About Book Around The Corner

 “Books are the most amazing objects, aren’t they ?”

He looked puzzled, she realized, by the banality of this observation.

“I mean, because they’re lumpish objects, they have a physical existence, like we do. But any single book is the instantiation of a kind of Platonic form, the ideal, the creation of an author, which exists independent of the physical object. And here they sit on the shelf : the ideal’s latent until we pick it up and connect ourselves with the mind of a man or a woman who may be long dead. And, in the case of a novel, with a world that never actually existed”

The Good Life by Jay McInerney

This quote from Jay McInerney describes what can best happen when reading. Forgetting time and place, leaving this life to live another one. Be swallowed by another world or discover in someone else’s words our most intimate feelings and thoughts. This blog is about the books I read. I’m not a great reader or a “know-it-all” about literature. But I’ve always been fond of books and technology now provides a convenient way to share about it.

I’m French and I chose to write in English. Sorry for my French friends but I’m trying to expand my horizon beyond our frontiers. This also means that I don’t write in my native language. Sorry for my English-speaking friends, I’ll make mistakes. Hopefully they won’t hurt your eyes too much.

What do I read? Mostly literary fiction and crime fiction. I’m not interested in literary prizes, I don’t trust the way most of them are given. Why this blog? To share and discover would be the most important reasons.

Share what I read with others. Hopefully read comments from people who have read that book before.

Pause between two books and take time to think about it and try to find out why I liked or disliked this particular book.

Discover new authors and have new reading ideas.

What am I doing when I’m not reading, working or taking care of my family ?

Listening to music, mostly pop and rock. Taking piano lessons to be able to play something more than “The Beatles, really easy piano”. Going to the theatre, to the cinema or to art exhibitions Meeting friends. Rollerblading.

If you wish to contact me, leave a comment or email me at bookaroundthecornerATgmailDOTcom.

  1. February 10, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Hello Bookaround – i have been browsing your blog. It is very impressive. You have great taste in literature. I love your writing style, it seems casual yet a sophisticated at the same time. We need more great literature blogs like this! Please do keep blogging.

    Like

    • February 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Thank you for visiting and for your kind comment. I’ll try not to disappoint.

      Like

  2. June 28, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    vraiment, serais-tu une autre Emma, française qui blog en anglais? je suis Emma @ Words And Peace, j’habite près de chicago. voici mon blog sur les livres que je lis: http://wordsandpeace.com. Nous faisons toutes les deux le Japanese Literature Challenge, c’est comme cela que je t’ai trouvée. J’ai vu Emma, avec Norwegian Wood, et je sais que je n’ai pas mis de recension sur ce livre récemment.

    Like

    • June 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Emma est mon diminutif pour internet mais sinon, oui, je suis bien française et je blogue en anglais. Crazy? I’ll have a look at your blog.

      Like

  3. September 17, 2012 at 5:33 am

    Bonjour Emma,
    Lisa de ANZLitLovers m’a parlé de ton blog, c’est fantastique, et tres courageux de l’ecrire en anglais. J’habite a Melbourne et tiens un blog en francais (http://lekoalalit.wordpress.com) exclusivement sur la litterature australienne. Je suis dorénavant ton blog et j’espere qu’on pourra se faire découvrir des livres.

    Like

    • September 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      Bonjour

      J’ai souscrit à ton blog également, je ne sais pas si tu as vu mon message. La littérature australienne est très mal représentée en France. On n’en parle presque jamais.

      Like

  4. January 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Quel plaisir de voir qu’il existent encore les français qui lisent autant de livres! J’ai rencontré trop de gens qui n’étaient interessés que par les choses ‘plus pratiques’ 😦 I’m very happy to have discovered your blog and will follow you with pleasure. Warm regards from Poland!

    Like

    • January 11, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      Hello, thanks for visiting and following my blog. I hope you’ll like the billets I publish.
      Don’t be so pessimistic, there are as many readers in France than in any other country. 🙂

      Like

  5. February 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Great blog, I shall be stopping by more often.

    Like

    • February 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Thanks for your kind words. I hope you’ll enjoy reading my billets.

      Like

  6. April 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Hello Bookaroundthecorner,

    I just stumbled across your blog and I love it!!!!! I added it to my list of litblogs… on my own literature blog. Of course, I got into blogging little more than four months ago and I converted my blog into a litblog somewhere on the way.

