Sunday Post #74 – 01/15/2023

 

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

Click on the logos to join the memes

Another crazy busy week with more big church events. I am also currently repainting our church outdoor sign, so that keeps me busy, in between of course my teaching hours.
BUT I did manage to finish AND review two books this week.

Sadly, I have been very slow at reading and replying to all your recent comments. Thanks for your visits, and many comments, they will soon be visible, do not despair!

Posted this week:

Here are the book I finished this past week:

📚JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧 

Hell Screen

 

📚Hell Screen,
by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Short-stories/Horror
First published in 1918
This edition:
Translation by Jay Rubin
58 pages
2/1/2011 by Penguin Group
It counts for The Classics Club
and for The Japanese Literature Challenge 16

It was interesting to discover a very different style in Akutagawa’s short stories.
Please click on the book cover to read my full review.

Week-end à Zuydcoote

 

📚 Week-end à Zuydcoote,
by Robert Merle
Historical fiction / WWII
Published in 1949
244 pages
It counts for The Classics Club
Read with a French student

This is a rather different type of WWII historical novel. As the title says, the book focuses on a week-end at Zuycoote, close to Dunkirk, right after the Allies defeat.
And we follow four French soldiers who became friends.
Each of the four is well described and you can really know their distinct personalities.

“Ils étaient heureux d’être ensemble, tous les quatre, sous le soleil.”

There’s a lot of humor, especially at the beginning, which made me fear for the worst: indeed, my experience is that an author tends to insert a lot of humor in a really tough book, to make it a bit more bearable.
The dialogues sound very true, the type of conversation and vocabulary that soldiers would use.

The main themes are the importance of friendship and the stupidity and absurdity of war.

” Pour moi, la guerre est absurde. Et pas telle ou telle guerre. Toutes les guerres. Dans l’absolu. Sans exception. Sans régime de faveur. Autrement dit, il n’y a pas de guerre juste, ou de guerre sacrée, ou de guerre pour la bonne cause. Une guerre, par définition, c’est absurde.”

The author did a remarkable job at highlighting it that in a rather short novel (244 pages).
And there are great passages on fear and heroism.

A movie (Dunkirk) was made on this book, with the famous Jean-Paul Belmondo, but knowing the end of the book, I’m definitely staying away.
As you already know, this is not a spoiler to say that all does not end well.

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

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

Still working on this one for my local public library Winter Reading Challenge.

I really like more and more the descriptions of Shanghai and all the political and social background. In Asia, but so different from my usual Japanese novels!

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

L'Os de Lebowski📚  L’Os de Lebowski,
by Vincent Maillard
French mystery
Published in 2021
202 pages
Reading with French student S.

S. wanted to read a contemporary French mystery, and in my list, she chose this one.
This is my first book by Maillard. I like the humoristic style, and I’m at the point where the plot starts getting intriguing!

The book hasn’t been translated into English.
It’s narrated in the first person by Jim Carlos, a gardener working at Prés Poleux, owned by a rich family.
Jim has a very lazy dog (Lebowski), who spends its time sleeping, but one day it manages to dig, and finds a human bone (hence the title: Lebowski’s bone).
So, whose bone is it? What happened to that person?
Why is the bone on this property?
And then, Jim disappears…!

L'empire de la mort

🎧 L’Empire de la mort (N.E.O. #3), by Michel Bussi
French YA fantasy
Published on June 16, 2022
640 pages
16H24

With all the painting I had to do, I listened to a huge part of it and I (with the protagonists) now know what N. E. O. stands for!

It is set in post-apocalytic time in and around Paris and Versailles, with different groups of young people who survived a weird cloud that may have killed all adults.
The book reminds me of Supernova Era, with teens having to reinvent a new world, and in both books, the new society is struggling to stay away from the nastiness of the old one!

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

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

“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.”

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

 

📚 Chronicle of a Death Foretold,
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Magical Realism
120 pages
1981

“A man returns to the town where a baffling murder took place twenty-seven years earlier, determined to get to the bottom of the story. Just hours after marrying the beautiful Angela Vicario, everyone agrees, Bayardo San Roman returned his bride in disgrace to her parents. Her distraught family forced her to name her first lover; and her twin brothers announced their intention to murder Santiago Nasar for dishonoring their sister.
Yet if everyone knew the murder was going to happen, why did no one intervene to try and stop it? The more that is learned, the less is understood, and as the story races to its inexplicable conclusion, an entire society–not just a pair of murderers—is put on trial.”

