The top 7 books to read in October 2022

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

One special event I’ll be participating in this month (October 24-30):

The 1929 Club

Click on the image to check what this is about

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Absolutely on Music Maigret

📚 Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa, by Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa
Nonfiction
小澤征爾さんと、音楽について話をする in 2011
Translated by Jay Rubin in 2016

Murakami is my favorite contemporary Japanese author.
This book is doubly special, as I bought it in a bookstore in “Three Pines” in Quebec, several years ago. I am finally taking time to read it and am really enjoying all the insights on classical music.

“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.”

📚 Maigret (Inspecteur Maigret #19), by Georges Simenon
Mystery
Published in 1934
Reading it with one of my French students

At the end of #18, we read that Maigret is going to retire.
At the beginning of this one, he has just retired, but goes back to work to help his nephew, accused of a crime.
It was indeed supposed to be the last book of the series.
The series ended up having 75 books!

I’m just 10% in the story, but I like the personal details, like the Maigrets woken up around 4am by their nephew, then Maigret half asleep bumping his head as he goes down the stairs. Very down to earth.

“Maigret’s peaceful retirement in the countryside is disrupted when a relative, his nephew, unwittingly embroils himself in a crime he did not commit. The Inspector returns to Police Headquarters in Paris once again.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke

The Picadilly Murder   The Sound and the Fury  

📚 Selected Poems, by Rainer Maria Rilke
Poems
Written between 1899-1926.
Collection published in 1948, translated by Robert Bly
It counts for The Classics Club.

This is the book I got for The Classics Club Spin #31.
It’s a bilingual edition, it will be fun going back to German.

📚  The Picadilly Murder (Ambrose Chitterwick #1), by Anthony Berkeley
Mystery
Published in 1929
It counts for The Classics Club
Will be reading for the 1929 Club

“Has Mr Ambrose Chitterwick witnessed suicide or murder at the Piccadilly Palace Hotel? Chief Inspector Moresby of Scotland Yard believes Major Sinclair, her nephew and heir, poisoned the old lady, and he has Chitterwick down as chief witness for the prosecution. Chitterwick finds himself drawn ever deeper into the case following a succession of unexpected twists and turns of the plot…”

📚  The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
Literary fiction
Published in 1929
It counts for The Classics Club
Will be reading for the 1929 Club

I think I have only read As I Lay Dying by Faulkner, and I enjoyed it a lot. But I have heard this one is very challenging. We’ll see.

The tragedy of the Compson family features some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. ”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

  The Roman Hat Mystery      The 39 Steps

🎧  The Roman Hat Mystery (Ellery Queen Detective #1), by Ellery Queen
Mystery
Published in 1929
It counts for The Classics Club
Will be reading for the 1929 Club

This is my first book by this author, and so far I really like the characters and the details.

“A fine silk custom top-hat is missing from a crooked lawyer who was poisoned by lead alcohol in the Roman theater at the close of the second act, 9:55 pm. Inspector Richard Q, sneezing snuff; a thin, multi-faced, small “Old Man”; and the Inspector’s large writer son Ellery, puffing cigarettes, investigate. They start with maps of theater, the victim’s bedroom, and a list of names appended with flavorful commentary: the finder of the body is “cranially a brachycephalic”, and Dolly “a lady of reputation”. The flavor of 1929 costume and culture, with evening attire de rigueur, and hip flasks full of bootleg liquor.”

🎧  The 39 Steps (Richard Hannay #1), by John Buchan
Mystery
Published in 1915
It counts for The Classics Club

I am really looking forward to this one. I watched the movie such a long time ago that I have no memory of it, which is a good thing, it will be a total rediscovery.

“Adventurer Richard Hannay, just returned from South Africa, is thoroughly bored with London life—until he is accosted by a mysterious American, who warns him of an assassination plot that could completely destabalise the fragile political balance of Europe. Initially sceptical, Hannay nonetheless harbours the man—but one day returns home to find him murdered… An obvious suspect, Hannay flees to his native Scotland, pursued by both the police and a cunning, ruthless enemy. His life and the security of Britain are in grave peril, and everything rests on the solution to a baffling enigma: what are the ‘thirty nine steps?'”

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

https://linktr.ee/wordsandpeace

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 7 books to read in December 2021

Here are
The top 7 books
I plan to read in December 2021

Click on the covers to know more

This month, I think I’m going to slowly venture towards what could be my 2022 reading journey: mostly focusing on my various TBRs.

