Six Degrees of Separation: The Elegance of the Hedgehog to The Desert Midwife

 

Hosted by Kate at Books Are My favourite and Best, the Six Degrees of Separation asks you to start at the same place as other readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

My last post for Six Degrees of Separation ended with The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbers, translated from the French by Alison Anderson, so that’s the book that I start my chain with this month.

When it comes to translated fiction, most of what I read tends to be Scandi or Nordic crime. This includes Arnaldur Indriðason’s series featuring Inspector Erlendur, the first of which is Reykjavik Nights, translated from Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.

Iceland is the country Tory Bilski returns to every summer for a decade in her memoir, Wild Horses under the Summer Sun. Tory developed a yearning in middle age to ride Icelandic horses in their native setting and this engaging nonfiction book details her experiences.

I haven’t read White Horses by Rachel Treasure yet, it’s on my reading list for later this month, but the link is there in the title. Set in Western Australia, it’s about a motherless young woman, named Drift, raised by her father, an itinerant cattle drover. The blurb mentions that Drift was also cared for by a woman who was a travelling librarian, which immediately bought to mind…

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. This historical fiction novel features the women of The Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky, a depression era federal program which delivered books to schoolhouses and homes in remote areas.

Also taking place in Appalachia during roughly the same period, is The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman. I really enjoyed this heartwarming novel about midwife struggling against poverty and prejudice set against a time of significant social angst.

My final link in the chain shares a protagonist with the same profession, though The Desert Midwife by Fiona McArthur is set almost a century later in outback Australia.

It’s been fun as always, I look forward to seeing what connections you have made.

Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees

Hosted by Kate at Books Are My favourite and Best, the Six Degrees of Separation meme asks you to start at the same place as other readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

This month’s starting point is Maurice Sendak’s childhood classic Where The Wild Things Are. It’s possible that I first read this, or it was read to me, as a child but my first clear introduction to the book was while I was studying children’s literature as part of my education degree. I know I read it often while teaching, and to my children when they were little. It’s still on the bookshelf in the room my teenage boys share.

 

While an ocean appears in Max’s bedroom to take to where the wild things are, in the adult novel, A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird, an ocean grows in Super Gumboots Willa’s backyard to help her to escape the ‘wild thing’ that is her father.

Super Gumboots Willa is her own superhero, so too is Elsa in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She is Sorry by Fredrik Backman. This heartfelt story shares seven year old Elsa’s quest to deliver letters of apology on behalf of her late grandmother.

Atonement by Ian McEwan shares similar themes of regret, grief, and forgiveness after thirteen year old Briony mistakenly ruins a young man’s life. To be honest I found the book, which I read many years ago, tedious, but I did enjoy the movie (starring Keira Knightly).

There are several points of similarity between Briony and eleven year old Flavia de Luce, the main character in Alan Bradley’s series, which begins with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Both, for example, are British, precocious, and lonely, however while Briony falsely accused someone of a crime, eleven year old Flavia de Luce, with a fascination for chemistry, sets out to solve a crime of which her father has been falsely accused.

Food links the title of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie to The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. On her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein discovers she has a magical gift that is also a curse, she can taste the emotions of those who have prepared the food she eats.

Like Rose, twelve year old prodigy Paloma, in the Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery feels it is prudent to hide her thoughts. Her intelligence is both a blessing and a curse, it alienates her from her family and schoolmates to such an extent that Paloma is planning to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday, until she finds friendship with Mr. Kakuro and Renee.

So there you have it, some of you may also have noticed that the six books I have chosen are also linked, each features a child narrator

 

Join in anytime during the month – Click here for the rules!

 

Six Degrees of Separation

 

Hosted by Kate at Books Are My favourite and Best, the Six Degrees of Separation meme asks you to start at the same place as other readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

 

Murmur by Will Eaves is this months selection as the springboard for Six Degrees of Separation. What I know of Alan Turing is largely gleaned from ‘The Imitation Game’ (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), and I wouldn’t be averse to learning more about him, but honestly this is not something I will ever read, reviews give me the impression that its terribly pretentious

Of the previous winners of the Wellcome Prize, I found The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot fascinating. I read it as a member of an informal bookclub, and it was one of the first books I reviewed on Goodreads.