📚 MAILBOX MONDAY: NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday

📚📚📚

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?
BE SURE TO LEAVE THE LINK TO YOUR POST

Sunday Post #73 – 01/08/2023

 

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

Click on the logos to join the memes

2023 is starting very slow, with lots of time at church for our Nativity (yesterday), and more events until Tuesday.
But I did manage to post my usuall annual stats, and even to review the first book I finished.

Posted this week:

Here are the book I finished this past week:

📚JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧 

The Red Thumb Mark

🎧 The Red Thumb Mark
(Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries #1),
by R. Austin Freeman
Mysteries
Published in 1907
224 pages
9H32
It counts for The Classics Club

This was a satisfying beginning to a new series for me.
I was really looking forward to the medical-legal elements, but they mostly really come near the end.
Even though this is not officially an inverted detective story (as apparently the author is famous for), it was all pretty obvious from the beginning, but the fun was to see how Dr Thorndyke was going to prove the man innocent with his scientific methods.
I listened to the book, and this edition has a long introduction by the editor, who insisted a LOT on the fact that he took out some elements that were too racist.
I’m not too eager on that type of edits, that makes past styles and authors judged according to our current standards, but that was the only audio version I could find, through my library.
The narrator Luke Barton was good at changing his voice for all the characters, including crazy old ladies.
I am planning on listening to volume 2.

 

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

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

I had to read a good amount of pages for books I’m reading with French students, so I couldn’t go faster on this one, though it’s really good.
It was chosen for me by my local public library staff, as part of their Winter Reading Challenge.

I like all the historical and political background.

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

Week-end à Zuydcoote📚 Week-end à Zuydcoote,
by Robert Merle

French historical fiction
Published in 1949
244 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

My French student F. wanted to try a French historical novel. Among the titles I proposed, she chose this one, set during WWI, in June 1940 at Dunkirk.
It was actually trasnalted into English as Weekend in Dunkirk.

This book is raw, and yet a lot of humor at the same time. It tells the life of a group of French soldiers trapped in the pocket of Dunkirk, for two days, after the Franco-British defeat.
The humor at the beginning makes me fear this is going to get from bad to worse for the four friends…

after the Franco-British defeat.

L'Os de Lebowski📚  L’Os de Lebowski,
by Vincent Maillard
French mystery
Published in 2021
202 pages
Reading with French student S.

S. wanted to read a contemporary French mystery, and in my list, she chose this one.
This is my first book by Maillard. I like the humoristic style, and I’m at the point where the plot starts getting intriguing!

The book hasn’t been translated into English.
It’s narrated in the first person by Jim Carlos, a gardener working at Prés Poleux, owned by a rich family.
Jim has a very lazy dog (Lebowski), who spends its time sleeping, but one day it manages to dig, and finds a human bone (hence the title: Lebowski’s bone).
So, whose bone is it? What happened to that person?
Why is the bone on this property?
And then, Jim disappears…!

L'empire de la mort

🎧 L’Empire de la mort (N.E.O. #3), by Michel Bussi
French YA fantasy
Published on June 16, 2022
640 pages
16H24

I really enjoyed the first two volumes in this series,
so it’s good to go back to these characters.

It is set in post-apocalytic time in and around Paris and Versailles, with different groups of young people who survived a weird cloud that may have killed all adults.

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

 

Hell Screen📚 Hell Screen,
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Japanese short story
Published in 1918
Not sure yet of the translator
58 pages
It counts for the Japanese Literature Challenge
and The Classics Club

I have read several short stories
by this author,
but not this one yet.
I can’t remember why I put it on my TBR,
but I want to keep the surprise right now,
so am not looking at the synopsis.
I’ll tell you more about it later.

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

Wine and War

 

📚  Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure,
by
Don and Petie Kladstrup
Nonfiction, history, wine, France, WWII
290 pages
Published in 2001

“The remarkable untold story of France’s courageous, clever vinters who protected and rescued the country’s most treasured commodity from German plunder during World War II.
In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine. Like others in the French Resistance, winemakers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their extraordinary efforts has remained largely unknown-until now. This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them. Wine and War illuminates a compelling, little-known chapter of history, and stands as a tribute to extraordinary individuals who waged a battle that, in a very real way, saved the spirit of France.”

📚 MAILBOX MONDAY: NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

 

Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday

📚📚📚

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?
BE SURE TO LEAVE THE LINK TO YOUR POST

The top 9 books to read in January 2023

Here are
The top 9 books
I plan to read in January 2023

January-February (not March this year) is the Japanese Literature challenge, in which I’ll be participating (more about that on January 11).
Besides that, I’m not really planning on any other challenge in 2023, trying to focus on my own personal challenges (reading more books in Spanish, Italian, and possible easy picture books in Japanese), on classics, and on my unruly TBRs, while keeping space for random reads.
Plus my French students keep me busy with reading French books as well!

