Sunday Post #75 – 01/22/2023

Sunday Post

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showcase books and things we have received.
Share news about what is coming up
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for the week ahead.
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Oh, my 75th Sunday Post!
Well, that’s nothing when you see that Caffeinated Reviewer has been hosting it for 559 weeks! Still.
I am still in the process of repainting our church outdoor sign, more than half done. It actually gives me lots of hours for audiobooks, my total audio time for January is going to be insane!
And with the two church events I had this week, our Nativity season is finally over. Actually pretty soon preparing for Lent!! Time flies way too fast.

I have been able to post a couple of times this week, and so far, have reviewed the 6 books finished this month. It’s a battle that always begins well in January, until… I eventually lose! We’ll see how long I can persevere.
I also started catching up with lots of your comments, thanks!

Posted this week:

Here are the 3 books I finished this past week:

📚JUST READ/LISTENED TO 🎧 

L'Os de Lebowski

📚  L’Os de Lebowski,
by Vincent Maillard
French mystery
Published in 2021
202 pages
Read with French student S.

First of all, dive into this book without reading the official synopsis which, as too often, reveals way too much.

The book hasn’t been translated into English.
It’s narrated in the first person by Jim Carlos, a gardener working at Prés Poleux, owned by a rich family.
Jim has a very lazy dog (Lebowski), who spends its time sleeping, but one day it manages to dig, and finds a human bone (hence the title: Lebowski’s bone).
So, whose bone is it? What happened to that person?
Why is the bone on this property?
And then, Jim disappears…!

I really enjoyed a lot the structure of the book (that you will discover as you read the book along), the first person narration, full of so many humoristic reflections on French society and culture.
Mailard is not kind towards the world of the very rich, which totally makes sense to me and works perfectly in the plot.
You may have to check lots of names to understand the references, but that’s worth it.
Little by little, there’s a lot of suspense developping, until the end, which of course I didn’t guess.
Definitely an author worth checking.

L'empire de la mort

 

🎧 L’Empire de la mort (N.E.O. #3),
by Michel Bussi
French YA fantasy
Published on June 16, 2022
640 pages
16H24

I have been enjoying this series a lot. I actually thought maybe it was a trilogy, but obviously the last line tells me there’s much more to come!
I find in it some common elements with Supernova Era: something happened (and in this third book we finally know more what happened), and it seems all adults have died, and before they died they helped kids learn and organize to start a new world. In both cases, it’s not that easy to start a better world… Not easy either to identify the bad guys…

I love the setting, Paris and around, with more famous Parisian places now important in the story. It’s fun to meet the same characters and see how they grow.

I have been listening to the books, and the narrator Damien Witecka is really fabulous, with the various voices and tones.

Le jour des fourmis

 

🎧Le Jour des fourmis 
(La Saga des fourmis #2),
by Bernard Werber
French scifi
Published in 1992
463 pages
14H39

The second volume on these infra-terrestrial creatures (ants) is just as fascinating as Book 1.
It’s not only an original idea (turning scifi away from extra-terrestrial dimensions), but also a close scientific look at the world of ants, their complex society, and their ways of communicating.
I also loved all about intercommunication with the world of “fingers”, ie, us human beings.
It was also neat to have a resolution to the mysterious disappearance of people in book 1.
And I liked the part about the ant reaction as she discovers what makes our human culture, through TV programs!
I just realized it was a trilogy, and not a longer series. So I am starting listening to the last volume today. I so enjoy these works, especially as the narrator (François Tavares) is so good.

I actually want to add a very crazy story that happened to me today.
I was listening to this book, while doing a major painting job. As I was painting, I received an important text message. So I stopped painting, paused my audiobook, and started answering the text message. Suddenly, on the line where your phone auto-suggests words as you type, an emoji showed up, and it was…. an ant! You may believe me or not, but I saw it, and showed it to my husband.
I read and reread my message: there was absolutely NO reason an ant would have showed up. Never did I type a sequence of letters forming the word a-n-t (I wrote in English), nor F-O-U-R-M-I (my audiobook is in French).
This is the werdest thing I have ever witnessed!!!

