Six degrees of separation: from wintering to tasting Paris


Six degrees of separation:
from wintering to tasting Paris

Time for another quirky variation on this meme.
From wintering to tasting Paris: sounds like a great life journey, isn’t it?
Plus, I end up in Paris, which is neat for Paris in July!
Please come walk with me.

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.

“An intimate, revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down.
Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered.
A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas.
Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season. ”

Wintering A Season With Geese The Wild Geese

  A Brush With Birds Travels with a Writing Brush  

  Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes Taste of Paris  

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

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

1. Wintering: A Season with Geeseby Stephen Rutt

If I have no intention of reading the Wintering title offered to start this chain, I do have this other Wintering book on my TBR:

“A celebration of winter and of the bird that heralds it; the perfect seasonal gift book for bird lovers.
The arrival of huge flocks of geese in the UK is one of the most evocative and powerful harbingers of winter; a vast natural phenomenon to capture the imagination. So Stephen Rutt found when he moved to Dumfries in the autumn of 2018, coinciding with the migration of thousands of pink-footed geese who spend their winter in the Firth.
Thus begins an extraordinary odyssey. From his new surroundings in the north to the wide open spaces of his childhood home in the south, Stephen traces the lives and habits of the most common species of goose in the UK and explores the place they have in our culture, our history and, occasionally, on our festive table.
Wintering takes you on a vivid tour of the in-between landscapes the geese inhabit, celebrating the short days, varied weathers and long nights of the season during which we share our home with these large, startling, garrulous and cooperative birds.

2. The Wild Geese, by Ogai Mori

VERDICT: Short novel with a good social portrait of the time, but disappointing in its pace and ending.

3. A Brush With Birds: Paintings and Stories from the Wild, by Richard Weatherly

If you love art, travels, and birding, this is the most gorgeous book!

4.  Travels with a Writing Brush: Classical Japanese Travel Writing from the Manyoshu to Bashoby Meredith McKinney (Editor / Translator).
Texts from
Matsuo Bashō and many more.

 I haven’t read it yet, but I have read excerpts from Basho and so want to read this one!

A rich, exquisite and original anthology that illuminates Japanese travel writing over a thousand years.
‘Oh journey upon journey, my life is a brief moment, and I cannot hope that we will meet again’
Roaming over mountains and along perilous shores, this anthology illuminates over a thousand years of Japanese travel writing. It takes in songs, diaries, tales and poetry, and ranges from famous works including The Pillow Book and the works of Basho to pieces such as the diary of a young girl who longs to return to the capital and her beloved books, or the writings of travelling monks who sleep on pillows of grass. Together they illuminate a long literary tradition, with intense poetic experience at its heart.

5. Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes is the narrative of the 12 days Robert Louis Stevenson traveled with his donkey Modestine in this very isolated area of France, marked by fierce fights between Roman Catholics and Protestants. I really enjoyed his humor at describing the mentality of the area and the people he met. Some passages were really hilarious. Who would have thought!

6. A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food, by David Downie

VERDICT: A gourmet walking tour of Paris for all gastronomy and history buffs. Irresistible.
I highly encourage you to read my detailed review (click on the book cover to do so)


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The Classics Club 2019-2024: 2nd list recap



The Classics Club
September 7, 2019 – September 7, 2024

You read it right: I had five years to read my 2nd list of 50 titles for The Classics Club.
But I actually managed to read/listen to them between September 2019 and November 2020!
See my 2nd list here. As usual, 34 titles were added to my original list!
And my first list here.
Alas, I’m so so far behind as for reviews.

📚 Here is a little recap:

Besides Bible books, the oldest title was published in 1824:
The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe
And the most recent in 1953:
Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke

📚 Genre:

  • 2 scifi
  • 3 nonfiction
  • 4 fiction
  • 15 Bible
  • 22 mysteries

Both scifi were super disappointing.
In nonfiction, my favorite was

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes

In  fiction, I so loved

Parnassus on Wheels

In mystery, this one was a big revelation:

The Lodger

I read the first 9 Maigret mysteries by Georges Simenon.
I really liked the ambiance, as explained for instance in this post.

And I’m really thrilled by my current project or listening to all of Hercule Poirot, as the first story with him was published one hundred years ago.
I enjoy this experience as much I enjoyed listening to all of Sherlock Holmes in 2017. I am more and more discovering all the intricacies of the main character.
And Agatha Christie’s plots are so genially put together, with not two alike, even if several are the type of closed room mystery.

So far, I have listened to 8 and read 1, which is actually a play!
Most of these were narrated by the amazing Hugh Fraser. I did watch the BBc series, so it’s really neat to find his voice again. He is so so good at doing all kinds of different characters.
And a couple were with David Suchet, who’s really dedicated all his life to Hercule Poirot.

As I haven’t written any review of these, I’d like to share here something I have discovered, thanks to the audio format. It never struck me when I was reading them (I did read a few Hercule Poirot books in the past).
We all know Hercule is a francophone Belgian, and his English is not perfect.
When you read/hear him, you may notice some awkward phrases and think, well, he’s not a native English speaker and not think more about it.
But there’s actually more to the story. I realized that his mistakes are based on French constructions. The latest most obvious example I encountered is in Lord Edgware Dies. At one point, Hercule tells Captain Hastings, “You mock yourself at me.”
In French, the verb ‘to mock’ is indeed not a transitive verb, but a pronominal verb (se moquer de), so to say: you mock me, we do literally say “you mock yourself at me” (vous vous moquez de moi).
There are many similar examples like this in all the Hercule Poirot stories I have listened to so far, which shows that either Agatha Christie was fluent in French, or she did extensive research to make Hercule very real. Her family spent a year in France, that probably helped, though I don’t know how old she was then. I so need to read her biography!

📚 Format:

  • 18 print
  • 32 audio

📚 Authors:

  • 5 by a Japanese author
  • 6 by an American author
  • 10 by a French author

Club hashtags on Twitter:











Nonfiction November 2019: Book Pairings


Click on the logo to see the detailed schedule

Book Pairings

hosted by Sarah’s Book Shelves

This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title.
It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!”
or just two titles that you think would go well together.
Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history
by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Today, I’m offering you 3 novels paired with 3 nonfiction books I read this year

Click on the covers to get more details



Walden The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Walden is a wonderful narrative of the time Henry David Thoreau spent alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. I so enjoyed all the nature descriptions.
In a totally different style, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, is also about a pond, and where it can lead you to…



 Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes Canterbury tales

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes is the narrative of the 12 days Robert Louis Stevenson traveled with his donkey Modestine in this very isolated area of France, marked by fierce fights between Roman Catholics and Protestants. I really enjoyed his humor at describing the mentality of the area and the people he met.
The Canterbury Tales is about travels and narratives, and religion,and it contains also very funny passages.



 Talk to me I Robot

Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think is an extremely well-documented and up-to-date research, showing where civilization is heading to, through current technological advances. It’s about how we interact with technology, computers, AI, and robots.
The most powerful novel I have read about the connection between humans and robots is definitely I, Robot.
Please skip the horrible movie, which really has nothing to do with the book.