Six degrees of separation: from truth to a notebook


Six degrees of separation:
from truth to a notebook

This month, we are supposed to start with the last book on our last chain, so for me, that was this awesome nonfiction on Conan Doyle – which is kind of neat, as I’m also participating in Nonfiction November.

Using my own rules for this fun meme hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest (see there the origin of the meme and how it works – posted the first Saturday of every month).

See where it led me, on the other side of the pond!

Here are my own quirky rules:

1. Use your list of books on Goodreads
2. Take the first word of the title offered and find another title with that word in it
3. Then use the first word of THAT title to find your text title
4. Or the second if the title starts with the same word, or you are stuck

   Conan Doyle for the Defense  Aleppo Codex

  99 ways to tell a story   Ninety-three  

  Black Coffee    the-black-notebook

1. Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer
VERDICT: A must read for all Sherlock Holmes’ fan. A well researched piece of literary critique.

2. The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession Faith and the International Pursuit of an Ancient Bible
Do you like a good mystery? Do you like “serious” books about things that actually happened? Do you have lots of commuting time? Well, these are three reasons you have to listen to this book!

3. 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style
 Raymond Queneau and his famous Exercices de Style (Exercises in Style) is a great representative of the Oulipo movement: he takes one short and simple event, and then retells that same thing in 99 different styles.
Matt Madden does a fantastic job by doing the exact same thing, but this time all in different variations with graphics and comics. Loved it! 

4. [ok, I kind of cheated, I went from ninety-9 to ninety-3)
Most people read Les Misérables (at best), but have you also red Ninety-Three?
The last of Victor Hugo’s novels, it is regarded by many including as his greatest work. I recently revisited it to study with one of my students. Really good!

5. Black Coffee: A Mystery Play in Three Acts (Hercule Poirot #7)

I actually just finished reading this one!
As you may know, I’m into a project of listening to all of Hercule Poirot’s stories and novels, for The Classics Club. I hit an obstacle when I got to #7:  it is listed as a play, and I could see it was indeed played during Agatha Christie’s lifetime, but I could find no audio recording, nor even any play on videos. I would end up each time on a novel adaptation of this play, by another author! Even though this adaptation is famous, I still wanted to read the original play. As usual, my public library managed to find the precious book!
I wonder why no one seems to play this any more, it was a lot of fun. It was neat to see Hercule Poirot in a play setting. The mystery was very satisfying, with obviously lots of red herrings and a good amount of potential guilty parties.
“The story concerns a physicist named Sir Claude Amory who has come up with a formula for an atom bomb (Black Coffee was written in 1934!). In the first act, Sir Claude is poisoned (in his coffee, naturally) and Hercule Poirot is called in to solve the case. He does so after many wonderful twists and turns in true Christie tradition.”


6. The Black Notebook

VERDICT: Great typical book by Modiano. The excellent translation lets you plunge in Modiano’s hazy labyrinth between past and present.


Visit other chains here





24 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation: from truth to a notebook

  1. There’s a lot here to like! I’d never heard of 93. Modiano is one of my favorites (should have mentioned him in my recent reply) but I haven’t read the Black Notebook. 99 Ways also intriguing. Thanks again.


  2. I love your quirky twist to this feature! I might just copy you some or other time. Clever selection!

    I will hop over to your number post that you shared on my blog. Thanks for that!


  3. II read the Agatha Christie, but years ago ! I’ll re-read it, I’m re-reading all of Agatha Christie’s writings. Conan Doyle for the defense particularly interests me because I’ve read his autobiography recently and of course, this case was mentioned. I just added this book on my TBR list, thanks 🙂


  4. I may try your linking system next month! I think Conan Doyle for the Defense sounds good but I haven’t read any of these, although my book group did read some novellas by Patrick Modiano.


    • Great idea! Have you ever read the first book that made him so famous? Rue des boutiques obscures [= Missing Person]. I fell in love with Modiano with that one, a few decades ago… when I was a teen


  5. I always like the way you do these. I just bought Les Miserables. Now to fit in reading it. Soon I will be reading The Bond by Jacques Borel (I may have already mentioned this) because it won the Priz Goncourt in 1965. That will be my French novel for November.


    • Wow, 2 big chunks! Congrats on purchasing Les Misérables!
      I don’t remember if we did talk about Borel, but I’m ashamed I didn’t even know the name of the author…
      Sounds a bit à la Proust, in a good way!


  6. Plenty of new books for me here!

    I especially like the sound of 99 Ways to Tell A Story – I will think of adding it to my groaning shelf of writing books (none of which have so far got me off my bottom and made me start that novel, but there’s still time….)

    I must admit that I can only cope with Agatha Christie in small doses. I quite enjoy her books, but I can never quite understand why she is so exceptionally admired. I think it must be the same failing in me that makes me less than enthusiastic about many of the ‘Golden Age of Crime’ writers – though at least she does develop her characters more than many of those.

    Interesting way to approach the challenge too!


    • For me, Agatha Christie is a genius in the way she comes up with so many clever plots, never two alike.
      Listening to Hercule Poirot stories has also made me realize she makes use of so many French turns of phrases. I didn’t notice that when I read a few stories, nor when I watched the BBC series. For instance, in the one I’m currently listening, Hercule says to Hastings: “You mock yourself at me”. You may think she just wants him sound like his English is not too good. Well, actually ‘to mock’ in French is a reflexive verb, so this is exactly how we literally say: you mock me! And there are so so many similar examples. So she must have been totally fluent in French. I had not run into people talking about this, possibly because you need to really know both languages to pick it up. One other aspect of her clever genius and her background homework behind her characters and development


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