Month in Review: July 2023, and blog break

It’s been an exciting month – we decided to move to a new apartment, so August is going to be very busy. I’m taking the month off from blogging, accordingly. I’ll be back in September once I get settled.

However, I do plan to start sending out a new monthly newsletter. My first issue will include an update on my forthcoming book publication, as the publisher and I have been trying to agree on a title. What will it be? If you haven’t yet joined my newsletter list, just sign up using the form below and you’ll be the first to know.

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Literature

This was Paris in July month, and as well as sharing a visit to Paris (see Life below), I managed to read a book in French – Voyage au centre de la Terre by Jules Verne. It does not actually go anywhere near Paris, or even France — the adventurers start in Hamburg, spend a good portion of the book in Iceland, and then of course are mostly underground — but it was written in French, so that counts. I wrote my post about it in English, so do check it out if you’d like to know what I thought of this classic.

I also finished another French classic, The Count of Monte Cristo, one of my 10 Books of Summer, though I read this one in translation. The Black Count was a fantastic follow-up about the real-life inspiration for the count, Alexandre Dumas’s father. I’m grateful to Claire of Word by Word for reminding me about it.

I shared my thoughts about The Salt Path, another of my 10 Books and one I absolutely loved.

Otherwise, I enjoyed these …

Language

I have joined the Easy German Book Club, where we are reading Kindergeschichten by Peter Bichsel. These “children’s stories” are actually quite dark and depressing. They are written in a simple, repetitive style like stories for young children, but are clearly for adults! I read on Wikipedia that the author meant them to show how the banality and futility of our lives is of our own making, and he does a good job of that.

The book club is great fun though. There are discussion boards and conversation groups and exercises. I have enjoyed doing a little bit of creative writing based on each story — such as writing a happier ending for one! I hope that Easy German offers more book clubs – this one seems to be a great success.

I’ve also been working my way through Krabat, and have met my goal of completing Krabat’s second year of apprenticeship this month. In August, I should finish the third year. If you don’t read German, this classic of dark fantasy is available in English translation, and well worth the read. Don’t read my summaries, though, if you want to avoid spoilers.

Scene from a theater production of Krabat in Kiel

Life

Our trip to Paris was actually in June, but I shared about it this month — see this post.

Otherwise, we had two weeks of vacation, one of which I decided to use getting a freelance editing project done that had been hard for me to complete when I could only do it in bits and pieces. My husband very kindly took over the cooking, which was a huge help! Then I just puttered around the second week. We’d talked about going somewhere, but with an impending move I didn’t feel like it. I just wanted to enjoy the last few days of leisure before starting the chaos of packing.

I’ve taken on more hours at work now as well … yes, it’s going to be a busy time. See you next month!

Linked at The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Sunday Salon at Readerbuzz, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction

31 thoughts on “Month in Review: July 2023, and blog break

  1. Congratulations on the book Lori! How nice that you read not one but two non-English books–I keep promising myself, I will start reading more regularly but haven’t done so for years. Somewhat inspired by your spiritual reads though, I am giving the Bhagwad Gita a proper go–I had made it to page 50 of the version with Hindi translation but then starting getting a little stuck so, have now also taken out my English version and I’m restarting with both eds. Also working through a book Hindi couplets. I’ll be looking out for your newsletter. Good luck with the house move!

    1. Chipping away at that language barrier. It’s difficult if you don’t live in country where you HAVE to use the language.

      I would like to read some of those spiritual texts, as well as memoirs – maybe that’s a challenge for next year.

      1. Very true. Having to use a language definitely helps. And probably the reason why my four semesters of French at university have all but disappeared.

        I’m back to page 1of the Gita now, reading each verse in hindi followed by the English. And certainly trying to read the sanskrit even if it makes little sense.

          1. I have dived in but from the start. The english version I’m reading has some interpretation as well and I’m finding it interesting though not able to exactly agree with it all or at least have questions about it.

  2. Good luck with your move, that’s going to be a busy time!
    So glad you read The Black Count, it was so so good.
    The Easy German Book club sounds great. Hoping to be able to join something similar in Japanese soon

  3. Bonne chance with the move, Lory – hopefully a step up in accommodation? – and also with your book! We’ll see you the other side of August, whenever you’re ready. 🙂

  4. I hope you manage your move without too much stress! I guess it depends how long you have been in your current apartment. My granddaughters seem to move every year without noticing it, but maybe I don’t hear about the stress, but I never move so I can’t imagine what it would be like to dig through all that stuff.
    Good luck!
    best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    1. I still have residual stress from the last time, that was much harder. This should be easy in comparison, but it’s still a lot.

  5. Oh my, Lory, you are crazy-busy! Moving can be very stressful, so I hope things go smoothly for you.

    I wanted to participate in the group reading of the Jules Verne novel, but I was pretty sure it would be too hard for me. What I really need is a group that reads adult books written in simple French like your German book club.

    1. I hear you. It’s hard to find simple literature – I’m personally fine reading children’s books but some people don’t like that. There are books written for language learners but I just don’t like them so much, they lack any literary value whatsoever. And I hate the dumbed-down edited classics!

  6. I read The Three Musketeers last fall and was surprised by how much I liked it. I’ll get around to The Count of Monte Cristo sometime when I’m feeling brave.

    A trip to Paris sounds lovely. We’ve visited Italy and Spain but haven’t made it to France yet.

    Good luck with your move!

    1. The Count doesn’t really require bravery, just plenty of reading time. I lost a bit of momentum when I had to return the book to the library in the middle and pick it up again later, so I don’t recommend that. But it’s really very readable in spite of the huge length. I do recommend it.

  7. I hope by now you have moved and are nicely unpacked (I say that as someone who never fully unpacked from a move in 2010 but I am lucky to have a nice big attic).

    My mother loved The Black Count, as I may have mentioned, and I’ve been meaning to coax my book group to read it. I have to wait for the right moment, I suppose.

    Have you read And Both Were Young by Madeleine L’Engle? It is my favorite book set in Switzerland.

    Constance

    1. Not moved yet, but soon. The Black Count would be a great book to discuss, I think. I also had to wait for the right moment to take it up. And I have read And Both Were Young, but not since I moved to Switzerland. I need to reread it!

  8. Have you been to Nice? My nephew (18) is doing a language immersion program but would welcome a family to talk to some weekend! He says everyone in his program is a retiree.

    1. I have not been to Nice — I wish I had the time and resources to travel more in Europe! If your nephew wants to take a jaunt to French Switerland he’s very welcome here. 🙂

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