The top 7 books to read in September 2021

Here are

The top 7 books
I plan to read in September 2021

Click on the covers to know more


  Termination Shock The Hands On French Cookbook

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

OK, this is a new plunge for me. I have been meaning to read so many books by Stephenson, and  never dared so far. But when I saw it on Netgalley, I couldn’t resist. A technothriller about climate change, totally my thing!
I usually do not request a book that long (896 pages) by a new to me author, as it means I cannot DNF it (I do not DNF books I requested). But so far anyway, I’m just loving it.

“A visionary technothriller about climate change.
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?
Ranging from the Texas heartland to the Dutch royal palace in the Hague, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sunbaked Chihuahuan Desert, Termination Shock brings together a disparate group of characters from different cultures and continents who grapple with the real-life repercussions of global warming. Ultimately, it asks the question: Might the cure be worse than the disease?”

📚 The Hands On French Cookbook, by Elisabeth de Châtillon
Published on 6/2/21
For a tour on France Book Tours

“If you think French food is complicated, decadent, and heavy, think again!
If you think learning and exploring another language is difficult or boring, think again!
And if you think cooking French food and learning French at the same time is impossible, teacher and home cook Elisabeth de Châtillon is here to prove you wrong. It might sound too good to be true, but THE HANDS ON FRENCH COOKBOOK is full of healthy, simple French recipes that you can make for friends and family while you learn not only the French language but also a little bit about French culture in a relaxed, fun, tasty way.”

📚 The New Testament: A Translation, by David Bentley Hart
Published in 2017

As you may know, I’m in the process of listening to the whole Bible. I recently finished listening to all the books of the Old Testament.
As David Bentley Hart recently published a new translation, I thought I would at the same time listen to all the books of the New Testament (narrated by Alexander Scourby) AND read this new translation. The translator is Orthodox, as I am, and I’m very intrigued to see what he did here.

“From one of our most celebrated writers on religion comes this fresh, bold, and unsettling new translation of the New Testament.
David Bentley Hart undertook this new translation of the New Testament in the spirit of “etsi doctrina non daretur,” “as if doctrine is not given.” Reproducing the texts’ often fragmentary formulations without augmentation or correction, he has produced a pitilessly literal translation, one that captures the texts’ impenetrability and unfinished quality while awakening readers to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers.
The early Christians’ sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that they were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values and priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable and decent. “To live as the New Testament language requires,” he writes, “Christians would have to become strangers and sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. And we surely cannot do that, can we?”


  Rider on the Rain The Islanders by Christopher Priest  

📚 Rider on the Rain, by Sébastien Japrisot
Published in 1969 – will read for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge. Getting republished by Gallic Books on October 5, 2021

“The bus never stops in Le Cap-des-Pins. Not in autumn, when the small Riviera resort is deserted. Except today, when a man with a red bag and a disconcerting stare steps out into the rain.His arrival will throw the life of young housewife Mellie Mau into disarray. After surviving a horrific attack, she has a dark secret to hide. But a stranger at a wedding, the enigmatic American Harry Dobbs, is determined to get the truth out of her, leading her into a game of cat and mouse with dangerous consequences …A cool, stylish and twisty thriller from cult French noir writer Sébastien Japrisot.”

📚  The Islanders, by Christopher Priest
Published in 2011

Christopher Priest is a big name in the word of scifi, but I have never read anything by him. This book intrigued me, so I chose it when I won a book of my choice a few years ago on a blog (sorry, can’t remember where).

“Reality is illusory and magical in the stunning new literary SF novel from the multiple award-winning author of The Prestige—for fans of Haruki Murakami and David Mitchell.

A tale of murder, artistic rivalry, and literary trickery; a Chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you. The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of islands. The names of the islands are different depending on who you talk to, their very locations seem to twist and shift. Some islands have been sculpted into vast musical instruments, others are home to lethal creatures, others the playground for high society. Hot winds blow across the archipelago and a war fought between two distant continents is played out across its waters. The Islanders serves both as an untrustworthy but enticing guide to the islands; an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder; and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator. It shows Christopher Priest at the height of his powers and illustrates his undiminished power to dazzle.”


