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6 Degrees of Separation: Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by Books Are My Best and Favorite. A chain of 6 books is linked somehow–whether to all books or only to the one before it. A common book is given each month with which to start the chain.

This month’s starting book is Turn of the Screw by Henry James.

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I have not read this one–though I’ve owned a Scholastic copy since the 1970s–it was published with Daisy Miller, which I have read. Here is part of the Amazon blurb:

[O]ne of Henry James’s most unusual novellas. In The Turn of the Screw, a governess is haunted by ghosts from her young charges past; Virginia Woolf said of this masterpiece of psychological ambiguity and suggestion, We are afraid of something unnamed, of something, perhaps, in ourselves…Henry James…can still make us afraid of the dark.

My Chain

 

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While not a governess, and no ghosts are involved, the first book that sprang to mind was The Prime of Miss Jane Brodie by the marvelous Muriel Spark. I love this book!

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An eccentric teacher in Edinburgh brought to mind Monarch of the Glen–about the eccentric household at Glenbogle Castle (not to be confused with the TV version–which was wonderful, but different) has not only eccentrics but also probably ghosts. I admit I haven’t read it yet. It’s been on my TBR since the 1990s.  Monarch of the Glen by Compton McKenzie.

 

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Another castle with eccentrics and very, very likely ghosts, is that of Count Dracula in Transylvania. Amazing how like the cartoon versions this book was!  Dracula by Bram Stoker.

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Transylvania always makes me think of “Transy” –Transylvania University in Kentucky. There are some spooky places back in hollers of Eastern Kentucky.  While they certainly didn’t live in castles, the “Blues” of the region could have been mistaken for ghosts. This book, from which is was alleged that JoJo Moyes plagiarized, tells their story. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson. (She should have got the movie deal.)

 

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Another scary place that featured an eccentric but gifted teacher was Yamacraw Island, South Carolina. No castles here, but lots of local folklore that probably included ghosts. Author Pat Conroy taught at a one-room school on the island after attending the Citadel—the Military College of South Carolina. The movie version, Conrack, starred Angelina Joile’s Dad Jon Voight. I love this book–I love most of Pat Conroy’s books, but this one is really special because it is true. The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy. [FYI-The Story of English talks about the language of the coastal islands–very interesting,]

 

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Another creepy place, with a ghost-like girl and probably an older English dialect, are the swamps and marshlands of the North Carolina coast. Kya Clark’s ethereal world of silent water and creepy trees is perfect for anyone missing a haunted castle but does not want to freeze to death. At least Kay’s world is warm and humid–not cold and damp. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

 

So we’ve gone from a creepy governess on a creepy country estate with creepy kids haunted by a former governess to a creepy marshland in 1950’s North Carolina all in 6 books.

Next Month

November 7, 2020, is a wild card – start with the book you’ve ended a previous chain with, and continue from there (for those playing for the first time, start with the last book you finished reading).

 

 

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6 Degrees of Separation: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by Books Are My Best and Favorite. A chain of 6 books is linked somehow–whether to all books or only to the one before it. A common book is given each month with which to start the chain.

My Chain

The obvious first link is the author’s previous First Lady novel, An American Wife, which I loved. It is the fictionalized story of POTUS #43 and his school librarian wife.

My second link is to another fictionalized first lady, this time the poster girl of the breed, Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in The Editor: A Novel by Steven Rowley.

The Editor led me to Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott which is not a book I’ve ever reviewed but one that is renown for it’s advice to writers on editing. It’s the book that says to write a lot of “shitty first drafts.”

Bird by Bird, led me to super bird woman Phoebe Snetsinger who made birding into an obsessive quest for the ultimate Life List of birds seen and observed: Life List: One Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds.

Phoebe and her fellow birders were often friends as well as birders or even competitors. That reminded me of a little book I ran across, but have not read, that coincidentally is tied to Jackie Kennedy by virtue of its author being her step-father, novelist Hugh D. Achincloss: Love Without Wings: Some Friendships in Literature and Politics, which I have added to my TBR. “Hugh-D” knew everyone so it should be interesting.