Speaking of immortality, I really enjoy reading urban fantasy, and the immortal Atticus O’Sullivan, along with his faithful Irish Wolfhound companion, Oberon, who features in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne is one of my favourites. Beginning with Hounded, the series ended last year with book 9, Scourged.

From an Irish Druid with a dog, to an Irish cop (with no dog) brings us to Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty, book five of his gritty crime series set in Ireland during ‘The Troubles’ featuring Guarda Sean Duffy. In this instance, Duffy is investigating the death of a journalist in the grounds of Carrickfergus Castle.

 

Duffy enjoys a whisky now and then, which leads me to Whisky and Charlie by Annabel Smith (one of the original hosts of this meme). First published in Australia as ‘Whisky, Charlie, Foxtrot’ in 2012, Whiskey and Charlie is a moving and poignant novel, the story of identical twin brothers, Charlie and William (aka Whiskey) Ferns.

Newly published, The Place on Dalhousie is authored by another Australian writer, Melina Marchetta. It’s an adult contemporary fiction novel that loosely follows up on her popular young adults novels, Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son, though it can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone. It begins when Rosie and Jimmy meet during a flood.

To bring the chain to a close, I decided to go with Deeper Water by Jessie Cole in which a flood also has life changing repercussions for the main character, Mema, a young woman awakening to the possibilities of love and life.

 

Since I hadn’t read the first book in the chain, I also decided that the rest should draw on books I had read.

 

Join in anytime during the month – Click here for the rules!

Six Degrees of Separation

Hosted by Kate at Books Are My favourite and Best,

the Six Degrees of Separation meme

asks you to start at the same place as other readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

Click here for the rules!

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This month begins with The Dry, the debut novel from Australian author, Jane Harper. One of its many strengths (you can read my review here), is it’s setting in a small and struggling drought affected country town in Victoria.

That, among other similarities, leads us to another Australian crime fiction novel, Scrublands  by Chris Hammer (you can read my review here). Set in New South Wales, drought-stricken Riversend is the scene of a shocking mass murder.

It’s no surprise that the film rights to both The Dry, and Scrublands, were snapped up by the local film industry. Currently in post production is I am Woman, a movie based on Australian Helen Reddy’s autobiography, The Woman I Am. With her song “I Am Woman,” Reddy provided the feminist anthem of the 1970’s.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a novel about a young woman’s music career set during the same period in which Helen Reddy found fame. Reid relates Daisy’s journey in an epistolary format, through interview transcripts mimicking a music documentary.

Which brings us to the YA sci-fi novel, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff told through a combination of schematics, logs, emails and file documents. Set in the year 2575, Illuminae begins when Kady is forced to evacuate her planet after war breaks out between two mega corporations.

Next I’ve chosen Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, All the Light We Cannot See, where a father and his young blind daughter, are forced to flee their home in Paris when the the Nazi’s invade during World War 2. I really need to read this before Netflix releases its tv series adaption.

Finally, the chain ends with another book on my TBR pile, The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap. This novel features two vision impaired characters, Nova has been blind since birth, while Kate’s vision was affected by an accident. Both women face challenges as they negotiate their change in circumstances.

I’m looking forward to seeing how your chain unfolded!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuff on Sundays: Six Degrees of Separation

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Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman were inspired to create this meme by a short story titled ‘Chains’ in which Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy first coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. Based on the idea in Karinthy’s story, Emma and Annabel will choose a book each month, and link it to five other books in a chain, inviting their readers and other bloggers to join them by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.

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This month, Annabel and Emma have chosen Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

What I was so impressed with in Gone Girl were the unexpected twists and turns this novel took. In my review I wrote, “The twists are incredible, lulled into believing one thing, I actually drew in a breath of shock each time Flynn flipped the direction of the story on its head. Flynn plays brilliantly on our own prejudices about class, marriage, money, domestic violence and infidelity and delves deeply into the psyche of two ordinary yet shocking personalities.”

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

***

Dark Horse by Honey Brown is another brilliant psychological thriller where the plot the reader is sideswiped by a breathtaking twist where the author, “…masterfully plays on the reader’s expectations and with careful, but never obvious, manipulation, subverts the truth.”

