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The Bookish Bookin Book Tag (English Version)

30 Mai

This Tag was created by Bekah AwesomeBookNut and you can find the original video here:

I found the questions interesting, some of them really different from other Tags. So I’ll try to inject variety in my answers as well.

This English Version of the Tag focuses on books published in foreign languages, while its French counterpart will focus on… French books, you guessed it!

Many of these books I’ve read in the French publications, so I’m showing you these.

As per usual, these are my opinions. You don’t like them? I don’t care.

  1. What is a well-loved book that you hated?

I could go with The Great Gasby like in in a previous Tag, but there’s actually plenty of choice here, for I often tend to go against the stream… not by design, mind you, that’s just the way it is. So today, let’s say the two last books in the Harry Potter series. After Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, what a letdown!

  1. What is a guilty pleasure book?

Anything paranormal romance… or romance, period. And I’m currently in the middle of such a guilty pleasure: having just discovered Patricia Briggs, I’m onto the 2nd installment in her Mercy Thompson series.

  1. Have you ever spoiled a book for someone? If so, which book?

I have sort of spoiled parts of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 to my fiancée, but in the end it didn’t interfere much with her reading experience, so I guess it’s OK. And yes, it IS possible to spoil such a book to someone. Kinda.

  1. What book made you ugly cry?

With the hiccups, running snoot and reddening face? I actually have a “made me weep” shelf on Goodreads for those! The latest: A monster calls by Patrick Ness.

  1. What is your latest DNF?

I usually finish my books, or at least attempt to reach the middle point. But I’m no masochist either: if it’s a pain to read, I drop it. Last time was with Edward Rutherfurd’s London. Shame, for the premises were right up my alley.

  1. Which book have you read due to controversy?

I don’t seek controversial material per se. I just sometimes read books that happen to be controversial… which I often discover afterwards, anyway. So, no answer for this question.

  1. Have you read a book where you questioned the authors’ sanity?

You mean, apart from any horror book writer under the sun? Do Stephen King and Cie count? Or, even worse: do the bastards who wrote the Bible and the Quran count? Because these were psychopathic, evil ignoramus.

  1. What is the most cringe-worthy book you’ve read?

Apart from those mentioned in the previous question? Quite a few, but for today I’ll go with Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe (AKA Daniel Easterman). That story is just sick.

  1. What book have you read solely due to the cover?

I don’t cover-by. I’m attracted to beautiful covers of course, especially the fantasy kind, which, given what’s available nowadays on the market, might suck for my bank account. Fortunately, I tend to check the author or the story beforehand.

  1. Name a book you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve read.

I’m not really embarrassed for anything I’ve read, I don’t think. Why is it then I didn’t add Lora Leigh or any other Erotica I’ve read on my Goodreads? You tell me…

  1. Name an unknown book you wish more people knew of.

I’ll go with the recently published Picture of Dorian Gray. Uncensored by Oscar Wilde. This version, the one originally intended by the author, brings a whole new light to his inner life and work. Any fan of the canon (censured) version should read it.

  1. Name a favorite villain.

I LOOOVE a well-written villain. And I know of plenty in literature. But I’ll choose It, from the eponym book by Stephen King, the first one I read by him when I was 13: it left marks, of course. If Pennywise the Clown is not a great villain, then very few are!

  1. Name a book you enjoyed that is outside the norm of genre you usually read.

Without a doubt, World War Z (Max Brooks). I never dreamed of enjoying a “zombie book” this much!

  1. Name tropes you actually enjoy reading.

Love Redeems. Beauty and the Beast. Villains in love. Friendship to the end…

  1. What/who inspired you to join book tube?

I’m not a Booktuber and don’t intend to become one, so no answer for that last question.


Intimidating TBR Book Tag (English Version)

30 Sep

A great Tag for me, since my TBR, or “To Be Read” pile, has reached cosmic proportions lately. Here I will focus on “Foreign” literature. Books in my mother tongue will be dealt with in the French version.

As per usual, these are my opinions, and if you see something you don’t like, you can suck it up like an adult and move on with your life.

Let’s go!

  1. What book have you been unable to finish?

According to my Goodreads shelves, there would be 33 of those, 6 of which deserve a re-read or a second chance because I tried reading them at the wrong time in my life.

However, some books are just not for me. The latest I dropped (after 611 pages – a fair trial by all standards) is London by Edward Rutherfurd. I just couldn’t: the fiction takes over the history of the city waaay too much… and it’s bad fiction, with uninteresting characters and lazy, cliché plot twists.


What book have you yet to read because…

  1. …you just haven’t had the time?

All the books still waiting in my TBR. Duh…

  1. …it’s a sequel?

That would be Olympos by Dan Simmons. I read Illium ages ago, when it was first published in France. And I need to reread it in English before I move on to volume 2… And I’m feeling too lazy for this right now.



  1. …it’s brand new?

I will go with “it’s just arrived on your shelves”, for I mostly buy second hand books. I’d say Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. I just got it and it’s a gorgeous hardcover (hardcovers are growing on me lately). Plus, I’ve been fascinated by Cleopatra for decades now, so I can’t wait to read this one!


