The top 7 books to read in September 2022

Here are
The top 7 books
I plan to read in September 2022

Two special things this month:

  • On September 12, I’ll be participating in the Zoom discussion hosted by Rebecca at the Virtual Crime Book Club (you can join by giving your email address in a comment there).
    I only participate when they pick a book that has been on my TBR for a while – see below which one it is this time
  • AND Words And Peace is turning 12 on September 29!

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Eventide  Malice

📚 Eventide, by Kent Haruf
Literary fiction
Published in 2004

After reading Plainsong almost ten years ago, I’m finally reading the sequel.
I so enjoy the slow pacing of the narrative.
The author is so good at giving you the flair of a country (rural Colorado), with a fantastic way of rendering dialogs. I feel like I’m amidst these people, with specific accents. I’m not listening to the book, I’m reading it, but it is so well done I feel like I’m actually hearing them talk.
So far, mostly down to earth folks, who live a very simple life. the type of people I can easily identify with.
There are events happening, but I think the focus is on the relationships between these people and the milieu they live in. On a small farm for the two older guys.

📚 Malice (Kyoichiro Kaga #4), by Keigo Higashino
Japanese mystery
Published in 1996
Translated from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith (2014)
Reading for the Virtual Crime Book Club 

I really enjoy a lot Japanese mysteries, and Higashino is one of my favorite Japanese authors in this genre. For some reasons, I have read three books by this author, Newcomer with the same detective Kaga, but not this one.

I’m only at the beginning of the book, shortly after Hidaka’s murder. I have some ideas, but I’m probably completely wrong!

“Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he’s planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

  Le Chant du monde Murder in the Crooked House  

When I Whistle

📚 Le Chant du monde, by Jean Giono
Literary fiction
Published in 1934.
Translated in English as The Song of the World
It counts for The Classics Club.
I’ll start reading it later on today, with one of my French students

I may have read this in my early teens, not sure. It will be good to revisit. Especially for the pastoral setting.

“Of Sailor’s twin sons, the elder is dead and the younger is missing. A simple woodsman, Sailor resolves to find the boy, fearing the worst. Soon after he and his friend Antonio set off, they stumble across a blind girl giving birth. This strange circumstance proves typical of their journey into the heart of the forest. Sailor and Antonio discover that, though the lost Twin is alive, he is the target of a manhunt. As Sailor and Antonio attempt to rescue Twin, the adventures unravel at breathtaking speed. The net tightens around the three men until one of them is trapped and killed. And only then does the real action of this remarkable picaresque novel begin. In Giono’s universe, no murder shall go unavenged.
This tale of primitive love and vendetta is cast in a timeless landscape of rive, mountain and forest. With its taut, fast-paced story and pastoral setting, The Song of the World is another triumph from the celebrated author of the Man who Planted Trees.

📚  Murder in the Crooked House (Kiyoshi Mitarai #2), by Soji Shimada
Japanese mystery
Published in 1982
Translated by Louise Heal Kawai (2019)

I just discovered Shimada, and was very impressed by volume 1 in this series, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, that I’m going soon into volume 2.
These two books were on my list for the Japanese Literature Challenge at the beginning of 2022.

“The Crooked House sits on a snowbound cliff at the remote northern tip of Japan. A curious place to build a house, but even more curious is the house itself – a maze of sloping floors and strange staircases, full of bloodcurdling masks and uncanny dolls. When a guest is found murdered in seemingly impossible circumstances, the police are called. But they are unable to solve the puzzle, and more bizarre deaths follow.
Enter Kiyoshi Mitarai, the renowned sleuth. Surely if anyone can crack these cryptic murders it is him. But you have all the clues too – can you solve the mystery of the murders in The Crooked House first?”

📚  When I whistle, by Shusaku Endo
Literary fiction
Published in 1974
Translated from the Japanese by Van C. Gessel (2008)
It counts for The Classics Club

I have only read five short stories by this major Japanese author, and it was a bit disappointing (maybe because of the format), so I’m going to give it another try. This one seems very different.
This book will finish the list of the 12 books I planned to read for he Japanese Literature Challenge (January- March 2022).