    However, I hope that you’ll write many more of your interesting posts about good literature. All the best from another blogger in a foreign language!

    Like

    • April 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      Hello,
      Thank you very much for your kind message and welcome to blogging.
      I’ll have a look at your blog and I hope to hear from you again.

      Emma

      Like

  7. April 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Well, Emma, if you continue to write interesting posts, you’ll surely hear from me every now and then. Unfortunately, I’m pretty busy these days and can’t follow every interesting blog as I would like to, but yours is in my bloglist and I check those regularly 🙂

    Like

    • April 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Same problem for everyone: so many interesting bloggers to follow and not enough time.
      I subscribed to your blog, btw. I like what you’re covering.

      Like

      • May 2, 2013 at 10:34 am

        I’m glad that you like my blog so much to have subscribed. 🙂

        I’ve fallen a bit out of step with my entries, but such is life. Next book review tomorrow – I hope.

        Like

  8. August 31, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    i am happy to know that you are French, it is a great idea to write in English. I hope we will be able to talk more. I love your concept. Fantastic! I live in England in Devon. How about you? Are you in France?

    Like

    • August 31, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Thanks, I wanted to be in contact with readers from other countries, that’s why I chose to write in English. It’s not the easiest way for me but it’s rewarding.
      I live in France.

      Like

  9. November 14, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Well, Emma, it looks as though following your blog will be a great adventure. I prefer literary fiction and crime fiction as you do, but I’m American, read French almost exclusively, and write it as often as I get the chance. The other difference I’ve spotted so far is that one pass through À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs was quite enough for me.
    Best wishes,
    David

    Like

    • November 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      Hello,

      Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I’m always glad to hear about a foreigner who speaks French.
      I think most of the regular reader of my blog (or at least the ones who manifest themselves) can read French, some better than others.
      If you drop by again, you’ll see that I put quotes from books in both languages when I write about a French book.

      And yes, I love Proust. As much as Gary, but differently because each speak to me at a different level.

      I hope to hear from you soon.

      All the best,

      Emma

      Like

  10. November 15, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I certainly did notice your juxtaposition of the English and French passages. What a lot of work, but it sure makes it easier for the rest of us.

    Having taken a crack at translating both ways, I now appreciate how difficult the process is and have the utmost respect for good translations. Are you open to inquiry and criticism?

    Like

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:45 am

      Inquiry and criticism about what?
      If you mean reading about literary criticism, then no, not really.
      I enjoy reading about the historical and political concept of a book but I don’t care much about deeply analysing the structure of the narrative or the style.

      Like

  11. Catherine
    March 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Well done for you! Je trouve ca tres bien et tres impressionnant avec ton niveau d’anglais d’ecrire un blog en anglais. Comme tu l’as vu, le mien est bilingue et j’ai souris lorsque tu as parle des fautes eventuelles que tu pouvais faire. Haha moi aussi je l’ai mis sur mon blog. Bah oui, j’ai beau etre bilingue, je ne suis pas une native non plus! En tout cas ton blog va me donner l’occasion de decouvrir (en anglais) tes lectures et je m’en rejouis d’avance!:-)

    Like

    • March 17, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Merci pour le message et les encouragements. Des fois je me dis «quelle arrogance, ce blog en anglais!»
      Tant pis pour les fautes, le ridicule ne tue pas et je suis ravie des contacts que j’ai établis grâce à Book Around The Corner.

      Like

      • Catherine
        March 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm

        Tout a fait et ca n’a rien d’arrogant, au contraire! Et je comprends que tu veuilles nouer par la meme occasion des contacts outre mer. Bravo encore!I’m looking forward to discover more about your blog and reviews! 😉

        Like

  12. Martin Hoyle
    March 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I’ve just heard a preview of a BBC radio adaptation of Mayorga’s The Boy at the Back (sic), to go out on Mar 30 on Radio 3. The translation is by David Johnston which, without having seen or read the play (or film) I can only assume is excellent. The whole experience was thoroughly gripping, provocative, stimulating and not a little creepy (what will Claudio become?). And the wretched teacher!… God protect youthful promise from soured mediocrity. Anyway, I’m delighted to find this blog and full of admiration for your English. I wish my French were up to it (note subjunctive, in case you wondered, not that we English bother about that much these days. Perhaps I’m an embittered pedant…). Continue the good work.

