Six degrees of separation: from phos to light

#6Degrees

Six degrees of separation:
from phos to light

When I saw we had to start with a one word title, I was tempted to start my chain with the author’s first name.
But then I thought I could actually use the Greek part of the title I love. In fact, the theme of light (phos) is my favorite in Christian spirituality.
I usually feature Christian books on my other site (I haven’t posted there for months, but I will restart mid March: Myrtle Skete), but I am who I am, and am very committed in my faith and practice, so for once, most of my chain will be featuring Christian books.
If it’s not your thing, feel free to leave and not read further.

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).

Here are my own quirky rules:

1. Use your list of books on Goodreads
2. Take the first word of the title (or in the subtitle) 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

Phosphorescence Metamorphosis

  The Transfiguration of Christ  If you love me

if on a winter's night   Light to Enlighten My Darkness

 

Links will send you to my review or to the relevant Goodreads page

1. Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark

So this is the book we have to start with. I haven’t read it, and am not planning to, as it seems light weight to me.

“A beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness – the ‘light within’ that Julia Baird calls ‘phosphorescence’ – which will sustain us even through the darkest times.
Over the last decade, we have become better at knowing what brings us contentment, well-being and joy. We know, for example, that there are a few core truths to science of happiness. We know that being kind and altruistic makes us happy, that turning off devices, talking to people, forging relationships, living with meaning and delving into the concerns of others offer our best chance at achieving happiness. But how do we retain happiness? It often slips out of our hands as quickly as we find it. So, when we are exposed to, or learn, good things, how do we continue to burn with them?
And more than that, when our world goes dark, when we’re overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom? In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most – finite relationships, fragile health, fraying economies, a planet in peril – how do we find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light – a light to ward off the darkness?”

2. Metamorphosis: The Transfiguration in Byzantine Theology and Iconography

Two notes here:
I played with the syllable phos, meaning light in Greek, but I am aware that in the word “metamorphosis”, the Greek word is morphosis, which means form.

It’s interesting though, that metamorphosis is the Greek word for Transfiguration, which is an event of LIGHT, where the Apostles were finally able to open their eyes and really see Christ’s Divine Light.
This is my favorite Christian Feast, and I have read a lot of books on it. But as I wrote in my review, I can say, “This is one of the best books I have read on the Transfiguration”.

3. The Transfiguration Of Christ In Scripture And Tradition

I read this many many years ago, before my blogging years, so I have no review and no excerpts, but this is definitely my favorite book on the Transfiguration.
John Anthony McGuckin is an amazing scholar (currently professor of early Christianity in the Theological Faculty of Oxford University, and Romanian Orthodox priest).
In this book, he combines Biblical and Patristic data. And it’s very accessible – incidentally, that’s for me the sign of real scholars: they can explain complex things in ways everyone can understand.

4.  If You Love Me: Serving Christ and the Church in Spirit and Truth

Another book I didn’t review. Matthew the Poor was also a scholar and this time, a Coptic monk and abbot. I have read several books by him. They are deeply steeped in Scripture and very profound. The type of books you would enjoy reading in Lent, for meditation.
NB: all Christians are serving Christ one way or another, including in your service of your neighbor, so this is not a book just for special ministers.

““The lesson of love can never be taught simply by words . . . Rather, it is taught by truly giving yourself and communicating the love and longing for Christ to those you serve. . . . How awesome and dignified is Christian service! And how good is the trustworthy and loyal servant who can say along with Christ, ‘Learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart’ (Matt. 11:29).” (from the Introduction) This book is essential and inspiring reading for all who would devote their lives to the service of Christ and His Church.”

 

5. If on a Winter‘s Night a Traveler
And this one is my favorite novel pertaining to the Oulipo, that is, a group of authors who try to write following unusual structures, patterns, or even constrained techniques (a famous book in that group was written in French, without ever using the letter e!)

After literary fiction, I am back to Christian nonfiction, and with my own book, though this is an anthology I put together, so I only really wrote the introduction.
The texts have been chosen from Medieval Cistercian authors, so this is not easy modern meditation reading.
I mentioned above how light was my favorite theme, so no surprise I decided to [put this anthology together.