📚  CURRENTLY READING/LISTENING TO 🎧 

Death of a Red Heroine

📚 Death of a Red Heroine
(Inspector Chen Cao #1), 

by Qiu Xialong
Chinese Mystery
First published in 2000 (in English)
482 pages

Yes, still working on this one for my local public library Winter Reading Challenge, as reading books with three of my French students is the priority right now.

I so enjoy the descriptions of Shanghai and all the political and social background. In Asia, but so different from my usual Japanese novels! The plot is slow in developping, but I don’t mind, as the pace allows me to better perceive the cultural specificities of that world.

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret

📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon
Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
It counts for The Classics Club
Still reading this one with French student E.,
though I should be done tonight.

As you may know, I don’t often read short stories, as I am often dissatisfed by the lack of development. This is different here: it’s really neat to see that Simenon displays the same quality of writing in this format as in his novels.
Some plots are brilliant, sometimes quite different to what I am used to with this author.
And there’s a lot of humor! Especially near the end of the collection. We laughed a lot with my student as we shared our experience.
But we also find Maigret at times violent! 

🎧 LLa Révolution des fourmisa Révolution des fourmis 
(La Saga des fourmis #3),
by Bernard Werber
French scifi
Published in 1996
671 pages
20H21

“What can ants envy us? Humor, love, art. What can humans envy them? Harmony with nature, absence of fear, absolute communication.
After millennia of ignorance, will the two most evolved civilizations on the planet finally be able to meet and understand each other?
Without knowing each other, Julie Pinson, a rebellious student, and 103, an explorer ant, will try to make a revolution in their respective worlds to make it evolve.
Les Fourmis was the book of contact, Le Jour des fourmis the book of confrontation. La Révolution des fourmis is the book of understanding.

But beyond the theme of ants, it is a revolution of humans, a non-violent revolution, a revolution made up of small discreet touches and new ideas that Bernard Werber offers here.
Both an adventure novel and an initiatory book, this crowning achievement of the myrmecian epic invites us to enter a future that is perhaps not just science fiction…”

 

📚  BOOK UP NEXT 📚 

Master of the Uncanny📚 Okamoto Kidō: Master of the Uncanny,
by Okamoto Kidō
Japanese short stories
Published between 1897-1931
Translated by Nancy H. Ross
Published in 2020
168 pages
It counts for the Japanese Literature Challenge
and The Classics Club

“Born just after Japan transitioned from the Shogunate to Meiji, Kidō grew up in a samurai-oriented world being transformed by the West in many ways. As a reporter he covered domestic development and overseas wars, while also marrying a traditional geisha, eventually becoming a playwright and author. In addition to a number of well-received plays, he also penned more than fifty horror stories over a roughly ten-year period starting in the mid-1920s. Just prior to this period, the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 destroyed almost everything in Tokyo that remained from the Edo era, and Japanese horror itself was transitioning from the traditional uncanny stories to more modern horror structures.
While many of Kidō’s stories are retellings of tales from China and other nations, he also drew on a diverse range of traditions, including the heritage of Edo-era storytellers such as Ueda Akinari and Asai Ryōi, to produce a dazzling array of work covering the entire spectrum from time-honored ghost tropes to modern horror. The majority of his stories were collected in four volumes: Seiadō kidan (1926), Kindai iyō hen (1926), Iyō hen (1933), and Kaijū (1936).
Kidō remains popular for his elegant, low-key style, subtly introducing the “other” into the background, and raising the specter of the uncanny indirectly and often indistinctly. His fiction spans an enormous range of material, much of it dealing with the uncanny, and as a pioneer in the field his work formed the foundation for the new generation of Japanese authors emerging in post-Restoration literature.
This selection presents a dozen of his best stories: pieces which remain in print almost a century later, and continue to enchant readers—and writers—today. Finally, English-reading audiences can enjoy his strange visions as well.”

📚  LAST BOOK ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR 📚 

100 Places to See After You Die

 

📚  100 Places to See After You Die: A Travel Guide to the Afterlife,
by
Ken Jennings
Nonfiction/Literature/Travel Humor
304 pages
Expected publication June 13, 2023

If this book is really what it says it is, it has the potential of being really good! We’ll see.

