The top 7 books to read in October 2021

Here are

The top 7 books
I plan to read in October 2021

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Again reading a crazy number of books at the same time, but by now, this should not surprise anyone, lol.

  Termination Shock  

  Speedboat   Ficciones  

📚 Termination Shock, by Neal Stephenson
Expected publication: November 16th 2021 by William Morrow

I haven’t finished yet this technothriller about climate change. Partly because this is around 896 pages, but also because I have more urgent reading commitments for various book clubs.
Nothing much happens before around 500 pages…
I’m at 60%, and so far it’s really not blowing my mind, though I do learn a lot about many things, such as for instance the Sikh culture, martial arts, and the LAC (Line of Actual Control),  the notional demarcation line between the Indian-controlled territory and the Chinese-controlled territory.

“A visionary technothriller about climate change.
Neal Stephenson’s sweeping, prescient new novel transports readers to a near-future world where the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics.
One man has a Big Idea for reversing global warming, a master plan perhaps best described as “elemental.” But will it work? And just as important, what are the consequences for the planet and all of humanity should it be applied?
Ranging from the Texas heartland to the Dutch royal palace in the Hague, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sunbaked Chihuahuan Desert, Termination Shock brings together a disparate group of characters from different cultures and continents who grapple with the real-life repercussions of global warming. Ultimately, it asks the question: Might the cure be worse than the disease?”

📚 The New Testament: A Translation, by David Bentley Hart
Published in 2017

David Bentley Hart’s translation IS blowing my mind, especially in the Pauline writings.  If early on, we had looked more closely at the Greek without relying so much on Saint Jerome’s Latin translation, we would not have had all these crazy notions between grace and acts for instance, as really Romans 5 for example has nothing to do with this. The acts Paul is referring to are actually the fact of observing the Mosaic Law. Each time I’m reading texts by Paul on grace/acts, I’m shocked that Mosaic observance is indeed always in the background. Hence the essential importance of translating correctly a text!

“From one of our most celebrated writers on religion comes this fresh, bold, and unsettling new translation of the New Testament.
David Bentley Hart undertook this new translation of the New Testament in the spirit of “etsi doctrina non daretur,” “as if doctrine is not given.” Reproducing the texts’ often fragmentary formulations without augmentation or correction, he has produced a pitilessly literal translation, one that captures the texts’ impenetrability and unfinished quality while awakening readers to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers.
The early Christians’ sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that they were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values and priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable and decent. “To live as the New Testament language requires,” he writes, “Christians would have to become strangers and sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. And we surely cannot do that, can we?”

📚  Speedboat, by Renata Adler
Published in 1976
Reading for #1976Club, hosted by Stuck in a Book

Planning to read two books for this club. Already halfway in this one, and really not impressed. It’s a collection of vignettes and stream of consciousness. There are a few lines I do like a lot, but I’m actually a bit disappointed by the whole thing. I’m glad it’s short.
Are you participating in #1976Club (October 11-17)? Which books are you reading for it?

“This story of a young female newspaper reporter coming of age in New York City was originally published serially in the New Yorker; it is made out of seemingly unrelated vignettes—tart observations distilled through relentless intellect—which add up to an analysis of our brittle, urban existence. It remains as fresh as when it was first published.”

📚  Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges
Published in 1944
Reading with The World’s Literature Goodreads Club and for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge.

As a teenager, I really enjoyed a lot this author. I may even already have read this one, so when I saw this Goodreads club was going to read it, I joined.
Cool collection of short stories – a genre I don’t often enjoy, unless the author is a genius.

“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 📚

A River Runs Through it

📚 A River Runs Through it, by Norman Maclean
Published in 1976
Will be reading for #1976Club, hosted by Stuck in a Book

“From its first magnificent sentence, “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing,” to the last, “I am haunted by waters,” “A River Runs Through It” is an American classic.
Based on Norman Maclean’s childhood experiences, “A River Runs Through It” has established itself as one of the most moving stories of our time; it captivates readers with vivid descriptions of life along Montana’s Big Blackfoot River and its near magical blend of fly fishing with the troubling affections of the heart.”