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

  Katherine's Wish    Ficciones

📚 Katherine’s Wish, by Linda Lappin
Re-released in 2021. Review copy received through France Book Tours.
Click here to get your own copy (you can review it in your own time).

“In this dramatic, fictional retelling of New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield‘s final years, and of the events which led up to her meeting with P.D. Ouspensky and G. I Gurdjieff, novelist Linda Lappin transports the reader like a time traveler into Mansfield’s intimate world.
Scrupulously researched and richly evocative, the novel has been praised by Mansfield scholars as “creative scholarship.”
With vivid detail and beautiful language and style, Lappin has built on journals, letters, and diaries to fashion a true-to-life mosaic, using themes, motifs, and methods of Mansfield’s own writing.
Katherine’s Wish celebrates Mansfield’s deep love of life and its final message is a life-affirming one of joy and of wholeness achieved.”

📚  Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges
Published in 1944
Started reading with The World’s Literature Goodreads Club, it was their October selection.
I will keep reading. It counts for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge.

“The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything else in between.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

  L'ombre chinoise   Dictionnaire amoureux du polar

The Blackhouse

📚 L’ombre chinoise (Inspector Maigret #13), by Georges Simenon 
Published in 1932. Translated as The Shadow Puppet
Will be reading in French with one of my French students, and for The Classics Club

“Gripping domestic tragedy, set in Simenon’s very own neighborhood.
One by one the lighted windows went dark. The silhouette of the dead man could still be seen through the frosted glass like a Chinese shadow puppet. A taxi pulled up. It wasn’t the public prosecutor yet. A young woman crossed the courtyard with hurried steps, leaving a whiff of perfume in her wake. Summoned to the dimly-lit Place des Vosges one night, where he sees shadowy figures at apartment windows, Maigret uncovers a tragic story of desperate lives, unhappy families, addiction and a terrible, fatal greed.
 ”

📚 Dictionnaire amoureux du polar, by Pierre Lemaitre
Published on October 22, 2020

I can’t believe I started reading this book last February. I loved it, but then other more urgent things came up. Time to finish it!
Lemaitre, a very renowned author of thrillers (see for instance Three Days and a Life – highly recommended) himself, shares his love of the genre by presenting other authors, books, and themes related to it.
His comments are not too academic, I like the style, and I am listing all kinds of books I want to try!

📚 The Black House (Lewis Trilogy #1), by Peter May
Published on 2/1/2011

This is one of the 3 books I planned to read last summer and never did. Really looking forward to it, as I enjoyed a lot Coffin Road.

“A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith.
A MURDER
Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.
A SECRET
Something lurks within the close-knit island community. Something sinister.
A TRAP
As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface, and soon he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

Noor  Les Mystères de Paris 2

🎧 Noor, by Nnedi Okorafor
Published on 11/9/2021 – Audiobook received through Libro.fm

I really enjoyed a lot the Binti trilogy by this author. This is also African futurism – a mix of science-fiction and African culture. Quite unique and fascinating!

From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.
Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt…natural, and that’s putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong.
Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn’t so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.
 ”

🎧  Les Mystères de Paris, volume 2, by Eugène Sue
Translated as: The Mysteries of Paris

Published in 1843 – French audiobook, for The Classics Club. 

I listened to book 1 in September and really loved it. It’s fun to see what Victor Hugo took from it and how he transformed it.

“The brilliant epic novel that inspired Les Misérables.
From July 1842 through October 1843, Parisians rushed to the newspaper each week for the latest instalment of Eugene Sue’s The Mysteries of Paris, one of France’s first serial novels. The suspenseful story of Rodolphe, a magnetic hero of noble heart and shadowy origins, played out over ninety issues, garnering wild popularity and leading many to call it the most widely read novel of the 19th century. Sue’s novel created the city mystery genre and inspired a raft of successors, including Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo.
Sensational, steamy, tightly-plotted, pulpy, proto-socialist, heartbreaking, and riveting, The Mysteries of Paris is doubtless one of the most entertaining and influential works to emerge from the 19th century.”

GIVEAWAYS – until 12/31, your choice between these 3

  Alina_A Song For the Telling Seven Houses in France The Queen's Lover  

BOOK AVAILABLE TO REVIEW
Get it now, review in your own time!

UNTIL 12/31
Memoir

The Vanished Collection

PLANS FOR DECEMBER

  • Write some short reviews?? Sounds like a joke…

Eiffel Tower Orange

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