And so it is fun here to start with phos and end up with light.

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Visit other chains here

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HAVE YOU READ AND ENJOYED ANY OF THESE BOOKS?

Top Ten Books with the word heart in the title

Top Ten Tuesday:
Top Ten Books with the word heart in the title

TTT for February 9, 2021
#TopTenTuesday

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Today, the prompt is Valentine’s Day/Love Freebie.
As I have already done something last year with the word LOVE in the title, this year, I’ll go with ❤️.

Please click on the image to access my reviews when available

Top ten books with heart in the title

 Have you read any of these?
Any other good book with ❤️ in the title?

 

Year of reading 2019 Part 2: Statistics

After the list of my 2019 favorites, here are my statistics.
Then tomorrow you can see the fun I had with the titles I read in 2019.

Year of reading 2019
Part 2: Statistics

As I wrote yesterday, if 2018 was my most pathetic year in the last decade, with only 77 books read, 2019 is my best year, with 118 books!
I read and listened to many more books than last year, though apparently shorter ones.
90 books reads (61 in 2018), and 28 listened to (16 in 2018) = 118, which is an average of 9.8/month (77 books in 2018, with a monthly average of 6.4).

Books read in 2019:
90
. That’s an average of 7.5/month
Total of 23,033 pages (17,761 in 2018), which is an average of 63 pages/day (48 in 2018).
That’s an average of 255 pages/book (291 in 2018). So I actually read shorter books this year. It makes sense with all the mangas I read!

Books listened to in 2019:
28
[16 in 2018]. This is an average of 2.3/month (1.3 in 2018)
Total of 14,323 mn (10,405 min in 2018) with an average of 39 mn/day (28 in 2018)
That’s an average of over 8 hours/audiobook. (10 hours/audiobook in 2018, so I also listened to shorter audiobooks)

In graphs, this is what it looks like:

 

2019 Average number of pages

So many months with average over 60, compared to 2018!

 

2019 Average number of minutes

Those 2 peaks over an hour are impressive!

 

2019 Genre

Nonfiction actually same percentage 3 years in a row!
And I like this better balance.

 

2019 Format

I decided to include here a Graphic Novel section,
as I read 20 this year.
Otherwise, about the same,
though less ebooks and more audiobooks

 

2019 authors

Some of you are may be appalled,
but honestly, as long as a book is well written,
I really don’t care if a man or a woman wrote it

 

2019 nationality

9 more countries represented than last year,
mostly due to the fact that I was part of
the Man Booker International Prize Shadow Panel

 

2019 languages

6 more languages than last year!
Neat that less than half of the books I read
were not originally published in English.
Also due to the Shadow Pan
el.
I actually read exactly as many books translated into English
as published originally in English (51)!

In translation: 51 [21 in 2018]:

  • 19 from the Japanese (mostly mangas)
  • 6 from the French
  • 5 from the Russian
  • 4 from the Spanish
  • 3 from he Korean
  • 2 from the Chinese, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Dutch, German
  • 1 from the Serbian and from the Aleut!
    I’m super happy about this one from the Aleut. It’s a short Orthodox spiritual book written by Bishop Innocent when he was working with missions in Alaska.
    I originally thought it was translated from the Russian, but then I realized Saint Innocent of Moscow actually wrote it directly in Aleut! (he taught himself several local languages in Alaska)

16 in original language: in French

Out of a Total of 90 authors (60 in 2018)
53 were new to me (58%. It was 55% in 2018)

Books by the same author: 32 [22 in 2018]:
15 by Hayao Miyazaki (Mangas)
4 by Guillaume Musso
3 by Katherine Applegate
and 2 by Michel Bussi, Sarah Bailey, Candice Fox, Ichigo Takano, Clement Sederholm

Re-Reads:
Le Horla, by Guy de Maupassant (first time read, this time: listened to)

Oldest: Don Quixote, 1st part, by Cervantes (1604)
Newest: Lady Clementine, by Marie Benedict, and Dreamland, by Nancy Bilyeau, to be released at the beginning of January 2020.

