2021: July wrap-up

JULY 2021 WRAP-UP

My #20BooksofSummer21 is doing well. In fact, I have already read 21 books, but only 5 from my original list (and I had to DNF one from that list). Hopefully, I can read from this list by the end of August.
And actually, most important for me, I have managed to catch up with a few reviews (see links below), on books I received for review in 2019-2021, that I read and even enjoyed a lot, but never took time to review!! I still have 5 books to review that I read last year, and I hope I can catch up with those during this last month of Summer.

July has my best statistics for 2021 so far, as for number of pages read per day.

đź“š Here is what I read in July:

14 books:
10 in print 
=  with 2,634 pages, a daily average of 84 pages/day
4 in audio
= 24H54
, a daily average of 52 minutes

5 in mystery:

  1. Evil Under the Sun (Hercule Poirot #24), by Agatha Christie
  2. Five Little Pigs (Hercule Poirot #25), by Agatha Christie
  3. The Hollow, (Hercule Poirot #26), by Agatha Christie – these first 3 were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club
  4. Impact, by Olivier Norek – French audiobook
  5. When All Light Fails, by Randall Silvis – ebook received for review

4 in nonfiction:

  1. The Code Breaker, by Walter Isaacson – won through Goodreads
  2. Languages of Truth, by Salman Rushdie – ebook received for review
  3. Living With a Dead Language, by Ann Patty
  4. Sur la lecture [On Reading], by Marcel Proust – for The Classics Club

2 in poetry:

  1. The Lost Spells, by Robert MacFarlane & Jackie Morris
  2. Alphabet, by Paul ValĂ©ry – French poetry in prose for The Classics Club

2 as graphic novels:

  1. The Apothecary Diaries, vol.2, by Natsu Hyuuga – manga, historical novel, for the Books in Translation Challenge
  2. Cats of the Louvre, by Taiyo Matsumoto – fantasy, for the Books in Translation Challenge

1 in literary fiction:

  1. Les Revenentes et autres lipogrammes, by Georges Perec – French ebook

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

    The Code Breaker  The Lost Spells

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 65/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 12 books
#20BooksofSummer21: 21/20 books
Total of books read in 2021 = 97/120 (80%)

Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 21

OTHER BOOKS  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

  People Like Them Project Hail Mary

If You Cross the River

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

Books available for swapping

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

Posted on my homepage

And we offer a Book Box!
And monthly raffle with a Newsletter
(see sample with link to sign up)

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

People Like Them

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

The top 7 books to read in July 2021

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

The Classics Club
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!
You might also consider joining this awesome community

TOP COMMENTERS 

Lexlingua
Marianne at Let’s Read

Greg at Book Haven
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,362 posts
over 5,480 followers
over 224,300 hits

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Come back on Monday
to see the books I plan to read in August

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How was YOUR month of July?

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!

 

 

Book review and giveaway: People Like Them

People Like Them

People Like Them
by Samira Sedira
Translated by 
Lara Vergnaud
Penguin Books
Published on 7/6/2021
Des gens comme eux
was first published in French in 2020
192 pages
Suspense/Thriller/Literary fiction

Goodreads

As Covid related restrictions loosen up, many tourists are going to head for France, and for good reasons, as it’s a wonderful place to visit for a few days or a few weeks, with great landscape, delicious food, and tasty wine. However, daily life for a lot of French people is far from the rosy glimpses caught by the average tourist. Several recent novels, like Summer of Reckoning, by Marion Brunet,  have even shown how dark it can get.

This is definitely the case with People Like Them, as Samira Sedira bases her story on a tragedy that happened in 2003, with a quintuple murder.

From the very first pages, you feel how dreadful life is in Carmac, a tiny mountain village. The weather itself doesn’t help, it’s either too hot or too cold to bear. No escape possible:

I once was young and now I am old. In its great simplicity, this sentence says everything about us. Live, and then die. Rot.

Chapter 2 recapitulates the horrible murder, when Guillot killed Mr. and Mrs. Langlois and their three children.

Then most of the chapters alternate between the trial and the background, how Constant Guillot, the killer, and his wife Anna (the main narrator) met, and their life in the village before the terrible event.

The style has a great flow, very well conveyed in translation, as the narrator addresses her husband while reminiscing.

Several times throughout the book, we are told about the difficult social background, especially the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015.

That year, a rich black family, the Langlois, built a very expensive mansion close to the Guillots. They became friends for a while, even feeling compassion for their mutual difficulties in life. Bakary Langlois, from Gabon, was indeed given up for adoption.

But Constant saw all his hopes of a high-level athletic career vanish in an accident during training. And little by little, his built-up anger resurfaces, especially as he feels cheated by Langlois, and we see the dark sides of his character emerge: his “fanatical determination”, his “unwavering obstinacy… as though nothing could distract [him] from [his] objective” (page 50), his obsessions, his tendency to become “an unpredictable volcano”.

