Six degrees of separation:
from sorrow to the Romanovs
Time for another quirky variation on this meme.
The title doesn’t sound very cheerful, but my list contains some great books, and at least one is hilarious.
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
This is the book we are supposed to start from.
I have not read it, and I am not planning to.
“This novel is about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn’t know what it is. Her husband Patrick thinks she is fine. He says everyone has something, the thing is just to keep going.
Martha told Patrick before they got married that she didn’t want to have children. He said he didn’t mind either way because he has loved her since he was fourteen and making her happy is all that matters, although he does not seem able to do it.
By the time Martha finds out what is wrong, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It is too late to get the only thing she has ever wanted. Or maybe it will turn out that you can stop loving someone and start again from nothing – if you can find something else to want. ”
Click on the covers to read my review
or the relevant page
Sorrow and Bliss
1. The Sorrrows of Young Werther, by Goethe
I read this one a few decades ago (in French), and enjoyed it A LOT. It might be time to revisit.
“This is Goethe’s first novel, published in 1774. Written in diary form, it tells the tale of an unhappy, passionate young man hopelessly in love with Charlotte, the wife of a friend – a man who he alternately admires and detests. ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’ became an important part of the ‘Sturm und Drang movement, and greatly influenced later ‘Romanticism’. The work is semi-autobiographical – in 1772, two years before the novel was published, Goethe had passed through a similar tempestuous period, when he lost his heart to Charlotte Buff, who was at that time engaged to his friend Johann Christian Kestner.”
2. Diary of a Young Naturalist, by Dara McAnulty
I heard about this book a few weeks ago. The theme of environment is an important one for me, and I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s also listed in a Goodreads giveaway.
“Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of 15-year-old Dara McAnulty’s world. From spring and through a year in his home patch in Northern Ireland, Dara spent the seasons writing. These vivid, evocative and moving diary entries about his connection to wildlife and the way he sees the world are raw in their telling. “I was diagnosed with Asperger’s/autism aged five … By age seven I knew I was very different, I had got used to the isolation, my inability to break through into the world of talking about football or Minecraft was not tolerated. Then came the bullying. Nature became so much more than an escape; it became a life-support system.” Diary of a Young Naturalist portrays Dara’s intense connection to the natural world, and his perspective as a teenager juggling exams and friendships alongside a life of campaigning. “In writing this book,” Dara explains, “I have experienced challenges but also felt incredible joy, wonder, curiosity and excitement. In sharing this journey my hope is that people of all generations will not only understand autism a little more but also appreciate a child’s eye view on our delicate and changing biosphere.””
3. The Diary of Adam and Eve, by Mark Twain
This book is totally hilarious. I don’t like the author’s personality, but some his books are so good, and this one so so funny. Maybe god for a fun summer day.
“”Good deal of fog this morning. I do not go out in the fog myself,” notes Adam in his diary, adding, “The new creature does. It goes out in all weathers. And talks. It used to be so pleasant and quiet here.”
Adam has a lot to learn about Eve, and even more from her, as she names the animals, discovers fire, and introduces all manner of innovations to their garden home. Mark Twain’s “translation” of the diaries of the first man and woman offers a humorous “he said/she said” narrative of biblical events. The great American storyteller found comfort and inspiration in the company of women, and his irreverent look at conventional religion is also a thoughtful — and humorous — argument for gender equality.”
4. The Lament of Eve, by Johanna Manley
We are going from hilarious to very serious, with this excellent patristic and Orthodox commentary of the first five chapters of Genesis.
I have read three books by this author, she’s really good.
“The Lament of Eve attempts an exegesis of sections of the first five chapters of Genesis based on commentary of the Fathers of the Church. Subjects covered include: the creation and dignity of men and women, theosis, stewardship of the earth, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Fall, the sentence of mortality and God’s love, providence and primacy in our lives. Appropriate for both elementary and advanced Bible studies, it also makes thoughtful reading during Great Lent. Includes index and bibliography. ”
5. Isaiah Through the Ages, by Johanna Manley
Got stuck here, as I don’t have any other book on my shelves with either the word lament or Eve. And no other Johanna author, so I’m going with my favorite book by her. An excellent patristic compilation and Orthodox commentary on the book of Isaiah.
“A compilation of previously unavailable commentaries by the Church Fathers on the Book of Isaiah. Fourth and fifth century exegetes are prominently featured, but excerpts from others, such as Ss Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Anthanasius of Alexandria and Jerome, are also included. Modern commentary (from 1775 to the present) has been added to provide insight into the historical context, poetry and structure. A short Judaic section points to Messianic passages and assists with obscure metaphors and references. The Prologue is excerpted from the works of Georges Florovsky. Includes bibliography and index.”
6. After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War, by Helen Rappaport
Hellen Rappaport is an expert on Russian history. I really enjoyed her book on The Romanov Sisters, and this one, her latest, published in March 2022. Alas, I haven’t posted my review yet!
“Paris has always been a city of cultural excellence, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. But it has also been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, never more so than before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that Belle Époque Paris had to offer, spending lavishly when they visited. It was a place of artistic experimentation, such as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. But the brutality of the Bolshevik takeover forced Russians of all types to flee their homeland, sometimes leaving with only the clothes on their backs.
Arriving in Paris, former princes could be seen driving taxicabs, while their wives who could sew worked for the fashion houses, their unique Russian style serving as inspiration for designers like Coco Chanel. Talented intellectuals, artists, poets, philosophers, and writers struggled in exile, eking out a living at menial jobs. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Political activists sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, while double agents from both sides plotted espionage and assassination. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon.
This is their story. ”