Six degrees of separation: from Hamlet to Hercule Poirot

#6Degrees

Six degrees of separation:
from Hamlet to Hercule Poirot

Ah ah, could giving us a one unusual word title be too tough for my way of playing this game? Ok I had to change a bit my own rule, but it worked, by using the same first name of author to start with!!

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

  Hamnet  Writing the icon

The English Grammar Workbook for Adult  The Professor and the Madman

Housekeeper And The Professor  Peril at End House

1. Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell
A popular book, and I love Hamlet by Shakespeare, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet for this book.
“Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.”

2. Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding
She quotes a lot St Isaac the Syrian, and it is always refreshing to see a Father from the Christian East quoted by a Christian from the Western world. Going back to our common roots…
“The subtitle of Maggie Ross’s new book captures its essence, for it is about silence and our need to behold God. Beholding is a notion that we are in danger of losing. It is often lost in translation, even by the NRSV and the Jerusalem Bible. Beholding needs to be recovered both in theology and practice.”

3. The English Grammar Workbook for Adults: A Self-Study Guide to Improve Functional Writing
VERDICT: The perfect tool both for ESL and EFL students, from basic grammatical rules to practical and even creative writing.

4. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

I haven’t posted any review, but I really enjoyed it, like any book by Simon Winchester anyway.
The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.”

5. The Housekeeper and the Professor
VERDICT:  The Housekeeper And The Professor is  a difficult book to review; the novel is more about the ambiance than the plot itself. You may even end up loving maths at the end!

6. Peril at End House
OK, slightly cheating again, by using only half of the first word…
I haven’t written anything about this one either, but it definitely was a great plot.
“Hercule Poirot is vacationing on the Cornish coast when he meets Nick Buckly. Nick is the young and reckless mistress of End House, an imposing structure perched on the rocky cliffs of St. Loo.
Poirot has taken a particular interest in the young woman who has recently narrowly escaped a series of life-threatening accidents. Something tells the Belgian sleuth that these so-called accidents are more than just mere coincidences or a spate of bad luck. It seems all too clear to him that someone is trying to do away with poor Nick, but who? And, what is the motive? In his quest for answers, Poirot must delve into the dark history of End House. The deeper he gets into his investigation, the more certain he is that the killer will soon strike again. And, this time, Nick may not escape with her life.”

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Six degrees of separation: From Three Women to a riddle

#6Degrees

Six degrees of separation:
From Three Women to a Pea

You are probably going to think I’m crazy, but this time, I have tried to do a REAL “six degrees of separation”, I mean, by finding connections that come to mind with each title. Maybe I also needed to prove myself I could actually do that!
Actually, I prepared this a few weeks ago, and today, as I finalize my post, I realize new connections are coming to mind, so I’ll spare you my first ideas, those are the ones I have today. Which means, I could probably generate a new list every day!!

AND, as I couldn’t easily part with my usual way of doing this meme, I’m offering you 2 chains today!!

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

A) Here you go, with the first “traditional” chain”:

  Three Women macbeth

  By Night the Mountain Burns fire season

  The Memory Police ella minnow pea

1. Three Women
This is the book we were supposed to start with. I haven’t read it and don’t intend to, I’m not interested in feminism.

2. When I hear 3 women, I automatically think of a most famous trio, the 3 witches in Macbeth. I have read many plays by Shakespeare, and actually studied in depth several of them, this one among others. I re-read it a few years ago.

3. I also enjoy a lot how 3 witches are portrayed in Night of Bald Mountain, by Mussorgsky. Which made me think of another book with both night and mountain in the title: By Night the Mountain Burns. I didn’t find it super good, but it’s unique, as it focuses on the oral tradition on an island in Equatorial Guinea, by an author of this country!

4. The burning part made me think of a great book on fire: Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout. It’s an excellent nonfiction focusing on solitude in that little space up the fire lookout tower, on the wilderness, on what happens in a forest.

5. I had the same impression of confinement in scenes from The Memory Police. It’s a dystopia. And there’s a book within the book, and a character ends up trapped in a very small place up a tower.
The main idea of the book is simple: on a small island, a special police arbitrarily decides that things should disappear, one at a time. Go to my review to see why I really enjoyed it.

6. You almost find the same idea in a fun book Ella Minnow Pea. We are also on an island, and this time, it’s letters of the alphabet that are progressively banned. Fun and smart book!

B) And now, 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 with three women and ended up with a riddle!
Come with me!

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

Three Women Three Lives Tomomi

 our thoughts Confronting and Controlling

  A Crack in Creation The Riddle of the labyrinth

1. Three Women
See above

2. Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa
From my review: “I devoured very quickly this very smart novel. I loved the quality of the writing, of descriptions and inner feelings. I loved the quirkiness of it all, as you never really know if you are in truth or fiction, and of course I loved the treasure hunt especially in Paris, with the mention of lots of famous or not so famous places.”

3. Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives
An Orthodox book for a change. It focuses “on the impact your thoughts can have, not only on your own lives, but also on people around you, and even on the world at large. Whether your thoughts are positive or negative, they will determine your life and the lives of many.”

4. Confronting and Controlling Thoughts
Another Orthodox book I really enjoyed. The passages quoted come from the Philokalia, a major spiritual work. All the books by Coniaris are very accessible.
It’s about how to stop thoughts from polluting your mind and heart.

5. A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
I’m ending with 2 books on my TBR. With the huge and rapid development in gene science, I want to read this one and see where we are at now. “What will we do with this unfathomable power?”

6. The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code
I want to read this book, because the topic is intriguing: “The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, masterfully blending history, linguistics, and cryptology with an elegantly wrought narrative.” But also because it was written by Margalit Fox, and that’s how I discovered it. You may remember how blown away I was by Fox’s book on Conan Doyle. This lady knows how to write!!

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Book review: The Memory Police

The Memory Police
by Yōko Ogawa
Translated from the Japanese by
Stephen Snyder
Penguin/Harvill Secker
08/15/2019
密やかな結晶
was first published in 1994
Science Fiction/Dystopia
Japanese Literature
288 pages

Goodreads

NB: longlisted for the #InternationalBooker2020 longlist on 2/27/2020

Buy the book

I have enjoyed a lot The Housekeeper and the Professor, by Yoko Ogawa. The Memory Police, her latest novel to be available in English, is in the dystopia genre, so I thought I would try it.

The main idea of the book is simple: on this little island, a special police arbitrarily decides that things should disappear, one at a time.

Click to continue reading