“One of Endo’s most unusual and powerful novels is set largely in a modern hospital, with themes and scenes that eerily seem to predate Never Let Me Go.
A jaded businessman has a chance encounter with the doctor son of his best friend at school, Ozu, and memories are stirred of a former love interest of Ozu’s, Aiko. The son of his friend proves to be contemptuous of the outmoded values of his father’s world and ruthless in pursuit of success at his hospital. The story reaches a terrible climax when Aiko, now a middle-aged cancer-sufferer, is admitted to the hospital and Ozu leads the way in experimenting on her with dangerous drugs.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

  Epitaph for a Spy  The Sword in the Stone  

🎧  Epitaph for a Spy, by Eric Ambler
Spy thriller
Published in 1938
It counts for The Classics Club

Wow, this is very impressive, so loving it, with great narration by Alexander Spencer – except he keeps saying [Saint Ga-Ti1] with the T like in ‘Tin’ in English, whereas -ti is usually pronounced [ssi] in French, like in Attention [atanssion]. So the correct pronunciation of [gassi1].
Very humoristic too!

“When Josef Vadassy arrives at the Hotel de la Reserve at the end of his Riviera holiday, he is simply looking forward to a few more days of relaxation before returning to Paris. But in St. Gatien, on the eve of World War II, everyone is suspect–the American brother and sister, the expatriate Brits, and the German gentleman traveling under at least one assumed name. When the film he drops off at the chemist reveals photographs he has not taken, Vadassy finds himself the object of intense suspicion. The result is anything but the rest he had been hoping for.”

🎧  The Sword in the Stone (The Once and Future King #1), by T. H. White
Children’s Historical fiction
Published in 1938
It counts for The Classics Club

I have never read anything by T. H. White, but I was very impressed by all the references to his book The Goshawk in H is For Hawk, by Helen Macdonald. So when I read her book in 2015, I decided to explore more T. H. White, with this famous series of 4 books.

“”Learn. That is the only thing that never fails.”–Merlyn the Wizard
Before there was a famous king named Arthur, there was a curious boy named Wart and a kind old wizard named Merlyn. Transformed by Merlyn into the forms of his fantasy, Wart learns the value of history from a snake, of education from a badger, and of courage from a hawk–the lessons that help turn a boy into a man. Together, Wart and Merlyn take the reader through this timeless story of childhood and adventure–The Sword in the Stone.
T.H. White’s classic tale of the young Arthur’s questioning and discovery of his life is unparalleled for its wit and wisdom, and for its colorful characters, from the wise Merlyn to the heroic Robin Wood to the warmhearted King Pellinore.
Golden Kite Honor artist Dennis Nolan has loved The Sword in the Stone since childhood, and he imbues White’s tale with magic and mystery in his glowing illustrations. Readers who know Arthur or are meeting him for the first time will delight in this beautiful rendering of one of the greatest stories of all time.”

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

https://linktr.ee/wordsandpeace

The top 8 books to read in June 2022

Here are
The top 8 books
I plan to read in June 2022

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

  Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow Liberty Bar

📚  Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin
Literary fiction
Expected publication: July 5th 2022, by Knopf Publishing Group
Received for review

Eight years ago (already?!) I enjoyed a previous book by this author, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, so I thought I would give this one a try.
My reading taste has changed a lot since, I hope I won’t be disappointed.

“In this exhilarating novel by the best-selling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry two friends–often in love, but never lovers–come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.
On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.”

📚  Liberty Bar (Inspecteur Maigret #17), by Georges Simenon
Mystery published in1932 (France)
Was published in English as Maigret on the Riviera
Reading with one of my French students.
It counts for The Classics Club

Slowly but surely, we keep going in this series with my student. But there are actually 75 (!!) Maigret books, so we still have plenty to keep us busy with!

Half an hour later, he was in Cannes . . . White everywhere! Huge white hotels, white shops, white trousers and dresses, white sails out at sea. It was as if life were no more than a pantomime fairy-tale, a white and blue fairy-tale.
Dazzled at first by the glamor of sunny Antibes, Maigret soon finds himself immersed in the less salubrious side of the Rivieria when he tracks the steps of a shabby former spy who is fond of pretty women and dive bars.

📚 READING NEXT 📚

Le Grand Meaulnes   Thomas Jefferson's Crème Brûlée

             Upgrade          When I Whistle   

📚 Le Grand Meaulnes, by Alain-Fournier
French Literary fiction
1913
Published in English as The Lost Estate
Will be reading with another blogger, it counts for The Classics Club

This is my favorite French classic. I have reread it a few times, and will again, starting on June 13, with Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle.
If you would like to practice your reading French, please join us. We will take it easy, just one chapter a day, and some chapters are very short – it will keep us busy until mid July.
If you want to join us, we will post comments on this Discord channel – in French.
Let me know if the invitation link no longer works, and I will send you a new one. It expires after a while.
Your French doesn’t need to be perfect, as long as we understand you. This is NOT a French class.

