Monday, July 22, 2024

#MurderEveryMonday: Cover with Island on or in the Title

Murder Every Monday was created by Kate @ Crossexamining Crime and @ArmchairSleuth. Put simply, the plan is for readers to take a photo of a crime fiction book (novel or short story collection) which meets a given week’s theme criteria and to then share it online, using the hashtag #MurderEveryMonday.

This week's theme is:

Cover with an island on (or in the title)

Have your read any of them? Which cover(s) do you like most?

If you want to participate, here's the list of the weekly theme.

Friday, July 19, 2024

A Powerful French Movie for #ParisInJuly2024

🤫 Le Silence de la Mer  is a 2004 French movie directed by Pierre Boutron. Based on a novel by Jean Bruller with the same title (I would love to read it if it's translated). It is a compelling love story between a French girl and a German captain during the 1941 German occupation of France in WW2.

🤫 Jeanne Larosière, a piano teacher, is a young orphaned woman living with her grandfather. She preserves the memory of her parents (probably died during the war) by keeping their bedroom pristine, with fresh flowers every day. But then the Germans forced Jeanne to vacate the room, as their captain will occupy it while lodging with them.

🤫 Werner von Ebrennac turns out surprisingly to be a young, handsome, kindhearted, and polite gentleman. He's a composer - hence appreciates Jeanne's playing the piano - and a connoisseur of French culture. Jeanne and her grandfather treat their guests with fierce silence and indifference, to show hostility against their enemy. Nevertheless, Werner politely invites himself to the living room every evening to share with his hosts, his ideals and passion. Throughout these monologues, Jeanne is slowly infatuated with him. It is now the question of loyalty to one's nation or... to one's own heart.

🤫 It's been a long time since I've seen such a powerful romantic movie. There's no romantic scene at all, not a single kiss or touch, no romantic dialogs - there's hardly any dialog between them. But the emotional tension is so electrifying, and Jeanne's inability to express it is so heart-wrenching. The actress, Julie Delarme, played Jeanne's part so well that she was awarded Best Actress award in 2004 Saint-Tropez Fiction TV Festival. It's just another example that powerful romantic movies are often the ones without any romantic scenes.

Rating: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Watched for:

hosted by Emma @ Words and Peace

Thursday, July 18, 2024

The Classics Club Spin #38 #CCSpin

It’s time for another #CCSpin! I have been slacking a bit in my classics reading, and have just thought the other day that I’ve got to read one classic this or next month. So, #CCSpin comes nicely at the right time.

What is Classics Spin?
It’s easy. At your blog, before next Sunday 21st July 2024 create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list. This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period. On 21st July, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by the 22nd September 2024.

UPDATE: I'm going to read #17: A FAR CRY FROM KENSINGTON (Muriel Spark)

My list
  1. Excellent Women (Barbara Pym)
  2. Our Spoons Came from Woolworths (Barbara Comyns)
  3. Miss Buncle's Book (D.E. Stevenson)
  4. Cranford (Elizabeth Gaskell)
  5. Miss Plum and Miss Penny (Dorothy Evelyn Smith)
  6. Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K. Jerome)
  7. A Far Cry from Kensington (Muriel Spark)
  8. Cider with Rosie (Laurie Lee)
  9. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)
  10. Something New: Blandings Castle #1 (P.G. Wodehouse)
  11. Excellent Women (Barbara Pym)
  12. Our Spoons Came from Woolworths (Barbara Comyns)
  13. Miss Buncle's Book (D.E. Stevenson)
  14. Cranford (Elizabeth Gaskell)
  15. Miss Plum and Miss Penny (Dorothy Evelyn Smith)
  16. Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K. Jerome)
  17. A Far Cry from Kensington (Muriel Spark)
  18. Cider with Rosie (Laurie Lee)
  19. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)
  20. Something New: Blandings Castle #1 (P.G. Wodehouse)

As you can see for yourself, there are only ten on the list, which I doubled up to make it twenty. I’m just being lazy, and don’t have time to think of ten more. And I’ve just realized that eight of the ten are by women writers, and six of ten are new writers for me - splendid! I have just found an audio version of Barbara Comyns’ Our Spoons Came from Woolworths, and would love that to be picked, but I’ll be delighted to read any one of them anyway.

Have you read any on my list? Any favorites? And if you’re a Classics-Clubber, would you join #CCSpin too?

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The Gentleman Dressed in Newspaper by Agatha Christie #AgathaChristieSS24

🗞 It's another Tommy and Tuppence story. This time, a murder case, where Tommy and Tuppence were happened to be on the crime scene. A lady has been stabbed at a costume show, and her last words were accusing her lover.

🗞 Inspector Marriot brings the victim's husband, Sir Arthur Merivale, to meet Tommy and Tuppence the next day. Despite the strong evidence which pointed to Bingo Hale - lover to the lady and best friend of Sir Arthur, he doesn't believe him guilty. Besides the lady's last words, the weighing evidence is the piece of torn newspaper in the lady's hand. It was torn from the accused newspaper costume he wore at the show.

🗞 So exact the evidence are, and yet, Inspector Marriot isn't confident - hence his bringing the case to Tommy and Tuppence. It's rather interesting to see how our beloved sleuth-couple - or rather, Tuppence - could reveal the true solution to this murder case.

🗞 It's a simple murder case - I guessed whodunnit correctly - and a short one. Too short, I think. It's hoped Christie would have elaborate it a little further. But on the whole, it's quite fun.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Monday, July 15, 2024

Vintage 1954 (2018) by Antoine Laurain #ParisinJuly2024

🍾 The year 1954, wine and UFO. These are three elements that Antoine Laurain had woven into a fantastic time-travelling story set in Paris.