I will probably read a couple more books, from my Summer list I didn’t finish.

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

the thirteenth tale   The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding

🎧  The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
Published in 2006

This is the very first book I added on my TBR Goodreads list. Yes, I just started this plan of revisiting the books I added there ten years ago and read them or delete them.
OMG, why did I wait for ten years to read this? It feels a bit like Kate Morton‘s books (which I enjoy a lot), but focused on the world of books (book sellers, readers, authors). Anyway, most of you have probably read it, so you know all about it.
The narrators Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner are fabulous!

“All children mythologize their birth…So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.
The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself — all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter’s story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.
As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.
Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling but remains suspicious of the author’s sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.”

🎧 Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (Hercule Poirot #35), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1960- Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club
After this one, only 10 left.

“An English country house at Christmas time should be the perfect place to get away from it all – but nothing is ever simple for Hercule Poirot, as he finds not one but five baffling cases to solve.
First comes a sinister warning on his pillow to avoid the plum pudding…then the discovery of a corpse in a chest…next, an overheard quarrel that leads to murder…the strange case of a dead man’s eating habits…and the puzzle of a victim who dreams of his own suicide.”

🎧 I will probably also listen to 3 other books with Hercule Poirot.
🎧 And a French audiobook if I have time

GIVEAWAY

UNTIL 10/31

The Education of Delhomme

Choose between 4 books

BOOK AVAILABLE TO REVIEW
2 more books coming mid October!

UNTIL 10/31

in another life

PLANS FOR OCTOBER

  • Participate in the #1976Club – see above
  • Participate in the World’s Literature Goodreads discussion – see above
  • Watch two zoom book talks: one with Walter Mosley (Brooklyn Book Festival), one on Sandra Cisneros (AARP)
  • Write my last review for a theology book I read last year for Edelweiss Plus
  • Restart sharing reading notes on my Orthodox blog

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

The top 7 books to read in September 2021

Here are

The top 7 books
I plan to read in September 2021

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

  Termination Shock The Hands On French Cookbook

📚 Termination Shock, by Neal Stephenson
Expected publication: November 16th 2021 by William Morrow

OK, this is a new plunge for me. I have been meaning to read so many books by Stephenson, and  never dared so far. But when I saw it on Netgalley, I couldn’t resist. A technothriller about climate change, totally my thing!
I usually do not request a book that long (896 pages) by a new to me author, as it means I cannot DNF it (I do not DNF books I requested). But so far anyway, I’m just loving it.

“A visionary technothriller about climate change.
Neal Stephenson’s sweeping, prescient new novel transports readers to a near-future world where the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics.
One man has a Big Idea for reversing global warming, a master plan perhaps best described as “elemental.” But will it work? And just as important, what are the consequences for the planet and all of humanity should it be applied?
Ranging from the Texas heartland to the Dutch royal palace in the Hague, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sunbaked Chihuahuan Desert, Termination Shock brings together a disparate group of characters from different cultures and continents who grapple with the real-life repercussions of global warming. Ultimately, it asks the question: Might the cure be worse than the disease?”

📚 The Hands On French Cookbook, by Elisabeth de Châtillon
Published on 6/2/21
For a tour on France Book Tours

“If you think French food is complicated, decadent, and heavy, think again!
If you think learning and exploring another language is difficult or boring, think again!
And if you think cooking French food and learning French at the same time is impossible, teacher and home cook Elisabeth de Châtillon is here to prove you wrong. It might sound too good to be true, but THE HANDS ON FRENCH COOKBOOK is full of healthy, simple French recipes that you can make for friends and family while you learn not only the French language but also a little bit about French culture in a relaxed, fun, tasty way.”

