My week in books (but not only) #45 - The Sunday post

Hi, I'm linking back to The sunday post held by Kim, The Caffeinated Reviewer. Click on the link to access her post and discover plenty of great bloggers who are dying to share their book reviews, and other things, with you ! 
Just so you know, I'll probably start commenting starting on tuesday. On sundays, I'd rather save my time to spend with my family and on mondays, well : cleaning up, washing up, grocery shopping, driving kids to and from school, cooking and all that fun... This week was... unenventful. I felt particularly lazy. I read. I worked from home. I cooked. I slept. Lots of cats cuddling. No much to say.

 Syrie James : The secret diaries of Charlotte Brontë
that I read for my Brontë mania

Julia Chapman : Date with malice (Dales detectives #2)
Nothing to do with the Brontës (happens), but set in Yorkshire

Ito Ogawa : Le jardin arc-en-ciel
(reviewed in French, since it's not published in English)

Charlotte Perkins Gilman : The yellow wall-paper
a short but efficient story about women and their "nerves" 
at the beginning of the 20th century...

Lupano/Cauuet : L'homme à l'oreille bouchée 
(review in French of a French comic)
I don't think it's been translated into English ? Too bad for you, 
it's a delightfully irreverent series that I love to pieces !

Since I read a lot of classics, mostly Victorian but not only, I joined an online community of fellow classics lovers, I'm so excited about that !!! :
and click on the logo above to see the official blog 
plus here's the post to a corresponding challenge that looks fun :

And now, for something completely different, I happened this week upon this UFO that gave me goosebumps : unconventional, original, catchy and surprising,it baffled me - love them ! And the video made me think of (a modern) Ran :
I didn't watch anything, except my old DVDs of Frasier, a series I absolutely love and that always makes me laugh and feel good :

Laouen trying to spot birds at the windows, hoping that one will come near. As you can see, it finally started freezing at night but the days are still somptuous :

So, did you start making any reading goals for 2021 ?... I have one in mind, long delayed but necessary...


The Classics club : CC Spin #25


I've just joined the club and here's an upcoming challenge, the 25th for them, the 1st for me.
Earlier this day, I published a list of 50 classics that I want to read before the end of 2025 (piece of cake - the links to Goodreads are on that post). The #ccspin consists in taking 20 titles from that list and establishing a new one, with numbers. Tomorrow, The Classics club will post a number from 1 to 20 and the challenge is to read the novel that falls under that number on the spin list before the end of January 2021.

So here's my spin list :

 1 Henry James : The portrait of a lady
 2 Patricia Wentworth : Outrageous fortune
 3 Dorothy Richardson : The tunnel
 4 Angela Thirkell : Wild strawberries
 5 Honoré de Balzac : Eugénie Grandet
 6 George and Weedon Grossmith : The diary of a Nobody
 7 Nietzsche : Aphorisms
 8 Elizabeth Gaskell : Mary Barton
 9 Mishima : Dodoji
10 Edgar Poe : Histoires extraordinaires
11 Albert Camus : Caligula
12 Daphne du Maurier : The loving spirit
13 Ernest Hemingway : To have and have not
14 Wilkie Collins : The dead secret
15 Victor Hugo : Hernani
16 Beaumarchais : Le mariage de Figaro
17 Elizabeth Goudge : Island magic
18 Charles Dickens : Great expectations
19 Corneille : Polyeucte
20 Agatha Christie : The murder of Roger Ackroyd

Those are 20 books I would have read soon anyway, some I'm reluctant to read or I'm wary about, others that are short and/or easy to read ! I'm excited :)

Update : N°14 won, so Wilkie Collins it will be !

The Classics club

"The Classics club : a community of classics lovers", how could I resist ? I love classics ! Old classics, modern classics, golden age mysteries, everything goes.

I happened upon this blog and this Goodreads group through Emma at Words and peace. 

To enter this club, you have to make a list of 50 classics (whatever kind of books you name classics) to read in 5 years. The complete list of instructions on how to join is here.
During this year 2020, I have read/re-read 57 novels and short stories - each title is linked to the review :
- Ray Bradbury : The machineries of joy
- Anne Brontë : Agnes Grey
- Charlotte Brontë : The professor
- Emily Brontë : Poems, Wuthering heights
- Frances Hodgson Burnett : The secret garden
- Wilkie Collins : The haunted house
- Dinah Craik : Olive
- Daphne du Maurier : The doll
- Elizabeth Gaskell : The life of Charlotte Brontë
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman : The yellow wall-paper
- George Gissing : The odd women
- Anna Katherine Green : The affair next door
- Gerald Manley Hopkins : As kingfishers catch fire
- James Joyce : Dubliners
- Lucy Maud Montgomery : Anne of Green Gables
- Barbara Pym : Excellent women
- Mary Shelley : Frankenstein
- Robert Louis Stevenson : Treasure island
- Bram Stoker : Dracula
- Jonathan Swift : A modest proposal
- J.R.R. Tolkien : The Hobbit, The lord of the rings
- Mary Wesley : The camomille lawn
- Rebecca West : The return of the soldier
- P.G. Wodehouse : Jeeves and the feudal spirit
- Virginia Woolf : Londres (in French)
- Emile Zola : Germinal