Les deux châteaux    After the Funeral

🎧  Les deux châteaux (N.E.O. #2), by Michel Bussi
Published on June 3, 2021

Michel Bussi is one of my favorite contemporary French authors. He usually writes thrillers, but has recently launched into YA fantasy – a genre I usually don’t read. I listened to volume 1 and so loved it, that I had to listen to volume 2. I’m about half way and it’s so so good.

“Le clan du château et le clan du tipi sont réconciliés ! Grâce à l’alliance de tous, les frontières de la ville et de ses environs peuvent enfin être repoussées : le monde s’ouvre désormais à eux.
Mais au-delà des grandes découvertes, des amitiés et des amours naissants, et derrière une cohabitation en apparence sereine, Alixe, Zyzo et leurs amis devront percer de nouveaux mystères. Comment les enfants ont-ils pu survivre juste après le passage du nuage ? Quelles sont les origines des deux clans ? Qui était vraiment Marie-Lune ?
Mordélia, chassée de la ville, a conservé un objet secret qui contient peut-être des réponses à toutes ces questions. Or habitée par une féroce volonté de survivre, elle compte bien prendre sa revanche…”

🎧 After the Funeral (Hercule Poirot #33), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1953 – Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“The master of a Victorian mansion dies suddenly – and his sister is convinced it was murder…. When Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard’s funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard’s will, Cora was clearly heard to say: ‘It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it…But he was murdered, wasn’t he?’ In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery.”

🎧 I will probably also listen to 3 other books with Hercule Poirot.
🎧 And a few books of the New Testament, as explained above.


Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours


  • Hopefully write 3 reviews for books received for review through Edelweiss Plus and read last year

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2021: March wrap-up

March 2021 WRAP-UP

I introduced my February recap saying we were getting closer to a Covid vaccine. I didn’t think things would suddenly accelerate, at least in some areas. So I just got my first vaccine yesterday!

March has been an interesting reading month, with the highest number of books read per month I believe, and possibly also for the first time more audiobooks than books in print!!
I have discovered that listening to audiobooks and doing jigsaw puzzles (checked out at my awesome public library) was indeed a great way to relax.

The focus these past 3 months has been on Japanese literature, for the Japanese Reading Challenge 14, and I managed to read 12 books, so actually 3 more than originally planned. This is also the most I have read for this challenge.
I’m actually going to read more Japanese fiction, even if the challenge is technically over.

I have also restarted posting notes from my Orthodox reads.

BUT, I am again way behind in my reviews, as I haven’t had time to participate in the Sunday Post, where I usually do short reviews.

📚 So here is what I read in March:

16 books:
7 in print 
with 1,859 pages, a daily average of 59 pages/day
9 in audio
= 39H17
, a daily average of 1H16

6 in nonfiction:

  1. The Book of the Song of Songs
  2. The Book of Wisdom
  3. The Book of Sirach
  4. The Book of Hosea
  5. The Book of Amos – these first 5 books were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge
  6. Less Than Fully Catholic, by Trisha Day – written by a friend

5 in literary fiction:

  1. Kusamakura, by Natsume Soseki
  2. Le Mineur, by Natsume Soseki – French ebook
  3. To the Spring Equinox and Beyond, by Natsume Soseki – this one and all the above were ebooks for The Classics Club,  the Japanese Reading Challenge 14, and the Books in Translation Challenge
  4. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro – for the Japanese Reading Challenge 14
  5. Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi – for the Japanese Reading Challenge 14. And Buddy read

5 in mystery:

  1. Cards on the Table (Hercule Poirot #15), by Agatha Christie
  2. Dumb Witness (Hercule Poirot #16), by Agatha Christie
  3. Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17), by Agatha Christie – these 3 were audiobooks for The Classics Club
  4. The Black Lizard/Beast in the Shadows, by Edogawa Rampo – ebook for The Classics Club,  the Japanese Reading Challenge 14, and the Books in Translation Challenge
  5. Rien ne t’efface, by Michel Bussi – French audiobook


This is too hard, I have to pick four this time!!

 The Miner The Black Lizard

 Klara and the Sun Rien ne t'efface


Classics Club: 32/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 12 books 

Total of books read in 2021 = 42/120
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 10



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The top 8 books to read in March 2021


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Come back tomorrow
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How was YOUR month of March?

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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


  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.



  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.


  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!”


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