It’s Christmas morning on the edge of the rugged Mortimer Ranges. Sarah Barnard saddles Tansy, her black mare. She is heading for the bush, escaping the reality of her broken marriage and her bankrupted trail-riding business. Sarah seeks solace in the ranges. When a flash flood traps her on Devil Mountain, she heads to higher ground, taking shelter in Hangman’s Hut. She settles in to wait out Christmas. A man, a lone bushwalker, arrives. Heath is charming, capable, handsome. But his story doesn’t ring true. Why is he deep in the wilderness without any gear? Where is his vehicle? What’s driving his resistance towards rescue? The closer they become the more her suspicions grow. But to get off Devil Mountain alive, Sarah must engage in this secretive stranger’s dangerous game of intimacy”

 

***

Eleanor Brown is the author of The Weird Sisters. I enjoyed it but for some reason I never wrote a review.

“There is no problem that a library card can’t solve.”  The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. “See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.”

 

 ***

I’ve yet to write a review for Emma Donoghue’s historical fiction novel,  Frog Music, either.  It happens sometimes when my schedule is really tight and I somehow overlook the fact that I haven’t.

Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.  The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice–if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.”

 

***

A book I really enjoyed, also set in San Francisco, is The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. “To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.” Forty years later the stories and history continue.

 

***

Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd, due for release in September, is also a story about four mothers and their four daughters. I am really looking forward to reading it.

Four mothers. Four teenage daughters. An isolated tropical paradise with no internet or mobile phone reception. What could possibly go wrong? There’s tension, bitchiness, bullying, sex, drunken confessions, bad behaviour and breakdowns – and wait till you see what the teenagers get up to… How can we let our daughters go to forge lives of their own when what we most want to do is hold them close and never let them go? How do we let them grow and keep them protected from the dark things in the world at the same time? And how can mothers and daughters navigate the troubled, stormy waters of adolescence without hurting themselves and each other? A clear-eyed, insightful and wildly entertaining look into the complicated, emotional world of mothers and daughters by the acclaimed author of Into My Arms, Last Summer and After the Fall”

 

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So that’s it, six books linked by six degrees of separation linked variously by author, character, setting, and theme.

Visit Emma‘s or Annabel’s blogs if you would like to join in with this meme or to browse the intriguing connections from bloggers who are participating.

6degrees

Stuff On Sundays: 6 Degrees of Separation

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Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman were inspired to create this meme by a short story titled ‘Chains’ in which Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy first coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. Based on the idea in Karinthy’s story, Emma and Annabel will choose a book each month, and link it to five other books in a chain, inviting their readers and other bloggers to join them by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.

*********

This month, Annabel and Emma have chosen 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate”

***

The obvious link here is to another Pulitzer Prize Winner – A Visit from the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan.

Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

***

Punk music is the link to Viv Albertine’s memoir, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys.

Viv Albertine is one of a handful of original punks who changed music, and the discourse around it, forever. In Clothes … Music … Boys a story hitherto dominated by male voices is recast through the eyes of one of the most glamorous, uncompromising and iconic figures of the time. After forming The Flowers of Romance with Sid Vicious in 1976, Viv joined The Slits and made musical history as one of the first generation of punk bands. Here is the story of what it was like to be a girl at the height of punk: the sex, the drugs, the guys, the tours, the hard lessons learnt and those not considered. From Madonna to Lady Gaga, fashion to feminism, Viv Albertine has influenced a range of exceptional artists. Here, before and beyond the break-up of The Slits in 1982, is the full story of a life lived unscripted, with foolishness, bravery and great emotional honesty. A memoir full of raw and uncompromising anecdote and opinion, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys is an unflinching account of a life lived on the frontiers of experience, by a true pioneer.”

***

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson is also a memoir

“When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it. Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments-the ones we want to pretend never happened-are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.”

***

Alice Hoffman’s protagonist, Coralie Sardie,  in The Museum of Extraordinary Things also grew up surrounded by, amongst other things, taxidermied animals displayed in her father’s ‘freak’ museum.

Coney Island, 1911: Coralie Sardie is the daughter of a self-proclaimed scientist and professor who acts as the impresario of The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a boardwalk freak show offering amazement and entertainment to the masses. An extraordinary swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl,and a 100 year old turtle, in her father’s “museum”. She swims regularly in New York’s Hudson River, and one night stumbles upon a striking young man alone in the woods photographing moon-lit trees. From that moment, Coralie knows her life will never be the same. The dashing photographer Coralie spies is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community. As Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and the dispute between factory owners and labourers. In the tumultuous times that characterized life in New York between the world wars, Coralie and Eddie’s lives come crashing together in Alice Hoffman’s mesmerizing, imaginative, and romantic new novel.”

