Six degrees of separation: from phos to light


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 Versailles to hacking


Six degrees of separation:
From Versailles to hacking!

I’m glad to be back for this fun exercise! And this month is a wild card, we are supposed to start with the last book of our last chain!
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 in the past at Versailles and ended up in the modern world of hackers!
I love this adventure, always full of surprises.

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

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

  Before Versailles the night before  

  if on a winter's night Light to Enlighten My Darkness

     How the Light Gets In The Innovators

1. Before Versailles
A historical novel about Louis XIV.
My verdict:
“The characters sounded true to life, the topic was well researched, the descriptions beautiful.”

2. The Night Before
I find Wendy Walker to be a strong author, and I’m looking forward to reading more books by her. I have read three so far.
VERDICT for this one: Strong psychological thriller, with nice twists and complex characters.

3. If on a Winter‘s Night a Traveler
If you want to read something original, this one is for you: totally different, unique, and superb writing.

4. A Light to Enlighten the Darkness: Daily Readings for Meditation during the Winter Season
Well, I can’t resist the temptation to feature my own book! This is an anthology, with a short text on the theme of light, for those dark days of the winter season. I have selected texts by Medieval authors, men and women. The introduction is mine.

5. How the Light Gets In
With two of its books containing the word light, I have to feature one of my most favorite series of all times: the Gamache series by Louise Penny.
If you don’t know it though, I highly recommend you start with volume 1, Still Life, as the evolution of the characters and their relationships is so important throughout the 15 volumes so far.
Well, 14 to be exact, but I have already read and reviewed book 15, that will come out end of August. My review will then be featured in Criminal Element.

6. The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
This was so fascinating!
VERDICTSuperb audiobook, the best nonfiction I have listened to this year [that was in 2014]. A brilliant author and a just as brilliant narrator combine their kills to present the roots of our current digital world, and the men and women who worked together to give us what we have today.


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The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #20



The Classics Club

The Classics Spin #20

Time for a new spin!

At your blog, before next Monday, Monday 22, create a post to list your choice of any twenty books that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the year. Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, re-reads, ancients — whatever you choose.)

On Monday 22nd April, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by 31st May, 2019.

So here are my 20 books:

  1. The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
  2. Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. Travels With Charley, by John Steinbeck
  4. The Baron in the Trees, by Italo Calvino
  5. Solaris, by Stanislas Lem
  6. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
  7. Fantômas, by Marcel Allain
  8. To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
  9. A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams
  10. Satantango, by Laszlo Krasznahorkai
  11. We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  12. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  13. Le dictionnaires des idées reçues, by Gustave Flaubert
  14. The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole
  15. North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell
  16. Oblomov, by Ivan Goncharov
  17. Xingu, by Edith Wharton
  18. Confusion, by Stefan Zweig
  19. The Dream  of the Red Chamber, by Cao Xueqin
  20. Kusamakura, by Natsume Soseki