The top 7 books to read in November 2019

Here are

The top 7 books
I plan to read in November 2019

Click on the covers to know more


 Elder Anthony The Vexations

Elder Anthony of Optina
I have a devotion to the Optina Fathers. This is book 2 in the series. Elder Anthony is incredible. In connection with this book blog, I discovered he loved reading A LOT, and he took lots of notes while reading.

The Vexations
Cool historical novel on Erik Satie!


 Guide to Healing the Earth Treachery

If You Cross the River

Guide to Healing
“Tom Brown, Jr., is America’s most acclaimed outdoorsman, tracker, and teacher. When he was eight he met Stalking Wolf, an Apache elder who taught the young man how to survive in the wild, and more importantly, how to value our place in the natural order.”

I have deeply enjoyed the 3 previous books historical mysteries in this series on Giordano Bruno. This volume 4 was said to have been published in 2014, but I was never able to find it. Finally now available. It’s over 500 pages, I hope it’s as good as the previous ones.
“Summer, 1585: As English ships are held captive in Spain, fear mounts of an Invincible Armada, built by King Philip II, and intended to invade English shores. Sir Francis Drake prepares to embark on an expedition by royal commission to cross the Atlantic and seize major Spanish ports, diverting Philip’s American treasure supplies to Queen Elizabeth. Giordano Bruno, radical philosopher and spy, accompanies his friend Sir Philip Sidney to Plymouth to oversee Drake’s departure. Unbeknownst to Bruno, Sidney intends to join the mission – and he wants Bruno to go too. But when a ship captain is brutally murdered, and Drake’s life threatened, it becomes clear that someone plans to destroy the expedition before it begins. Bruno and Sidney hunt for the killer, but are they being lured into a trap? And when Drake’s young wife and her cousin arrive, Bruno and Sidney find themselves thrown into an unexpected rivalry.”

If You Cross the River
On my Edelweiss shelf since May… Presented as “a modern fable about friendship, self-determination, and the power of words.”


        The Masque of the red death

I was curious to try this popular French author. This is an edge of your seat story. A woman cop finds herself having to kill a man in self-defense – the guy was definitely not an angel. BUT she was investigating something on her own. So her husband, also a cop, does all he can to make it look like a crime scene.
They both work on the team to investigate what happened there, and are afraid all along they will be caught for what they did, as there are really super smart investigators on their team.
Great story, but horrific details.

The Masque of the Red Death
I hope this classic horror story won’t be as tough. I’ll be listening to it for The Classics Club.


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Eiffel Tower Orange



Nonfiction November: My Year 2019 in Nonfiction



Click on the logo to see the detailed schedule

As every year, a bunch of really cool bloggers are co-hosting Nonfiction November.

Here is the topic for Week 1 (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1):


Hosted by Julz of Julz Reads
Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions:
What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?
What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Here is the recap of the nonfiction I have read (the links will send you to my review when it’s posted).
So far, I have read or listened to 17 nonfiction, nice, compared to only 11 last year. And I plan to read at least 3 more before the end of the year.

Here are the titles:


  1. The Years, by Annie Ernaux
  2. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau – audio, classic

About travels:

  1. Are We French Yet?, by Keith Van Sickle
  2. Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck – audio, classic
  3. The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66, by Shing Yin Khor
    graphic “novel”
  4. Travels with a Donkey, by Robert Louis Stevenson – audio, classic

About technology:

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

About language/books:

  1. Dictionnaire des idées reçues, by Gustave Flaubert – audio, classic
  2. Book Love, by Debbie Tunggraphic “novel”


  1. Oh, the Meetings You’ll Go To!: A Parody, by Dr. Suits – graphic “novel”
  2. Secret Agent Brainteasers: More Than 100 Codebreaking Puzzles Inspired by Britain’s Espionage Masterminds, by Sinclair McKay

Orthodox spirituality:

  1. Prayers by the Lake, by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
  2. Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition, by Gabriel Bunge
  3. Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer, by Catherine de Hueck Doherty
  4. If You Love Me: Serving Christ and the Church in Spirit and Truth, by Matthew the Poor
  5. Elder Leonid of Optina, by Fr. Clement Sederholm
  6. Alexander Schmorell: Saint of the German Resistance, by Elena Perekrestov

I actually also reviewed a few cookbooks, but I don’t feel like it counts here.


