Friday Face Off: A turquoise cover

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
“Sparkling like the sea – a cover that is turquoise”

I didn’t find a whole turquoise cover in the books I have read, but at least this is the main accent color in this one:

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

If you click on the link, you will find the questions prepared by Julie Anna at Julie Anna’s Books for our buddy read of Before the Coffee Gets Cold, with links to our answers and questions for the various parts of the book. A wonderful read!

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

WHICH COVER IS YOUR FAVORITE? WHY?

Friday Face Off Turquoise cover

I ended up selecting the Hungarian edition for my favorite.
I like that it really focuses on the coffee cup, with the movement of the coffee alluding for me to the changes that happened in the people who decided to try that coffee.

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Have you read this book?
WHICH COVER IS YOUR FAVORITE? WHY?
Next Friday:
“So pretty – exactly what it says”

2022: April wrap-up

APRIL 2022 WRAP-UP

April was a super busy month, tons of teaching hours and a lot of time in Church (Great Lent, Great Week, Pascha), which often would leave me very tired for my usual evening reading hours.
So this is the most pathetic month. I can’t even recall a month where I would have read so few pages… Though at least I have almost reviewed them all!
But my first three months were full of books, so I’m still 8 books ahead of schedule (39% done) to read 120 books this year.

I note that of the 7 books I read 3 are in French and 3 were translated from other languages. Quite characteristic.

I wasn’t able to participate in memes, but I hope to be restarting this coming week.

📚 Here is what I read in April:

7 books:
4 in print 
with 823 pages, a daily average of 27 pages/day
3 in audio
= 24H30
, a daily average of 49 minutes

5 in mystery:

  1. Death Going Down, by Maria Angelica Bosco – For the #1954Club
  2. Code Lupin, by Michel Bussi – French audiobook
  3. Vanda, by Marion Brunet – received for review
  4. Code 612: Qui a tué le Petit Prince ?, by Michel Bussi – French audiobook
  5. The Man in the Queue, by Josephine Tey – my Spin for The Classics Club

1 in science-fiction:

  1. Nouvelle Babel, by Michel Bussi – French audiobook

1 in literary fiction:

  1. Moshi Moshi, by Banana Yoshimoto

Yes, you read that right, 3 audiobooks by Michel Bussi!

MY FAVORITE BOOKS THIS PAST MONTH

Vanda The Man in the Queue

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 115/137 (from November 2020-until November 2025)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 9/12 books – During the year: 10
2022 TBR Pile Reading Challenge: 0/12 books
2022 books in translation reading challenge
: 16/10+

Total of books read in 2022 = 47/120 (39%)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 3

 NO OTHER BOOK  REVIEWED THIS PAST MONTH

NO GIVEAWAYS

NO REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

BUT we offer a Book Box!

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

My top 8 books for the 1954 Club

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Stuck in a Book
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!

TOP COMMENTERS 

Marianne at Let’s Read
Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy
Deb at Readerbuzz
please go and visit them,
they have great book blogs

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,514 posts
over 5,620 followers
over 246,500 hits

📚 📚 📚

Come back tomorrow to see the titles I’ll be reading in May

How was YOUR month of APRIL?

2022-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up400

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!

Before The Coffee Gets Cold: read-along, part 3

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before The Coffee Gets Cold,
by Toshikazu Kawaguchi,
translated by Geoffrey Trousselot
Picador
9/19/2019
コーヒーが冷めないうちに
was first published in 2015
Literary fiction/fantasy
Goodreads

Read-along with
Julie Anna at Julie Anna’s Books
part 3

📚 Come this way to read our answers to her pre-read questions

📚 Part 1 is here

📚 Part 2 is here

📚 Here are my questions about Part 3, and Our answers
SPOILERS INCLUDED

1. I enjoyed the change of structure, with this time starting in the past. Though actually, we have had the introduction to this story at the beginning of part 2. So what did you think about this structural aspect?
Julie Anna
I enjoyed the changeup, and I thought it was at the right time in the book. It took me off-guard a little bit and had me thinking about why the scene started at this point in time. In particular, it made me wonder even more about the past that the cafe-goers are leaving behind. We usually see things from the perspective of the time traveler, but now we get to see more of the emotion (and the confusion in particular) for what it’s like for those on the other side. It definitely made the story feel a lot more fleshed out for me.

Emma
Yes, it definitely made it richer, and broke the possibility of tediousness with the repetition of the same setting. It was also neat that originally, we didn’t know who she was and whom she was waiting for.

2. Like in part 2, it’s also about a letter. What’s your reaction that we have already met that pattern in part 2?

J.A.
I liked that, while they both involved a letter, they were executed in different ways. I think the combination of the way the backstory was revealed over time as well as the change in structure made these stories feel very unique despite the similarities. Given the short timeframe for time travel, the letters do make the communication between the characters a little more convenient. That being said, I’m glad that there were other elements that made this story stand out. I’m also curious to see what form of communication will be used in part 4 and if they’ll have enough time to communicate without passing along something like a letter.

