Tuesday, December 01, 2015

November (second half) 2015 Reading

Still working my way through the books from the library. I actually managed to also read a couple of publisher donations to my TBR pile.

Some good stuff here (and a few disappointments, or was I just in a bad mood). Still, none were total duds. 

The best:

Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World; Editors: James Thomas, Robert Shapard , Christopher Merrill
I did seem to be in the right mood for some flash fiction. I really like short stories, but the very short, short ones sometimes annoy me because they are often not stories at all. This collection is superb, with master writers and top-notch translators. There is also a final section about flash fiction. Library book.

The Things We Don't Do; Neuman, Andrés; Nick Caistor & Lorenza García (Translation)
These stories are sharp, a delight to read. Some are rather dark, dealing with murder, maiming, and suicide. There are two clever views of psychoanalysis (Juan, Jose and Outside no birds were singing), which interestingly are in different sections of this thematically arranged collection. The final section is a special "bonus track, " a collection of  short statements about writing short stories which works well as a guide to reading, as well as writing, short stories. Book from my personal library.

Avenue of Mysteries; Irving, John
Not a disappointment, I loved everything about this novel. Library book.

All Our Worldly Goods; Némirovsky, Irène; Sandra Smith (Translation)
With so many World War 1 & 2 books being written now, it's interesting and rewarding to read one that was actually written during the period. Written during WW2, published in French in 1947, and in English translation in 2008. Library book.

Thirteen Guests: A British Library Crime Classic; Farjeon, J. Jefferson
Another reprint of a great vintage mystery (this one from 1936) from the British Library/Poisoned Pen Press. An assorted cast of characters at a country house, a hunt, murder, clever sleuths, and a touch of romance. Free advance review copy from Poisoned Pen Press, the US publisher.

The rest:
Flambé in Armagnac (Winemaker Detective Mysteries #7) ; Alaux, Jean-Pierre, Balen, Noël; Sally Pane (Translation)
Very light reading. Fun setting and they certainly eat well (and drink well too, the detective is not a policeman, he's an insurance investigator, and has no qualms about having a nip while working). This is the only book I've read in this series. It's a stand alone, and there aren't a lot of references to prior cases. I received a free review copy from the publisher through a LibraryThing giveaway.

Along the Infinite Sea; Williams, Beatriz
Love and intrigue in wartime (WW2) France and Germany carries over to the United States in the 1960s. Some characters are related to ones in other books by Williams, but this is a stand alone. I liked this one much better than The Secret Life of Violet Grant, which is the story of one of the sisters of a main character in this book. Free review copy from publisher.

A Triple Knot; Campion, Emma
This has been sitting in my TBR pile for a while. Every so often I get in the mood for one of these historical fictions about England's past royalty--this one is about Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent. Every time I finish one I think that I won't read another because they all have started sounding too much alike: the books, the heroines, the wars, the intrigues, etc. Some are better than others and this one is one of the better ones, not great, but good enough for a diversion. Free review copy from the publisher.

Numero Zero; Eco, Umberto; Richard Dixon (Translation)
Way too convoluted unless you know Italian politics and like conspiracy theories (or spoofs thereof).  Library book. 

The Japanese Lover; Allende, Isabel; Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson (translators)
A bit of a disappointment. It just never seemed to get off the ground. Library book.

Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise; Hijuelos, Oscar
Beautiful writing, but I struggled at times to stay with it. Library book.

Between Two Fires: Intimate Writings on Life, Love, Food, and Flavor; Esquivel, Laura; Stephen Lytle (Translator)
Somehow having a cockroach give instructions for one of the recipes did nothing to feed my nostalgia for preparing or eating Mexican food. (A cockroach as narrator? What a novel idea!) The book was just too folksy for me. Library book.


  1. this is Emma at Words And Peace. Do you know I run France Book Tours? If you love the Winemaker Detective series, we have the latest one available right now for review: http://francebooktours.com/2015/10/19/jean-pierre-alaux-and-noel-balen-on-tour-late-harvest-havoc/ I'm currently reading it, and so far it could well be my favorite. We also have a giveaway with 3 of these mysteries in 1 book! We regularly have a tour for each volume.
    Also I was trying to contact you to remind you to do your recap for the French Bingo, but I could not find any email or twitter or facebook account. Also tomorrow on http://wordsandpeace.com you will see a poll to vote for how you want the French Bingo to be in 2016!

  2. Emma, I think I entered the Winemaker giveaway (as Martha G). I was chatting with a French friend yesterday and she was very enthusiastic about the TV series, so I put the 1st season on my wish list.
    I abandoned all my challenges this year -- they were interfering too much with my reading :) That's also why I haven't done much with the blog.