The top 8 books to read in December 2020

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in December 2020

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

  The Vexations La grande escapade

📚 The Vexations, (2019) by Caitlin Horrocks
A historical novel on Erik Satie! Loving it so far

📚 La Grande escapade (2019), by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Received for review in 2019
By a French author I really like. Not too sure where this is going, and I’m a quarter done.

READING NEXT

Flood

  The Letter Killers Club  Upstream

📚 The Red Notebook (2014), by Antoine Laurain
I have read several books by this author, and especially enjoyed his most recent one, but I have never read this famous one. This is the latest book my Online French Book Club has chosen, so actually I’ll be reading the original French text.
Let me know if you want to join us, on Discord.

“Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There’s nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there’s all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?”

📚 Flood, (2008) by Stephen Baxter
This one was more recently offered to me by one of my French students. He loves this author, and knowing that I like scifi, he thought I should definitely read it!

It begins in 2016. Another wet summer, another year of storm surges and high tides. But this time the Thames Barrier is breached and central London is swamped. The waters recede, life goes on, the economy begins to recover, people watch the news reports of other floods around the world. And then the waters rise again. And again.
Lily, Helen, Gary and Piers, hostages released from five years captivity at the hands of Christian Extremists in Spain, return to England and the first rumours of a flood of positively Biblical proportions…
Sea levels have begun to rise, at catastrophic speed. Within two years London and New York will be under water. The Pope will give his last address from the Vatican before Rome is swallowed by the rising water. Mecca too will vanish beneath the waves.
The world is drowning. A desperate race to find out what is happening begins. The popular theory is that we are paying the price for our profligacy and that climate change is about to redress Gaia’s balance. But there are dissenting views. And all the time the waters continue to rise and mankind begins the great retreat to higher ground. Millions will die, billions will become migrants. Wars will be fought over mountains.”

📚 The Letter Killers Club (1926), by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
This is the book I got for Classics Spin #25.

“Original Writers are professional killers of conceptions. The logic of the Letter Killers Club, a secret society of “conceivers” who commit nothing to paper on principle, is strict and uncompromising. Every Saturday they meet in a fire-lit room hung with blank black bookshelves to present their “pure and unsubstantiated” conceptions: a rehearsal of Hamlet hijacked by an actor who vanishes with the role; the double life of a medieval merry cleric derailed by a costume change; a machine-run world that imprisons men’s minds while conscripting their bodies; a dead Roman scribe stranded this side of the River Acheron. The overarching scene of this short novel is set in Soviet Moscow, in the ominous 1920s. Known only by pseudonym, like Chesterton’s anarchists in fin-de-siècle London, the Letter Killers are as mistrustful of one another as they are mesmerized by their despotic president. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is at his philosophical and fantastical best in this extended meditation on madness.”

📚 Upstream: Selected Essays (2016), by Mary Oliver
I have been trying to drastically reduce my TBR, by stopping as much as possible requesting books through Netgalley and Edelweiss, but my public library started a special recommendation service, and I couldn’t resist. (And I’m going to get another book to read chosen by the staff, for the usual Winter Reading Challenge!)
Among the five titles they suggested, I chose this one.

“Comprising a selection of essays, Upstream finds beloved poet Mary Oliver reflecting on her astonishment and admiration for the natural world and the craft of writing.
As she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, finding solace and safety within the woods, and the joyful and rhythmic beating of wings, Oliver intimately shares with her readers her quiet discoveries, boundless curiosity, and exuberance for the grandeur of our world.
This radiant collection of her work, with some pieces published here for the first time, reaffirms Oliver as a passionate and prolific observer whose thoughtful meditations on spiders, writing a poem, blue fin tuna, and Ralph Waldo Emerson inspire us all to discover wonder and awe in life’s smallest corners.

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

  Atom[ka] Three Act Tragedy

📚 Atom[ka] (2012) by Franck Thilliez
Did I say I was going to stop reading this author?
Well, I couldn’t resist. His books often contain some horrific details, BUT they are always so smart as well. This time, looks like there are three threads together, one of them having to do with Chernobyl – incidentally, I just read a fabulous nonfiction graphic “novel” on Fukushima!

📚 Three Act Tragedy,  (Hercule Poirot #11, 1934) by Agatha Christie
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club
I don’t think I have ever read this one.

“At an apparently respectable dinner party, a vicar is the first to die…Thirteen guests arrived at dinner at the actor’s house. It was to be a particularly unlucky evening for the mild-mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, who choked on his cocktail, went into convulsions and died. But when his martini glass was sent for chemical analysis, there was no trace of poison — just as Poirot had predicted. Even more troubling for the great detective, there was absolutely no motive!”

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR DECEMBER

📚 Posting more reviews??

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HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR DECEMBER?

