Read in 2013
I’m currently reading:
- December 2013—The discovery of Jeanne Baret from Glynis Ridley.
The story of Jean Baret, the young man assisting the botanist Commerson during the Bougainville expedition, who turned out to be Jeanne Baret, the first woman to circumnavigate the globe…
Books I’ve read this year:
- December 2013—Palmer en Bretagne from Pétillon.
Jack Palmer got himself a bodyguard job working for a rich visitor to Brittany.
It’s slightly less funny than the Corsican enquiry, but full of very funny details which hit their mark. It’s a little weird that everything happens at a distance from Palmer, but it avoids the “I guess everything and explain it to you” pattern.
- December 2013—Le loup des mers from Riff Reb’s.
An elegant young man boards the ferry in San Francisco, but after capsizing he’s rescued by a schooner with a terrifying captain.
The graphics have got a strong style which transfers to the characters, and the story adapted from a Jack London novel is intense even if it’s pretty incredible.
- December 2013—Astérix chez les pictes (Asterix and the picts) from Jean-Yves Ferri, Didier Conrad, A. Uderzo & R. Goscinny.
A new Asterix adventure, this time visiting the picts, set in scotland.
With Ferri writing the story, I’m willing to try reading a new Asterix, and it’s a success! The graphics are faithful and the story as well, while it’s also inventive.
- December 2013—Le trésor de la baie des orques (The Judas fish) from Kenneth Cook.
In a New South Wales whaling community, killer whales help the fishermen catching whales.
An adventure which slowly gains intensity to get to a page-turner ending, a story full of very interesting historical details and larger than life characters. Excellent!
- November 2013—Manazuru (真鶴) from Kawakami Hiromi.
A woman’s husband disappears, leaving her with their daughter. A beach resort attracts her.
A dive into the soul, with streams of consciousness and dreams interwoven. It’s quite interesting but a little over-dramatized to my taste.
- November 2013—La Hulotte #100.
The most popular magazine in burrows ends the description of the kingfisher’s life and introduces us to the smallest mammal in the world.
Always very interesting, I had never hears of the Etruscan shrew.
- September 2013—Tōkyō ohanami (東京大花見) from Alexandre Bonnefoy.
A photo album about the cherry blossom event, a few very important days each year in Tōkyō.
The photos are superb, and the illustrations that go along with them add character to the book.
- September 2013—The war of don Emmanuel’s nether parts from Louis de Bernières.
Life (and death) in a south-american village, stuck between guerrillas and soldiers.
A very strong book both funny and merciless, its harshness is reinforced by the way many horrible events ring very true. You get involved with many characters who often don’t escape fate or human stupidity.
- August 2013—La liste des mes envies from Grégoire Delacourt.
Jocelyne lives with Jocelyn in Arras, is a haberdasher and writes a popular blog, until she buys a lottery ticket for the first time and wins 18 million euro.
A nice fable with spot-on details and an engaging heroine.
- August 2013—Le sabre du condamné (The convict’s sword) from I.J. Parker.
A Sugawara Akitada inquest where, while he tries to clear the name of a friend who died in prison, a poor blind singer is murdered.
Much more interesting for the description of the characters and of the living conditions at that time than for the suspense, but it’s not really a bad point.
- August 2013—Maudits from Élian Black’Mor & Carine-M.
Supernatural or mythical beings are taken as refugees in London gardens of the 19th century.
The drawings are nice, those of the Kew Gardens glasshouses are very close to my photos, but the presentation in notes doesn’t really create a story, only a mood.
- August 2013—The amazing maurice and his educated rodents from Terry Pratchett.
Maurice the cat and a group of rats have gotten the ability to speak and think. Maurice creates a con involving the rats and a dumb boy, until they enter a town they should not have entered.
A book intended for young readers but of course suited for older people. I loved the rat names and Malicia got on my nerves. A very good, fast-paced page-turner book.
- August 2013—Dance hall of the dead from Tony Hillerman.
Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn must investigate the Navajo part of an inquest situated on zuñi territory.
As always with Hillerman, it’s well paced and fascinating, I only got the plot at the end and discovered lots of things about indian cultures along the way.
- August 2013—Distrust that particular flavor from William Gibson.
A collection of short texts about technology and culture.
Interesting views, but the strong point for me is the style and wit of the pieces, especially those about places, clothes or… watches.
- July 2013—Au col du mont Shiokari (塩狩峠, Shiokari pass) from Miura Ayoko.
During the Meiji period, a young boy grows without his mother because she is a catholic and hence is rejected by the father’s family.
Is’s interesting to discover how catholicism was rejected in Japan at that time, I had a little bit of trouble with the religiosity of the book, and the ending is incredible and too melodramatic.
- July 2013—The last hero from Terry Pratchett & Paul Kidby.
A picture book from the Discworld universe, where Cohen the barbarian has decided to get a revenge on the gods, and probably must be stopped.
A great story (I love the Cohen the barbarian and Leonard de Quirm characters), beautiful pictures by Kidby, very funny space exploration spoof too.
- June 2013—L’ivresse du kangourou (Frilled-necked frenzy) from Kenneth Cook.
A collection of funny short stories from the Australian bush.
Quite enjoyable, a few memorable stories like the flying frilled-neck lizards, the drunk kangaroo and the arm-wrestling champion.
- June 2011—Onmyôji 7 : l’impératrice céleste from Okano Reiko & Yumemakura Baku.
More Abe no Seimei and Hiromasa adventures, while one of the biggest imperial poetry contests is being prepared, the agressive spirit of Sugawara no Michizane must be distracted by a go game.
Another magical story, the kimono and furious spirits drawings are superb, the poetry contest gives lots of cultural information about the Heian period.
- May 2013—Among others from Jo Walton.
The story of a girl who was injured during a magical confrontation with her mad mother, while her sister died from it, and who goes to a very non-magical English boarding school.
A book especially remarquable for its “reverse Harry Potter” character. I liked the description of Welsh landscapes and wastelands a lot.
- April 2013—La Hulotte #99.
The most popular magazine in burrows focuses on the kingfisher.
Lots of things to learn about this bird while watching the gorgeous drawings. Kingfishers dig burrows, and rather than feeding the noisiest or strongest chick, they have a rotating pecking order.
- March 2013—Arrow of god from Chinua Achebe.
The story of a village chief priest in Nigeria, faced with colonialism and a changing society.
Interesting story from the point of view of a man in power who loses his grip because of outside pressures and the evolution of the society he used to have influence on. Although Ezeulu is in power and trying to stay in control, it’s easy to identify with him, his society and his point of view.
- March 2013—The grapes of wrath from John Steinbeck.
A classic about migration after drought and depression at the start of the 30s in the United States.
A very powerful book, it completes and makes more understandable the terrible destiny of the migrants whose suffering haunted the photos produced at that time (which I was aware of before reading the book).
- February 2013—Y’a skiff, abécédaire du parler de l’arsenal from Gérard Cabon.
A dictionary of popular expressions of the arsenal of Brest.
A funny book, interesting to be able to discover the history and culture of the arsenal through humour.
- January 2013—La Hulotte #98.
The most popular magazine in burrows focuses again on the grove snail, this time looking at reproduction and predators.
As always, very interesting with superb drawings.
List of the books I’ve read in 2012