🍾 1954 was historically the year of UFO sightings wave in France. Almost every day there were news of strange phenomenon in their newspapers. In this particular story, a winegrower called Pierre Chaveau was walking across a vineyard in Beaujolais when he experienced a UFO sighting. Fast forward to 1978. The old Pierre Chaveau was having a family dinner at home. He unwittingly drank a vintage wine produced from the very place and time of his UFO sighting - Beaujolais, 1954. His dog also tasted the wine that night. The following morning he left the house for a walk with his dog, and mysteriously disappeared.

🍾 Fast forward again to 2017 in an apartment building in Paris. Monsieur Hubert Larnaudie, the property owner/manager; Julien and Magalie, residents; and an American Airbnb tenant Bob, founnd themselves in an awkward moment one day, which would cement their friendship. To celebrate a triumph over a previous apartment struggle, Hubert opened a bottle of vintage wine he found on his cellar, and shared it with his new friends. The wine was 1954 Beaujolais! The next morning, the four friends discovered themselves transported back in time, to the Paris of 1954.

🍾 What follows are highly entertaining piece in three stages. The shocking moment when they realized their predicaments are quite hilarious. Their euro coins received with suspicion, public transportation changed to vintage systems. They were naturally shocked at first, but then came the determination to seek a way to return to 2017. But in the process, they also had a lot of fun while exploring the 1954 of Paris. There's Les Halles, which was still existed, where they could explore the Belly of Paris in Zola's universe. And there's the personages they encountered - and for some, hung up with - Salvador Dalí, Jean Gabin, Édith Piaf. That was a glorious time for our four friends.

🍾 But the main business remained. They must go back to their own time. Could they do it properly? What surprises awaited them? And if they do come back, what will happen then? Two things for sure, their perspectives of life changed for good, and in the end they have forged a friendship that would last a lifetime.

🍾 Laurain did it again! This is a wholesome read, very entertaining, fast-paced, and memorable. The atmospheric of 1954 Paris is the main highlight for me.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2

Read for:

hosted by Emma @ Words and Peace

Friday, July 12, 2024

The Daily Francophile Playlist #ParisInJuly2024

Besides reading French or French-themed books for #ParisinJuly, I have a habit of compiling French music playlist to listen to during the month. This list is growing from year by year, and for this year, I am compiling a special playlist from the master list, which I call my Daily Francophile Playlist. It consists of cheerful or comforting and uplifting songs that I can play from morning to evening, depends on my mood. Not continually, of course, but from time to time. Here they are:

Dave Coz: Together Again (1999) from album: The Dance

I know this is neither a French song nor written/played by a French musician, but it always reminds me of Paris. 24 years ago I went to Paris with a friend. But we arrived separately; I was one day earlier. 24 hours in Paris, I felt homesick and lonely. I haven't spoken to anyone, except for asking direction or ordering food. I had had dinner in a little bistro the night before and the other dinners asked me where I came from, where is Indonesia, etc. Apart from that, I was alone all day. That afternoon, while spending time before picking up my friend from the metro station, I had a walk. Suddenly from a fashion boutique came a familiar sound - it's Dave Koz' Together Again! That song was my favorite at that time, I used to play it all the time at home. Hearing it far away in Paris, was really comforting. I didn't feel alone anymore. Since then, I always associate Together Again to my wonderful moments in Paris. It's a song I would listen to whenever I feel wretched, and it never fails to uplift my spirit. That's why it has to be included in my Francophile playlist. It's playful tune fits with Paris vibes too, don't you think?

From Paris in July 2023 I've been falling in love with Tatiana Eva-Marie & Avalon Jazz Band's music. Here are some of them that I enjoy the most. One is Cole Porter's song, the rests are mostly from Charles Trenet - I love their cheerful tone!

💐 I Love Paris (Cole Porter)
💐 Fleur Bleu (Charles Trenet)
💐 Un Rien Me Fait Chanter (Charles Trenet)
💐J'ai ta main (Charles Trenet)
💐 Ménilmontant (Charles Trenet)
💐 Qu'est ce qu'on attend pour être heureux (Paul Misraki & André Hornez)

These two are from their album Je suis Swing:

💐 La complainte de la Butte
💐 Coquette

Here are my two latest finds from YouTube:

From Flonflon Révolution/Flonflon Syndicate:
💐 Gitan Swing
💐 Nostalgie d'Amour
💐 Swing Valse

This one is for my after work relaxation, to be played while having dinner, perhaps...

From Flonflon Syndicate
💐 La Folle Complainte

And finally to close the day, here are mini concerts that I love:

Sébastian Giniaux Quartet
YouTube Channel: Auberge Des Vergers

Are you familiar with these songs? Do you have a special #ParisinJuly playlist?

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Manx Gold by Agatha Christie #AgathaChristieSS24

💰 Cousins, as well as lovers/fiancées, Fenella and Juan, gets a surprise from their deceased uncle. He bequeathed his gold to his next of kin, but in competition. He had hidden the gold in four locations, and whoever of the four candidates (Fenella and Juan counted as one, and there are two others) can find them, the treasures will be theirs.

💰 Fenella and Juan get 24 hours advanced start because their Uncle knew the others are cunning and unscrupulous. He was right. Just after first treasure was found, one of the two was murdered. So now, the treasure hunt turned to a dangerous game.

💰 To be honest, this is a disappointment for me. Judging from the synopsis, I thought it would be a proper, albeit short, treasure hunt with a murder. In reality, there was a hunt, but the readers didn't know what's going on most of the time. After getting a clue in rhyme, for instance, it would run like this: "I think it's located at (...). Then they went to the spot, searching for a while, and then "I found it! Let's go to the next clue". Just like that, and the readers were not involved in the searching at all. It read like a news about a treasure hunt, not a story. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