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2020: November wrap-up

November 2020 WRAP-UP

Phew, that was actually a busy month, reading-wise and otherwise, for instance with 3 new French students. In a way, I’m glad we are back in confinement, so less opportunity for distractions! And obviously, less chances to catch the virus.

I have FINALLY restarted a Newsletter. It has a small fee, but each month 11 subscribers will receive a book based on their favorite genres!
10 will receive an ecopy and 1 a print copy (as long as Bookdepositery ships to their country). If you haven’t signed up yet, here is the November Newsletter as a sample, with the form to subscribe near the end.

November is the month about Nonfiction, and I had a great time with this event.

I also finished my 2nd list of 50 classics, and launched into my 3rd list, with 137 titles this time.

📚 Here is what I read in November.
Actually more audiobooks (with record time this month!) than printed books, I guess this has become a trend for me in 2020, maybe due to Covid-19?

11 books:
4 in print 
with 1,288 pages, a daily average of 42 pages/day
7 in audio
= 33H54
, a daily average of 1H07

4 in mystery:

  1. Black Coffee, A Mystery Play in Three Acts, #7 by Agatha Christie – for The Classics Club
  2. Lord Edgware Dies, #9 by Agatha Christie – audio, for The Classics Club
  3. Écouter le noir, by various authors – French audio
  4. Murder on the Orient Express, #10 by Agatha Christie – audio, for The Classics Club

4 in nonfiction:

  1. The Book of Tobit – audio, for The Classics Club
  2. The Book of Judith – audio, for The Classics Club
  3. The Book of Esther – audio, for The Classics Club
  4. Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, by Kazuto Tatsuta – graphic “novel”

1 in historical fiction:

  1. The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand, & la France, by Nancy Burkhalter – for France Book Tours 

1 in science fiction:

  1. To Hold Up the Sky, by Liu Cixin – ebook for review, received through Netgalley  

1 in YA:

  1. La Chute du soleil de fer, by Michel Bussi – French audio

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

  La Chute du soleil de fer

Actually this month both my favorites are French, and not yet translated.
Écouter le noir is a fascinating collection of thriller short stories, some actually almost horror, mostly based on the theme of deafness. A neat twist to these stories, by some authors I had never heard of. Very enjoyable collection!
As for La Chute du soleil de fer, this was really neat surprise: a YA fantasy (both genres I rarely read), by one of my favorite French authors. There was no way I was going to pass his latest novel, even if it was not in his usual mystery genre. And I am sure glad I took the plunge.
It’s set in Paris in a post-apocalyptic world, with two groups of teenagers and younger children. The adults are all gone. I loved these kids, and the settings, and how they try to make sense of what as survived form our world.
I can’t wait for next volume in the series!

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 2/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 9 books read during the challenge + 7 since.

Total of books read in 2020 = 106/110
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 20

OTHER BOOK I REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

Alina_A Song For the Telling

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

And we offer a Book Box!
And monthly raffle with a Newsletter
(see sample with link to sign up)

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Alina_A Song For the Telling

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Born a Crime readalong

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Shelf Aware
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!

TOP COMMENTERS 

Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Deb at Readerbuzz
Karen at Booker Talk

please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,253 posts
over 5,380 followers
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📚

Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in December,
and some major milestone!!


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How was YOUR month of November?

2019-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up_300

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!

The top 8 books to read in November 2020

Here are

The top 8 books
I plan to read in November 2020

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

The Education of Delhomme To Hold Up the Sky

📚 The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand, & la France (Nov 17, 2020), by Nancy Burkhalter
Reading for France Book Tours

Beaulieu Delhomme, a piano tuner, faces the guillotine for committing treason against the newly elected French president due to his part in the bloody worker uprisings in 1848. The one person who could save him from this fate is his former arch-rival, the celebrated author, George Sand. The plot leading to his imprisonment revolves around the triangle of composer Frédéric Chopin, his lover George Sand, and Delhomme, Chopin’s loyal piano tuner. Both Sand and Delhomme compete for the attention of Chopin, who fights a losing battle with tuberculosis. The president’s spymaster uses this triangle to lure cash-strapped Delhomme into exploiting his friendship with Chopin to spy on George Sand, whose fiery rhetoric threatens the new president.
At first, before the uprisings that marked a tumultuous period out of which France’s Second Republic grew, Delhomme favors preserving the status quo because any policy changes might jeopardize his (and Chopin’s) wealthy client base. Sand wields her pen against the oppressive laws and ridicules Delhomme for his views.
Delhomme changes his opinion of the monarchy when he sees how his nephew is abused as an orphan working in a piano factory in industrial London. Delhomme becomes a double agent, paid to spy for the president while secretly working for the resistance. Sand softens her contempt when she discovers that he has switched allegiances and now promotes workers’ rights.
Delhomme is caught working for the resistance, jailed in Paris’ infamous Conciergerie prison, and faces a trial for treason. Even Sand’s testimony is not enough to trump that of the vaunted spymaster, but her fame may be enough to persuade the new president to pardon him.”

