Home > Challenges, Personal Posts > Merry Christmas! Humbook! They say

Merry Christmas! Humbook! They say

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dear Copinautes,

I wish you all a Merry Christmas from France. For New Year’s wishes, you’ll have to wait for my first post for 2013. In France, we don’t wish a Happy New Year in advance.

Many thanks to regular readers and commenters for your steady reading of my rambling, babbling, prattling or whatever word suits best to my billets. Thanks to readers who don’t dare to comment but click on the Like button to say “Hi, I’ve been there”, it’s much appreciated. I’m still surprised you devote part of your precious free time to read Book Around The Corner.

Now, don’t forget today is the day for our virtual exchange gifts, the most famous Humbook event.


Follow the links to check on the participants’ blogs to discover what they picked for each other and of course, have a look at Guy’s entry. As promised, Guy and I picked one additional book for each participant:

For Lisa, from ANZ Lit Lovers: The Murderess by Alexandros Papadiamantis. Its feminist side should suit you and the descriptions of the Greek countryside are gorgeous.

For Tony, from Tony’s Reading List : Le Père Goriot by Honoré de Balzac. Here you are, Tony, Balzac is waiting for you!

For Himadri, from The Argumentative Old Git: Novel With Cocaine by M. Agueev. Some said it was written by Nabokov. Give us your opinion about that.

For Brian, from Babbling Books: Rasselas Prince of Abyssinia by Samuel Johnson. Historical and thought-provoking; it sounded right in your alley.

For Stu, from Winston’s Dad Blog : The Pets by Bragi Olafsson Funny and non-English, isn’t it the definition of great book for you?

For Sue, from Whispering Gums: Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar

We’ll be checking out your blogs to read the reviews but it’s nice if you leave a link here, in the comments. As mentioned in our previous entry, we also picked two books for Tom, from A Common Reader and they are:

  • A Slight Misunderstanding by Prosper Mérimée
  • The Road to Los Angeles by John Fante.

We’ve also picked two books for Leroy, who doesn’t have a blog (yet?) but will review the books anyway and I’ll publish his thoughts as guest posts here. It was tricky to find ideas, I realize I’m blind without a blog to refer to and also because Leroy is really well read. So, I hope you haven’t read these two ones, Leroy, and that you will enjoy them:

  • In the Absence of Men by Philippe Besson. It’s on Max’s best reads of the year and it will be on mine too.
  • The Chatelet Apprentice: The First Nicolas Le Floch Investigation by Jean-Francois Parot. It’s crime fiction in Paris in the 18th century. Refreshing and entertaining.

Don’t forget to send me you reviews for publication!

Last but not least, I picked two books for Guy. Thanks Guy for sharing the organization of this little literary event with me, many thanks for all the comments you left, for the support and exchanges along the year. You almost got your first Romain Gary this year. I was about to give you White Dog because it has lots of things you’d enjoy (A dog, L.A. and cinema, first hand info on the Black Panthers and their movement.), but I wasn’t sure of the translation; I thought it might have been bowdlerized for the American public. So, I went for two books you’ve heard of but haven’t read:

  • Thérèse Desqueyroux by François Mauriac. A new film version with Audrey Tautou has just been released. As you’re fond of watching films versions of books, I thought you’d enjoy this one.
  • The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas. She’s someone you’ll like, I think. And it’s the first one of a series featuring Commissaire Adamsberg, so if you like her, there’s more for you to enjoy later.

That’s all, folks! I had fun with this event. I’m curious to find out what you chose for each other and I’m looking forward to reading the reviews in 2013. I hope you’ll enjoy your gifts, that you’ll discover new writers. Now I’m curious to discover what my virtual gifts are!

  1. December 25, 2012 at 12:22 am

    A very merry Christmas from chesterfield my. Choice sounds just perfect a book that I ve not heard of but have loved a number of books from Iceland in the last twelve months. Many thanks and all the best stu


    • December 25, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Hello Stu,

      Thanks for playing along. I hope you’ll enjoy the book we chose for you.
      I’ll read your review, of course.


  2. December 25, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Well you surprised me as usual. I was sure I was going to get a Romain Gary this year. Funnily enough I’ve been thinking of the Mauriac novel as I am currently reading Climates by André Maurois (fantastic btw) and I’ve been thinking that I should read Therese soon. THANKS!


    • December 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      I’ve ordered White Dog, I’m going to read it in English to see if it’s faithful to the original French.
      It seems I was inspired when I chose the Mauriac!

      I haven’t read Maurois. How did you end up reading this?


  3. December 25, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Merry Christmas to all the participants.
    I ‘ve read or have most of the choices, I’m sure they are very good…If I ever get to read them. The Besson is very high on the pile.


    • December 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks Caroline. I hope you had a nice Christmas day.


  4. December 25, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Thanks Emma 🙂


    …guess which is the only Balzac work I’ve ever read? 😉

    Feel free to recommend another though!


    • December 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Flûte! (and not of champagne, I don’t congratulate myself on this one)
      Let me discuss it with Guy and we’ll come back to you with another Balzac.


  5. December 25, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Hello Guy and Emma, and thank you! I have ordered The Murderess, it sounds most intriguing. Tony has chosen two interesting books in translation for me, one German and one Japanese, so I’m looking forward to reading these as soon as they arrive.
    Have a very happy day,


    • December 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      I think you’ll like The Murderess and I’m very curious to read your thoughts about it.
      I hope you had a nice Christmas day and I’ll read the reviews you’ll write on the books you got.


