Book review: The Only Woman in the Room

The only woman in the roomThe Only Woman in the Room
by  Marie Benedict
Genre: Historical Fiction
272 pages


I discovered Marie Benedict at BEA when it was set in Chicago a few years ago, and really enjoyed The Other Einstein, as well as Carnegie’s Maid. So I just decided to read The Only Woman in the Room, without knowing anything about her subject. Surprise!

Click to continue reading

2018: December wrap-up


You may have seen in my stats of the year, that there was a peak for December. Seeing how few books I had read compared to my usual average (about 30 less books than usual), I tried to read more in December!!
It worked, and December was by far my best month in 2018. Best in reading, and also very good in audio time.

Here is what I read in December:

14 books:
12 in print 
with 3,276 pages, an average of 105.6 pages/day
2 in audio
with 25H12, an average of 48 mn/day

7 in nonfiction:

  1. Modern Orthodox Thinkers: From the Philokalia to the Present Day, by Andrew Louth
  2. A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway – for Classics Club
  3. The Provocative Colette, by Annie Goetzinger – biography, “graphic novel”
  4. Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace
    by Michael Perry – for my Winter LIbrary Challenge, book picked by the staff for me 
  5. Che: A Revolutionary Life, by Jon Lee Anderson – biography, “graphic novel”
  6. Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life, by William Roy – biography, “graphic novel”. I chose to read this to compare with Marie Benedict’s historical novel on Hedy Lamarr, see below
  7. Letters to Saint Olympia, by Saint John Chrysostom

4 in mystery:

  1. Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny
  2. Maman a tort, by Michel Bussi – audio, in French
  3. The Book Artist, by Mark Pryor – 2019 release, for review
  4. N’oublier jamais, by Michel Bussi – audio, in French

2 in historical fiction:

  1. The Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova
  2. The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict – 2019 release, ebook for review

1 in Fiction:

  1. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, by Sun-Mi Hwang


 The Shadow Land  Maman a tort


Classics Club: 25/50 (until end of 2020) or 39/64!
The 2018 TBR Pile Challenge: 3/12, but none reviewed yet !!
Where Are You Reading?: 21/50 – to be finished in ??
Total of books read in 2018= 77/100
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 26



click on the cover to access my review


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to see the books I plan to read in January
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How was YOUR month of December?

Month in Review

Kathryn at The Book Date
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Kathryn, great idea!

Mailbox Monday December 10

Mailbox Monday2 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2 WWW Wednesdays 2

Mailbox Monday,
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
and WWW Wednesdays


The Sentence is Death  The Library of Lost and Found

The Sentence is Death:
US release date June 4
Thanks Edelweiss for this book (and the next). I’m so much looking forward to reading it. By the brilliant author of The Word is Murder, among many others. And I can’t wait to see what next book title it will be in the series!! So smart!

The Library of Lost and Found:
release date March 26
I enjoyed a lot The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, so I thought I would try the latest by the same author.


click on the covers to know more about them


Kingdom of the Blind


The Shadow Land


Modern Orthodox Thinkers

Kingdom of the Blind:
I was looking forward to Armand Gamache #14 in the series!
And I was so lucky to get it so quickly: I was like number 25 on the waiting list at the library, because I had forgotten to reserve my spot as soon as I had heard it would be published in November.
Then one day, I went to the library to pick up the book the staff had chosen for me for the Winter Reading Challenge (see below). It was supposed to be at the first floor desk, but the staff there had no idea. So I went upstairs. At the second floor desk, there was a pile of books, with Kingdom of the Blind in it. I asked if the pile was prepared for somebody, and they said, oh no, it’s just that our Hot Copy display is full right now, feel free to pick what you want!!!
We are still in the delightful Three Pines, with the same great character, but also with some horrible element of life in Montreal.
I would actually only give 3.5 Eiffel Tower (my personal ranking system) to this one.
The beginning and ending were great!
But in between, I found it too choppy: choppy in content, as there were too many quick back and forths between the different threads going on. I understand the purpose, I think, but it didn’t really work for me, it was too much.
And choppy in the writing. I like short sentences, with one word sentences as well, but again, this technique was used too much and too often for me to fully enjoy it.
BUT, let’s not despair, it was still acceptable enough to make me hope the 2019 volume will be better.

The Shadow Land:
This was so good (review to come very soon), by the author of the amazing The Historian (I talked briefly about it on my older blog).

Modern Orthodox Thinkers:
It took me almost a year to read this fascinating book, so rich it is!
The author, an excellent writer (and speaker – you can find him on youtube) whom I have enjoyed in previous books, presents about 25 modern Orthodox thinkers, theologians, and spiritual mothers and sisters.
The book is divided in 21 chapters. It’s actually a revised version of public lectures, so sometimes the style is almost conversational. So for the most part, it’s fairly easy to read, but the content is very dense, depending on the author he’s talking about of course.
Each chapter focuses first on the life of the person, and then on their writings and teachings.
There are tons of references. So much so that I have taken notes, not only of great passages, but of the books I would like to (re) read.
You can find my general presentation of the book on my Orthodox blog. And at the bottom of the page, in the pingback section, you have the list of all the other posts, with my personal notes for each chapter. All my notes will be published by the end of December, they are scheduled once per week.



The Book Artist


A Moveable Feast


Visiting Tom

The Book Artist: 
Already reading a 2019 release! I really enjoy a lot the author. I have read 5 of his books, set in Paris. The last one was The Sorbonne Affair.
The beginning is very promising.

A Moveable Feast:
This is my pick for Classics Club Spin #19. I think it will be ok, thanks to the content, but so far, I’m not too impressed by the writing.

Visiting Tom:
Picked for me by my public library staff, for the Winter Reading Challenge. I like it so far, it’s about rural Wisconsin, my type of element.

I’m also actually reading 3 other books:

The Only Woman in the Room:
So far, I have read and enjoyed all the books by Marie Benedict, see for instance my review for the last one: Carnegie’s Maid.
This one is on Hedy Lamarr. I’m a quarter done, still slow, but I have the feeling things are going to move quickly from here, as she just married.

I also started another Orthodox book, this time Saint John Chrysostom’s Letters to Saint Olympia, an amazing 4th century woman. I have only read the introduction so far. It seems the content of the letters will be a lot how not to despair, which is quite à propos with all that’s going on in our world, from Ukraine-Russia to the events in France…

And my current audiobook is Maman a tort, by Bussi: a 3 year old keeps telling his mom is NOT his mom! Great suspense, as usual. It will be published in English (The Wrong Mother) on March 7.



The Joy of Forest Bathing


Hedy Lamarr


N'oublier jamais

The Joy of Forest Bathing: The Mysterious Japanese Art of Shinrin-Yoku
After Ikigai, I thought I would try this other interesting Japanese concept, plus I love so much hiking.

Hedy Lamarr:
When I visit my public library, I like to go to the Graphic “Novels” section, and see what new biography they have. There was one on Hedy Lamarr, who is the topic of The Only Woman in the room ! (see above). So I thought it would be fun to compare the two books.

N’oublier jamais:
The last audiobook by Bussi available so far!


DEC 31

Love and invention

DEC 25

$50 gift card/paypalSaint Innocent

DEC 22 

$50 Amazon
Gift Card

Crimes Past