Six degrees of separation: from end to beginning


Six degrees of separation:
from end to beginning
or from end to hand!

Time for another quirky variation on this meme.
The book we are starting from speaks about an end, and my final degree evokes a beginning, and oh, there’s end in the first book and hand in the last one, how fun!

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 page

the end of the affair

This is the book we are supposed to start from.
I read it ten years ago, but was not wowed by it.

“‘This is a record of hate far more than of love,’ writes Maurice Bendrix in the opening passages of The End of the Affair, and it is a strange hate indeed that compels him to set down the retrospective account of his adulterous affair with Sarah Miles.
Now, a year after Sarah’s death, Bendrix seeks to exorcise the persistence of his passion by retracing its course from obsessive love to love-hate. At first, he believes he hates Sarah and her husband, Henry. Yet as he delves deeper into his emotional outlook, Bendrix’s hatred shifts to the God he feels has broken his life, but whose existence at last comes to recognize. ”

The End of Days The Final Days of Abbot Montrose

  Leave No Trace french leave  

  The Hands On French Cookbook  In Good Hands  

Click on the covers to read my review
or the relevant page

1.  The End of Days, by Jenny Erpenbeck

VERDICT: Great piece of literature reflecting on life circumstances and how a small detail could change everything. Illustrated with a unique original structure and writing style. Perfect if you enjoy trying something different.

2. The Final Days of Abbot Montrose, by Sven Elvestad

VERDICT:  A clever plot symbolizing different layers of the Norwegian society of early 20th century. A nice glimpse into the impressive work of Sven Elvestad, aka Stein Riverton.

3. Leave no Trace: The Final Moments of Florence W. Aldridge, by Tanya Anne Crosby

This is actually a novel I translated into French. Great plot and characters!

“Less than 48 hours.
That’s how long Florence W. Aldridge has to live.
Every event in a person’s life is connected. The state of our lives, at any given time, is the sum of everything we have done and everywhere we have been. Our next decision determines, not merely where our lives end, but who we become along the way. How far can one lost woman go to redeem herself by the time the clock stops ticking?
These are the final moments of Florence W. Aldridge…”

4. French Leave, by Anna Gavalda

A nice and quick read:

“Simon, Garance and Lola flee a family wedding that promises to be dull to visit their younger brother, Vincent, who is working as a guide at a château in the heart of the charming Tours countryside. For a few hours, they forget about kids, spouses, work and the many demands adulthood makes upon them and lose themselves in a day of laughter, teasing, and memories. As simply and as spontaneously as the adventure began, it ends. All four return to their everyday lives, carrying with them the magic of their brief reunion. They are stronger now, and happier, for having rediscovered the ties that bind them.”

5. The Hands On French French Cookbook: Connect With French Through Simple, Healthy Cooking, by Elisabeth de Châtillon

VERDICT: The most yummy book I have read this year. Cook and learn French at the same time!

6. In Good Hands: The Keeping of a Family Farm, by Charles Fish

Exceptionally, this is a book I haven’t read yet. It’s been on my TBR for two years, I have the feeling I would really enjoy it. 

In 1836, Henry Lester moved his family from the Vermont hills to better land on the valley floor north of Rutland, beginning a saga of six generations on a farm, which this book portrays and explores with an affectionate but critical eye. What gives the book its distinctive charm is its vivid evocation of a way of life: the beloved grandmother keeping house both as a shelter and as a temple of the spirit; the uncles sowing and harvesting, raising and slaughtering; the author, as a small boy, working with the men, fishing and hunting, and, later, reflecting on the issues of pleasure and work, freedom and community.”


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August 2012 wrap-up

Here is finally my August wrap-up! I got caught in a major translation work, which limited considerably my blogging time.

I read 8 books, 2 being non-fiction works. Total of 1754 pages, that is 56.5 pages/day.

And I didn’t finish any audiobook, because the one I was in lasted 25 hours! – that will give a very nice audiobook average for September!

Now the terrible thing is that I do not have ONE review done for this month, except for the read-along!!

The books I read were:

The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov
Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver – review will be posted on Oct 29
Lucretia and the Kroons, by Victor LaValle
The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene

Cliffs Notes on Shakespeare’s King Lear, by James Lowers
Clairvaux Manifesto, by Kirk Bartha

All For Love, by John Dryden
King Lear, by Shakespeare

My favorites this month:


Risa @ Breadcrumb Reads recommended All For Love, by Dryden, when she commented on my review of Antony And Cleopatra, by Shakespeare. I enjoyed it thoroughly!

