Friday Face Off: Coming of age

Friday Face Off

The Friday Face-Off was originally created by Books by Proxy:
each Friday, bloggers showcase book covers on a weekly theme.
Visit Lynn’s Books (@LynnsBooks) for a list of upcoming themes.
Please visit also Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy (@tammy_sparks)
thanks to whom I discovered this meme.

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This week, the theme is
Coming of Age

The last book I read that deals with coming of age characters is The Sword in the Stone, the first book in the series The Once and Future King, written in 1938 by T.H. White.
I enjoyed a lot this first volume, especially as an audiobook.
Please come this way to see why.

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Click on the picture below if you want to identify the various editions
You can also right click and ‘open image in new tab’ to zoom in

Friday face off The Sword in the Stone

My favorite cover is the first one, the Collins Abridged Junior Classic – I didn’t read the abridged version, I actually listened to it, so my edition was the very last one featured here.
But I like this cover for its colors, its detailed naïf art, that for me fits really well with the genre of the book. And we see several animals, which are very important in the story. Looks like no other designer has bothered to insert animals!

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Have you read this book?
WHICH COVER IS YOUR FAVORITE? WHY?
My next participation may be on Friday, October 28,
with black covers

Sunday Post #67 – 09/18/2022

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

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

📚 Eventide, by Kent Haruf
Literary fiction
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 Ill-Made Knight  

🎧  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 us of brute force for brute force sake.

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

 

Absolutely on Music

📚 Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa, by Haruki Murakami
Nonfiction, music
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

📚 Un Chien à ma table, by Claudie Hunzinger
Literary fiction/Autofiction?
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 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

📚  Murder in the Crooked House (Kiyoshi Mitarai #2), by Soji Shimada
Japanese mystery
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

📚 The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett
Mystery
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 📚 

Un Chien à ma table

See above about it.

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

Sunday Post #66 – 09/11/2022

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

I only posted once this past week:

But I reached an important landmark: I finished my 3rd list for The Classics Club:
I was supposed to read 137 classics between November 2020 and November 2025, and I am already done.
Well, I read 137 classics since November 2020, but only 25 were from my original list, lol.
I’m in the (loooong) process of preparing my massive 4th list – it will have at least 200 titles I think.
I’ll post a recap on my 3rd list and announce this new list soon, I hope.

Here are the two books I finished this past week:

📚JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧 

Malice📚 Malice (Kyoichiro Kaga #4), by Keigo Higashino
Mystery
Published in 1996
Translated from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith (2014)

In this series, I really enjoyed Newcomer. Malice is another very smart mystery by Higashino.
“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 Osamu Nonoguchi, both of whom have rock solid alibis.”

I knew right away that things were not as simple as they seemed, but the author still managed to twist things around, and twist them even more in the very last pages of the book!

I liked all the plot and details related to authors and book writing, and the twisty elements on the relationships between Hidaka and his friend Osamu, who is also Kaga’s former colleague.
It’s of course fun to see how Detective Kaga gets lost at figuring out what happened, who did what, and why, and how finally he put everything together.

I liked the structure of the book, with alternating accounts by Osamu and notes by the Detective Kaga.

I won’t give any details to avoid spoilers, but I was surprised to find again here the theme of bullying – so important in another Japanese novel I read recently: Confessions, by Kanae Minato.

I’m really looking forward to our Zoom meeting tomorrow with the Virtual Crime Book Club on this book.

The Sword in the Stone

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

I had never read anything by T. H. White, but was  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 5 books.

Oh wow, so glad I finally listened to this book. One of the best coming of age stories I have ever read. It has everything: education, good manners, nature, life of animals, dinosaurs, planets, beginning of the world.
Plus lots of humor and hilarious references.
I actually listened to it (thanks to my public library – through Hoopla) with the FA-BU-LOUS narrator Neville Jason. He’s amazing at doing all the different voices, including the various animals, and singing all the melodies and songs!!
It was fun realizing at the very end of the book who the young boy Wart was!

 

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

Eventide

 

📚 Eventide, by Kent Haruf
Literary fiction
Published in 2004

When I read some of it yesterday, I realized why I’m taking so much time to read this one:
it’s simply because I so enjoy the narrative,
the slow pace,
the characters.
I just don’t want to leave them!
I feel like staying there in Holt, Colorado, with them.

Autour de la lune

 

📚 Autour de la Lune, by Jules Verne
Science-fiction
Published in 1865

Reading it in French with another of my students
It counts for The Classics Club

I read From the Earth to the Moon with a student last month, so we decided to read the sequel, translated in English as Round the Moon, or All Around the Moon.
I’m in the part where they are approaching the Moon, and it’s also getting very technical, like in book 1. There are still hilarious details and reflections on people, based on funny stereotypes, especially on the French and the American.
Sometimes, I’m curious to know more about what we really knew about the moon when Verne wrote the book.

Le Chant du monde

 

📚 Le Chant du monde, by Jean Giono
Literary fiction
Published in 1934
Was published in English as The Song of the World

Reading it in French with another of my students
It counts for The Classics Club

I read Jean Giono a long long time ago, and possibly not even this one. My student wanted to try another genre, so we decided on this one.
I just started it, and am already haunted by the beauty of the first pages. I know it will probably turn ugly, and there will be much more than the beautiful pastoral setting, but I’m basking in it for now.

“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.”

The Witch in the Wood

🎧  The Witch in the Wood (The Once and Future King #2), by T. H. White
Children’s Historical fiction
Published in 1939
It counts for The Classics Club

I just listened to Book 1 in the series, as mentioned above, so I have decided to listen to the four books in a row.

This one begins with many more details about English history. 
It’s not as rich for now as book 1, as for the ambiance and group of people and creatures. We are no longer in the magical world of childhood, Wart has grown up a bit and has some responsibilities.
In fact, there are even tough and dramatic scenes, especially with what happens to the unicorn, that shows that yes, childhood is over.

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

Murder in the Crooked House

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

This is the sequel to The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, presented last week.

“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 📚 

No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy

📚 No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy, by Mark Hodkinson
Nonfiction / Book about books
Published on 2/3/2022

“Mark Hodkinson grew up among dark satanic mills in a house with just one book: Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. His dad kept it on top of a wardrobe with other items of great worth – wedding photographs and Mark’s National Cycling Proficiency certificate. If Mark wanted to read it, he was warned not to crease the pages or slam shut the covers.
Fast forward to today, and Mark still lives in Rochdale snugly ensconced (or is that buried?) in a ‘book cave’ surrounded by 3,500 titles – at the last count. He is an author, journalist and publisher.
So this is his story of growing up a working-class lad during the 1970s and 1980s. It’s about schools (bad), music (good) and the people (some mad, a few sane), and pre-eminently and profoundly the books and authors (some bad, mostly good) that led the way, shaped a life. If only coincidentally, it relates how writing and reading has changed, as the Manor House novel gave way to the kitchen sink drama and working-class writers found the spotlight (if only briefly).
Mark also writes movingly about his troubled grandad who, much the same as books, taught him to wander, and wonder.”

📚  NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚 

📚📚📚

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