    Like

    • March 23, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      So The Boy at the Back is the official English title of this play. I get a lot of hits on this post, the play seems to be in school programs. If you have a chance to catch the film, go for it, it’s great.

      Thanks for your kind words about my English. I do know about the subjunctive, I learnt it was mandatory after “I wish I …” That’s the kind of grammar rule we have to learn by heart and I remember exercices to memorise it.

      Like

  13. Tredynas Days
    August 24, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Emma, I’ve just come across your blog via Max at Pechorin’s Journal. I’m SO impressed that you write in a language that isn’t your own. I like your taste in literature too, so shall look forward to reading more of your posts. Bonne chance!

    Like

    • August 25, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Welcome to Book Around the Corner and thanks for your kind message.
      I hope to hear from you on future billets.

      Emma

      Like

  14. September 4, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I discovered you via Guy Savage and saw that you are French (I’m currently living in France just outside Geneva), that we have many friendly blogs in common and that you also went to Quais du Polar in Lyon this year. Hope to have many productive ‘conversations’ with you about crime fiction and other literature.

    Like

    • September 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Hi,

      I’m glad Guy’s post gave you the idea to visit my blog.
      We don’t live far from each other, I see.
      How did you like Quai du polar? Did you chat with that libraire from Au Bonheur des Ogres?

      Like

  15. December 19, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Just found your blog via Tony’s Reading List. I’m going to be spending many happy hours perusing your site I can tell……

    Like

    • December 19, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Welcome aboard and thanks for the nice message. I hope you won’t be disappointed.

      Like

  16. December 21, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Bonjour Emma! Thank you for visiting my blog 🙂 You’re the first blogger from France, I’ve “met”. I am truly enjoying your blog. What a wonderful idea! I wish my rudimentary High School French was as good as your English 😦
    Kim

    Like

    • December 21, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Bonjour!
      I hope you’ll discover new books here. I often include quotes in French and in English in my billets (my French word for my reviews) so it’ll give you an opportunity to read in French. 🙂

      Emma

      Liked by 1 person

  17. January 24, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I love the quote at the beginning of your “about” page. Being blind I do most of my reading on my Kindle using it’s text to speech facility. I do, however love the physicality of paper books. I own braille books but they take up a good deal of room, for example Wuthering Heights runs to 4 braille volumes while The New Oxford Book Of English Verse comprises 10! I look forward to following your blog. Kind regards, Kevin

    Like

    • January 24, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Thanks for your message and I hope you’ll like my future billets.
      I use the text-to-speech facility too, not for the same reason as you. It helps me to improve my English because I can see the words and hear how to pronounce them.

      Like

  18. February 2, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Bonjour Emma:

    I am 95% a screenwriter but just published Proud Patrick on Amazon. The only thing French in the novel is the protagonist’s first apartment which he adorns with a print of a Gustave Courbet painting of the young artist returning to his village after studies in Paris. His beard resembled an angry phallus and somehow this was interesting to the protag.

    I am looking for reviewers who are mad about books who like to review.

    The novel briefly described:

    In the tradition of Angela’s Ashes, this is a sad/happy family saga told over forty years: the story of the six Sullivan siblings and what happened to their lives after their mother ran off with the butcher.

    Presented with death and suicide, Patrick (and another prodigal) and his brothers and sisters maintain themselves over a long Dublin week of celebration and sorrow with unsteady triumph acted out in comic routines, buoyed by wrought iron memories forged in pain.

    Will send a trade paperback on request.

    Amicalement,

    Michael Aloysius O’Reilly
    moreilly1102@gmail.com

    Like

    • February 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Hello Michael

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I don’t take review copies at the moment, my TBR is too huge and I want to read what I already have.

      Emma

      Like

  19. November 11, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Title: A Danger to God Himself
    Author: John Draper
    Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing
    Publication date: Nov. 2015
    Genre: Literary fiction
    Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Danger-God-Himself-John-Draper/dp/1518881092/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447252340&sr=8-1&keywords=a+danger+to+god+himself

    Hello.