“When Meaulnes first arrives at the local school in Sologne, everyone is captivated by his good looks, daring and charisma. But when Meaulnes disappears for several days, and returns with tales of a strange party at a mysterious house – and his love for the beautiful girl hidden within it, Yvonne de Galais – his life has been changed forever. In his restless search for his Lost Estate and the happiness he found there, Meaulnes, observed by his loyal friend Francois, may risk losing everything he ever had. Poised between youthful admiration and adult resignation, Alain-Fournier’s compelling narrator carries the reader through this evocative and unbearably poignant portrayal of desperate friendship and vanished adolescence.”

📚  Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America, by Thomas J. Craughwell
Nonfiction / History / Food and drink
Published in 2012
Will be reading for the 2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

I got this book ten years ago, didn’t read it, gave it away, and somehow, another copy landed on my shelf, so it seems I really need to read it.

“This culinary biography recounts the 1784 deal that Thomas Jefferson struck with his slaves, James Hemings. The founding father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along “for a particular purpose”— to master the art of French cooking. In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom.
Thus began one of the strangest partnerships in United States history. As Hemings apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for winemaking) so the might be replicated in American agriculture. The two men returned home with such marvels as pasta, French fries, Champagne, macaroni and cheese, crème brûlée, and a host of other treats. This narrative history tells the story of their remarkable adventure—and even includes a few of their favorite recipes!”

📚 Upgrade, by Blake Crouch
Science-fiction
Expected publication: July 12th 2022 by Ballantine Books
Received for review

Yes, I am finally going to try this author!

You are the next step in human evolution.”
At first, Logan Ramsay isn’t sure if anything’s different. He just feels a little . . . sharper. Better able to concentrate. Better at multitasking. Reading a bit faster, memorizing better, needing less sleep.
But before long, he can’t deny it: Something’s happening to his brain. To his body. He’s starting to see the world, and those around him—even those he loves most—in whole new ways.
The truth is, Logan’s genome has been hacked. And there’s a reason he’s been targeted for this upgrade. A reason that goes back decades to the darkest part of his past, and a horrific family legacy.
Worse still, what’s happening to him is just the first step in a much larger plan, one that will inflict the same changes on humanity at large—at a terrifying cost.
Because of his new abilities, Logan’s the one person in the world capable of stopping what’s been set in motion. But to have a chance at winning this war, he’ll have to become something other than himself. Maybe even something other than human.
And even as he’s fighting, he can’t help wondering: what if humanity’s only hope for a future really does lie in engineering our own evolution?
Intimate in scale yet epic in scope, Upgrade is an intricately plotted, lightning-fast tale that charts one man’s thrilling transformation, even as it asks us to ponder the limits of our humanity—and our boundless potential.
 ”

📚 When I Whistle, by Shusaku Endo
Japanese literature
Published in 1974

I only read 9/12 Japanese books I planned to read between January-March (Japanese Literature Challenge), so I’m planning to go on with my original list.
I have only read a short collection of five stories by this author, so I’m eager to dive more in.
The synopsis makes reference to Never Let Me Go. Really? We’ll see.

One of Endo’s most unusual and powerful novels is set largely in a modern hospital, with themes and scenes that eerily seem to predate Never Let Me Go.
A jaded businessman has a chance encounter with the doctor son of his best friend at school, Ozu, and memories are stirred of a former love interest of Ozu’s, Aiko. The son of his friend proves to be contemptuous of the outmoded values of his father’s world and ruthless in pursuit of success at his hospital. The story reaches a terrible climax when Aiko, now a middle-aged cancer-sufferer, is admitted to the hospital and Ozu leads the way in experimenting on her with dangerous drugs.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

  The Red House Mystery  Le Crépuscule des fauves

🎧  The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne
Mystery
Published in 1922
It counts for The Classics Club

Yes, THE Milne, did write  mysteries – not for children. I really enjoy the characters and the plot.