***

Another novel which features a collector of something unusual is The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present. Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible. Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.”

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Six books linked   and the common theme – they are all on my shelf, as yet unread.

Visit Emma‘s or Annabel’s blogs if you would like to join in with this meme or to browse the intriguing connections from bloggers who are participating.

6degrees

Stuff on Sundays: Six Degrees of Separation

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Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman were inspired to create this meme by a short story titled ‘Chains’ in which Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy first coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. Based on the idea in Karinthy’s story, Emma and Annabel will choose a book each month, and link it to five other books in a chain, inviting their readers and other bloggers to join them by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.

*********

This month, Annabel and Emma have chosen 2013 Man Booker winner The Luminaries by Eileen Catton.

It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.”

***

From The Luminaries I am choosing to connect to The Caller by Juliet Marillier based on the shared nationality of the two authors. Both women identify as New Zealand writers, though Catton was actually born in Canada and Mariller now lives in Western Australia. The Caller is final book in Marillier’s fantasy, young adult trilogy, Shadowfell.

Neryn has made a long journey to perfect her skills as a Caller. She has learned the wisdom of water and of earth; she has journeyed to the remote isles of the west and the forbidding mountains of the north. Now, Neryn must travel in Alban’s freezing winter to seek the mysterious White Lady, Guardian of Air. For only when Neryn has been trained by all four Guardians will she be ready to play her role in toppling the tyrannical King Keldec.
But the White Lady is not what she seems. Trapped with Whisper, her fey protector, Neryn is unable to send word to her beloved Flint, who is in danger of being exposed as a double agent. When a new threat looms and the rebellion is in jeopardy, Neryn must enter Keldec’s court, where one false move could see her culled. She must stand up against forces more powerful than any she has confronted before, and face losses that could break her heart.

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An interesting fact about Juliet prompted me to choose Hounded by Kevin Hearne to continue the chain. Marillier is a member of the druid order OBOD (The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) and Hearne’s urban fantasy series features a centuries year old druid,  Atticus O’Sullivan, who runs an an occult bookshop in modern-day Arizona. The first book in The Iron Druid Chronicles, I have been enjoying this fun series.

“Tempe, Arizona is as far removed from paranormal activity as is possible. And that’s where Atticus O’Sullivan, rare book salesman, herb peddler, and 2,000 year old Druid the last of his kind has decided to set up shop. He’s been on the run, guarding a very powerful sword from a very angry ancient Celtic god for over two millennia now. But while these years have been good to him Atticus has become more powerful than he could have possibly imagined The Morrigan, a very old god of death, has predicted death and doom for our hero, and it’s up to Atticus, with help from a pride of werewolves, and a gorgeous bartender possessed by an Indian witch, to stay alive, hopefully for another thousand years.”

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The leap from Hounded to The Storied Life of A.J. Firky by Gabrielle Zevin is an easy one since the protagonists of  both novels are bookstore owners. I have not long read this funny, moving and yes, sometimes saccharine, story which embraces quirky individuals, the comfort of community and the enjoyment of a good book.

“On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.”

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If ever there has been an island that has lived in my imagination it is Canada’s Prince Edward Island, the setting for Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery . This classic novel hardly needs an introduction, beloved as it is the world over. I also adore the television miniseries which includes Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel and Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story and watch it every year!

“She’ll have to go back.” Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert had decided to adopt an orphan. They wanted a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores. The orphanage sent a girl instead – a mischievous, talkative redhead who the Cuthberts thought would be no use at all. But as soon as Anne arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever. And the longer Anne stayed, the harder it was for anyone to imagine Green Gables without her.”

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Another favourite television series of mine based on a novel is Haven, a supernatural drama series from Syfy. Loosely based on The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, it is set in Maine but filmed on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada – giving it another link to Anne of Green Gables.

“On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There’s no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it’s more than a year before the man is identified.And that’s just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still…?”

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So that’s it, six books linked by six degrees of separation linked variously by author, character, setting, and theme.

Visit Emma‘s or Annabel’s blogs if you would like to join in with this meme or to browse the intriguing connections from bloggers who are participating.

