The top 9 books to read in May 2021

Here are

The top 9 books
I plan to read in May 2021

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

  FutureofBuildingsBookCover    Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

  The Archipelago of Another Life    Monet and Oscar

📚 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

Buddy read with Carol from Cas d’intérêt. Bilingual Q&A on her blog and mine. I will try to post about next part later on today!

📚 Monet & Oscar, by Joe Byrd
Release date: May 1st, 2021
Am 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.”

READING NEXT

People Like Them  The Andromeda Strain

Project Hail Mary

📚 People Like Them, by Samira Sedira
Expected publication: July 6, 2021, by Penguin Books
Will be reading for Criminal Element

“A prizewinning psychological suspense novel inspired by a true story about a couple in an insular French village whose lives are upended when a family of outsiders moves in.
Everything started one Saturday in July of 2015…
Anna and Constant Guillot live with their two daughters in the peaceful, remote mountain village of Carmac, largely deaf to the upheavals of the outside world. Everyone in Carmac knows each other, and most of its residents look alike–until Bakary and Sylvia Langlois arrive with their three children.
Wealthy and flashy, the family of five are outsiders in the small town, their impressive chalet and three expensive cars a stark contrast to the modesty of those of their neighbors. Despite their differences, the Langlois and the Guillots form an uneasy, ambiguous friendship. But when both families begin experiencing financial troubles, the underlying class and racial tensions of their relationship come to a breaking point, and the unthinkable happens.
With piercing psychological insight and gripping storytelling, People Like Them asks: How could a seemingly normal person commit an atrocious crime? How could that person’s loved ones ever come to terms with it afterward? And how well can you really know your own spouse?”

📚 The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
Published in 1969
Julie Anna at Julie Anna’s Books and I really enjoyed our buddy read experience on Before the Coffee Gets Cold, so we decided to do it again, this time with science-fiction. Let us know if you are planning to read it with us, we will be starting on May 10.

“The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.
Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to collect organisms and dust for study. One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona.
Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town’s inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

📚 Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
Expected publication: May 4th 2021 by Ballantine Books
Review ecopy received through Netgalley
My experience with Andy Weir went form 5 stars for The Martian, to 2 to Artemis, so I’m giving him another chance.

“Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.”

📚 If all goes well, I will also read:
Cinq cartes brûléesby Sophie Loubière, with one of my French students
La Disparition, by Georges Perec, with another French student
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, with a friend
Languages of Truth: Essays 2003-2020, by Salman Rushdie, received for review
History in English Words, by Owen Barfield, for The Classics Spin #26

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

  The Regatta Mystery Sad Cypress  

📚 The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot #21) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1939
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“A collection of nine of Agatha Christie’s intriguing short stories.
Mr. Parker Pyne must recover a priceless diamond which disappears during a dinner party trick; Hercule Poirot proves that a crowd is the best cloak for a murder, and Miss Marple solves a baffling crime by the fireside. And there are six more good ones in this anthology of mystery tales.
The stories are: 1. The Regatta Mystery, 2. The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest, 3. How Does Your Garden Grow, 4. Problem at Pollensa Bay, 5. Yellow Iris, 6. Miss Marple Tells a Story, 7. The Dream, 8. In a Glass Darkly, and 9. Problem at Sea.”

📚 Sad Cypress (Hercule Poirot #22) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1940
Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity and the means to administer the fatal poison.Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty: Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows…”

📚 I will probably also listen to Hercule Poirot #23 and #24; plus at least 5 Biblical books (Zechariah, Malachai, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch), and a French audiobook. 

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

Review copies available: 

    Island on Fire Monet and Oscar  Church of Tango

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR MAY

📚 Several buddy-reads, as mentioned above
📚 Bout of Books 31: May 10-16

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

Year of reading 2019 Part 2: Statistics

After the list of my 2019 favorites, here are my statistics.
Then tomorrow you can see the fun I had with the titles I read in 2019.

Year of reading 2019
Part 2: Statistics

As I wrote yesterday, if 2018 was my most pathetic year in the last decade, with only 77 books read, 2019 is my best year, with 118 books!
I read and listened to many more books than last year, though apparently shorter ones.
90 books reads (61 in 2018), and 28 listened to (16 in 2018) = 118, which is an average of 9.8/month (77 books in 2018, with a monthly average of 6.4).

