then… we end up in paleontology, and it’s so so interesting! I have to say, bravo for the English title!

Here is part of the synopsis – the one on Goodreads reveals way too much!!:”Lucie Henebelle and Inspector Sharko have reunited to take on the case of the brutal murder of Eva Louts, a promising graduate student who was killed while working at a primate research center outside of Paris. But what first appears to be a vicious animal attack soon proves to be something more sinister. What was Eva secretly researching?
With his unmatched ability to inject cutting-edge science into his novels, Thilliez draws on genetics, paleontology, and the dark side of human nature to create this smart, adrenaline-fueled thriller. Bred to Kill moves from the rain-slick streets of Paris to the heart of the Alps to the remote Amazon jungle, as Lucie and Sharko work to solve the murder—before whoever killed Eva comes for them.”



📚 Star, by Yukio Mishima
Published in 1961
Reading for The Japanese Literature Challenge 15
The 2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge
and The Classics Club

I have read and enjoyed two books by Mishima, the last one was a play, Dojoji. Looks like his style can be so very different between his various books, so I’m curious for this one, a short story (96 pages).

“All eyes are upon Rikio. And he likes it, mostly. His fans cheer from a roped-off section, screaming and yelling to attract his attention—they would kill for a moment alone with him. Finally the director sets up the shot, the camera begins to roll, someone yells “action”; Rikio, for a moment, transforms into another being, a hardened young yakuza, but as soon as the shot is finished, he slumps back into his own anxieties and obsessions.
Being a star, constantly performing, being watched and scrutinized as if under a microscope, is often a drag. But so is life. Written shortly after Yukio Mishima himself had acted in the film “Afraid to Die,” this novella is a rich and unflinching psychological portrait of a celebrity coming apart at the seams. With exquisite, vivid prose, Star begs the question: is there any escape from how we are seen by others?”


The Parable of the Blind

📚  The Parable of the Blind, by Gert Hofmann
Published in 1985

Inspired by Parabel der Blinden (1568), a painting by Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel, the novel tells the story of the work’s creation from the point of view of the six blind men depicted in the painting. The story is recounted in the present tense, first person plural. The “we” that comprises the six blind men often seems to consist of one entity; however, most of the men have separate names and identities and will sometimes say or do things that distinguish them from the group. ”



📚  Upgrade, by Blake Crouch
352 pages
Expected publication: July 19th 2022 by Ballantine Books
Automatically approved on Netgalley

Sorry if I’m making some envious here…
I haven’t yet read anything by Crouch, and the synopsis and totally along the lines of books I have recently enjoyed, so I had no choice but say yes!

“Logan Ramsay is about to get the brain he always dreamed of. But will he be transformed into something more than human…or something less? The mind-blowing new thriller from the ‘New York Times’ best-selling author of ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Recursion’.
When the SWAT team gives the all-clear and Logan Ramsay steps into the basement, he has no idea that everything’s about to change.
Then there’s the hiss of aerosol. The explosion. The shrapnel that punctures his hazmat gear. Logan wakes up to find himself in a hospital bed, attended by doctors in their own hazmat suits, his wife and daughter looking on from behind the glass.
The doctors say he’s been infected by a virus–one designed not to make him sick, but to modify his very genetic structure. In a world where the next-generation gene-editing tool known as Scythe is widely available–and has already reaped disastrous consequences–the possibilities are too many and terrifying to count.
Except that after the fever, the pain, the fear…the virus is gone. And according to his government bosses, Logan’s got a clean bill of health.
But the truth is that with each day that passes, Logan’s getting smarter. Seeing things more clearly. He’s realizing that he’s been upgraded in ways that go beyond even Scythe’s capabilities–and that he’s been given these abilities for a reason.
Because a holy grail of genetic engineering–one that could change our very definitions of humanity–has just been unearthed. And now it’s up to him to stop it from falling into the wrong hands.
Logan’s becoming something more. Something better. Even with the whole world hunting for him, he might be able to outthink his opponents and win the war that’s coming.
But what if it’s at the cost of being himself?”

📚  GIVEAWAY: choose 1  📚 

Constellation Red is my Heart

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

One is coming on February 15!