6degrees

Stuff On Sunday: Six Degrees of Separation

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Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman were inspired to create this meme by a short story titled ‘Chains’ in which Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy first coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. Based on the idea in Karinthy’s story, Emma and Annabel will choose a book each month, and link it to five other books in a chain, inviting their readers and other bloggers to join them by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.

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This month, Annabelle and Emma have chosen The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to start the chain.

The semi autobiographical novel was first published in 1960 under a pseudonym, Victoria Lucas. It is touted as an extraordinary work chronicles the crackup of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful–but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time.’

Also  written under a pseudonym is The Cuckoo’s Calling, attributed to the fictional identity of Robert Galbraith but authored by J.K. Rowling, featuring private investigator,  Cormoran Strike, an amputee Afghanistan War vet.

Flashes of War, a collection of short stories and flash fiction by Katey Shultz,  is a look at the experiences of  civilians and military personnel in the Afghanistan war which captures personal moments of fear, introspection, confusion, and valor in one collection spanning nations and perspectives’

The Lottery is Shirley Jackson’s most well known short story,  part of a collection from The Lottery and Other Stories. This collection includes 24 stories that demonstrate Jack son’s remarkable range–from the hilarious to the truly horrible–and power as a storyteller’.

It is a  lottery that sparks rebellion in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, of which Mockingjay is the final installment.  This award winning young adult dystopian series features teenage heroine Katniss Everdeen who incites a revolution against the oppression of the Capitol.

Adult readers of dystopian fiction may prefer, The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood. Shortlisted for the ManBooker in 1986 and  winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel in 1987 this literary novel explores a frightening future with commentary on politics, feminism, religion.

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So that’s it, six books linked by six degrees of separation linked variously by author, character, setting, theme and genre.

They also share another common denominator, I haven’t read a single one, (though I have read The Lottery as a stand alone as well as Hunger Games and Catching Fire) though they are all on my TBR list.

 

Visit Emma‘s or Annabel’s blogs if you would like to join in with this meme or to browse the intriguing connections from bloggers who are participating.

6degrees

 

Stuff On Sunday: Six Degrees of Separation

800px-Six_degrees_of_separation.svg_-685x327

Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman were inspired to create this meme by a short story titled ‘Chains’ in which Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy first coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. Based on the idea in Karinthy’s story, Emma and Annabel will choose a book each month, and link it to five other books in a chain, inviting their readers and other bloggers to join them by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.

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The first book chosen by Annabel and Emma is Hannah Kent’s, Burial Rites.

Burial Rites is a fictionalised account of the last female prisoner executed in Iceland in the late nineteenth century.

Like Burial Rites, Kate Forsyth’s historical novel, Bitter Greens, is inspired by a real figure, Charlotte-Rose de la Force.

Bitter Greens is set in the late 1500’s to 1600’s, and its is that time period that forges a link between it and Kirsty Eagar’s Saltwater Vampires.  Saltwater Vampires twists the famed mutiny and massacre that occurred after the shipwreck of the Batavia off the West Australian coast in 1629 into a vampiric legend that centuries later endangers a group of teenagers during the summer holidays, and the residents of  the coastal town they live in.

From Saltwater Vampires  you can make the leap to Snake Bite by Christie Thompson which features another group of teens during summer vacation, though Jez and her mates are stuck in urban Canberra. A coming of age story set in the suburbs of Australia’s capital during the 1990′s, Snake Bite is a story of adolescent rebellion and discovery.

In Snake Bite the mother of the main protagonist, Jez, is an alcoholic, as is Sarah’s in Nelika McDonald’s The Vale GirlIn this novel, fifteen year old Sarah Vale goes missing, yet few, including her mother, seem to care.

In contrast, Dee is devastated when her teenage daughter goes missing while holidaying in Argentina in Traces of Absence by Susan Holoubek. She makes annual pilgrimages to South America to search for Corrie hoping to discover the girl’s fate.

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So that’s it, six books linked by six degrees of separation, though the more observant of you might notice the entire chain is also connected, as each book is by an Australian author.

Please note that clicking on the title links will also take you to my review for each book.

Visit Emma‘s or Annabel’s blogs if you would like to join in with this meme or to browse the intriguing connections from bloggers who are participating.