📚 The New Testament: A Translation, by David Bentley Hart
Published in 2017

As you may know, I’m in the process of listening to the whole Bible. I recently finished listening to all the books of the Old Testament.
As David Bentley Hart recently published a new translation, I thought I would at the same time listen to all the books of the New Testament (narrated by Alexander Scourby) AND read this new translation. The translator is Orthodox, as I am, and I’m very intrigued to see what he did here.

“From one of our most celebrated writers on religion comes this fresh, bold, and unsettling new translation of the New Testament.
David Bentley Hart undertook this new translation of the New Testament in the spirit of “etsi doctrina non daretur,” “as if doctrine is not given.” Reproducing the texts’ often fragmentary formulations without augmentation or correction, he has produced a pitilessly literal translation, one that captures the texts’ impenetrability and unfinished quality while awakening readers to an uncanniness that often lies hidden beneath doctrinal layers.
The early Christians’ sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that they were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values and priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable and decent. “To live as the New Testament language requires,” he writes, “Christians would have to become strangers and sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. And we surely cannot do that, can we?”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

  Rider on the Rain The Islanders by Christopher Priest  

📚 Rider on the Rain, by Sébastien Japrisot
Published in 1969 – will read for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge. Getting republished by Gallic Books on October 5, 2021

“The bus never stops in Le Cap-des-Pins. Not in autumn, when the small Riviera resort is deserted. Except today, when a man with a red bag and a disconcerting stare steps out into the rain.His arrival will throw the life of young housewife Mellie Mau into disarray. After surviving a horrific attack, she has a dark secret to hide. But a stranger at a wedding, the enigmatic American Harry Dobbs, is determined to get the truth out of her, leading her into a game of cat and mouse with dangerous consequences …A cool, stylish and twisty thriller from cult French noir writer Sébastien Japrisot.”

📚  The Islanders, by Christopher Priest
Published in 2011

Christopher Priest is a big name in the word of scifi, but I have never read anything by him. This book intrigued me, so I chose it when I won a book of my choice a few years ago on a blog (sorry, can’t remember where).

“Reality is illusory and magical in the stunning new literary SF novel from the multiple award-winning author of The Prestige—for fans of Haruki Murakami and David Mitchell.

A tale of murder, artistic rivalry, and literary trickery; a Chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you. The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of islands. The names of the islands are different depending on who you talk to, their very locations seem to twist and shift. Some islands have been sculpted into vast musical instruments, others are home to lethal creatures, others the playground for high society. Hot winds blow across the archipelago and a war fought between two distant continents is played out across its waters. The Islanders serves both as an untrustworthy but enticing guide to the islands; an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder; and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator. It shows Christopher Priest at the height of his powers and illustrates his undiminished power to dazzle.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

Les deux châteaux    After the Funeral

🎧  Les deux châteaux (N.E.O. #2), by Michel Bussi
Published on June 3, 2021

Michel Bussi is one of my favorite contemporary French authors. He usually writes thrillers, but has recently launched into YA fantasy – a genre I usually don’t read. I listened to volume 1 and so loved it, that I had to listen to volume 2. I’m about half way and it’s so so good.

“Le clan du château et le clan du tipi sont réconciliés ! Grâce à l’alliance de tous, les frontières de la ville et de ses environs peuvent enfin être repoussées : le monde s’ouvre désormais à eux.
Mais au-delà des grandes découvertes, des amitiés et des amours naissants, et derrière une cohabitation en apparence sereine, Alixe, Zyzo et leurs amis devront percer de nouveaux mystères. Comment les enfants ont-ils pu survivre juste après le passage du nuage ? Quelles sont les origines des deux clans ? Qui était vraiment Marie-Lune ?
Mordélia, chassée de la ville, a conservé un objet secret qui contient peut-être des réponses à toutes ces questions. Or habitée par une féroce volonté de survivre, elle compte bien prendre sa revanche…”

🎧 After the Funeral (Hercule Poirot #33), by Agatha Christie
Published in 1953 – Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

“The master of a Victorian mansion dies suddenly – and his sister is convinced it was murder…. When Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard’s funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard’s will, Cora was clearly heard to say: ‘It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it…But he was murdered, wasn’t he?’ In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery.”