The creator of such beloved storybook characters for children as Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore, A. A. Milne was also the author of numerous dramas, essays, and novels for adults — among them, this droll and finely crafted whodunit.
In it, Milne takes readers to the Red House, a comfortable residence in the placid English countryside that is the bachelor home of Mr. Mark Ablett. While visiting this cozy retreat, amateur detective Anthony Gillingham and his chum, Bill Beverley, investigate their genial host’s disappearance and its connection with a mysterious shooting. Was the victim, whose body was found after a heated exchange with the host, shot in an act of self-defense? If so, why did the host flee, and if not, what drove him to murder?
Between games of billiards and bowls, the taking of tea, and other genteel pursuits, Gillingham and Beverley explore the possibilities in a light-hearted series of capers involving secret passageways, underwater evidence, and other atmospheric devices.
Sparkling with witty dialogue, deft plotting, and an intriguing cast of characters, this rare gem will charm mystery lovers, Anglophiles, and general readers alike.”

🎧  Le Crépuscule des fauves (série 9, volume 2), by Marc Levy
French mystery
Published March 2nd, 2021

I really enjoyed the first volume in this series, so am glad to go on with it.
In fact, book 3 was just published in May, so hopefully it will be available in audio in July.

“Maya a disparu. Une course contre la montre s’engage sur le terrain pour les hackeurs du Groupe 9 qui cherchent à déjouer la conspiration des fauves. Les fauves, une poignée de puissants qui s’attaquent à nos libertés. Leur plan : créer le chaos, s’approprier toutes les richesses et régner sans limites. Mais qui est 9 ? Ce nouveau thriller de Marc Levy est la suite passionnante de l’aventure des 9 héros intrépides et attachants rencontrés dans C’est arrivé la nuit.
9 Robins des Bois d’aujourd’hui, 9 hors la loi qui œuvrent pour le bien au péril de leur vie. Un roman d’espionnage engagé qui dévoile de manière éblouissante les dérives de notre époque.”

20 books of summer

All these books will count for the 20 books of summer challenge. If I have time, I’ll read more from my list.

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

https://linktr.ee/wordsandpeace

The top 8 books to read in May 2022

Here are
The top 8 books
I plan to read in May 2022

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Under Lock and Skeleton Key  La Nuit des temps

📚 Under Lock & Skeleton Key, by Gigi Pandian
Cozy mystery
March 15th 2022, by Minotaur Books
Received for review

I enjoyed a previous book by this author, MichelAngelo’s Ghost, so I thought I would this one a try.

Under Lock & Skeleton Key layers architecture with mouthwatering food in an ode to classic locked-room mysteries.
An impossible crime. A family legacy. The intrigue of hidden rooms and secret staircases.
After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her closer to the inevitable: working for her father’s company. Secret Staircase Construction specializes in bringing the magic of childhood to all by transforming clients’ homes with sliding bookcases, intricate locks, backyard treehouses, and hidden reading nooks.
When Tempest visits her dad’s latest renovation project, her former stage double is discovered dead inside a wall that’s supposedly been sealed for more than a century. Fearing she was the intended victim, it’s up to Tempest to solve this seemingly impossible crime. But as she delves further into the mystery, Tempest can’t help but wonder if the Raj family curse that’s plagued her family for generations—something she used to swear didn’t exist—has finally come for her.
 ”

📚  La Nuit des temps, by René Barjavel
Science-fiction published in 1968 (France)
Was published in English as The Ice People
Reading with one of my French students.
It counts for The Classics Club

We are almost done, and are really enjoying it, even though some mentality feels really 1960s. At the same time, there are surprising inventions for the time.
Interesting scifi that connects both very ancient times and modernity.

“When a French expedition in Antarctica reveals ruins of a 900,000 year old civilization, scientists from all over the world flock to the site to help explore & understand. The entire planet watches via global satellite tv, mesmerized, as they uncover a chamber in which a man & a woman have been in suspended animation since, as the French title suggests, ‘the night of time’. The woman, Eléa, is awakened.
Through a translating machine she tells the story of her world, herself & her husband Paikan & how war destroyed her civilization. She also hints at an incredibly advanced knowledge her still-dormant companion possesses, knowledge that could give energy & food to all humans at no cost. But the superpowers of the world are not ready to let Eléa’s secrets spread, & show that, 900,000 years & an apocalypse later, humankind has not grown up & is ready to make the same mistakes again.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

The Last House on Needless Street  A Raisin in the Sun

  Le voyage d'Octavio  When I Whistle  

📚 The Last House on Needless Street, by Catriona Ward
Horror? Psychological thriller?
March 18th 2021 by Viper
Received for review

I really have no idea why I accepted to review this book. Many readers classify it as horror, a genre I don’t read. Though several of you have told me it’s more psychological thriller. We’ll see how it goes.