  1. …you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

Not to blame the same author twice, but reading London and not being able to finish it because it was boring (which is a shame, especially when you love that city as much as I do), I’m not so eager to pick up Edward Rutherfurd’s New York novel. My copy may be a beautiful hardcover, but it will wait a while on my shelf…


  1. …you’re just not in the mood for it?

This may apply to most books, for I’m definitely a ‘mood reader’. Still, the Oscar goes to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. No contest. I never seem to be in the mood for that one! I’ve picked it up so many times, only to read a few pages and feel like: ‘meh, it’s not the right time’.

Tale of 2 cities

  1. …it’s humongous?

Size is not a problem for me, I tend to prefer big books anyway. But I have to admit, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy kind of freaks me out. Weird really, for I have tried to read it once already, and made it through a few hundred pages, then dropped it. Moreover, I absolutely LOVE Anna Karenina, so I know War and Peace is right up my alley but somehow, I haven’t gathered the courage to tackle it yet. But it will happen… someday…


  1. …because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

Sorry, I don’t do cover buys, even if I love me some beautiful editions.

  1. What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?

There are many, in terms of subject matter. But I’d say the one I’m most wary of reading, while being excited as well, is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Yeah. Enough said.


New York Times By The Book Tag (English Version)

29 Juil



I had forgotten about this great tag, which was popular on Booktube a while ago! Shame on me!

Those questions are quite interesting, though it’s sometimes been difficult to answer.

As per usual, no disclaimer, apologies, excuses or trigger warnings needed amongst grownups.

Let’s do this!


  1. What book is on your night stand now?

The Tin Drum by Günter Grass. That book is very intriguing, and that’s an understatement! It’s not an easy read, but a twisted, uncomfortable one, as is often the case with magical realism. I regularly have to do some research to make sure I understand the context in Danzig before and during WW2, and I learn a lot!

I’m really enjoying it so far.



  1. What was the last truly great book you read?

I would have loved to answer Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, because it’s considered a masterpiece and I was anticipating that reading experience a lot, but I actually preferred L’Homme qui rit (The Laughing Man) by Victor Hugo, which was amazing and moved me deeply.

homme rit


  1. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

I never try to meet my favorite authors when they’re alive, much less dream of seeing them as ghosts. So, I’ll pass for this one.

  1. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

None at all, if you know me. I’m an eclectic reader, though my shelves are pretty empty nowadays. Which brings me to the next question…


  1. How do you organize your personal library?

I no longer own a decent ‘personal library’, just a bunch of books.

Chambre 1

At one point in my academic life, I was literally living and sleeping in a studio-apartment-turned-library. It was utterly oppressing. One day, I said ‘no more!’, ended my career and sold my academic/scientific library, as well as most of the pieces of literature I owned.

Today, my book ‘stash’ consists mostly of my TBR, scattered on 3 shelves and organized by language (French/English) and size (hardcover/mass market paperback).

The few books I keep are those I TRULY love and plan on rereading.

As for the others, as soon as they’re finished, I either lend them to friends and family, or sell them in secondhand/thrift bookshops.

I daresay that, after being a collector bordering on hoarder, I have no compunction about letting go of books once I’m done with them.

  1. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

I keep postponing the moment when I’ll tackle Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, because it is humongous, the biggest book I’ve ever had. And it’s legend. I mean, what will compare once I’m done with it?

Misérables intégral

But I don’t feel embarrassed about any book I haven’t read yet. There’s just no time to read everything, so it would be pointless to feel sorry or ashamed.

  1. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

So basically these are 2 separate questions.

The first one is easy to answer to: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald). What a perfect bore! Seriously, what’s all the fuss about with that book?


As for the second question, I didn’t finish Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, way too weird and ill-written for my taste, especially after Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which were very good.



  1. What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I’m more likely to grab classics, historical fictions or novels with magical realism elements.

Now that I’m getting older, I tend to be more sensitive and to stay clear of horror books, though I did read a LOT of Stephen King and other masters of the genre as a teenager.

  1. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Apart from his resignation letter? I’d say The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He needs to remember there IS a social contract between him and the people he’s supposed to serve (not rule).



  1. What do you plan to read next?

I try not to plan my next read, simply because it always fails: my mood can change drastically while I’m reading the current book, and I can never know in what state of mind I’ll be once it’s time to move on to the next one.

Pasta Book Tag (English Version)

27 Juil

As usual with those book tags, the English version will mention books originally written in foreign languages, and the French version will deal with French books only.

I like this tag, the questions are quite detailed and creative. Plus, I like pasta.

No disclaimer of any kind, no apology, no trigger warning. We’re talking about books, come on! Grown ups don’t need that kind of BS.