🎧 I will probably also listen to 3 other books with Hercule Poirot.
🎧 And a few books of the New Testament, as explained above.

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS AND BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR SEPTEMBER

  • Hopefully write 3 reviews for books received for review through Edelweiss Plus and read last year

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

The top 7 books to read in August 2021

Here are

The top 7 books
I plan to read in August 2021

Click on the covers to know more

CURRENTLY READING

History in English Words Looking for The Stranger

📚 History in English Words, by Owen Barfield
Published in 1926
Reading for The Classics Club – this was my latest spin…

I’m totally enjoying each line, connecting back to my early love of linguistics and philology.

“This popular book provides a brief, brilliant history of those who have spoken the Indo-European tongues. It is illustrated throughout by current English words—whose derivation from other languages, whose history in use and changes of meaning—record and unlock the larger history.”

📚 Looking for the Stranger: Albert Camus and the Life of a Literary Classic, by Alice Kaplan
Published in 2016
I got this free book at BEA 2016 and never took time to read it!!
Really good.

The Stranger is a rite of passage for readers around the world. Since its publication in France in 1942, Camus’s novel has been translated into sixty languages and sold more than six million copies. It’s the rare novel that’s as at likely to be found in a teen’s backpack as in a graduate philosophy seminar. If the twentieth century produced a novel that could be called ubiquitous, The Stranger is it.
How did a young man in his twenties who had never written a novel turn out a masterpiece that still grips readers more than seventy years later? With Looking for “The Stranger”, Alice Kaplan tells that story. In the process, she reveals Camus’s achievement to have been even more impressive—and more unlikely—than even his most devoted readers knew.
Born in poverty in colonial Algeria, Camus started out as a journalist covering the criminal courts. The murder trials he attended, Kaplan shows, would be a major influence on the development and themes of The Stranger. She follows Camus to France, and, making deft use of his diaries and letters, re-creates his lonely struggle with the novel in Montmartre, where he finally hit upon the unforgettable first-person voice that enabled him to break through and complete The Stranger.
Even then, the book’s publication was far from certain. France was straining under German occupation, Camus’s closest mentor was unsure of the book’s merit, and Camus himself was suffering from near-fatal tuberculosis. Yet the book did appear, thanks in part to a resourceful publisher, Gaston Gallimard, who was undeterred by paper shortages and Nazi censorship.
The initial critical reception of The Stranger was mixed, and it wasn’t until after liberation that The Stranger began its meteoric rise. As France and the rest of the world began to move out of the shadow of war, Kaplan shows, Camus’s book— with the help of an aggressive marketing campaign by Knopf for their 1946 publication of the first English translation—became a critical and commercial success, and Camus found himself one of the most famous writers in the world. Suddenly, his seemingly modest tale of alienation was being seen for what it really was: a powerful parable of the absurd, an existentialist masterpiece.
Few books inspire devotion and excitement the way The Stranger does. And it couldn’t have a better biographer than Alice Kaplan, whose books about twentieth-century French culture and history have won her legions of fans. No reader of Camus will want to miss this brilliant exploration.”

READING NEXT

  Midaq Alley   Bomber's Moon  

A Fine Line

📚 Midaq Alley, by Naguib Mahfouz
Published in 1947 – will read for The Classics Club and the Books in Translation Challenge

“Never has Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz’s talent for rich and luxurious storytelling been more evident than in Midaq Alley, which centers around the residents of one of the hustling, teeming back alleys of Cairo. From Zaita the cripple-maker to Kirsha the café owner with a taste for young boys and drugs, to Abbas the barber who mistakes greed for love, to Hamida who sells her soul to escape the alley, these characters vividly evoke the sights, sounds and smells of Cairo. Long after one finishes reading, the smell of fresh bread lingers, as does the image of the men gathering at the café for their nightly ritual. The universality and timelessness of this book cannot be denied.”

