Book Review: Acide Sulfurique (Sulphuric Acid) by: Amélie Nothomb

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The time came when the suffering of others was not enough for them; they needed the spectacle of it too” –Acide Sulfurique (Sulphuric Acid) – Amélie Nothomb

Initial thoughts: Isn’t it exciting to dive into a novel of which you know nothing about save for its title, author and cover image? When I picked up Acide Sulfurique (translated: Sulphuric Acid) from the sparsely filled shelves of the French section of my local library, I was struck by the cover image (which you can view here). The cover image features a butterfly which flew into a glass and broke its wing. I cannot say why I am so intrigued by this cover image. Perhaps it is because it is unusual and unlikely, almost surreal. There is something unsettling about this image. And yet, in such a calamity, a disturbing image can become beautiful. dark-1844951_1920

Plot Summary

One day, out of nowhere, the lovely Pannonique is pulled of the streets at random and lands a role as a participant on a new reality television show called “Concentration.” In this camp, participants are prisoners subjected to torture, dehumanization and even… death at random, all in the name of entertainment. Pannonique is stripped of her identity, including her name, and she is reborn as CKZ 114. One of the guards of “Concentration,” Zdena, is desperate to uncover CKZ 114’s name, and discover the thoughts behind her expressionless demeanour. Meanwhile, spectators are disgusted by this new television show. But… they can’t stop watching.

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Book Review: Ni d’Ève ni d’Adam (Tokyo Fiancée) by: Amélie Nothomb

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Language is accurate: you run for your life. If you are dying, leave. If you are suffering, move. There is no other law, only movement” – Ni d’Ève ni d’Adam (Tokyo Fiancée), Amélie Nothomb

First Impression: This book was part of my spring-summer reading list of 2017, which you can view here if interested. I already knew a little bit of the plotline before I began the novel after hearing a presentation about it during one of my French classes. Unfortunately for me, I was given quite a few spoiler alerts, but this didn’t detract from the enjoyment I received from reading this charming and bizarre love story. There is an English translated version called Tokyo Fiancée, but I decided to read the novel in French and write a review in English.mount-fuji-264247_1280

Plot Summary

Twenty-one-year-old Amelie adores Japanese culture, and longs to relive the joys of her childhood in Japan. When Amelie decides to move from her native country of Belgium to the sprawling city of Tokyo to become a French language teacher, little did she know that she would find romance. Amelie’s heart is captured by Rinri, her shy, charming, and rich Japanese student. But can a relationship between two people from two different worlds last?

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The Adventures of a Bookius Wormius Glassius: The Book Sale

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black-33843_1280Book sales are both wonderful and deadly at the same time. The book fanatic species, more commonly known as the bookworm, will decorate its nesting ground with books of all subjects and lengths. Be warned, the bookworm may appear to be calm and friendly, but in the jungle of the book sale, they can become very greedy. The bookius wormius glassius is a young woman with glasses who attends the book sale with the hopes of finding just one or two books. But, lets be realistic, the bookius wormius glassius will do no such thing, there is no way she will be satisfied with one book. Rather, she will buy 32 books at the end of the book sale where one box of books goes for $5.

Admittedly, I am a bookius wormius glassius.

A while ago, I found myself at the largest annual book sale held by my local library. The moment I arrived, I found myself in awe of all the books stacked and arranged on tables. It was pure heaven. My bookworm instincts clicked in. Lucky for me, I was also volunteering at the book sale, so I ended up staying until long after closing time.

Before my time to volunteer began, I found myself glancing at the non-fiction books designated as “other.” There weren’t many people around this area since the books were rather eclectic in subject, and the shelves were small. I do not enjoy having someone look over my shoulder when I am browsing for books. In the world of the bookworm, book sales are perfect places for what I call “vultures.” These are the people who believe that they should read more, but don’t. I can emphasise, I wish I could have the patience to watch more television. Alas, we all have our own priorities. Unfortunately, this means that at every table I would go, in which there was no one else, would suddenly flood with two or three people. In their minds, they are probably thinking “there must be something there at her table! Look! She’s picking up books.”

There are all kinds of people at a book sale. I encountered many people as I volunteered. It was easy to distinguish the book lovers from the vultures. At the end of the book sale, there was a special promotion where you could fill an entire box of books and pay $5. I jumped on the idea, and I ended up purchasing $10 worth of books for a total of 32 books. I had planned on buying just one or two, but my addiction to books is way too strong.

Here are the books that I bought:

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Book Review: Pélagie: The Return to Acadie by: Antonine Maillet

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Bélonie, first of the line of Bélonies to come through the Great Disruption, was a patched and peeled old codger when the ox cart rattled off on its way. And for the youngsters who clambered aboard, he would unravel the legend of the Wagon of Death. [….] for no man living had ever seen that sombre contraption with neither doors nor lamps, drawn throughout the world by six spanking black horses since the beginning of time.” – Pélagie: The Return to Acadie, Antonine Maillet

grand-pre-1873042_1920Initial thoughts: I was assigned this novel for a course on Maritime fiction. For those who do not know, the Maritimes are a group of three Canadian provinces on the Atlantic coast of Canada. The three provinces are: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (often shortened to P.E.I). Before you begin thinking to yourself “I haven’t read or heard of any books from the Maritimes,” think again. You are probably familiar with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famous novel Anne of Green Gables. Yes, Anne of Green Gables is a work of Maritime fiction known widely throughout the world. Pélagie: The Return to Acadie by: Antonine Maillet is a lesser known Maritime novel in comparison to Anne of Green Gables. Hopefully, after reading this review, you will be tempted into discovering this wonderful novel!

Plot Summary:

Twenty years after her people were deported to the state of Georgia (The United States), Pélagie Leblanc assembles a cart pulled by oxen to lead her people back to the land of their forefathers, the land of Acadie. But, their journey will not be an easy one. Tested by the elements and perilous adventures, Pélagie and her people will have to decide… is Acadie a place worth returning to?

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Book Review: The Graveyard Book by: Neil Gaiman

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It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean” – The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman

autumn-2182008_1920Initial Thoughts: The Graveyard Book was part of my spring-summer reading list for this year! One down, nine to go! I chose this book as a part of my top ten reading list because I may have to study it for a course I am planning on taking next year at university. At first, I thought that the book would be a charming children’s story with a dash of ghosts while sparing children of having to read a “scary book.” Well… I was wrong.

 

Plot Summary

When his family is murdered, a young toddler wanders into a graveyard where he is adopted by ghosts. Throughout his childhood, young Nobody “Bod” Owens lives amongst the dead. If he leaves the graveyard, he becomes vulnerable to the menacing presence of the murderer who will not rest until he has finished his job.

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