The top 9 books to read in April 2021

Here are

The top 9 books
I plan to read in April 2021

Click on the covers to know more


  FutureofBuildingsBookCover    Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

  The Archipelago of Another Life    A Swim in the Pond in the Rain

📚 The Future of Buildings, Transportation, and Power, 
by Roger Duncan and Michael E. Webber
Published in July 2020
See my latest words about it here.

📚 Dictionnaire amoureux du polar, by Pierre Lemaitre
Published on October 22, 2020
See my latest words about it here.

📚 The Archipelago of Another Life/ L’Archipel d’une autre vie, by Andreï Makine
Published in French in 2016
Published July 11th 2019 by MacLehose Press

I will technically begin to read this book in French on April 5 with Carol from Cas d’intérêt. We will post bilingual Q&A on her blog and mine, let us know if you would like to join our buddy read.

“A tense “Siberian Western” set in the inhospitable, boundless Russia taiga at the height of the Cold War.
On the far eastern borders of the Soviet Union, in the sunset of Stalin’s reign, soldiers are training for a war that could end all wars, for in the atomic age man has sown the seeds of his own destruction.
Among them is Pavel Gartsev, a reservist. Orphaned, scarred by the last great war and unlucky in love, he is an instant victim for the apparatchiks and ambitious careerists who thrive within the Red Army’s ranks.
Assigned to a search party composed of regulars and reservists, charged with the recapture of an escaped prisoner from a nearby gulag, Gartsev finds himself one of an unlikely quintet of cynics, sadists and heroes, embarked on a challenging manhunt through the Siberian taiga.
But the fugitive, capable, cunning and evidently at home in the depths of these vast forests, proves no easy prey. As the pursuit goes on, and the pursuers are struck by a shattering discovery, Gartsev confronts both the worst within himself and the tantalising prospect of another, totally different life.”

📚 A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders
Published on January 12, 2021

“From the New York Times bestselling, Booker Prize–winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves—and our world today.
For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.
In his introduction, Saunders writes, “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art—namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?” He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity.
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.”


Monet and Oscar   The Old Capital

Double Indemnity

📚 Monet & Oscar, by Joe Byrd
Release date: May 1st, 2021
Will be reading for France Book Tours
There are still review copies available: click on the link or on the book cover to get your free copy!

“At the end of WWI, Oscar, an American soldier in a French Army hospital, learned of his mother’s death while recovering from his war wounds. He remained in France to search for his father, an Impressionist painter, whose identity his mother never revealed. Through curious circumstances, he’s hired to be a gardener for Claude Monet.   Oscar jumped at the opportunity to further his landscaping career by working in Monet’s world-famous garden at Giverny. He hoped the most renowned Impressionist could help him find his father.
Monet, tired and disheartened by his ailing health and deteriorating eyesight, took Oscar along on visits to his previous painting venues and allowed him to meet some of his art-world friends. These meetings provided insights into Monet’s life and art and clues to Oscar’s father’s identity.
On a train returning from Paris to Giverny, Oscar met and fell in love with Isabelle, a beautiful young American artist, who introduced him to the emerging 1920’s fashions and mores. She is the daughter of one of Monet’s major American clients, which interests him. Over Monet’s daughters’ objections, Isabelle and Oscar become regular guests at family gatherings as their infatuation blossoms into a unique love affair. Oscar’s past, present, and future collide in a way that he could not have anticipated.”

📚 The Old Capital, by Yasunari Kawabata
Published in 1962
Will be reading during April 19-25 with the Japanese Readathon Community (on Discord), and for Books in Translation Challenge and for The Classics Club

The Old Capital is one of the three novels cited specifically by the Nobel Committee when they awarded Kawabata the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. With the ethereal tone and aesthetic styling characteristic of Kawabata’s prose, The Old Capital tells the story of Chieko, the adopted daughter of a Kyoto kimono designer, Takichiro, and his wife, Shige.
Set in the traditional city of Kyoto, Japan, this deeply poetic story revolves around Chieko who becomes bewildered and troubled as she discovers the true facets of her past. With the harmony and time-honored customs of a Japanese backdrop, the story becomes poignant as Chieko’s longing and confusion develops.

📚 Double Indemnity, by James M. Cain
Published in 1936
Will be reading for The 1936 Club, and for The Classics Club

I have never participated in any club readings posted by Stuck in a Book.
As I have two books published in 1936 on my Classics TBR list, I might as well use this opportunity. Actually, I had a third book, which I just read : A Cat, a Man, and Two Women.

“Tautly narrated and excruciatingly suspenseful, Double Indemnity gives us an X-ray view of guilt, of duplicity, and of the kind of obsessive, loveless love that devastates everything it touches. First published in 1935, this novel reaffirmed James M. Cain as a virtuoso of the roman noir.”

📚 For The 1936 Club, I’m also planning on reading The Swedish Cavalier, by Leo Perutz

📚 If all goes well, I will read a French novel with one of my student:
Cinq cartes brûléesby Sophie Loubière
And Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, with another friend


Murder in the Mews Appointment with Death

📚 Murder in the Mews (Hercule Poirot #18) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1937
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“Are you ready for a question about each of the stories? How did a woman holding a pistol in her right hand manage to shoot herself in the left temple? What was the link between a ghost sighting and the disappearance of top secret military plans? How did the bullet that killed Sir Gervase shatter a mirror in another part of the room? And who destroyed the “eternal triangle” of love involving renowned beauty, Valentine Chantry?

Hercule Poirot is faced with four mystifying cases: Murder in the Mews, The Incredible Theft,, Dead Man’s Mirror and Triangle at Rhodes. Each of them is a miniature classic of characterization, incident, and suspense.”