  1. Macaroni & Cheese – The most heartfelt work you ever read

If you mean heartfelt as in sincere, I’d say Christopher Hitchens’s memoir, Hitch 22. Christopher didn’t mince words, even to talk about himself. Loved it.

hitch 22

  1. Spaghetti & Meatballs – A work you know inside and out (like you can twirl with your fork)

It would have to be a book I’ve read several times and for this question I’ll go with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’ve read this so many times, guys… Surprising thing is, after all these years, it manages to retain some of its magic.

armoire magique

  1. Lasagna – A work filled with complex layers

For me, that could apply to almost any kind of ‘magical realism’ book, so I’ll go with one of the all-time masters: Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude. The more you read it, the more you feel you’ll have to go back to it to fully understand all the layers of interpretation. Brilliant!


  1. Stuffed Shells – A work that is attention grabbing (stuffed with goodness) from start to finish

Attention grabbing? How about a huge page turner like Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth?

piliers terre

  1. Penne Vodka – A work for a younger audience with an adult theme hidden inside

For me, that would be Richard Dawkins’s The Magic of Reality, targeted at children aged 9-14, but perfectly fine for an adult who’s curious about the wonders of nature.


Either that, or Orwell’s Animal Farm, which was a mandatory read at school when I was like 13, and which develops very heavy adult themes about politics, democracy, etc…

Animal Farm

  1. Elbow Macaroni – A work that is easy to read

I’ll twist that question a little, by adding ‘surprisingly’, otherwise there would be hundreds of candidates! So, a work that was surprisingly easy to read would be Evelina by Fanny Burney. Before starting to read it, I was very doubtful: an epistolary novel, in XVIIIth century English? How would I be able to understand a thing? As it turned out, it was a fast-paced, easy read for me, and a lot of fun too!


  1. Farfalle (Bow Ties) – A work you would read to catch someone’s attention

I don’t read to catch anyone’s attention. What kind of question is that?

  1. Noodles – A long work that was a great experience to read

I have a genuine fondness for big books (or chunkers), and most of those I’ve read were a great experience. But for the sake of answering, I’d go with Drood by Dan Simmons. I was so totally engrossed in the story that it didn’t feel like 1200 pages at all (in the French mass market paperback). Brilliantly crafted, a true gem.


  1. Lo Mein – Your favorite work of Eastern literature or about the East

I don’t know much about Eastern and Far Eastern literature (yet). I could go with any of the Dalai Lama’s books I’ve read, but that would be cheating, I feel. I’d rather go with a work of literature, in that case James Clavell’s Shogun. Loved it! So much happening, and I’ve always been fascinated by medieval Japan.


  1. Ditalini – A writer you feel is essential to a particular genre

Stephen King to the horror genre. The guy is so prolific, so important that he simply can’t be overlooked.

Author Stephen King at a press event to unveil the Kindle 2

  1. Favorite Pasta – What’s your favorite pasta?

Bolognese (the Vegan version).


Unpopular Opinions Book Tag (English Version)

27 Juil

OK, after the Classics Book Tag, this one is my favourite on Booktube. Since I’m an older reader, and French on top of that, my answers might be very different from what you’re used to coming from the younger, anglo-saxon Booktube community.

As I said in the previous tag, these are MY opinions. No disclaimer. No excuse. No apologies. No trigger warnings or other such nonsense.

Here it is!

  1. A Popular Book or series that you didn’t like

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. I found it utterly boring, there’s no action, no battles, very often nothing happens and the characters aren’t around long enough for us to care about them. But they’re in the plot long enough to bore us with empty dialogues.

I did enjoy the concept of psychohistory, though.


  1. A Popular Book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love

A popular book that everyone seems to hate? Contradictory much?

I’ll have to go with a classic here, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Almost everyone has to read it for school in France, and almost everyone ends up hating it. I did the first time I read it as a teenager. But as I gave it another try in adulthood, I loved it so much! It is a great book actually! Madame-bovary_couv

  1. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with OR an OTP that you don’t like

I don’t really care if the author doesn’t pair the main character with the love interest I was ‘rooting for’. It’s his/her book, any plotline can be interesting and if he/she chose this couple instead of that one, there has to be a reason, often a good one.

  1. A popular book Genre that you hardly reach for

YA. I missed that train altogether and don’t plan jumping on the bandwagon anytime soon.

  1. A popular or beloved character that you do not like

Harry Potter. I like a lot of characters in the HP series, starting with Hermione and Dumbledore, but Whinny-Harry pisses me off.

  1. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into

Marc Lévy, a French author who writes popular, lazy books. Tried 2 of those, found them mediocre and boring.

lévy si vrai

lévy où es

  1. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing

Apart from the misuse of the word ‘trope’? I’d say the prophecy thing. It is a lazy excuse of a plot tool, that every author worth his/her salt should avoid (yes, even you, George R.R. Martin!), unless it’s to twist it and make fun of it.

  1. A popular series that you have no interest in reading

Where do I begin? Any YA series that’s been launched since Twilight?

  1. The saying goes « The book is always better than the movie », but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

First off, that saying is absolutely not true. Many times, the movie or the TV series (a great format for book adaptations, BTW) is as good as, sometimes even better, than the book.

For this one, I’d go with Dances with Wolves. Kevin Costner did wonders with Michael Blake’s novel, which was good in its own way, I have to say.