Jealously by Alain Robbe-Grillet

A man suspects his wife is having an affair with his neighbor.  He searches  for proof, for clues, playing the same sequence of events over and over in his mind looking for signs.  When did it begin?  Do they suspect he knows?  How far will the affair go? Alain Robbe-Grillet’s short novel, Jealousy, covers familiar territory– a married woman’s indiscretion with her married neighbor.  But … Continue reading Jealously by Alain Robbe-Grillet

The Square by Marguerite Duras

All Paris parks are the Luxembourg Gardens as far as I’m concerned. C.J. and I arrived early for the matinee.  (Everything David Sedaris says about going to the movies in Paris is true.) Time to kill and no money to spend, the Luxembourg Gardens just up the street. Thirty minutes later and both of us are tempted to skip the movie in exchange for an … Continue reading The Square by Marguerite Duras

Cheri by Colette

While there is no one to like in Colette’s novel Cheri, there is much to like. Cheri, a young man in his early 20’s, is the spoiled child of wealth.  He has spent the last six years as the kept pet of Lea, the much older lifelong friend of his mother.  Before Cheri was old enough to have affairs, Lea went through a series of … Continue reading Cheri by Colette

A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert

I was surprised by how this book touched me. Translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell, Gustave Flaubert’s A Simple Heart  tells the story of Félicité , a lifelong servant, and her search for someone to love. Félicité lives a very limited life, only rarely leaving the home of Madame Aubain her employer for over fifty years.  In her youth, Félicité has one great love who abandons her … Continue reading A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert

The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon

Inspector Maigret is not bothered (dot com.) Someone accuses him of dragging  his feet with the investigation, someone else says the police have arrested the wrong man, another refuses to answer questions… Inspector Maigret simply shrugs his shoulders and moves on like nothing matters anyway.  He’ll solve the crime soon enough. #MaigretIsNotBotheredDotCom. It’s a great state of mind for a noir detective to be in, … Continue reading The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon

Carmen by Prosper Merimee

Notorious highwayman Don Jose Navarro is in prison, awaiting his execution.  He spends the final hours of his life telling a stranger the story of Carmen, the wild gypsy woman he met in Seville who led him into a life of crime before the fateful day when he shot her in a fit of jealousy. Prosper Merimee’s novella is probably the first time a gypsy … Continue reading Carmen by Prosper Merimee

The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon

I’m starting to re-think this thing. When Penguin announced they would publish all 75 of Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret novels in order, one per month over six years, I took on the challenge of buying and reading them all.  I’m a fan of Simenon and Inspector Maigret, the covers are really cool, each book is about 120 pages long which is just two days reading … Continue reading The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon

Red Lights by Georges Simenon

Georges Simenon was once the best selling author in the world. In the 1930’s he was a writer of pulp fiction but once he began writing detective stories featuring Inspector Maigret, he became famous under his own name. He wrote over 100 Maigret stories along with a series of Roman durs, novels depicting the psychological anxiety that lays under the surface of everyday routine. His … Continue reading Red Lights by Georges Simenon

A Wednesday Wonder Retrospective: Larousse Gastronomique; Cuisine Economique; A Humument; Walking Paris; Penland Book of Handmade Books; The Pop-up Book of Nightmares; Giggles in the Middle

For a short while I had this great idea–run reviews of the sort of books you don’t see but love to have: cookbooks, how-to books, coffee table books.  Fun thigs, but things that are not novels or non-fiction meant to be read cover-to-cover.   Turned out nobody else was interested.  Instead of generating traffic for my old blog, Ready When You Are, C.B. the Wednesday … Continue reading A Wednesday Wonder Retrospective: Larousse Gastronomique; Cuisine Economique; A Humument; Walking Paris; Penland Book of Handmade Books; The Pop-up Book of Nightmares; Giggles in the Middle

Adrenaline by James Robert Baker

Adrenaline by James Robert Baker is a perfect book; if you’re in the mood for it. The mood for it is not a happy mood, nor a passive one, but an active, vengeful mood. The kind of mood that wants to see someone go to extremes against the man once and for all. If that’s the kind of mood you’re in, or have ever been … Continue reading Adrenaline by James Robert Baker