Reading Challenges recap

Around the World in 52 books:  26/52
Around the world in 12 books: 7/12
European reading challenge: 9/5 – COMPLETED
I love Italy: 3/3 – COMPLETED
Dewey Decimal: 23/20 – COMPLETED
We want you to read French authors: 6/5  – COMPLETED (ends in August)
Books in translation: 11/10-12 – COMPLETED
South Asia: 5/7
Middle East: 5/18
My own reading challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name: 5/6
Ebook challenge: 8/10
Audiobook: 9/12
Support your library: 36/37 – COMPLETED
Finishing the series: 1/1 – COMPLETED
2nds challenge: 5/3 – COMPLETED
Foodies: 1/3
Japanese literature: 1/1+
Historical novels: 11/7-10 – COMPLETED
New authors challenge: 32/15 -COMPLETED
A Shakespeare play a month: 8 /12
Graham Green Challenge: 1/1 – COMPLETED

Special events in August:

–  read-along, on The End of The Affair, by Graham Greene

Special events in September

Bloggiesta and in the middle of it, my 2nd blogiversary!!
Read-along on Bel Canto
– I still need to write a post on 3 amazing Christian Orthodox books recently published, as announced 2 months ago!

Currently reading

– The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton
– Equal of the Sun, by Anita Amirrezvani
– The Aleppo Codex, by Matti Friedman
– The Merry Wives of Windsor, by Shakespeare

The End of The Affair: August Read-along, part 3

Books And Movies is organizing a read-along of The End of The Affair.

Section three – discussion post on August 17th: Book 5

Here is what is proposed by Books And Movies for the last part of this read-along. She was late posting, and I am too, sorry about that:

Spoiler warning: We will be discussing Books One through Four of The End of the Affair in detail, both in this post and the comments section.

Emma at Words and Peace, who is reading along with me, pointed me to this reading guide at Lit Lovers, and so I am borrowing some of their questions for our final discussion.

So I will comment here on the questions she chose:

Talk about the arguments Bendrix has with God toward the end of the novel. How does he move from disbelief to belief? How would you describe the nature of his faith…has he reached a final acceptance of God?
Bendrix discovers little by little who his adversary is, He is not the potential lover he thought he was jealous about. Shocked by this discovery, and discovering also there was a dimension in Sarah’s history he had no idea existed, Bendrix becomes more angry than ever and at then end of the novel turns all his anger towards God, though he does not officially believe in Him.
His actions and decisions are now colored by this anger, and his trying to get his own revenge, for instance by preventing Sarah from having a regular Catholic burial, not a cremation; also I think by his flirting with an interviewer’s friend, the day of the funeral itself!
As a believer, the author may have experienced this step in his own discovery and knowledge of God: it is not unusual for some people to  start relating to God in this way. Through Sarah’s own faith, he may very well be on his way to a final peaceful acceptance of God, the story ends before the reader could know for sure.

What feelings did you experience at the end of the novel?
I have to say I had to go back and re-read the passage with the bombing of London, and see Bendrix’s reactions and evolutions from there. I still did not much like the characters as a whole: even Sarah, the fact that she did not manage to explain what she was going through complicated the whole affair. It left me with a feeling of unease and sadness, though recognizing the quality of the writing, especially at the beginning.

Has reading this book in any way altered—or affirmed—your own beliefs? Has the book enlightened you…or not particularly?
It certainly emphasized my firm belief that communication is key number one in any type of deep relationship, and so absolutely for marriage. Sarah and Henry may have been able to experience some happiness together with this major ingredient. And she may have been able to live a profound and different relationship with Bendrix as well.
As for God, He is portrayed as a jealous and calculating God, a God made in the image and likeness of Bendrix!, and this is not the loving God I experience  and learn to love more deeply every day.

Now I would like to add something related to the movie, which I watched right after I finished the book.
I did find the writing of the book interesting and good, especially at the beginning, with reflexions on tha art of writing.

But I didn’t really like the characters nor the plot.
I enjoyed the movie much better, but it is an adaptation, a different book, actually.  I watched the 1999 drama film directed by Neil Jordan and starring Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea.
The characters are more loveable, even Bendrix at the end takes care of Sarah when she is so sick, whereas he flees in the book.
The characters of the atheistic Richard Smythe is changed into the one of a priest! And the goofy miracle through a hair stolen from Sarah’s corpse, is changed into a healing of the detective’s boy thanks to a kiss given by Sarah.


Section one – discussion posted on August 17th: Books 1 and 2

Section two – discussion post on August 27th: Books 3 and 4