“This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.
All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…
You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.
In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…”

📚 A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry
Play
Published in 1959
Will be reading for The Classics Club and for the 2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, yes, FINALLY!!

Really looking forward to finally discover this play.

“Lorraine Hansberry’s award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America–and changed American theater forever.  The play’s title comes from a line in Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem,” which warns that a dream deferred might “dry up/like a raisin in the sun.””

📚 Le Voyage d’Octavio, by Miguel Bonnefoy
French literary fiction
Published in 2015

Published in English as Octavio’s Journey 
(April 18th 2017, by Gallic Books)

I can’t remember if I ever read anything by him. So it should be a nice (re?)discovery.

The story of Venezuela told through the adventures of kindly giant, Octavio. Struggling to conceal his illiteracy, he embarks on a transformative journey that unearths his life’s purpose.
Winner of several literary awards, this critically-acclaimed and instantly engaging tale reveals Miguel Bonnefoy to be a gifted storyteller.
 ”

📚 When I Whistle, by Shusaku Endo
Japanese literature
Published in 1974

I only read 9/12 Japanese books I planned to read between January-March (Japanese Literature Challenge), so I’m planning to go on with my original list.
I have only read a short collection of five stories by this author, so I’m eager to dive more in.
The synopsis makes reference to Never Let Me Go. Really? We’ll see.

One of Endo’s most unusual and powerful novels is set largely in a modern hospital, with themes and scenes that eerily seem to predate Never Let Me Go.
A jaded businessman has a chance encounter with the doctor son of his best friend at school, Ozu, and memories are stirred of a former love interest of Ozu’s, Aiko. The son of his friend proves to be contemptuous of the outmoded values of his father’s world and ruthless in pursuit of success at his hospital. The story reaches a terrible climax when Aiko, now a middle-aged cancer-sufferer, is admitted to the hospital and Ozu leads the way in experimenting on her with dangerous drugs.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

L'Axe du loup  Les Dieux voyagent toujours incognito

🎧  L’axe du loup: De la Sibérie à l’Inde, sur les pas des évadés du goulag, by Sylvain Tesson
French nonfiction
Published in 2007

This is my 5th book by Tesson, and it’s another fabulous read. They all are.
His descriptions of landscapes, of people he meets, his references to history and culture, are so so good.
Too bad this is not available in English.

“The axis of the wolf: From Siberia to India, in the footsteps of escapees from the gulag.
For eight months, Sylvain Tesson redid the long journey from Siberia to the Bay of Bengal that escapees from the gulag once made. To pay homage to those whose thirst for freedom triumphed over the greatest obstacles, he alone crossed the taigas, the Mongolian steppe, the Gobi desert, the Tibetan highlands, the Himalayan chain, the humid forest up to Darjeeling mountain. On foot, on horseback, by bicycle, over six thousand kilometers, he experienced what he willingly sought: cold, hunger, extreme loneliness. The splendor of Upper Asia rewarded him.”

🎧  Les dieux voyagent toujours incognito, by Laurent Gounelle
French literary fiction
Published in 2010

I recently listened to a rather original thriller by Gounelle, so I feel like trying another book by him.
Guess what? Not available in English.

“Imagine. A man saves your life, in exchange for your commitment to do whatever he asks of you… for your own good. Your back to the wall, you accept and you find yourself embroiled in an incredible situation where everything seems to escape you. You are no longer in control of your life and yet… in many ways it is more exciting than before!
But little by little, doubt settles in you: what are the real intentions of this man who interfered in your life? Who is he really? And who are these enigmatic characters in his entourage? The discoveries you make have nothing to reassure you.
This story, which immerses us in the bewitching atmosphere of a Parisian summer, opens the way to the most beautiful of reflections on ourselves: what can allow us to overcome our inhibitions, our fears and our conditioning, to get off the beaten path of our life when it does not bring us full satisfaction?”

📚 

This is a total of 8 books.
If I need more, I’ll keep working on my TBR Reading Challenge list.

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

https://linktr.ee/wordsandpeace