Sunday Post #76 – 01/29/2023

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      Mailbox Monday2

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2  IMWAYR  WWW Wednesdays 2

#SundayPost #SundaySalon
#MailboxMonday #itsmonday #IMWAYR
#WWWWednesday #WWWWednesdays

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This was a very productive week:

  • lots of French classes,
  • done with my two big outdoor signs for my church (I just need to put three layers of varnish),
  • I have finally caught up with all the many comments waiting (some since November!!) on this blog,
  • I finished 5 books since last Sunday,
  • and they are all reviewed!

The next big project is preparing a conference to give to my church late March.

Posted this week:

Here are the 5 books I finished this past week:


Death of a Red Heroine

📚 Death of a Red Heroine
(Inspector Chen Cao #1), 

by Qiu Xialong
Chinese Mystery
First published in 2000 (in English)
482 pages
Read for my public library winter challenge

Police investigation and poetry:
a wonderful immersion into Chinese society and politics. 

Click on the cover to read my review.

Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret


📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon
Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
624 pages
It counts for The Classics Club
Read with French student E.

As you may know, I don’t often read short stories, as I am often dissatisfed by the lack of development.
This is very different here: it’s really neat to see that Simenon displays the same quality of writing in this format as in his novels.
Some plots are brilliant, sometimes quite different to what I am used to with this author.
And really, Maigret can wrap it up and create stisfying suspense in very few pages!
And there’s a lot of humor! Especially near the end of the collection. We laughed a lot with my student as we shared our experience.
But we also find Maigret violent at times!

If you are curious about Maigret, this is in fact a very good way to begin, I think.
Besides the original elements, you will still meet enough grey,rainy, foggy atmospheres and canals, rivers, etc as in most books in this series.
Check my review on Goodreads if you want to see the list of the 19 stories included in the collection.

Shuna's Journey


📚 Shuna’s Journey,
by Hayao Miyazaki
Translated by Alex Dudok de Wit
Graphic novel
Published in 2022
was first published in 1983
160 pages

Wow, this is a very neat graphic novel, with different style (but just as gorgeous) from the books Miyazaki made on his animes, though some pages are very close to some anime passages.
The plot is basically a young prince defying his village tradition, and deciding to leave on a quest for a golden grain that would save his land. And all the adventures and people/creatures he meets on his way.
The excellent note/afterword by the translator Alex Dudok de Wit explains the genesis of this work, and how it is a spin on a classic Tibetan legend, with the additions moderns elements, such as slavery and human trafficking.
I can’t remember which book blogger mentioned this book, but I am glad I checked it out right away from my public library.

What do you do with a chance


📚 What do you do with a chance,
by Kobi Yamada,
illustrated by Mae Besom
Picture book
Published in 2018
Original language: English
38 pages

This is a cute and very inspiring picture book, encouraging you to take the chance as soon as it comes, because who knows, it may not come again, and seizing the chance can lead you to so many discoveries!
The illustrations by Mae Besom are so beautiful (pencil and watercolor).
It made sense to illustrate the chance as a mysterious golden kind of bird.
I want to see what other books by Yamada my library has in store!

🎧 LLa Révolution des fourmisa Révolution des fourmis 
(La Saga des fourmis #3),
by Bernard Werber
French scifi
Published in 1996
671 pages

This is the very satisfying end to this trilogy.
It is so full of amazing information on ants obviously, but also many other insects and our world at large.
I really loved the characters, especially the old scientists, and the young group of teens, inspired by ants and trying really hard to start a non-violent revolution.
It’s also a reflection on what makes us deeply human.
I highly encourage you to dive into this trilogy.
Unfortunately, it seems only book 1 is available in English… 


Master of the Uncanny📚 Okamoto Kidō: Master of the Uncanny,
by Okamoto Kidō
Japanese short stories
Published between 1897-1931
Translated by Nancy H. Ross
Published in 2020
168 pages
It counts for the Japanese Literature Challenge
and The Classics Club

I was planning to read a good amount of books translated from the Japanese this month, but I have been very busy in reading books in French with my students, so I am only in my third book for this challenge.
So far, I have only read two stories. 
The Kiso Traveler talks about the etemono (a shape-shifting kind of creature) and is set in very cold and snowy mountains.
The Green Frog God is about dreams and a wife who might be actually a frog or a strange god.
So they are definitely on the gloomy and spooky side.

“Born just after Japan transitioned from the Shogunate to Meiji, Kidō grew up in a samurai-oriented world being transformed by the West in many ways. As a reporter he covered domestic development and overseas wars, while also marrying a traditional geisha, eventually becoming a playwright and author. In addition to a number of well-received plays, he also penned more than fifty horror stories over a roughly ten-year period starting in the mid-1920s. Just prior to this period, the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 destroyed almost everything in Tokyo that remained from the Edo era, and Japanese horror itself was transitioning from the traditional uncanny stories to more modern horror structures.
While many of Kidō’s stories are retellings of tales from China and other nations, he also drew on a diverse range of traditions, including the heritage of Edo-era storytellers such as Ueda Akinari and Asai Ryōi, to produce a dazzling array of work covering the entire spectrum from time-honored ghost tropes to modern horror. The majority of his stories were collected in four volumes: Seiadō kidan (1926), Kindai iyō hen (1926), Iyō hen (1933), and Kaijū (1936).
Kidō remains popular for his elegant, low-key style, subtly introducing the “other” into the background, and raising the specter of the uncanny indirectly and often indistinctly. His fiction spans an enormous range of material, much of it dealing with the uncanny, and as a pioneer in the field his work formed the foundation for the new generation of Japanese authors emerging in post-Restoration literature.
This selection presents a dozen of his best stories: pieces which remain in print almost a century later, and continue to enchant readers—and writers—today. Finally, English-reading audiences can enjoy his strange visions as well.”