  6. December 25, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Merry Christmas Sue your of course right I m just home with winston and have a few minutes before work the John London is new to me and sounds great love books that start with ww1 as a start point I do have the Nam Le in my shelves but have not read it so will have to now all the best stu hope you had a great day down under


  7. December 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I recently watch the film version of housekeeping and yes it is very good so good I went and brought the book thanks for my choice the pets is title I was unaware of but sounds like one I will enjoy all the best stu


  8. December 25, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Merry Christmas Simon hope you have a good day all the best stu


  9. December 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    A very happy Christmas to you and yours, Emma. Hope you are having a lovely day, and thank you for the French novel reviews in particular. It’s great to find someone reviewing novels that no one else in the UK has heard of!


    • December 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm


      Thanks Litlove, very much appreciated.
      I’ll continue writing about French novels even when they’re not translated into English.


  10. December 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    December 25th, at night.

    So now, let’s have a look at the gifts that were exchanged today.

    Lisa picked for Tony:
    Happy Valley by Patrick White
    My Blood’s Country: In the Footsteps of Judith Wright
    by Fiona Capp.

    Tony picked for Lisa:
    Kusamakura by Natsume Soseki
    The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
    by Heinrich Böll

    Himadri picked for Brian:
    Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
    Happy Moscow
    by Andrey Platonov

    Brian picked for Himadri:
    Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human by Harold Bloom.
    Les Misérables
    by Victor Hugo

    Stu picked for Sue:
    Faces in the crowd by Valeria Luiselli
    A Dead man in Deptford
    by Anthony Burgess

    Sue picked for Stu:
    Gilgamesh by Joan London
    The boat
    by Nam Le
    Have a look at Sue’s lovely post.

    Lisa also picked That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott for Guy and me. I’ve already ordered it.

    Guy selected for me:
    Howards End
    by EM Forster
    Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

    I think I’ll start with Housekeeping, I’ve never heard of it and I’m pretty curious.

    I don’t know most of the book chosen here and I’m looking forward to reading the reviews and discover them.

    Thanks again to everyone for participating. I still think it’s a nice thing to do between book bloggers at Christmas. I don’t know what happened for you, but I didn’t get any other book for Christmas. Nobody dares to buy me books anymore, unless I give them a list before.


    • November 2, 2013 at 1:47 am

      Hi Emma, I read your Humbook to me a while ago, but I’ve only just read the first of Tony’s. My review of Kusamakura is here http://anzlitlovers.com/2013/11/02/kusamakura-by-natsume-soseki-translated-by-meredith-mckinney/ and I’m aiming to read The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum before Christmas 2013 rolls around!
      I loved your Humbook choice of The Murderess for me, LOL if I’m good will I get another Humbook this year?


      • November 2, 2013 at 9:09 am

        Thanks Lisa, I’ll read your post and comment there.
        If you hurry up and read The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum this month, you’ll be on time to participate to German Lit Month.

        Do you think we should do the Humbook event again this year?


        • November 2, 2013 at 9:15 am

          I’ve already done a review for GLM, and it was a Biggie (as we say in Australia). I finally finished Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain (http://wp.me/phTIP-6×1) and added it to the Mr Linky thing that harvests the URLs. I can’t call it a review, who could? It’s just my thoughts…
          Yes, I would like to Humbook this year, and will put my hand up to partner with Vishy if I may:) I’ve loved the books from India that he’s recommended to me so far…


          • November 2, 2013 at 9:34 am

            I’ve your post about the daunting Magic Mountain in my mail box.

            I take note that you’d like to partner with Vishy.


  11. Brian Joseph
    December 26, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Thanks again for organizing this Guy and Emma!

    I have a good friend who has been urging me to read Samuel Johnson for years. Indeed it looks to be right up my ally! Himadri,’s picks look great too.

    I plan to start one of the books as soon as I finish what I am reading now and will likely read them in order.


    • December 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      You have to thank Guy for this, I’ve never heard of this writer! I hope you’ll enjoy the book.
      Happy holidays to you too.


  12. acommonreaderuk
    December 29, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Very interesting choices! I haven’t heard of either of the books so will read them both with interest. I now have both of them – one on Kindle and one a cheap used paperback.


    • December 29, 2012 at 12:27 am

      Hi Tom,
      I’m glad you’re happy with our choices. If you want to know more, there’s a review of the Fante on my blog and reviews of the Mérimée on Guy’s blog and on mine too.


  13. leroyhunter
    January 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for the picks Emma, they both look really interesting. Will get them ordered asap!


    • January 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      If you don’t like them, don’t blame Guy, I chose them. 🙂
      Email me when you want to post a review.


  14. January 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks very much to both you & to Guy for organizing this. I look forward to reading all three books over the course of the year, but it’s probably best to start with the shortest one – shortest by a considerable margin! 🙂

    A Happy New Year to you all.


    • January 4, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Happy New Year to you too.
      I hope you’ll enjoy Novel With Cocain and the books Brian picked for you.


  1. January 1, 2013 at 1:05 am
  2. January 3, 2013 at 11:04 am
  3. January 21, 2013 at 12:42 am
  4. June 20, 2013 at 10:53 pm
  5. July 9, 2013 at 2:54 am
  6. April 27, 2014 at 6:38 am

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