📚 To Hold Up the Sky,  (October 20th, 2020) by Cixin Liu
Received for review.
Cixin Liu is the author of the amazing Supernova Era, that’s why I decided to read this one.

“From Cixin Liu, the New York Times bestselling author of The Three-Body ProblemTo Hold Up the Sky is a breathtaking collection of imaginative science fiction.”
It contains 11 short stories.

READING NEXT

La grande escapade Les grands cerfs

The Vexations Flood

📚 La Grande escapade (2019), by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Received for review in 2019!
By a French author I really like, this time, I should finally have time to read it.

📚 Les Grands cerfs (2019), by Claude Hunzinger
Received for review in 2019!
I’m looking forward to discovering this author, dealing with a nature theme, like several other French novels I read recently.

📚 The Vexations, (2019) by Caitlin Horrocks
I can’t believe it’s already been a year since a friend lent it to me!! I started it, but then had to stop for books received for review.
It’s a historical novel on Erik Satie!

“Erik Satie begins life with every possible advantage. But after the dual blows of his mother’s early death and his father’s breakdown upend his childhood, Erik and his younger siblings — Louise and Conrad — are scattered. Later, as an ambitious young composer, Erik flings himself into the Parisian art scene, aiming for greatness but achieving only notoriety.
As the years, then decades, pass, he alienates those in his circle as often as he inspires them, lashing out at friends and lovers like Claude Debussy and Suzanne Valadon. Only Louise and Conrad are steadfast allies. Together they strive to maintain their faith in their brother’s talent and hold fast the badly frayed threads of family. But in a journey that will take her from Normandy to Paris to Argentina, Louise is rocked by a severe loss that ultimately forces her into a reckoning with how Erik — obsessed with his art and hungry for fame — will never be the brother she’s wished for.
With her buoyant, vivid reimagination of an iconic artist’s eventful life, Caitlin Horrocks has written a captivating and ceaselessly entertaining novel about the tenacious bonds of family and the costs of greatness, both to ourselves and to those we love.”

📚 Flood, (2008) by Stephen Baxter
This one was more recently offered to me by one of my French students. He loves this author, and knowing that I like scifi, he thought I should definitely read it!

It begins in 2016. Another wet summer, another year of storm surges and high tides. But this time the Thames Barrier is breached and central London is swamped. The waters recede, life goes on, the economy begins to recover, people watch the news reports of other floods around the world. And then the waters rise again. And again.
Lily, Helen, Gary and Piers, hostages released from five years captivity at the hands of Christian Extremists in Spain, return to England and the first rumours of a flood of positively Biblical proportions…
Sea levels have begun to rise, at catastrophic speed. Within two years London and New York will be under water. The Pope will give his last address from the Vatican before Rome is swallowed by the rising water. Mecca too will vanish beneath the waves.
The world is drowning. A desperate race to find out what is happening begins. The popular theory is that we are paying the price for our profligacy and that climate change is about to redress Gaia’s balance. But there are dissenting views. And all the time the waters continue to rise and mankind begins the great retreat to higher ground. Millions will die, billions will become migrants. Wars will be fought over mountains.”

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

La Chute du soleil de fer Lord Edgware Dies

📚 La Chute du soleil de fer, (N.E.O. #1, Oct 1st, 2020) by Michel Bussi
I really enjoy a lot Michel Bussi, and have listened to almost all of his books. He usually writes thrillers, but for the first time, he’s trying YA fantasy, Two genres I usually don’t read, but how could I resist Bussi?
I have actually already listened to half of it, and am loving it!
The description of the setting are fantastic, and I have no idea how things are going to evolve.

📚 Lord Edgware Dies,  (Hercule Poirot #9, 1933) by Agatha Christie
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“An Agatha Christie mystery story. Poirot had been present when Jane bragged of her plan to ‘get rid of’ her estranged husband. Now the monstrous man was dead. And yet the great Belgian detective couldn’t help feeling that he was being taken for a ride. After all, how could Jane have stabbed Lord Edgware to death in his library at exactly the same time she was seen dining with friends? And what could be her motive now that the aristocrat had finally granted her a divorce?”

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR NOVEMBER

📚 I’ll be participating in Nonfiction November. My first post will be on Novelber6
📚 I hope to finalize my plans for a  monthly Newsletter, with special content.
Let me know what you would like to find in it.

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HAVE YOU READ
OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ
ANY OF THESE?
WHAT ARE YOUR READING PLANS FOR NOVEMBER?

Save