Birds and editors and political elites all led me to H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. T.H. White, the other subject of the book, wrote about King Arthur and the political intrigue in his court at Camelot that involved friends and even lovers.. Jack and Jackie Kennedy ruled over the modern Camelot–at least according to the press of the day. The musical Camelot was a favorite of the President’s.

So we went from a First Lady who didn’t become a first lady in the novel to a First Lady who did become First Lady in the novel to a First Lady with a post-White House career as an editor to an editor on writing who titled her book Bird By Bird to a biography of a birder to a book of letters without wings to, finally, a book with birds, and a writer whose subject was political elites and their intrigues.

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6 Degrees of Separation: How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

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Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by blogger Books Are My Favourite and Best. A book is given and you develop a chain of 6 books that must relate at least to the one before it. It’s fun.

This month’s book is a really different choice–a personal help book on our attention and what we do with it! How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy.

Here’s a bit of the blurb from Amazon to help orient you:

In a world where addictive technology is designed to buy and sell our attention, and our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity, it can seem impossible to escape. But in this inspiring field guide to dropping out of the attention economy, artist and critic Jenny Odell shows us how we can still win back our lives. …Odell sees our attention as the most precious—and overdrawn—resource we have. And we must actively and continuously choose how we use it. We might not spend it on things that capitalism has deemed important … but once we can start paying a new kind of attention, she writes, we can undertake bolder forms of political action, reimagine humankind’s role in the environment, and arrive at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress….Far from the simple anti-technology screed, or the back-to-nature meditation we read so often, How to do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book will change how you see your place in our world.

Comment from me:

Reading the blurb left me feeling like I had to become one of those much-younger women who scream in the face of police officers or who protest wearing rubber v–i-as on their heads. Not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with that (o.k., depending on your political leanings there could be A LOT wrong with that!).

 

My Chain

#1

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The Authenticity Project sounded like it was titled by the same folks who wrote that blurb for How to Do Nothing. I liked the book and it was, of course, about where to place your attention socially. Lonely? Leave the house–that sort of thing, but in the fun setting of a novel.

 

#2

You could almost say the Accidental Tourist is the opposite of the Authenticity Project in spirit. Macon writes books for travelers who hate to travel and want an experience as much like being at home as possible. Macon’s guides show them how to focus their attention to avoid the stress and discomfort of travel. This is my favorite Anne Tyler book and a favorite movie I’ve watched too many times.

 

#3

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Luckless Andrew Less decides he must take his attention off his misery at learning his ex is getting married. To do this he takes a writing assignment that involves going around the world. Lots of lessons await him, as you can imagine. Less by Andrew Sean Greer.

#4

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Poor Ove! His beloved wife is dead and he is trying to end his life. Thankfully, his neighbors need him. They force his attention off his misery and on to their problems! A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

 

#5

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“Just a widow” was how most of the women would describe themselves. Through writing dirty memoirs or dirty stories and sharing them, these women take the attention off their societal invisibility and become empowered! The start to work for change in their community. All from comparing anatomical parts to sweet potatoes! Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

#6

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Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed For Me by Caroline Criado Perez helps get the world’s attention onto more than men and male-ordered tasks. The author shows how, time-and-again, women are ignored in things like planning transportation systems or housing developments and always to the detriment of the project. When women are consulted, change happens because attention gets focused on the people who do the caring jobs. Men don’t do those for the most part. Women are the ones who do the errands, the weekly shopping, the checking on great-grandmothers, the helping out new Moms, the helping with the classroom pizza party, and usually do so with children or elderly in tow and usually in an organized manner that men do not even know exist.

This is the only non-fiction title, but it brings us close to full circle. While this isn’t a self-help book it is a “help” book (for society), gets attention refocused, and can bring political change. I am reading this at work with two co-workers. We are slow, but when we are done I will review it. It’s well worth reading, especially if you’ve ever tried to use a bad public transportation system like that in Indianapolis!

 

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Join in the fun on the first Saturday in September when our starting book will be: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld.

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6 Degrees of Separation: What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by Books Are My Best and Favorite. A chain of 6 books is linked somehow–whether to all books or only to the one before it. A common book is given each month with which to start the chain.