Books read in 2019:
90
. That’s an average of 7.5/month
Total of 23,033 pages (17,761 in 2018), which is an average of 63 pages/day (48 in 2018).
That’s an average of 255 pages/book (291 in 2018). So I actually read shorter books this year. It makes sense with all the mangas I read!

Books listened to in 2019:
28
[16 in 2018]. This is an average of 2.3/month (1.3 in 2018)
Total of 14,323 mn (10,405 min in 2018) with an average of 39 mn/day (28 in 2018)
That’s an average of over 8 hours/audiobook. (10 hours/audiobook in 2018, so I also listened to shorter audiobooks)

In graphs, this is what it looks like:

 

2019 Average number of pages

So many months with average over 60, compared to 2018!

 

2019 Average number of minutes

Those 2 peaks over an hour are impressive!

 

2019 Genre

Nonfiction actually same percentage 3 years in a row!
And I like this better balance.

 

2019 Format

I decided to include here a Graphic Novel section,
as I read 20 this year.
Otherwise, about the same,
though less ebooks and more audiobooks

 

2019 authors

Some of you are may be appalled,
but honestly, as long as a book is well written,
I really don’t care if a man or a woman wrote it

 

2019 nationality

9 more countries represented than last year,
mostly due to the fact that I was part of
the Man Booker International Prize Shadow Panel

 

2019 languages

6 more languages than last year!
Neat that less than half of the books I read
were not originally published in English.
Also due to the Shadow Pan
el.
I actually read exactly as many books translated into English
as published originally in English (51)!

In translation: 51 [21 in 2018]:

  • 19 from the Japanese (mostly mangas)
  • 6 from the French
  • 5 from the Russian
  • 4 from the Spanish
  • 3 from he Korean
  • 2 from the Chinese, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Dutch, German
  • 1 from the Serbian and from the Aleut!
    I’m super happy about this one from the Aleut. It’s a short Orthodox spiritual book written by Bishop Innocent when he was working with missions in Alaska.
    I originally thought it was translated from the Russian, but then I realized Saint Innocent of Moscow actually wrote it directly in Aleut! (he taught himself several local languages in Alaska)

16 in original language: in French

Out of a Total of 90 authors (60 in 2018)
53 were new to me (58%. It was 55% in 2018)

Books by the same author: 32 [22 in 2018]:
15 by Hayao Miyazaki (Mangas)
4 by Guillaume Musso
3 by Katherine Applegate
and 2 by Michel Bussi, Sarah Bailey, Candice Fox, Ichigo Takano, Clement Sederholm

Re-Reads:
Le Horla, by Guy de Maupassant (first time read, this time: listened to)

Oldest: Don Quixote, 1st part, by Cervantes (1604)
Newest: Lady Clementine, by Marie Benedict, and Dreamland, by Nancy Bilyeau, to be released at the beginning of January 2020.

 

2019 year

A bit less books published after 2010 than last year.
I do try to go through classics and old TBRs

 

2019 source

NB: Most books bought are part of my EStories audio subscription.
11% less books received for review than last year!
Indeed, I try to exercise more discernment on what I request or not

21 countries these books led me to (19 last year):
US (22), France (21),
Japan (18), England (12),
Russia (7), Australia (5),
3 were set in Spain, South Korea, and space,
2 were set in Germany, China, and Canada.
1 was set in Morocco, Norway, Malaysia, Switzerland, Austria, Oman, Poland, Columbia, and Czechoslovakia.

Shortest book: Bear and Wolf, by Daniel Salmieri –  44 pages (picture book)

Longest book: La vie mode d’emploi, by Georges Pérec 580 pages.