Next, I would like to read/re-read (those books are on my physical shelf, mostly) - I linked the titles to their Goodreads pages :
- Beaumarchais : Le mariage de Figaro
- Ray Bradbury : Dandelion wine
- Pearl Buck : East wind, west wind
- Samuel Butler : The way of all flesh
- Albert Camus : Caligula
- Jean Cocteau : La machine infernale
- Corneille : Polyeucte
- Charles Dickens : Great expectations
- Daphne du Maurier : The loving spirit, My cousin Rachel
- Elizabeth Gaskell : North and south, Mary Barton
- Gustave Flaubert : Madame Bovary
- Elizabeth Goudge : The city of bells, Island magic
- George and Weedon Grossmith : The diary of a Nobody
- Ernest Hemingway : To have and have not 
- Victor Hugo : Hernani
- Henry James : Portrait of a lady 
- Joseph Kessel : Vent de sable, Le lion
- Mme de la Fayette : La princesse de Clèves
- Mishima : Dodoji
- Nietzsche : Aphorisms 
- Dorothy Richardson : The tunnel, Honeycomb
- Angela Thirkell : Wild strawberries
- J.R.R. Tolkien : The Silmarillion
- Patricia Wentworth : Outrageous fortune, Nothing venture

Phew ! Linking was a long job ! 
These are the classic titles that I will read next, but they probably won't be the only ones : I have several complete works on my kindle : Oscar Wilde, Anthony Trollope, Elizabeth Gaskell, Elizabeth Von Arnim and so on. And I'm currently re-reading all of the Brontës, Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier. No special reason other than I just love them. 
I applied to the Goodreads group last evening, I intend to join the blog and each time I'll publish a review of a book on this list, I will link it with this logo :
This is going to be just great ! I intend to read all these before 2025 (probably before the end of 2021...)

LUPANO, Wilfrid/CAUUET, Paul : L'homme à l'oreille bouchée - Les vieux fourneaux T6

Mimile a eu l'idée du siècle : inviter ses vieux amis à le rejoindre en Guyane pour un séjour mystérieux. Antoine, qui n'a jamais voyagé, est aux anges. Pierrot, qui n'a jamais voyagé non plus, n'a pas l'intention de laisser l'exotisme et l'aventure saper sa proverbiale mauvaise humeur.  Les voyages forment la jeunesse, pas les vieux, pense-t-il. Il se trompe pourtant, car c'est bien l'enfance qui les attend au détour du fleuve Maroni. La jeunesse de Guyane, mais aussi la leur, celle des vertes années dans le Sud-Ouest, lorsque les trois amis jouaient aux pirates et rêvaient à des coffres remplis d'or ! Douchés par les pluies tropicales, menacés par les bestioles hostiles de la jungle et enivrés par leurs souvenirs, voilà les trois amis embarqués dans un voyage initiatique qui leur fera découvrir que la fièvre, en Amazonie, n'est pas transmise que par les moustiques. Entre une ex-prétendante de Pierrot, une pièce de théâtre improvisée et la sacrée surprise de Mimile... ce voyage est une pépite ! Avec l'humour et l'engagement qui les caractérisent, Lupano et Cauuet rempilent pour un sixième tome des Vieux Fourneaux. Une aventure aux accents écologiques dans le berceau de l'or jaune...


Fan depuis le début, je ne pouvais pas louper la parution de ce dernier tome des aventures des pépés terribles ! Et je n'ai pas été déçue même si le ton change un peu, moins bras d'honneurs à l'autorité, plus lutte écologique - mais le principe est le même, non ? Résistance !

Cette fois-ci, sus à la Guyane et aux exploitations minières. Pas d'action d'éclat, mais la mise en lumière d'une situation souvent méconnue et/ou ignorée. Vive les pépés terribles et longue vie aux formidables vieux fourneaux !!

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Charlotte Perkins GILMAN : The yellow wall-paper

"The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.'

Written with barely controlled fury after she was confined to her room for 'nerves' and forbidden to write, Gilman's pioneering feminist horror story scandalized nineteenth-century readers with its portrayal of a woman who loses her mind because she has literally nothing to do.

Also contains The Rocking-Chair and Old Water.

The Yellow wall-paper is a very short story that you can read in less than an hour, but it's a story well worth reading anyway.

