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This past week was very important for my reading of the classics, as you can see with what I just posted:
- Tuesday: Top 10 Books With Geographical Terms in the Title
- Wednesday: The Classics Club: 2020-2025, 3rd list recap (137 titles)
- Thursday: The Classics Club: 2022-2027, my 4th list (150 titles)
- Friday: Friday Face-Off: Clocks
- Saturday: My list for The Classics Club Spin #31
Here are the 3 books I recently finished:
JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧
📚 Eventide, by Kent Haruf
Published in 2004
I so enjoyed this book!
It was great meeting again the McPheron brothers, and Victoria. The brothers are two old farmers, living and working together on this isolated farm near the very small village of Holt, Colorado.
Victoria is a young woman they sheltered in the previous book (Plainsong), when she was in trouble. She now has a young child, and she is going back to school.
I really enjoyed the slow pace, the description of the landscape, of the daily chores on the farm. And obviously the study of the relationships between people in this city. The focus is really on relationships, within different families, in different social milieus.
And Haruf is so good at dialogs, especially at evoking the accent and speech characteristics of these two old guys. I read the book, I didn’t listen to the audiobook, but still, their voice was so alive to me through Haruf’s writing!
He wrote a 3rd book in this trilogy (Benediction), but it’s not about the same characters. I’m disappointed, as Raymond is kind of turning a new page in his life (you are never too old for that), and I wanted to know more about that. I also wanted more on the young boy DJ. But alas the author has passed away, so no more adventures coming on these characters I feel like I met in real life.
🎧 The Witch in the Wood (The Once and Future King #2),
🎧 The Ill-Made Knight (The Once and Future King #3), by T. H. White
Children’s Historical fiction
Published in 1939-1940
They count for The Classics Club
If Book 1 is clearly for a children’s audience, the series is growing with the child and now dealing with themes more related to coming of age and even YA themes.
As such, maybe I didn’t enjoy Book 2 as much. There’s a lot about learning to go to battle, and nastiness with the Orkney clan – this is still in Book 4 that I just started listening to yesterday night.
BUT I did enjoy a lot Book 3, which focuses on Lancelot, my I believe first ever literary crush – I was around 8 or 9!
It was really neat meeting him again. And now almost 50 years later, I can better understand why I loved him so much!
I love his eagerness to learn, to be loyal and faithful, and his struggle between his friendship with King Arthur and his love for Arthur’s wife, Guinevere. And in between, the call for following God’s summons – even if T.H. White first presents his going on the Grail Quest as a way of leaving Guinevere and escaping this inner struggle.
Maybe one day, I’ll read Chrétien de Troyes’s or Malory’s version, to see their views (I’ve read that T.H. White kind of follows Malory’s), to check also how the Grail Quest begins – here it’s presented as some spiritual occupation needed, after the kniggts no longer have real other fights to do. They are bored, and tend to go back to their old quarrels, whereas King Arthur was trying to create a better world away from the use of brute force for brute force sake.
CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO
📚 Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa, by Haruki Murakami
Published in 2016
If you are familiar with my blog, you know how much I enjoy Japanese literature, and especially Haruki Murakami.
Several years ago, I bought this book in a neat bookstore in “Three Pines, Quebec”, and am FINALLY reading it, as part of my 2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge.
Murakami is a big fan of jazz music, as it shows in many of his novels, but he loves classics music as well, and knows a lot about it. So these are fascinating conversations!
“A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and his close friend, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Haruki Murakami’s passion for music runs deep. Before turning his hand to writing, he ran a jazz club in Tokyo, and from The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood to Franz Liszt’s Years of Pilgrimage, the aesthetic and emotional power of music permeates every one of his much-loved books. Now, in Absolutely on Music, Murakami fulfills a personal dream, sitting down with his friend, acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa, to talk, over a period of two years, about their shared interest. Transcribed from lengthy conversations about the nature of music and writing, here they discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more. Ultimately this book gives readers an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of the two maestros. It is essential reading for book and music lovers everywhere.”
📚 Un Chien à ma table, by Claudie Hunzinger
Published on August 24, 2022
Ah, a book that was not on my TBR lists!
I enjoyed a lot Les grands cerfs by this author. I went to Netgalley.fr (dangerous move!) to check something, and saw that her latest book was available!
I’m about 25% done and am really enjoying all the nature descriptions as well. The narrator is getting old here, as the author.
I think it’s one of these books between fiction and autobiography that the French to write these days. I usually don’t like the autofiction genre, but it works with Hunzinger.
Here is my personal translation of the synopsis:
“One evening, a young dog with a broken chain, witness of the tough life she’s had with her owners, appears at the door of an old couple: Sophie, a novelist, who loves nature and walking in the forest, and her companion Grieg, living out of the world, sleeping by day and reading by night, and surviving through literature.
Where does this wounded dog come from? What has she been through? Is somebody tracking her?
Her sudden arrival will transform the old world and the old couple. It is an ode to life, showing us that another path is still possible.
Un Chien à ma table [A Dog at my Table] connects rebellious femininity and the devastation of the environment: if our disturbing time seems to be threatening our future and that of books, poets in times of distress can save what we have left of humanity.”
And I’m still reading two books with my French students:
Le Chant du monde [The Song of the World], by Jean Giono
Autour de la Lune [Round the Moon], by Jules Verne.
Check my previous Sunday Post to get more details on these.
🎧 The Candle in the Wind (The Once and Future King #4), by T. H. White
Children’s Historical fiction
Published in 1940
It counts for The Classics Club
The Candle in the Wind is the fourth book from the collection The Once and Future King by T. H. White. It deals with the last weeks of Arthur’s reign, his dealings with his son Mordred’s revolts, Guenever and Lancelot’s demise, and his perception of right and wrong.
I’m just 30 minutes into the book. I have the feeling it’s going to be tough, emotionally.
BOOK UP NEXT
📚 Murder in the Crooked House (Kiyoshi Mitarai #2), by Soji Shimada
Published in 1982
Translated by Louise Heal Kawai (2019)
This is the sequel to The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.
Now, it will have to be after Hunzinger’s book!!
“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?”
LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR
The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett
Published in 1934
Well, I had put The Glass Key by Hammett in my brand new 4th list of classics, and talked about it with one of French students, who knows his classics really well.
He encouraged me to switch The Glass Key with The Thin Man (NB: I also have The Maltese Falcon on the list!). So I followed his lead.
What do you think, is this a good move??
“Nick and Nora Charles are Hammett’s most enchanting creations, a rich, glamorous couple who solve homicides in between wisecracks and martinis. At once knowing and unabashedly romantic, The Thin Man is a murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners.”
📚 BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚
See above about it.