E.
Right, it’s remarkable to have two stories with letters, and yet very different in content and shape. I like that the author tried something very different actually for each story.
For me, these two stories highlight the fact that we should never suppose, imagine, or interpret what others are thinking or even saying, especially in an intimate relationship as a couple. Hence the importance of dialoguing daily to clarify, and make sure we understand what the other means. I believe it would prevent many divorces.
I have had several instances, not in my couple, but with people I didn’t know well, and they say, Oh I see what you mean. And they are wrong, this is not what I was thinking. I used to let it go, but now, I try to take the time to say, no, actually, here is what I meant.

3. What did you think about Kumi’s letter?

J.A.
Like Fusagi’s letter, I found it very heartbreaking! But the main difference here is the way that Kohtake couldn’t have done anything to change Fusagi’s fate. Here, even though Hirai couldn’t have known turning her sister away would lead to her death, she knows that letting her in could have stopped this. And her and her family will always know that she could have done something different in order to save her, even if it wasn’t directly her fault. To make matters worse, knowing what Kumi’s dreams were from this medium and what she was trying to do this whole time only adds to what will likely be lifelong guilt for her.

E.
Funny, I didn’t perceive the guilt at the end. I see Hirai determined to fulfill her promise, and as she does so, experiencing her sister’s presence at her side, in a very special way.

4. So far, what do you think about the impact of the time travel on the main characters?

J.A.
After reading this part, I honestly think that the impacts of time travel isn’t all that positive. I think that there are some things that are best to be left unknown for sanity’s sake. The first part is an example of closure that I think was ultimately good. In the second part, I think it could go either way. But in the third part, I feel that Hirai may have been better off not traveling. I don’t necessarily always agree with the idea of ‘ignorance of bliss,’ but I can’t imagine the immense guilt that Hirai feels. Perhaps knowing Kumi’s wishes can help her rebuild her relationship with her family, but in the short-term it feels like it did more harm than good.

E.
But if she hadn’t traveled, she would have known none of that and of her sister’s deep wish. Now, she can fulfill her sister’s ultimate desire, and also keep the restaurant in the family. In their life together, they were not able to communicate and reveal their deep desire, Hirai needed that trip back to finally know better her sister.
As we know, these time travel experiences do not change the present situations, but they actually change the heart of the travelers. I think now, they will all live their daily life with a much deeper awareness of people around them, they won’t take anything or anyone for granted, and they will try to communicate with others at a much deeper level.

5. Kohtake doesn’t like iced coffee. What about you?

J.A.
If I had to drink coffee, I’d probably pick iced over hot. But either way, immense amounts of caffeine sadly don’t agree with me! It’s quite the contradiction as well because I love the smell of coffee more than most things.

E.
I actually understand: when I was a teen, I used to hate coffee, but so loved the smell that I would often prepare it myself for my Mom and sister, who would drink a lot of it.
I have now learned to love coffee, but I also have health issues, so I usually drink some only as a treat on Saturday mornings.
I don’t really enjoy iced coffee. Maybe because it doesn’t smell as strong as hot coffee? Or simply because I’m French: we typically don’t often add ice in our drinks.

6. Do you know Sendai? I decided to check cultural aspects. I found this great video on what to see and do in one day in Sendai. And here is a cool sample of the gorgeous sasakazari for Tanabata Festival.

J.A.
Thank you for sharing these! I didn’t know about Sendai. I especially loved seeing the Mausoleum and Shrine; the variety of trees there is absolutely beautiful. It seems like they’re fairly close to the city as well according to the map, and so many great observation points to go to! I was aware of the Tanabata Festival, but I didn’t know about much about it other than it taking place over the summer and the decorating involved for the festival. I also didn’t know that different parts of Japan have their own traditions that take place during the festival.

And I have one more question as well:

Earlier in the book we contemplated what the past they traveled to was. In this part, we got to see the perspective of characters like Kumi react when the time traveler present went back to the future. I previously speculated that the characters are traveling to a parallel universe, and I wanted to reflect on this again. What if it could also be a simulation? I tend to think it’s a parallel universe still. Does your speculation still stand as well?

E.
I am always amazed at the place of nature in Japan, even in very large cities.
And I love how they use so many vivid colors for everything.

As for your additional question, I’m actually not sure we are in parallel universes here. Was there any element in the narrative that seemed to confirm that idea? I didn’t pick it up. Things don’t seem logical, but I think the author is not trying to wrap up things in a logical way, but let it happen in a whimsical way. There’s certainly a lot of whimsy in many Japanese novels I have read!

Thanks Julie Anna, looking forward to answering your questions for the last part of the book.

And now to part 4