Rouvrir le roman📚 Rouvrir le roman,
by Sophie Divry
French nonfiction/ Book about books
Published in 2017
208 pages
Reading with French student F.

“This book aims to discuss preconceived ideas that weigh on the conscience of contemporary French writers. The main purpose is to show that the novel is not dead, and that literature is worth it. 
Sophie Divry offers solutions to reset the novel into a place of research and adventure. She shares her ideas for a literature that is more demanding, more lively and more tenacious, more necessary for authors and readers alike.”
In the beginning she speaks about editors set in their ways, who think novelists should not reflect and explain about their writing process, even though in previous centuries, it was expected the author would explain his/her method in the very introduction to the book!
I like the many references! I have the feeling it’s going to make my TBR explode even more. She mentions for instance several nonfiction books by Virginia Woolf. I only knew about her novels!


🎧 Éloge de l’énergie vagabonde,Éloge de l'énergie vagabonde
by Sylvain Tesson
Narrated by Léon Dussollier
French nonfiction/Travel
Published in 2007
227 pages

This is my 6th book by Sylvain Tesson, this should be enough to tell you how much I enjoy this author.
The last one I listened to was also about a long trip.

The beginning of the book (my translation) explains what this is all about:
“I will go from the Aral to the Caspian. I will reach Azerbaijan on board a ferry.
From Baku, I will travel to Turkey via Georgia. On foot, by bicycle, I don’t know yet, but loyally, without motorized propulsion.
At the end of my journey, I will have connected three seas, taking the same route as that of a tear of black gold from Upper Asia carried through steppes and mountains so that the world can continue its march of madness. Taking advantage of this crossing of lands with high oil value, I will devote my time of solitary journey to reflect on the mystery of energy.
The energy we extract from the strata of geology, but also the one that awaits for its time deep within us. Oil and vital force proceed from the same principle: humans contain a secret deposit of energy that favorable drillings can bring out.
Why do our inner springs push us to agitation instead of converting us to Zen wisdom?”


120 rue de la gare📚 120, rue de la gare,
(Nestor Burma #1)

by Léo Malet
French mystery
Published in 1946
215 pages
Available in English as
Bloody Streets of Paris
It counts for The Classics Club
Will be reading with French student E.

I am excited to read this one with a student, as I don’t think I have ever read any book by Léo Mallet!

 “Set in France during World War II, this is Léo Malet’s first novel starring detective Nestor Burma.
Burma’s assistant Bob Colomer, having just arrived in France after being held prisoner in a German camp, is murdered at the Lyon station as soon as he reunites with his boss. Colomer’s last words, whispered to Burma as he lay dying, are the address 120 Station Street, the same address Burma had heard from an agonizing patient in a military hospital.
And thus begins an investigation that will force Burma to revisit episodes from his past he thought he had buried long ago, and that will take him from Vichy France to Nazi-occupied Paris.
First published in 1942, this passionate noire novel is a description of everyday French life during World War II, where rationing, division of territory, and Nazi-imposed restrictions serve as the backdrop to this tale of intrigue.
It sealed the birth of the French noir novel, a cocktail of suspense, humour, poetry and social reflection.”





📚  Blanc,
Sylvain Tesson
240 pages

“With my friend the high mountain guide Daniel du Lac, I left Menton on the Mediterranean coast to cross the Alps on skis, to Trieste, passing through Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.
From 2018 to 2021, at the end of winter, we were rising in the snow. The sky was virgin, the world without contours, only the effort counted down the days.
I thought I was venturing into beauty, I was diluting myself in a substance. In the White everything is canceled – hopes and regrets. Why did I so love wandering in purity?”



Éloge de l'énergie vagabonde

See description above
Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday




Friday Face Off: Death of a Red Heroine

Friday Face Off

The Friday Face-Off was originally created by Books by Proxy:
each Friday, bloggers showcase book covers on a weekly theme.
Visit Lynn’s Books (@LynnsBooks) for a list of upcoming themes.
Please visit also Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy (@tammy_sparks)
thanks to whom I discovered this meme.

📚 📚 📚 

This year, there’s no weekly theme, you just choose a book you have recently read.
I just finished an excellent historical mystery set in China, and luckily for us, it has many editions and book covers.


Click on the picture below if you want to identify the various editions
You can also right click and ‘open image in new tab’ to zoom in

Friday Face off Death of a Red Heroine

My favorite cover is the Soho paperback edition.
Red in the title simply refers to a member of the Communist party, so choosing red as the clothes makes more sense than the choice of red for lips for instance, on another cover.
Plus, I like the position of the heroine on that first cover, implying a sense of secrecy – at least to me, it looks like she’s hiding behind a door maybe? And that works with the plot.
If you want to read more about this excellent book, come this way to read my enthusiastic review.

📚 📚 📚 

Have you read this book?
Not sure about my next participation,
all depends on how my next reads will qualify

Book review: Death of a Red Heroine

Death of a Red Heroine


Death of a Red Heroine
(Inspector Chen Cao #1)
by Qiu Xiaolong
Originally written in English
464 pages
6/1/2000, by Soho
Historical mystery

As you know, I have been reading a good amount of Japanese mysteries and literature in general, but very few Chinese authors. But this may change, thanks to my public library.
Every winter, they organize a reading challenge: you give them the list of the last four books you read, you tell them what you like and don’t like reading, and the staff picks a book for you to read.
And they chose Death of a Red Heroine for me. A Chinese historical mystery, a very clever choice!

Click to continue reading