 

2019 year

A bit less books published after 2010 than last year.
I do try to go through classics and old TBRs

 

2019 source

NB: Most books bought are part of my EStories audio subscription.
11% less books received for review than last year!
Indeed, I try to exercise more discernment on what I request or not

21 countries these books led me to (19 last year):
US (22), France (21),
Japan (18), England (12),
Russia (7), Australia (5),
3 were set in Spain, South Korea, and space,
2 were set in Germany, China, and Canada.
1 was set in Morocco, Norway, Malaysia, Switzerland, Austria, Oman, Poland, Columbia, and Czechoslovakia.

Shortest book: Bear and Wolf, by Daniel Salmieri –  44 pages (picture book)

Longest book: La vie mode d’emploi, by Georges Pérec 580 pages.

Longest audio: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins – 22:28 hours

Funniest: Are We French Yet? by Keith Van Sickle = nonfiction on life of expats 

Most Unique Book: Secret Agent Brainteasers: More Than 100 Codebreaking Puzzles Inspired by Britain’s Espionage Masterminds, by Sinclair McKay

Most tearjerker: The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

Most disappointing (and totally unbearable): Valerie, by Sara Stridsberg

Creepy: Scare Me, by Richard Jay Parker

Eye-opener: Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think, by James Vlahos

Best reading companion: Quichotte, by Salman Rushdie (as a spin off on Don Quixote, by Cervantes, that I also read this year)

Beautiful illustrations: The Secret World of Arrietty, vol. 1 by Hayao Miyazaki

Biggest discovery: Hayao Miyazaki (several books), and Liu Cixin

Favorite characters of the year: Louis and Sam (The Trumpet of the Swan), Trace (Trace), Naho & Kakeru (Orange), Colin (Sang Famille), Jayme (A Long Way Down), Azi (The Gomorrah Gambit), Arrietty (The Secret World of Arrietty), Joshua (Avalanche hôtel), Alexander (Alexander Schmorell), Satsuki and Mei (My Neighbor Totoro), Giordano Bruno (Treachery), Mrs Bunting (The Lodger), Ivan (The One and Only Ivan), Sarah & Christopher (le cri).

Classics I finally got to read:
Don Quixote, by Cervantes
On the Edge of the World, by Nikolai Leskov
The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole
Tender is the Night, by Fitzgerald
Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley
Walden, by Thoreau,
Travels with Charley, by Steinbeck
Dictionnaire des idées reçues, by Flaubert
Travels with a Donkey, by Stevenson
The Lodger, by Marie Belloc Lowndes
The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
Le mystère de la chambre jaune, by Gaston Leroux
The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgard Allan Poe
The Mystery of the Hansom Cab, by Fergus Hume
We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Solaris, by Lem
Childhood’s End, by Clarke
The Trumpet of the Swan, by E. E. White

Books present for a while on my TBR that I finally got to read (other than the classics just mentioned):
Prayers by the Lake, by Nikolai Velimirovich
La vie mode d’emploi, by Georges Pérec
Earthern Vessels, by Gabriel Bunge
Poustinia, by Catherine de Hueck Doherty
If You Love Me, by Matthew the Poor
Elder Leonid of Optina, by Fr Clement Sederholm
Elder Anthony of Optina, by Fr. Clement Sederholm
Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven, by Saint Innocent of Moscow

Which authors new to me in 2019 that I now want to keep reading?
Un-Su Kim, Pat Cummings, Poschmann, Tom Chatfield, Candice Fox, Sarah Bailey, Olivier Norek, Salman Rushdie, Arthur C. Clarke, Liu Cixin, Marie Belloc Lowndes, Nicolas Beuglet

New Series I want to pursue:
Crimson Lake, Gemma Woodstock, Sarah Geringën

Best title: HHhH, by Laurent Binet

Longest book title:
Secret Agent Brainteasers: More Than 100 Codebreaking Puzzles Inspired by Britain’s Espionage Masterminds, by Sinclair McKay

Shortest book title: We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin

MORE FUN RECAP TOMORROW!

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