📚 Appointment with Death (Hercule Poirot #19) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1937
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her.
With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard back in Jerusalem: ‘You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?’ Mrs Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he’d ever met.”

📚 I should be able also to listen to at least Hercule Poirot #20, plus 5 Biblical books (Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum), and a French audiobook. 


Listed on the homepage 

Review copies available throughout March:
The first two for book tours,
the third one to read and review at your own pace!

    Madeleine Last French Casquette Bride in New Orleans  Island on Fire Monet and Oscar  Church of Tango
On tour in April and May

List of books I can swap with yours


📚 Several buddy-reads, as you see
📚 And usual refrain, trying to catch up with my reviews…

Eiffel Tower Orange




Nonfiction November 2019: Book Pairings


Click on the logo to see the detailed schedule

Book Pairings

hosted by Sarah’s Book Shelves

This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title.
It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!”
or just two titles that you think would go well together.
Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history
by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Today, I’m offering you 3 novels paired with 3 nonfiction books I read this year

Click on the covers to get more details



Walden The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Walden is a wonderful narrative of the time Henry David Thoreau spent alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. I so enjoyed all the nature descriptions.
In a totally different style, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, is also about a pond, and where it can lead you to…



 Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes Canterbury tales

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes is the narrative of the 12 days Robert Louis Stevenson traveled with his donkey Modestine in this very isolated area of France, marked by fierce fights between Roman Catholics and Protestants. I really enjoyed his humor at describing the mentality of the area and the people he met.
The Canterbury Tales is about travels and narratives, and religion,and it contains also very funny passages.



 Talk to me I Robot

Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think is an extremely well-documented and up-to-date research, showing where civilization is heading to, through current technological advances. It’s about how we interact with technology, computers, AI, and robots.
The most powerful novel I have read about the connection between humans and robots is definitely I, Robot.
Please skip the horrible movie, which really has nothing to do with the book.


2017: April wrap-up

April 2017 wrap-up

April was a very busy month, especially at Church, with Great Lent and Great Week. I also managed to be knocked out for 3 days by a nasty cold when even my reading energy was very low. So I didn’t read as much as I expected and this is my lowest month so far in 2017. Still, I read 8 books total, so that could have been worse. But I have not been very active on the blog recently.
I read some books to be in connection with some reading events on Goodreads or other blogs this month, but I didn’t manage to participate in the events themselves!

Here is what I read in April, actually a lot of diversity:

8  books:
7 in print
with 1,706 pages, that is: 56 pages/day
+ 1 audiobook
with 8H27, that is: 16 mn/day

1 in nonfiction:

  1. To Open One’s Heart, by Michel Evdokimov

1 in mystery:

  1. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle – audiobook

1 in graphice-novel:

  1. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, by Neil Gaiman

1 in children’s book:

  1. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White

2 in historical fiction:

  1. The Sun King Conspiracy, by Yves Jégo
  2. Beyond the Wild River, by Sarah Maine – ebook

2 in science-fiction:

  1. Waking Gods, by Sylvain Neuvel – ebook
  2. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

My favorites in April

   Charlotte's Web  the-sun-king-conspiracy

 Reading Challenges recap

Classics Club: 22/50 (until end of 2018)
Back to the Classics Challenge: 5/12
Mount TBR: 12/48
Where Are You Reading?: 21/50 – to be finished in ??

Total of books read in 2017 = 39/100

Number of books added to my TBR in April= 12

Blog recap in April

  • For those part of The Classics Club: Classics Spin #15 was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? for me. I read it and will post my review on May 3

  • With for Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge, I read a novel by a famous Moroccan author. They have a Twitter party coming up on April 6 (#TTWIB). Alas the twitter party was postponed and the new date ended up when I was too sick to have even the energy to open my computer.

  • I was planning to read My Cousin Rachel, with the Goodreads TuesBookTalk Read-Alongs = started, not finished.
    Tender is the Night, with the Goodreads Classic Book a Mont Club = didn’t have time
    and Charlotte’s Web for Classics Children’s Lit Event 5.= LOVED IT SO SO MUCH, the only book I had energy to read when I was sick, but I have not yet posted my review, so was not able to join the event.

  • I organized 1 giveaway. The one for May at France Book Tours is now available.

  • About books, though outside the blog, I went to a local independent books store this past Saturday on Independent Bookstore Day. It was not bad, but I was shocked to find a category labelled as Renaissnace [sic], and to find 2 shelves of ARCs, priced $3 each. I remember how bloggers got so furious against a fellow blogger who did that after BEA last year, so I was really quite enraged to see that even an independent book store would do that! Seriously?! But I managed to actually keep my mouth shut. Have you ever found a bookstore doing that?? I had seen some ARCs for sale in some type of second hand shops, but never before in an indie store!

Most popular book review in April

Rebeccaclick on the cover to access my review,
back in 2012

Most popular post last month
– non book review –

The top 11 books to read in April

Book blog that brought me
most traffic this past month

Book Reviewer Yellow Pages

please go visit

Top commenters of the month

Inspired by Becca at I’m Lost in Books!
and her Blogger Shout-Outs feature

= 1 point per month for the top 3.
The one who has the most points at the end of the year will receive a gift!
NB: just congratulating winners of giveaways does not count as a real comment 😉

4: Karen at Booker Talk

4: Lucy at The Fictional 100 

4: Kristyn at Reading to Unwind

Blog milestones

1,602 posts
over 4,110 subscribers
over 133,900 hits

Plans for May

Come back tomorrow
to see all the books I plan to read in May!

Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

How was YOUR month of  April?

Month in Review

Kathryn at The Book Date
has created a Month In Review meme
I’ll now be linking my monthly recap posts
Thanks Kathryn, great idea!