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The month flew by! Now for the long 4th of July holiday–the only one that isn’t a Monday holiday law holiday. We get to have it on Friday.  Six Degrees this month features a book I’d never heard of, so I investigated it, bought it, and even started reading it. So far, so good, but I’m nowhere near finished. I’ll just use what I can from what I’ve read to develop my chain. It is What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt.

Here’s part of the blurb from Amazon:

Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved begins in New York in 1975, when art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a SoHo gallery. He buys the work; tracks down the artist, Bill Wechsler; and the two men embark on a life-long friendship…. follows the evolution of the growing involvement between his family and Bill’s-an intricate constellation of attachments that includes the two men; their wives…and their children….The families live in the same building in New York, share a house in Vermont during the summer.

 

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For some reason, it was that part of the blurb about a summer house that took me, to another creative couple, and a scene from the movie Reds. Trust me it makes sense. Another “artist” and his wife and their friends. In a way, they were a muse to each other–in a way. Too tenuous a link? Maybe when I finish reading What I Love I’ll have my answer? Ten Days That Shook The World by John Reed [Louise Bryant was his wife]. (See the film clip at the bottom for part of the scene that inspired me.) I recall staying awake all night, unable to put this book down. I don’t honestly recall what or if it actually recounted of Reed & Bryant’s relationship though–I read it in 1983.

 

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That Reds scene, somehow, led me to Heartburn by Nora Ephron, which I watched on an excruciating date when it came out. Rachel is a cookbook writer, but her husband, Mark, is now having an affair while she is hugely pregnant. Scumbag. This reminded me of a scene from a Woody Allen movie that I watched on another excruciating date with the same guy, but I won’t name the title because I loathe Woody Allen.

 

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That naturally led me to one of the ultimate scumbag husbands, whose wives were each, in turn, a sort of muse to him–Ernest Hemingway. The Paris Wife [Which then brought to mind a scene from the movie Islands in the Stream, which was based on Hemingway, but that scene isn’t in this book] and it’s “Sister-Wife-book” Love and Ruin. (I’m counting these as one book). (My review is here for Love and Ruin).

 

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In Love and Ruin, Hem runs off to Cuba to escape the world. He lets one wife do up the house for the next wife to live in. Nice guy, but running away from the world led me to Helen and Scott Nearing who gave up on Capitalism, but not the U.S.A. and ran into the woods to live The Good Life, which reminded me of a scene in the movie The Way We Were but definitely wasn’t in this book! My review is here.

 

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This brought me to another New England marriage, but one that epitomized capitalism. One was an actor who owned a grocery store, the other a writer whose memoirs were regarded as “fiction” by her family. She is revered by her readers though. Madeleine L’Engle’s Two-Part Invention has now been added to her Crosswicks Journals, which are my favorite of all her books, no matter what her children said about them.

So, we have now gone full-circle, back to artists, marriage, and family.

 

 

 

 

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Six Degrees of Separation: From Normal People by Sally Rooney to a Pearl S. Buck masterpiece

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Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by Books Are My Best and Favorite. A chain of 6 books is linked somehow–whether to all books or only to the one before it. A common book is given each month with which to start the chain.

This month’s book is Normal People by Sally Rooney. Here is the blurb from Amazon:

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well-liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life-changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

My Thoughts On This Book

For the record, I threw this one back–violently. “Can I cum in your mouth,” isn’t edifying literature worthy of “Novel of the Decade” hype and a t.v. show. I won’t be watching the show either. I can watch losers grope each other in line at Walmart.

 

My Chain

 

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Back in high school, books with what I today call “ick moments” were rare. After all, we’d just elected Southern Baptist, teetotaler Jimmy Carter to the presidency.  Wifey is the first book I ever got my hands on that made me want to quit reading due to ick moments.  She was married! Since I was in high school and the book was passed around till it fell open to those parts of the story, I finished it. Where would I have sat at lunch if I hadn’t? Wifey by Judy Blume.

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Another book insanely over-hyped with and chock-full of ick moments that made me barf into my throat was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I made it only as far as the gushing over how wonderful heroin was. Yeah. This sucker hit the wall so hard it left a dent when I threw it.