Longest audio: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins – 22:28 hours

Funniest: Are We French Yet? by Keith Van Sickle = nonfiction on life of expats 

Most Unique Book: Secret Agent Brainteasers: More Than 100 Codebreaking Puzzles Inspired by Britain’s Espionage Masterminds, by Sinclair McKay

Most tearjerker: The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

Most disappointing (and totally unbearable): Valerie, by Sara Stridsberg

Creepy: Scare Me, by Richard Jay Parker

Eye-opener: Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think, by James Vlahos

Best reading companion: Quichotte, by Salman Rushdie (as a spin off on Don Quixote, by Cervantes, that I also read this year)

Beautiful illustrations: The Secret World of Arrietty, vol. 1 by Hayao Miyazaki

Biggest discovery: Hayao Miyazaki (several books), and Liu Cixin

Favorite characters of the year: Louis and Sam (The Trumpet of the Swan), Trace (Trace), Naho & Kakeru (Orange), Colin (Sang Famille), Jayme (A Long Way Down), Azi (The Gomorrah Gambit), Arrietty (The Secret World of Arrietty), Joshua (Avalanche hôtel), Alexander (Alexander Schmorell), Satsuki and Mei (My Neighbor Totoro), Giordano Bruno (Treachery), Mrs Bunting (The Lodger), Ivan (The One and Only Ivan), Sarah & Christopher (le cri).

Classics I finally got to read:
Don Quixote, by Cervantes
On the Edge of the World, by Nikolai Leskov
The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole
Tender is the Night, by Fitzgerald
Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley
Walden, by Thoreau,
Travels with Charley, by Steinbeck
Dictionnaire des idées reçues, by Flaubert
Travels with a Donkey, by Stevenson
The Lodger, by Marie Belloc Lowndes
The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
Le mystère de la chambre jaune, by Gaston Leroux
The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgard Allan Poe
The Mystery of the Hansom Cab, by Fergus Hume
We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Solaris, by Lem
Childhood’s End, by Clarke
The Trumpet of the Swan, by E. E. White

Books present for a while on my TBR that I finally got to read (other than the classics just mentioned):
Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolai Velimirovich
La vie mode d’emploi, by Georges Pérec
Earthern Vessels, by Gabriel Bunge
Poustinia, by Catherine de Hueck Doherty
If You Love Me, by Matthew the Poor
Elder Leonid of Optina, by Fr Clement Sederholm
Elder Anthony of Optina, by Fr. Clement Sederholm
Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven, by Saint Innocent of Moscow

Which authors new to me in 2019 that I now want to keep reading?
Un-Su Kim, Pat Cummings, Poschmann, Tom Chatfield, Candice Fox, Sarah Bailey, Olivier Norek, Salman Rushdie, Arthur C. Clarke, Liu Cixin, Marie Belloc Lowndes, Nicolas Beuglet

New Series I want to pursue:
Crimson Lake, Gemma Woodstock, Sarah Geringën

Best title: HHhH, by Laurent Binet

Longest book title:
Secret Agent Brainteasers: More Than 100 Codebreaking Puzzles Inspired by Britain’s Espionage Masterminds, by Sinclair McKay

Shortest book title: We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin

MORE FUN RECAP TOMORROW!

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Year of reading 2019: Part 1 – My top 18

Year of reading 2019
Part 1
 My top 18

To follow my tradition, here is part 1 of my yearly recap.
There is a total of 3 parts:

  1. my favorites, with my usual categories, see here below
  2. my stats
  3. my fun list with titles

If 2018 was my most pathetic year in the last decade, with only 77 books read, 2019 is my best year, with 118 books! I believe it justifies the 18 categories as shown here below, as I read enough in each category to list an awesome book in it.

The final choice is based on the quality of the book, on how it resonated with me and my own experience, and on how it stayed with me. Some of these books may actually have got only 4 out 5 Eiffel Towers at the time I read them.

MY FAVORITES

click on the covers to access either my review,
or the Goodreads page for the couple of titles I have not reviewed yet

PRINT COPIES​​

Fiction Historical Fiction NonFiction Mystery
The Remainder Olgas Egg The Years A Better Man

EBOOKS​​​​

Fiction Historical Fiction NonFiction Mystery
Quichotte Treachery Talk to me The Sentence is Death

AUDIOBOOKS​​​

Fiction              Historical Fiction NonFiction Mystery
Parnassus on Wheels      HHhH Walden Sharko

 

SCIENCE-FICTION

Supernova Era

CHILDREN BOOKS

The One And Only Ivan

GRAPHIC “NOVEL”

Book Love

MANGA

The Secret World of Arrietty

SPIRITUAL BOOK

prayers by the lake

BOOK COVER

Vintage 1954

DO YOU HAVE SOME FAVORITES
IN COMMON WITH MINE?

MORE FUN RECAP TOMORROW!

HAPPY NEW YEAR OF READING TO YOU!

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