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I have been reading but I have fallen behind in reviewing the books since I have had some trouble concentrating lately and writing was turning into a bit of a chore…

There is one French book that I have to review and it is a quite intriguing novel by Delphine de Vigan, D’après une histoire vraie. This author is known for using events and experiences from her life to drive the plots of her books while calling them novels, and it is a bit of a challenge figuring out what is based on reality and what is not. In this book, the main character is a writer called Delphine who goes through a long period when she cannot write, in connection with an exclusive and unhealthy friendship with a strange woman, or I should rather say a seriously deranged woman. It is written and paced a bit in the style of a thriller. While I thought it was going a little bit depressing, it was in fact very interesting.

I have also read the short tale Oss by Audrée Wilhelmy, a young Québec author who published a more recent novel called Les sangs which tells the story of Barbe-Bleue but from the point of view of some of the women he killed. In Oss, which the back of the book describes as “amoral, erotic and cruel”, a young woman leaves her village after the death of two people who were harboring her, but also possibly using her as a sex-slave. She runs into further trouble in a warehouse filled with a forest of portable toilets (not the usual blue kind found in countless work sites), and would probably have learned to be less trusting of others if it had not been for… Well, I can’t give away the ending can I?

After reading the 2015 Giller Prize winning novel Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis, I have also read in the past week the shortlisted novels Outline by Rachel Cusk and Martin John by Anakana Schofield. I am currently reading the shortlisted collection of short stories Daydreams of Angels by Heather O’Neill, as well as the long listed novel Close to Hugh by Marina Endicott. I have a couple more books from the long list in my TBR pile. As usual, the Giller Prize nominees are a pretty good source of good reads.

I have also read a book on informal learning published by Kogan Page that I got access to through NetGalley and I have one that must be finished in the coming days on neuroscience and learning.

From the poetry pile, I am currently reading The Propriety of Weeding by Colin Will, a Scottish poet, as well as Anarchie de la lumière by José Acquelin, the 2014 Governor General Award for Poetry.

I am also reading the French translation of Henning Mankell’s memoir Quicksand, where he talks not only about his experience of being diagnosed with cancer and facing his own death, but also tells many stories about his life and the things that matter to him. A fascinating look at what someone thinks about in such circumstances…

As it seems I am slowly recovering my ability to concentrate, I will be sharing my thoughts on the above books in the coming days.

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