“From New York Times bestselling author, legendary Jeopardy! champion, and host Ken Jennings comes a hilarious travel guide to the afterlife, exploring destinations to die for from literature, mythology, and pop culture ranging from Dante’s Inferno to Hadestown to NBC’s The Good Place.
Ever wonder which circles of Dante’s Inferno have the nicest accommodations? Where’s the best place to grab a bite to eat in the ancient Egyptian underworld? How does one dress like a local in the heavenly palace of Hinduism’s Lord Vishnu, or avoid the flesh-eating river serpents in the Klingon afterlife? What hidden treasures can be found off the beaten path in Hades, Valhalla, or NBC’s The Good Place? Find answers to all those questions and more about the world(s) to come in this eternally entertaining book from Ken Jennings.
100 Places to See After You Die is written in the style of iconic bestselling travel guides—but instead of recommending must-see destinations in Mexico, Thailand, or Rome, Jennings outlines journeys through the afterlife, as dreamed up over 5,000 years of human history by our greatest prophets, poets, mystics, artists, and TV showrunners. This comprehensive index of 100 different afterlife destinations was meticulously researched from sources ranging from the Epic of Gilgamesh to modern-day pop songs, video games, and Simpsons episodes. Get ready for whatever post-mortal destiny awaits you, whether it’s an astral plane, a Hieronymus Bosch hellscape, or the baseball diamond from Field of Dreams.
Fascinating, funny, and irreverent, this light-hearted memento mori will help you create your very own bucket list—for after you’ve kicked the bucket.”

📚 MAILBOX MONDAY 📚 

La Révolution des fourmis

See description above
Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday

📚📚📚

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

The top 9 books to read in January 2023

Here are
The top 9 books
I plan to read in January 2023

January-February (not March this year) is the Japanese Literature challenge, in which I’ll be participating (more about that on January 11).
Besides that, I’m not really planning on any other challenge in 2023, trying to focus on my own personal challenges (reading more books in Spanish, Italian, and possible easy picture books in Japanese), on classics, and on my unruly TBRs, while keeping space for random reads.
Plus my French students keep me busy with reading French books as well!

Click on the covers to know more

📚 CURRENTLY READING 📚

Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret

📚 Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret,
by Georges Simenon

Mystery – short stories collection
Published in 1944
624 pages
Reading with French student E.
It counts for The Classics Club

This is the first collection of short stories in the Maigret series (written between 1936-1938).

We have a few stories left.
I really enjoya lot these short stories.
He is a master who can come up with interesting characters and great original plots in so few pages. In them, Maigret tends to be even more grumpy than usual, so there’s definitely some hidden humor here as well.

Week-end à Zuydcoote

📚  Week-end à Zuydcoote,
by Robert Merle

French historical fiction
Published in 1949
244 pages
Reading with French student F.
It counts for The Classics Club

It is set during WWI, in June 1940 at Dunkirk.
It was actually trasnalted into English as Weekend in Dunkirk.

I had not read any book by Robert Merle for a very long time, so it’s nice to go back to his writing.
This book is raw, and yet a lot of humor at the same time. It tells the life of a group of French soldiers trapped in the pocket of Dunkirk, for two days, after the Franco-British defeat.

L'Os de Lebowski📚  L’Os de Lebowski,
by Vincent Maillard
French mystery
Published in 2021
202 pages
Reading with French student S.

S. wanted to read a contemporary French mystery, and in my list, she chose this one.
This is my first book by Maillard. I like the humoristic style, and I’m at the point where the plot starts getting intriguing!

The book hasn’t been translated into English.
It’s narrated in the first person by Jim Carlos, a gardener working at Prés Poleux, owned by a rich family.
Jim has a very lazy dog (Lebowski), who spends its time sleeping, but one day it manages to dig, and finds a human bone (hence the title: Lebowski’s bone).
So, whose bone is it? What happened to that person?
Why is the bone on this property?

Death of a Red Heroine📚 Death of a Red Heroine
(Inspector Chen Cao #1), 

by Qiu Xialong
Chinese Mystery
First published in 2000 (in English)
482 pages
Reading for my public library
Winter Reading Challenge
(book chosen for me by the satff)

I like the plot, and all the political background, with the Communist regime and the work ethics of the place.

“A young “national model worker,” renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal. As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career—perhaps even his life—to see justice done.”