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret

📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon

Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
624 pages
Reading with French student E.
It counts for The Classics Club

This is the first collection of short stories in the Maigret series (written between 1936-1938).

We have a few stories left.
I really enjoya lot these short stories.
He is a master who can come up with interesting characters and great original plots in so few pages. In them, Maigret tends to be even more grumpy than usual, so there’s definitely some hidden humor here as well.

Week-end à Zuydcoote

📚  Week-end à Zuydcoote,
by Robert Merle

French historical fiction
Published in 1949
244 pages
Reading with French student F.
It counts for The Classics Club

It is set during WWI, in June 1940 at Dunkirk.
It was actually trasnalted into English as Weekend in Dunkirk.

I had not read any book by Robert Merle for a very long time, so it’s nice to go back to his writing.
This book is raw, and yet a lot of humor at the same time. It tells the life of a group of French soldiers trapped in the pocket of Dunkirk, for two days, after the Franco-British defeat.

L'Os de Lebowski📚  L’Os de Lebowski,
by Vincent Maillard
French mystery
Published in 2021
202 pages
Reading with French student S.

S. wanted to read a contemporary French mystery, and in my list, she chose this one.
This is my first book by Maillard. I like the humoristic style, and I’m at the point where the plot starts getting intriguing!

The book hasn’t been translated into English.
It’s narrated in the first person by Jim Carlos, a gardener working at Prés Poleux, owned by a rich family.
Jim has a very lazy dog (Lebowski), who spends its time sleeping, but one day it manages to dig, and finds a human bone (hence the title: Lebowski’s bone).
So, whose bone is it? What happened to that person?
Why is the bone on this property?

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
Reading for my public library
Winter Reading Challenge
(book chosen for me by the satff)

I like the plot, and all the political background, with the Communist regime and the work ethics of the place.

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

I’ll be joining the Japanese reading challenge, and hopefully will read 3 books for it this month:

Hell Screen📚 Hell Screen,
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Japanese short story
Published in 1918
Not sure yet of the translator
58 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

I have read several short stories
by this author,
but not this one yet.
I can’t remember why I put it on my TBR,
but I want to keep the surprise right now,
so am not looking at the synopsis.
I’ll tell you more about it later.

Master of the Uncanny

 

📚 Okamoto Kidō: Master of the Uncanny,
by
Kidō Okamoto
Japanese short stories (before 1939)
Translated by Nancy H. Ross
168 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

“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 (12 stories) 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.

I am a Cat📚 I am a Cat,
by Soseki Natsume

Japanese lit
Published in 1905
Not sure yet of the translator
470 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

I have reads several books by this author, but mnot yet this one, one of his most famous!

“Written from 1904 through 1906, Soseki Natsume’s comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the foolishness of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.
A classic of Japanese literature, I Am a Cat is one of Soseki’s best-known novels. Considered by many as the most significant writer in modern Japanese history, Soseki’s I Am a Cat is a classic novel sure to be enjoyed for years to come.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

  The Red Thumb Mark L'empire de la mort

🎧 The Red Thumb Mark (Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries #1),
by R. Austin Freeman
Mysteries
Published in 1907
224 pages
9H32
It counts for The Classics Club

I have heard a lot about this author recently, so I was eager to discover Dr Thorndyke.
Richard Austin Freeman (1862-1943) was a British writer of detective stories, mostly featuring the medicolegal forensic investigator Dr Thorndyke. He invented the inverted detective story and used some of his early experiences as a colonial surgeon in his novels.

“In this first book of the series, Dr. Jervis encounters his old friend Dr. Thorndyke; soon after they are drawn into a mystery in which a man is accused of murder and his own bloody thumbprint – evidence that cannot be denied – places him absolutely at the scene of the crime. But for Thorndyke, things may not be quite as straightforward as they seem. Can one forge a thumb print? As Thorndyke investigates, it becomes apparent that he is too much of a threat, and must be removed…”

So far in the book, I don’t find as much medicolegal forensics as I expected, and the focus is more on Thorndyke’s friend Jervis. But still, I like it and am planning to listen at least to volume 2 to see if indeed there’s more medicolegal stuff.

🎧 L’Empire de la mort (N.E.O. #3), by Michel Bussi
French YA scifi
Published on JUne 16, 2022
640 pages
16H24

I really enjoy this author. He is actually just as good in YA scifi as he is in thrillers.
I really loved a lot the first 2 books in this series, so am really eager to keep going.
It is set in post-apocalytic time in and around Paris and Versailles.

I will probably listen to other books, try to read a book in Italian, and go on with an Orthodox book I have been reading with the catechumens in our church.

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

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