The author, who focuses on class relations, did a fantastic job at capturing the French social background, and at conveying the local color of life in a small village. The fourth chapter focusing on Abbott and Costello, the two old pillars of the cafe, is a gem, so spot on. It will sound very familiar to anyone living in a tiny place in France.

Did you notice that their socks went up to their knees? All you could see was their this!


Socks, in this weather!


Once I caught two of ’em copulating behind a bed of geraniums, asses bright red, I swear. What a gas!


Well, those are the Germans for you, or the Dutch, and maybe the Belgians, too.


Can you imagine? They walk all day long in the blistering heat –that’s what they save up for.


And at night, they don’t even sleep in a hotel, right? They prefer a tent…


No accounting for tastes…

Sedira even highlighted some aspects that were apparently mostly ignored during the trial of the real event. The victims were indeed a Black family, but it seems that the motive of racism was never really taken into consideration. The author didn’t omit that aspect.

Actually, Constant’s jealousy is fueled by his racism: why would the Black man Bakary succeed, and not he, Constant, a White man born and raised in France?

The book does have some glimpses of positivity and hope, in the character of Anna. The very last chapter was a lesson in warmth and kindness.

I’ll tell her See you next time, too, with the same warmth in my voice, the same kindness in my eyes, the same trembling humanity.

The reader will better measure the weight of this sentence when they discover the context.

Ultimately, Sedira is offering a study on human nature. She is very careful at showing that the violence of individuals is rarely happening in a void: so many factors enter into play, what they have personally been through in their childhood, what the country has been experiencing socially (even the weather can have its impact), and people around them. Could Guillot’s friends and relatives have seen it coming, could they have avoided the tragedy?

VERDICT:  With a solid social background, this French thriller offers a study on human nature. When normal people we know commit terrible crimes, are we totally innocent ourselves?

Please go to Criminal Element to read my full review.

GIVEAWAY

My ARC (in perfect condition) is one of the 6 books you can win this month. Come this way

blogiversaryblogiversaryblogiversaryblogiversaryblogiversary

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
Any other good thriller with solid social content?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

2021: May wrap-up

May 2021 WRAP-UP

Another busy month, that didn’t leave me much time for blogging.
Besides books waiting for reviews, I miss not having time to do Sunday Posts and/or Top Ten Tuesday posts.
Hopefully, life will quiet down a bit.
Weeks go by so quickly. It feels like we had snow yesterday, yet we are already eating produce from our garden (lettuce, spinach, and kale and rhubarb that grow back every year).

In May, I took part in #BoutofBooks and did two buddy-reads, on The Andromeda Strain and on The Archipelago of Another Life (our last English-French Q&A will be posted on June 4). Lots of fun!

I was also super busy with an international webinar I organized for France Book Tours: “French artists in fiction: four lives, four authors”. About 70 people signed up, from 7 countries. If you missed it, you can watch the video I made from it, with excerpts read by the authors added. It was fascinating, but a lot of work before and after.

In June-July-August, I will be working on my #20BooksofSummer21.

I am also in the process of streamlining all my Categories and Tags.
And of transitioning France Book Tours to another theme, and other forms of marketing!

As  I said above, not much happening on the blog this past month, but I did read a good deal.

đź“š Here is what I read in May:

13 books:
6 in print 
=  with 1,685 pages, a daily average of 54 pages/day
7 in audio
= 24H17
, a daily average of 47 minutes

4 in nonfiction:

  1. The Book of Zechariah
  2. The Book of Malachi
  3. The Book of Isaiah
  4. The Book of Jeremiah – these 4 books were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge

4 in mystery:

  1. The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot #21), by Agatha Christie
  2. Sad Cypress (Hercule Poirot #22), by Agatha Christie
  3. One, Two, Buckle my Shoe (Hercule Poirot #23), by Agatha Christie – these first 3 were as audiobooks, for The Classics Club
  4. People Like Them, by Samira Sedira – received for review for Criminal Element

3 in historical fiction:

  1. Monet & Oscar, by Joe Byrd – received for review for France Book Tours
  2. The Archipelago of Another Life / L’Archipel d’une autre vie, by AndreĂŻ Makine
  3. Flight of the Raven, by Jean-Pierre Gibrat – graphic novel

2 in science-fiction:

  1. The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton – for The Classics Club
  2. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir – received for review through Netgalley

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

    The Archipelago of Another Life   The Andromeda Strain

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 55/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 12 books 

Total of books read in 2021 = 73/120 (60%)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 22

NO OTHER BOOK  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

Books available for swapping

REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

Posted on my homepage

And we offer a Book Box!
And monthly raffle with a Newsletter
(see sample with link to sign up)

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Arsene Lupin

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

20 books of summer

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Julie Anna’s Books
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!

TOP COMMENTERS 

Marianne at Let’s Read
Iza at Books & Livres
Greg at Book Haven
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,345 posts
over 5,470 followers
over 221,800 hits

đź“š

Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in June

đź“š đź“š đź“š

How was YOUR month of May?

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!