What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

The YearsThis is really hard,
there are so many on this list I loved a lot!

What nonfiction book
have you recommended the most?
Talk to me

Do you have a particular topic
you’ve been attracted to more this year?
Apart from books related to Eastern Orthodoxy, I notice a lot of travels!

What are you hoping to get out
of participating in Nonfiction November?
As usual, to get acquainted with more nonfiction readers
and good titles unknown to me.



Six degrees of separation: From Three Women to a riddle


Six degrees of separation:
From Three Women to a Pea

You are probably going to think I’m crazy, but this time, I have tried to do a REAL “six degrees of separation”, I mean, by finding connections that come to mind with each title. Maybe I also needed to prove myself I could actually do that!
Actually, I prepared this a few weeks ago, and today, as I finalize my post, I realize new connections are coming to mind, so I’ll spare you my first ideas, those are the ones I have today. Which means, I could probably generate a new list every day!!

AND, as I couldn’t easily part with my usual way of doing this meme, I’m offering you 2 chains today!!

After the covers,
you can find the links to my reviews
or to the title on Goodreads

A) Here you go, with the first “traditional” chain”:

  Three Women macbeth

  By Night the Mountain Burns fire season

  The Memory Police ella minnow pea

1. Three Women
This is the book we were supposed to start with. I haven’t read it and don’t intend to, I’m not interested in feminism.

2. When I hear 3 women, I automatically think of a most famous trio, the 3 witches in Macbeth. I have read many plays by Shakespeare, and actually studied in depth several of them, this one among others. I re-read it a few years ago.

3. I also enjoy a lot how 3 witches are portrayed in Night of Bald Mountain, by Mussorgsky. Which made me think of another book with both night and mountain in the title: By Night the Mountain Burns. I didn’t find it super good, but it’s unique, as it focuses on the oral tradition on an island in Equatorial Guinea, by an author of this country!

4. The burning part made me think of a great book on fire: Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout. It’s an excellent nonfiction focusing on solitude in that little space up the fire lookout tower, on the wilderness, on what happens in a forest.

5. I had the same impression of confinement in scenes from The Memory Police. It’s a dystopia. And there’s a book within the book, and a character ends up trapped in a very small place up a tower.
The main idea of the book is simple: on a small island, a special police arbitrarily decides that things should disappear, one at a time. Go to my review to see why I really enjoyed it.

6. You almost find the same idea in a fun book Ella Minnow Pea. We are also on an island, and this time, it’s letters of the alphabet that are progressively banned. Fun and smart book!

B) And now, 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), I started with three women and ended up with a riddle!
Come with me!

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

Three Women Three Lives Tomomi

 our thoughts Confronting and Controlling

  A Crack in Creation The Riddle of the labyrinth

1. Three Women
See above

2. Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa
From my review: “I devoured very quickly this very smart novel. I loved the quality of the writing, of descriptions and inner feelings. I loved the quirkiness of it all, as you never really know if you are in truth or fiction, and of course I loved the treasure hunt especially in Paris, with the mention of lots of famous or not so famous places.”

3. Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives
An Orthodox book for a change. It focuses “on the impact your thoughts can have, not only on your own lives, but also on people around you, and even on the world at large. Whether your thoughts are positive or negative, they will determine your life and the lives of many.”

4. Confronting and Controlling Thoughts
Another Orthodox book I really enjoyed. The passages quoted come from the Philokalia, a major spiritual work. All the books by Coniaris are very accessible.
It’s about how to stop thoughts from polluting your mind and heart.

5. A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
I’m ending with 2 books on my TBR. With the huge and rapid development in gene science, I want to read this one and see where we are at now. “What will we do with this unfathomable power?”

6. The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code
I want to read this book, because the topic is intriguing: “The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, masterfully blending history, linguistics, and cryptology with an elegantly wrought narrative.” But also because it was written by Margalit Fox, and that’s how I discovered it. You may remember how blown away I was by Fox’s book on Conan Doyle. This lady knows how to write!!


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