Six degrees of separation: from New England to Paris


Six degrees of separation:
from New England to Paris

Time for another quirky variation on this meme. I started in New England and ended up in Paris!
I was shocked to realize that usually when doing 6 degrees of separation, you end up with 7 books, not 6. I guess I learned something new today!! How come no one ever asked me why I only played with 6 books!

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 – see the titles below the images to fully understand, as often the word could be in the second part of the title
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

Click on the covers 
links will send you to my review or to the relevant Goodreads page

Ethan Frome

This is the book we are supposed to start from.
I haven’t read it and probably will not.

“The classic novel of despair, forbidden emotions, and sexual undercurrents set against the austere New England countryside.
Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a hired girl, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent.
In one of American fiction’s finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton’s other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read book.”

the touchstone  The Moonstone

  Moon in a Dead Eye  Living With a Dead Language

  pancakes-in-paris Three Hours in Paris

1.  The Touchstone, by Edith Wharton

I did read this novella by Wharton, and so decided to go with this easy link.
Click on the cover to read my review and synopsis.

2. The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins

I liked it, though I thought The Woman in White was much better.

“The Moonstone is a page-turner”, writes Carolyn Heilbrun. “It catches one up and unfolds its amazing story through the recountings of its several narrators, all of them enticing and singular.” Wilkie Collins’s spellbinding tale of romance, theft, and murder inspired a hugely popular genre–the detective mystery. Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglers.”

3. Moon in a Dead Eye, by Pascal Garnier

VERDICTIf you enjoy noir literature, why not expand your horizon and try this short mystery, with a tight plot and great writing.

4. Living With a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin, by Ann Patty

A fabulous memoir!

“An entertaining exploration of the richness and relevance of the Latin language and literature, and an inspiring account of finding renewed purpose through learning something new and challenging.
After thirty-five years of living in New York City, Ann Patty stopped working and moved to the country upstate. She was soon bored, aimless, and lost in the woods. Hoping to challenge her restless, word-loving brain, and to find a new engagement with life, she began a serious study of Latin as an auditor at local colleges.
In Living with a Dead Language, Patty weaves elements of her personal life into the confounding grammar and syntax of Latin as she chronicles not only the daily slog but also the deep pleasures of trying to master an inflected language. Courses in Roman history and epigraphy give her new insight into her tragic, long-deceased mother; Horace into the loss of a brilliant friend;, Lucretius into her tenacious drivenness and attraction to Buddhism. Catullus calls up her early days in 1970s New York while Ovid adds a delightful dimension to the flora and fauna that surround her. Finally, Virgil reconciles her to her new life—no longer an urban exile but a scholar, writer, and teacher. Along the way, she meets an intriguing, impassioned cast of characters: professors, students, and classicists outside of academia who become her new colleagues and who keep Latin very much alive.
Written with humor, candor, and an infectious enthusiasm for words and grammar, Patty’s book is a celebration of how learning and literature can transform the past and lead to a new, unexpected future.”

5. Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France, by Craig Carlson

VERDICT: Eye-opening memoir of an American living his dream to open a restaurant in Paris. Meet the real France.

6. Three Hours in Paris, by Cara Black

VERDICT: Multi-layered fascinating historical spy thriller, enriched by Cara Black’s intimate knowledge of Paris!


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Review #62: The Touchstone

The Touchstone



54 pages

Publication:  1900/ 2004, by Melville House

Read for


This is I believe my first book by Edith Wharton. I like her writing style, the psychology around her characters. There are many themes in here that could be comparable to Jane Austen’s books, but I think Edith’s writing is much more profound and subtle as well. Deception and/or self-deception is surrounded by lots of  circumstances that could work in the favor of the character at play, so much so that I was leaning more towards compassion than judgment.


This sly, masterful, story about a poor young man who finds himself with an opportunity to get rich by selling off love letters from a scorned–now famous–lover is classic Wharton, with social status, money, self-deception and love all intertwined in a deft social and psychological portrait. [Goodreads]


Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family’s return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith’s creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly.

After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton’s novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton’s first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable literary success. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton’s reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, André Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.

In 1913 Edith divorced Edward. She lived mostly in France for the remainder of her life. When World War I broke out, she organized hostels for refugees, worked as a fund-raiser, and wrote for American publications from battlefield frontlines. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her courage and distinguished work.

The Age of Innocence, a novel about New York in the 1870s, earned Wharton the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921 — the first time the award had been bestowed upon a woman. Wharton traveled throughout Europe to encourage young authors. She also continued to write, lying in her bed every morning, as she had always done, dropping each newly penned page on the floor to be collected and arranged when she was finished. Wharton suffered a stroke and died on August 11, 1937. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.  [Goodreads]