Reviews of Orthodox books: Larchet and Tikhon

Seeing the number of novels and mysteries I read and review every week, some of you may have forgotten that I’m also an Eastern Orthodox Christian, and as such I try to nourish my faith daily by reading, slowly, and meditating with some Orthodox books.

So here are some Orthodox books I recently read, and 3 more will be presented before the end of the year:

 Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses Everyday Saints

Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses, by Jean-Claude Larchet

I have already mentioned this book some time ago, when I finished reading volume 2.
I encourage you to go back to that post to see the table of contents of the 3 volumes, to see what the author is doing, which is, as the subtitle says: An Introduction to the Ascetic Tradition of the Eastern Church.
I read this book in French a while ago (in the French edition, it is all in one volume), but it being probably the best book/fresco presenting the whole of Orthodox spirituality/theology (we don’t make that separation in Orthodoxy), I thought it would be good to re-read it in English as it was finally recently published.

The book is deeply rooted in Patristics and is very accessible. Only a couple of times I thought the translation was a bit weird in the choice of the construction of the English sentence.
I would like to give you here 2 excerpts to give you a better idea of the richness of the book. It may offer to some of you not familiar with Orthodoxy a refreshing view of Christian ideas. Remember that the Orthodox faith is actually the faith of the very first Christians, so nothing esoteric here, just the opposite, alas lost for many after a few centuries in the Western world.

First from the introduction, pp.10-11:



And from the conclusion:


Everyday Saints and Other Stories, by Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov

Another big fat book, with 490 pages, but very easy to read, presenting mostly the life of  group of young modern Russian men who decided to become monks. There are some beautiful characters, and they illustrate the beauty of Orthodox qualities in daily life. Some stories are actually quite funny.
I didn’t find the book as deep as I expected, but I think this is not the point. Rather, the goal seems to show that it is possible to be an Orthodox Christian today and be happy, even when one chooses to embrace monastic life, and I’m not going to contradict that!



A month of favorites: A Year in Books Timeline


a month of favorites#amonthoffaves

All December-long,
Estella’s Revenge,  Girlxoxo, and Traveling with T
will be sharing our fave bookish
(and sometimes non-bookish)
experiences from throughout the year
AND we want YOU to join us!

Dec 10 is for
A Year in Books Timeline {Which month did you … read the most, the least, read the book you liked LEAST for the year, read your longest book, tried a new genre, fell hard for a book boyfriend, re-read a favorite, finished an epic series, read something you’ve been wanting to read for a long time etc. } – link-up hosted at Girlxoxo

JANUARY= when I read the most nonfiction books = 4
FEBRUARY= when I read the most literary fiction books= 5
MARCH= when I FINALLY read a book by Amélie NothombHygiène de l’assassin
APRIL= when I re-read (first it was in French, now in English) Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses, by Larchet
MAY= when I discovered Pierre Lemaitre, with Au revoir là-haut
JUNE= when I read the least, only 4 books!
JULY= when I read the most books = 11 (10 in print + 1 in audio)
AUGUST= when I sadly finished the whole series of Mrs Pollifax, by Dorothy Gilman

Dorothy Gilman, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (1966) audio
Dorothy Gilman, The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax (1985) audio
Dorothy Gilman, The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax – audio
Dorothy Gilman, A Palm For Mrs. Pollifax (1973) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax on Safari (1992) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station  – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha  – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle (1988) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax And The Whirling Dervish (1990) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief  – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax Pursued  – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax and The Lion Killer – audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist (1997) audio
Dorothy Gilman, Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled – audio

SEPTEMBER= when I read the most = 3,007 pages, that is, 100/day
OCTOBER= when I listened the most to audiobooks= 24.41 hours, that is 47 mn/day
NOVEMBER= when I read for the first time 2 heavy crime fiction novels, especially the amazing Irène by Pierre Lemaitre (just officially released yesterday, by the way!)
DECEMBER= the first time I plan to read 3 Christmas related mysteries in December






2014: April wrap-up

Not sure what happened in April, but the reading numbers are low, even though I had to count a long book I finally finished after many months!
Also, I did listen partly to a book, but I also read it partly. So I ended up counting it as read.

Here is what I read in April:

5 books, with 2051 pages, that is,  68.3 pages/day

4 historical novels:

  1. The Shadow Queen, by Sandra Gulland. Enter here until the end of May to win this awesome histfic!
  2. The Towers of Tuscany, by Carol M. Cram. Giveaway ending soon, click on the link today!
  3. St Bartholomew’s Man, by Mary Delorme – ebook – upcoming review
  4. A Star For Mrs Blake, by April Smith – review scheduled for 5/17. Enter here until the end of May to win this awesome histfic!

1 nonfiction:

  1. Therapy of spiritual illnesses, by Jean-Claude Larchet – upcoming review

My favorites this month:

Shadow Queen cover  Star For Mrs Blake


Reading Challenges recap

Audiobook: 4/12
Books on France: 20/24
Ebook challenge: 9/25
Historical fiction: 13/25
Japanese literature: 0/2 – starts in June
New authors challenge: 24/50
My Kind of Mysteries: 5/20
TBR challenge: 0/12
What’s in a Name: 3/5
Where Are You Reading?: 13/50 – to be finished in 2014
Australian Literature Month: 0/1

Total of books read in 2014 = 31

Number of books added to my TBR in April = 7.


Blog recap

  1. 4 of the 5 books read this month were received for review

  2. Already 31 reviews for my Books on France Challenge, don’t forget to link yours.

  3. I organized 4 giveaways this month.
  4. France Book Tours had a blast for its first anniversary, with a mega giveaway, 10 winners! And a very fun Twitter Party. If you missed it, there are 2 awesome historical novels to win this month.


Most popular book review last month

Nightmare in Burgundy

click on the cover to access my review

Most popular post last month – non book review

Basilica of Saint-Denis

Book blog that brought me
most traffic this past month

Flashlight Commentary

please go visit

Blog milestones

almost 2,260 subscribers
over 59,600 hits


Blog plans for May

  1. I plan to finally attack my TBR for the TBR Challenge
  2. Just got contacted to read a very famous French book that won a BIG award last year and to review it for a fancy magazine, surprise!
  3. Can’t wait to take part in Armchair BEA at the end of May!


How was YOUR month of  April?