I think the first time I heard about it was watching one of Kate's videos but I'm not sure which one. She praised it so much that I had to give it a try. It's easy to find it for free on the net, so I read it on my kindle, but have just ordered the Penguin little black classic. (I will add a review of the other two stories on this post when I'm done.)

What struck me most reading this was how that nameless character was trying to communicate with her husband but the husband, no matter how much he seemed to love her, wouldn't listen because he knew better - he was a physician, a man of science, in an era who thought men knew all about women, their nerves and hysteria. That poor woman was just suffering from post-natal depression but the only treatment that prevailed in those days was to lock the young mother up with nothing at all to distract her. Imagine lying on your bed for days, weeks, maybe months, only looking at the ceiling or through the window ! Or, in this case, studying that ugly yellow wallpaper. Basically, this can drive you completely crazy in record time.
The worse is that it really happened to the author, who didn't even have the authorisation to write. Charlotte Perkins Gilman seems to have led a very interesting and unconventional life, even her death. After reading this, I would really love to read her autobiography and other writings.

I highly recommend reading this text - and it won't take you long...


OGAWA Ito : Le jardin arc-en-ciel

Izumi, jeune mère célibataire, rencontre Chiyoko, lycéenne en classe de terminale, au moment où celle-ci s’apprête à se jeter sous un train. Quelques jours plus tard, elles feront l’amour sur la terrasse d’Izumi et ne se quitteront plus. Avec le petit Sosûke, le fils d’Izumi, elles trouvent refuge dans un village de montagne, sous le plus beau ciel étoilé du Japon, où Chiyoko donne naissance à la bien nommée Takara-le-miracle ; ils forment désormais la famille Takashima et dressent le pavillon arc-en-ciel sur le toit d’une maison d’hôtes, nouvelle en son genre.
Je suis entrée dans ce roman les yeux fermés, sans lire le résumé, simplement en suivant l'auteure que j'apprécie beaucoup depuis "La papeterie Tsubaki". Pas mal de personnes ont moins apprécié ce jardin arc-en-ciel, mais pas moi. C'est vrai que c'est une histoire très simple, pas de rebondissements : une rencontre, la vie commune, les enfants, les hauts et les bas, la vie et la mort, sauf que pour une fois, les personnages principaux sont un couple de lesbiennes et leurs enfants. Donc s'ajoute à leur quotidien la peur du qu'en dira-t-on, l'envie de se faire accepter, par la famille comme par les voisins, et d'être reconnues pour un couple à part entière, ce qu'elles réussiront en ouvrant leur maison d'hôtes, en faisant de belles rencontres.
Ce que j'aime beaucoup, dans les romans d'Ito Ogawa, c'est la chaleur humaine, l'ouverture sur les autres, faire ce qu'on peut pour les aider, accepter la vie telle qu'elle est et en extraire la subtantifique moëlle, savoir en reconnaître la poésie.

Un roman grave et tendre que je recommande chaudement.

"Je réfléchis à la mission qui nous a été assignée, je crois que c'est de prendre soin d'autrui. Comme nous vivons en marge de la société, nous comprenons ce que ressentent les minorités. Ce qui nous rend plus attentionnées. Parce que nous comprenons ceux qui se trouvent en position de faiblesse. (...) On peut peut-être dire que nous sommes destinées à donner des couleurs au monde."


Julia CHAPMAN : Date with malice (The Dales detectives #2)

When Mrs Shepherd arrives at the Dales Detective Agency on a December morning, quite convinced that someone is trying to kill her, Samson O’Brien dismisses her fears as the ramblings of a confused elderly lady. But after a series of disturbing incidents at Fellside Court retirement home, he begins to wonder if there is something to her claims after all...
With Christmas around the corner, Samson is thrown into a complex investigation. One that will require him to regain the trust of the Dales community he turned his back on so long ago. Faced with no choice, he enlists the help of a local – the tempestuous Delilah Metcalfe.
Against the backdrop of a Yorkshire winter, Samson and Delilah must work together once again if they are to uncover the malevolence threatening the elderly residents of Bruncliffe. Could the danger be perilously close to home ?
What more is there to say about those novels except "I really like them !" ?
I'd read the first book in the series but missed the second until I saw it at the library. It's a very entertaining series that takes place in Yorkshire, in a small community where everybody knows everyone, complete with a nursing home, a huge dog, possibly gay sheeps, a dating agency and typical Yorkshire temper. There is also a conclusion about foreigners that you'd like to see more in those small town stories - especially with the effective Brexit closing in.

It's a fun read, you grow to love the characters, you're dying to know what is troubling Samson and why he won't talk about this business in London. My only reluctance in all this is that I see a romance coming while I like Samson and Delilah just as they are, as friends.