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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.
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Here is what I posted this past week:
And I finished 1 book:
JUST READ 🎧
📚 Liberty Bar, (Inspecteur Maigret #17), by Georges Simenon
Published in 1932
It was translated into English as Liberty Bar and as Maigret on the Riviera
Read in French with one of my French students
“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.”
The official synopsis fails to capture anything really of the great ambiance recreated here by Simenon.
This volume is unique, because so far in the series, the story always took place in cold, rainy, greyish, and gloomy places.
This time we are in Southern France, and it is hot and sunny, on the very bright Riviera. I realize Simenon is just as good with that type of ambiance!
There’s a lot of humor in this one, related to the characters and their surroundings, with fantastic juxtaposition in colors and smells, for instance.
I was just a bit disappointed by the plot, which ended up being mostly a love story of sorts. So many elements in the story seemed to point to something more complex.
CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO
📚 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin
Expected publication: July 5th 2022, by Knopf Publishing Group
Received for review
Eight years ago, 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.
This is focused on video games, a topic I enjoy a lot in books, for instance in Ready Player One and Two.
I’m a quarter done, and so far really liking the story and the characters, and the first game they have been creating together. But I hope the real plot will pick up soon.
“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.”
📚 Le Horla et autres nouvelles fantastiques, by Guy de Maupassant
Literary fiction/short stories/fantasy
Published around 1887
Reading with one of my French students.
It counts for The Classics Club
Le Horla could well be the best fantasy story ever. I studied it in 6th or 7th grade, that was required for all French students at the time.
Then I reread it a few years ago and was really struck by the quality of the writing. And it certainly doesn’t feel like it was written in the 1880s, it feels so modern.
I’m rereading it and the whole collection with one of my French students.
📚 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
It’s excellent at describing how and what people were eating in 18th century America; and Jefferson’s eagerness at learning about art, culture, architecture, plants, etc, both in France and Italy.
I’m half way done, but so far not much on James though.
“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!”
🎧 So Big, by Edna Ferber
Published in 1924
Narrated by Laural Merlington
It counts for The Classics Club
I’m almost done and really enjoying how she describes people, environments, and the evolution of the society. It helps that I know Chicago, as she refers to many places there.
“Author Edna Ferber described the story of So Big as being about a “material man, son of his earth-grubbing, idealistic mother”. Left an orphan at 19 years old in the late 1880s, Selina Peake needs to support herself. She leaves the city life she has known to become a teacher in the farming community of High Prairie, IL. Her father had told her that life is an adventure, and one should make the most of it.
Selina sees beauty everywhere, including in the fields of cabbages. She has a natural curiosity about farming and oversteps the woman’s traditional role by having the audacity to ask the men questions. She soon marries Pervus DeJong, a farmer. Selina eagerly offers suggestions for operational improvements, but Pervus ignores her, preferring to use the unprofitable farming methods employed by his father.
Though she suffers many hardships, Selina always remembers the importance of beauty, and she admires those who exercise their creative talents. She tries to instill these views in her son Dirk and fights with her husband over the need for their child to get a full education. Once Dirk finishes college and starts work, will he retain Selina’s values?
So Big was the first book to have the rare distinction of being the best-selling book of the year and win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.”
BOOK UP NEXT
📚 Le Grand Meaulnes, by Alain-Fournier
French Literary fiction
Published in English as The Lost Estate
Will be reading in French 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 expires and you need a new one. We are starting our reading this Monday!
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.”
LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR
Translating Myself and Others, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Published May17th 2022 by Princeton University Press
As a translator and lover of foreign languages, I have really enjoyed reading about Lahiri’s experience, especially in her book In Other Words. So I am really looking forward to reading more of her thoughts on the topic of translation.
“Luminous essays on translation and self-translation by the award-winning writer and literary translator.
Translating Myself and Others is a collection of candid and disarmingly personal essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, who reflects on her emerging identity as a translator as well as a writer in two languages.
With subtlety and emotional immediacy, Lahiri draws on Ovid’s myth of Echo and Narcissus to explore the distinction between writing and translating, and provides a close reading of passages from Aristotle’s Poetics to talk more broadly about writing, desire, and freedom. She traces the theme of translation in Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks and takes up the question of Italo Calvino’s popularity as a translated author. Lahiri considers the unique challenge of translating her own work from Italian to English, the question “Why Italian?,” and the singular pleasures of translating contemporary and ancient writers.
Featuring essays originally written in Italian and published in English for the first time, as well as essays written in English, Translating Myself and Others brings together Lahiri’s most lyrical and eloquently observed meditations on the translator’s art as a sublime act of both linguistic and personal metamorphosis.”
📚 NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK 📚
HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?