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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Six degrees of separation: from a redhead to an alien head

#6Degrees

Six degrees of separation:
from a redhead to an alien head

I had another great fun with this one, especially seeing where I landed. Read below to understand my final book.

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

  Redhead by the side of the road  Red Handed

  The Kissing Hand A Kiss Before Dying

  the night before Binti The Night Masquerade

1. Redhead by the Side of the Road
A book longlisted for the Booker. I haven’t read it and don’t intend to.
“Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life. But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend tells him she’s facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah’s door claiming to be his son.
These surprises, and the ways they throw Micah’s meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever.”

2. Red Handed
This is actually a thriller I was asked to translate into French!
Katerina has a knack for getting herself stuck into impossible situations, and dangerous on top of it. More than once the reader wants to shout to her, no, don’t do that!
If she trusted more her boyfriend and his advice, she might fare better, but there would be less adventures for the reader!
Her tribulations usually happen outside her professional activities, but she still uses her gifts as a forensic accountant to scent trouble and to expose the bad guys (and gals).
There are good scenes of suspense.

3. The Kissing Hand
VERDICT: A cute little story

 

4. A Kiss Before Dying
A classic (1953) mystery I actually haven’t read yet, but it’s been on my list
A Kiss Before Dying not only debuted the talent of best-selling novelist Ira Levin to rave reviews, it also set a new standard in the art of mystery and suspense. Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing–not even murder–to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she’s pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures. But, then, he looks like the kind of guy who could get away with murder. Compellingly, step by determined step, the novel follows this young man in his execution of one plan he had neither dreamed nor foreseen. Nor does he foresee how inexorably he will be enmeshed in the consequences of his own extreme deed.”

 

5. The Night Before
VERDICT: Strong psychological thriller, with nice twists and complex characters.

6. The Night Masquerade (the link goes to my short 8 minutes video about it on Instagram)
This is in the genre Africanfuturism.
Totally original and fascinating mix, and I have devoured this and the previous two books in the series.
It’s about a Himba girl, going to attend a university on another planet. S it’s a mix of African cultural elements and science fiction! I don’t think I could find more diverse than that!

The connection with the head is that Himba women have amazing hairdos, and on this other planet, the girl discovers creatures with very weird heads!

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Six degrees of separation: from Hamlet to Hercule Poirot

#6Degrees

Six degrees of separation:
from Hamlet to Hercule Poirot

Ah ah, could giving us a one unusual word title be too tough for my way of playing this game? Ok I had to change a bit my own rule, but it worked, by using the same first name of author to start with!!

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

  Hamnet  Writing the icon

The English Grammar Workbook for Adult  The Professor and the Madman

Housekeeper And The Professor  Peril at End House

1. Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell
A popular book, and I love Hamlet by Shakespeare, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet for this book.
“Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.”

2. Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding
She quotes a lot St Isaac the Syrian, and it is always refreshing to see a Father from the Christian East quoted by a Christian from the Western world. Going back to our common roots…
“The subtitle of Maggie Ross’s new book captures its essence, for it is about silence and our need to behold God. Beholding is a notion that we are in danger of losing. It is often lost in translation, even by the NRSV and the Jerusalem Bible. Beholding needs to be recovered both in theology and practice.”

3. The English Grammar Workbook for Adults: A Self-Study Guide to Improve Functional Writing
VERDICT: The perfect tool both for ESL and EFL students, from basic grammatical rules to practical and even creative writing.

4. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

I haven’t posted any review, but I really enjoyed it, like any book by Simon Winchester anyway.
The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.”

5. The Housekeeper and the Professor
VERDICT:  The Housekeeper And The Professor is  a difficult book to review; the novel is more about the ambiance than the plot itself. You may even end up loving maths at the end!

6. Peril at End House
OK, slightly cheating again, by using only half of the first word…
I haven’t written anything about this one either, but it definitely was a great plot.
“Hercule Poirot is vacationing on the Cornish coast when he meets Nick Buckly. Nick is the young and reckless mistress of End House, an imposing structure perched on the rocky cliffs of St. Loo.
Poirot has taken a particular interest in the young woman who has recently narrowly escaped a series of life-threatening accidents. Something tells the Belgian sleuth that these so-called accidents are more than just mere coincidences or a spate of bad luck. It seems all too clear to him that someone is trying to do away with poor Nick, but who? And, what is the motive? In his quest for answers, Poirot must delve into the dark history of End House. The deeper he gets into his investigation, the more certain he is that the killer will soon strike again. And, this time, Nick may not escape with her life.”

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