📚 READING NEXT 📚

I’ll be joining the Japanese reading challenge, and hopefully will read 3 books for it this month:

Hell Screen📚 Hell Screen,
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Japanese short story
Published in 1918
Not sure yet of the translator
58 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

I have read several short stories
by this author,
but not this one yet.
I can’t remember why I put it on my TBR,
but I want to keep the surprise right now,
so am not looking at the synopsis.
I’ll tell you more about it later.

Master of the Uncanny

 

📚 Okamoto Kidō: Master of the Uncanny,
by
Kidō Okamoto
Japanese short stories (before 1939)
Translated by Nancy H. Ross
168 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

“Born just after Japan transitioned from the Shogunate to Meiji, Kidō grew up in a samurai-oriented world being transformed by the West in many ways. As a reporter he covered domestic development and overseas wars, while also marrying a traditional geisha, eventually becoming a playwright and author. In addition to a number of well-received plays, he also penned more than fifty horror stories over a roughly ten-year period starting in the mid-1920s. Just prior to this period, the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 destroyed almost everything in Tokyo that remained from the Edo era, and Japanese horror itself was transitioning from the traditional uncanny stories to more modern horror structures.

While many of Kidō’s stories are retellings of tales from China and other nations, he also drew on a diverse range of traditions, including the heritage of Edo-era storytellers such as Ueda Akinari and Asai Ryōi, to produce a dazzling array of work covering the entire spectrum from time-honored ghost tropes to modern horror. The majority of his stories were collected in four volumes: Seiadō kidan (1926), Kindai iyō hen (1926), Iyō hen (1933), and Kaijū (1936).

Kidō remains popular for his elegant, low-key style, subtly introducing the “other” into the background, and raising the specter of the uncanny indirectly and often indistinctly. His fiction spans an enormous range of material, much of it dealing with the uncanny, and as a pioneer in the field his work formed the foundation for the new generation of Japanese authors emerging in post-Restoration literature.

This selection (12 stories) presents a dozen of his best stories: pieces which remain in print almost a century later, and continue to enchant readers—and writers—today. Finally, English-reading audiences can enjoy his strange visions as well.

I am a Cat📚 I am a Cat,
by Soseki Natsume

Japanese lit
Published in 1905
Not sure yet of the translator
470 pages
It counts for The Classics Club

I have reads several books by this author, but mnot yet this one, one of his most famous!

“Written from 1904 through 1906, Soseki Natsume’s comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the foolishness of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.
A classic of Japanese literature, I Am a Cat is one of Soseki’s best-known novels. Considered by many as the most significant writer in modern Japanese history, Soseki’s I Am a Cat is a classic novel sure to be enjoyed for years to come.”

🎧 CURRENT AND NEXT AUDIOBOOKS 🎧

  The Red Thumb Mark L'empire de la mort

🎧 The Red Thumb Mark (Dr. Thorndyke Mysteries #1),
by R. Austin Freeman
Mysteries
Published in 1907
224 pages
9H32
It counts for The Classics Club

I have heard a lot about this author recently, so I was eager to discover Dr Thorndyke.
Richard Austin Freeman (1862-1943) was a British writer of detective stories, mostly featuring the medicolegal forensic investigator Dr Thorndyke. He invented the inverted detective story and used some of his early experiences as a colonial surgeon in his novels.

“In this first book of the series, Dr. Jervis encounters his old friend Dr. Thorndyke; soon after they are drawn into a mystery in which a man is accused of murder and his own bloody thumbprint – evidence that cannot be denied – places him absolutely at the scene of the crime. But for Thorndyke, things may not be quite as straightforward as they seem. Can one forge a thumb print? As Thorndyke investigates, it becomes apparent that he is too much of a threat, and must be removed…”

So far in the book, I don’t find as much medicolegal forensics as I expected, and the focus is more on Thorndyke’s friend Jervis. But still, I like it and am planning to listen at least to volume 2 to see if indeed there’s more medicolegal stuff.

🎧 L’Empire de la mort (N.E.O. #3), by Michel Bussi
French YA scifi
Published on JUne 16, 2022
640 pages
16H24

I really enjoy this author. He is actually just as good in YA scifi as he is in thrillers.
I really loved a lot the first 2 books in this series, so am really eager to keep going.
It is set in post-apocalytic time in and around Paris and Versailles.

I will probably listen to other books, try to read a book in Italian, and go on with an Orthodox book I have been reading with the catechumens in our church.

Eiffel Tower Orange

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

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