    My name is John Draper. I’m hoping you might be willing to review my first novel, A Danger to God Himself. It is not a religious book. It is literary fiction and a satire of religious certainty. It’s the story of a Mormon missionary who goes insane on his mission. Here is the back cover blurb:

    Mormon missionary/onetime hedonist Kenny Feller has realized that God isn’t about to give him an ounce of the miracle power he needs to succeed on his mission—as promised! What’s more, he’s concluded that, frankly, people aren’t worth the trouble. Then his new junior companion shows up—the wisecracking Jared Baserman—and immediately starts hearing heavenly voices and seeing fantastic visions. For Kenny, it is immediately clear that God has sent Jared to propel him into Mormon Manhood.

    But Kenny’s not the only person who takes note. Interests both virtuous and malevolent cozy up to Kenny and Jared, eager to make use of Jared’s gifting. At first, Kenny takes this as a sign that his perceptions of Jared are spot on. God is using Jared.

    But something’s not quite right.

    Specifically, why in the hell would God choose someone as slope-shouldered as Jared—someone so unreligious, so strange—to be a channel for His supernatural power? He doesn’t even read the Book of Mormon. Plus he smells funny. As their tracting grows fruitless and Jared’s messages grow more bizarre, Kenny begins to wonder: Is Jared really touched by God?

    And, if so, does God know what He’s doing?

    A Danger to God Himself is a scathing takedown of religious certainty, a life-affirming tale set in 1970s Washington state—equal parts spiritual road map and coming-of-age tale.

    I’d be happy to send you a copy for your review.

    Thanks for your time.

    Like

    • November 11, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      Hi,

      Thanks for thinking of me to read and review your novel but I’m still trying to decrease my TBR.

      My #TBR20 project isn’t completed yet; so I don’t accept review copies of books.

      Sorry.

      I wish you the best.

      Emma

      Like

  20. February 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I see. The seagulls read books after breakfast.

    Like

    • February 20, 2016 at 9:36 am

      The Seagulls even read books DURING breakfast.

      Like

  21. Deepika Ramesh
    February 21, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Hi Book Around, I just discovered your blog, and I am so glad I did. I particularly love the quote that you have used here. I look forward to reading more of your blogs. Many thanks! 🙂

    Like

  22. Dorothy H Willis
    June 21, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Hello. As did many of your readers I found your blog when searching for information on Remembrance of Things Past. When I was a college student in the 50’s my logic professor told us there was one book we should read: Remembrance …. I bought a two volume set and carried it from house to house, always attempting to read it, always unsuccessfully. Now I am listening to each volume on audio CD’s from my library. Your blog is hugely helpful. I have the old translation and hope to find the newer one. I look forward to reading your blog about other books I haven’t yet read.

    Like

    • June 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      Hello,

      Thanks for dropping by and for your lovely comment. I’m glad you found an audio version of Proust that suits you and allow you to discover his wonderful prose and his universe.
      I’m glad to know that the links I put on my Reading Proust page were useful.
      Enjoy and don’t hesitate to leave comments on posts. They’re always welcome. A big part of the blogging experience is discussing books with other readers.

      Like

  23. August 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I’m so impressed that you are running a blog in a second language and glad it’s in English! Even after studying French and German through college, I would never be able to do what you’re doing.

    Like

    • August 15, 2016 at 2:37 am

      Thanks. It’s not always easy but I’m trying. English is a special language to me and I’ve improved over the years.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Tee Wai
    October 2, 2017 at 6:51 am

    You have a very vibrant blog Emma. I’ve started following you. Will be looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Like

    • October 2, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      What a nice message!
      Thanks! I hope you’ll enjoy my reading adventures.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Caroline Cooke
    November 5, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Just found your blog Emma in a desperate bid to understand Silk (Baricco). Your comments chimed with my views and made me smile. I know that you reviewed it some time ago but it is my latest book club pick. Views to be debated this Tuesday…..!

    Like

    • November 5, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Hello and welcome to my blog.
      To sum Silk up : Much ado about nothing but at least it led you to my blog.
      The comment section at the end of the post is not closed, don’t hesitate to leave a comment there and tell me how your book club reacted to it.
      This post has had a lot of hits from the Philippines since August. Either some robots tried to spam it or some students had to read it in school. I wonder what they made of my billet if they were looking for clues to understand the book.

      Like

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