📚  Bomber’s Moon (Joe Gunther #30), by Archer Mayor
Published in 2019
I usually refrain from reading a book in the middle of a series. I have never read any book by this author, but they say it could be the best in the series, and I won it, so I’ll give it a try.

“The murder of a small-time drug dealer snowballs into the most complex case ever faced by Joe Gunther and his VBI team.
It is said a bright and clear bomber’s moon is the best asset to finding one’s target. But beware what you wish for: What you can see at night can also see you. Often with dire consequences.
Bomber’s Moon is Archer Mayor’s latest entry in the Joe Gunther series and it may just be his best yet.
Two young women form the heart of this tale. One, an investigative reporter, the other a private investigator. Uneasy allies from completely different walks of life, they work together–around and sometimes against Joe Gunther and his VBI cops–in an attempt to connect the murders of a small town drug dealer, a smart, engaging, fatally flawed thief, and the tangled, political, increasingly dark goings on at a prestigious prep school.
While Gunther and the VBI set about solving the two murders, Sally Kravitz and Rachel Reiling combine their talents and resources to go where the police cannot, from working undercover at Thorndike Academy, to having clandestine meetings with criminals for their insider’s knowledge of Vermont’s unexpectedly illicit underbelly.
But there is a third element at work. A malevolent force, the common link in all this death and chaos, is hard at work sowing mayhem to protect its ancient, vicious, very dark roots.”

📚  A Fine Line, by Dan Burns
Published in 2017
I have met local author Dan Burns a few times at Chicago literary events, and I have enjoyed his No Turning Back.

“A Fine Line is a story about Sebastian Drake, a struggling writer working out of a dilapidated apartment in the city and trying to come up with his next story idea. Drake receives an unexpected visit from a man interested in hiring him for a project and who thinks he has just the solution to Drake’s writing challenges. He also thinks that Drake’s past and secret life with a shadow government organization is a valuable asset.
His proposition to Drake is simple: become a hired agent to investigate a cold murder case involving one of Chicago’s most powerful political families. The job comes with a decent paycheck, all the support he might need, and the types of real life experiences that can form the basis for great fiction stories.
This is a story about a man with a new lease on life, a man who leads a dual existence. By day, he is an aspiring author. By night, he is a rogue undercover and unknown vigilante. His biggest challenge is keeping intact the fine line of reality and fiction.”

CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS

  The Labors of Hercules      The Witness for the Prosecution  

📚 The Labors of Hercules (Hercule Poirot #27) by Agatha Christie
Published in 1947 – Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club

I am really enjoying this one. Poirot realizes the origin of his name, reconnects with mythology, and decides to finish his career with 12 cases that will parallel the 12 labors of Hercules. The connection between the case and the myth can be hilarious, like in the first story – what connection could there be between a lion and a Pekinese dog?

📚 The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories, by Agatha Christie
Published in 1948 – Part of my project to listen to all of HP, for The Classics Club
This is an American collection, so it doesn’t follow the official number order in the series, but I will listen to this one as I follow the chronological order of publication

The Witness for the Prosecution
1920s London. A murder, brutal and bloodthirsty, has stained the plush carpets of a handsome London townhouse. The victim is the glamorous and enormously rich Emily French. All the evidence points to Leonard Vole, a young chancer to whom the heiress left her vast fortune and who ruthlessly took her life. At least, this is the story that Emily’s dedicated housekeeper Janet Mackenzie stands by in court. Leonard however, is adamant that his partner, the enigmatic chorus girl Romaine, can prove his innocence.”

📚 I will probably also listen to 3 other books with Hercule Poirot. If I can listen to 4/month, I’ll be done by the end of 2021.
📚
And if I have time, I’ll be listening to some French book, not sure yet which one

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Listed on the homepage 

List of books I can swap with yours

PLANS FOR AUGUST

  • Participate in #BoutofBooks, August 16-22
  • Work more on my #20booksofsummer21
  • Hopefully write 5 reviews for books received for review and read last year

Eiffel Tower Orange

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