 

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Another book of a  woman (and two men) on an adventure that also had a funny not-so-ick moment describing one man’s purple you-know-what, is Euphoria by Lily King. I already knew a lot about Margaret Meade and Gregory Bateman so the book wasn’t a revelation, but at least I enjoyed it way more than Wild.

 

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If the trio in Euphoria traveled metaphorically back in time doing their anthropological fieldwork, Claire Randall finds a cure for dreary post-war Britain through actual time travel and talk about ick moments, but unlike Normal People, it has an actual story. I do not recommend the audio for rush hour driving entertainment. I’m so sorry Mr. Orkin Man! I nearly hit an exterminator’s truck when one scene got going! Outlander by Diana Gabbon.

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Another wife who went thru a lot, but only in her own time, and enjoyed her own not-icky-ick-moments was Mr. Emerson’s Wife. She didn’t go in for time travel but her life was an adventure of a sort. I loved this book, and love this author!

 

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Pearl S. Buck is best remembered for her books set in China, but this one is set at home in Pennsylvania. Ruth some social adventuring in her life by marrying William, an upper-class painter and enduring his whims. She was one of those rare women who can give and not receive without being precious about it. This book has the most beautifully written scenes of intimacy ever. I read this book in 2013 and it instantly became one of my lifetime favorites. Portrait of a Marriage by Pearl S. Buck. Read my old review here.

 

So this month’s chain has gone from the ick moment of two people I couldn’t care less about to the beautiful intimacy of two people I will love for the rest of my life.

 

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Next month’s book is What I Loved: A Novel by Siri Hustvedt, a book and an author I’ve never heard a word about, but just bought for Kindle for  $1.99. Would you like to join in next month? Here are the rules for Six Degrees of Separation!

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Six Degrees of Separation: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by Books Are My Best and Favorite. A chain of 6 books is linked somehow–whether to all books or only to the one before it. A common book is given each month with which to start the chain.

This month’s book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Here is the blurb from Amazon:

The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son’s fight to survive.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

My Thoughts

I haven’t the slightest interest in reading this one. Post-Apocalyptic is like sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian. That is–not acceptable to my brain!  So, I’m going by the blurb this time and not even planning to eventually read the book.

My Chain

 

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Going with the theme of supposedly post-apocalyptic life, my first choice is If the South Had Won the War by MacKinley Cantor. To the many people stuck in the south at the end of the war, they might as well have been in a post-apocalyptic society. I’m sure many fantasized for years to come on the What ifs of the war. What if the south HAD won being chief among those fantasies that helped them get thru the first years of reconstruction. My family all fought for the North, but this is an interesting little book regardless.

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How awful is this cover?? Not many times have been worse than the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution–, especially for the bourgeoise (though of course Stalin’s engineered famine in Ukraine comes immediately to mind). The Civil War raged, the local “Soviets” took away property, all who could, fled into exile. Dr. Zhivago tells of the “post-apocalyptic” word of Zhivago and Lara and the rest. This is a life-long favorite book of mine. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

 

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Is there any greater post-apocalyptic world than the Nazi Death Camps? Night By Elie Wiesel

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Immediate post-war Berlin was close to a post-apocalyptic society. This famous diary shows what life was like during that time.  A Woman in Berlin.

 

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North Korea is true post-apocalyptical world all its own. No sort of freedom exists there except for those in the ruling family. Click on the linked title to read more Nothing To Envy

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I have not yet read this one, but Chernobyl the place truly IS post-apocalyptical. From the horrors of the tumors and other physical manifestations of the disaster in the people of the area to the stark reality of the abandoned apartments, shops, and workplaces. This is the real thing. Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

 

So this month, all of my choices hinged on being a nightmare-ish and post-apocalyptical for those living in that time and place. A novella, a novella, and four works of nonfiction.

 

Would you like to join in next month? Here are the rules for Six Degrees of Separation!

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6 Degrees of Separation

 

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Isolation has pretty much robbed me of the ability to tell one day from another–and that’s even with work-from-home. So, I’m nearly a week late with #6Degrees of Separation! This month we start with the book Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder. I even borrowed the book from the library to read or skim and STILL forgot! So, I’ll wing it. Pull in what I learned in college about East Germany, the Stasi, the USSR and the KGB, and even crazy Envir Hoxha in Albania.

 

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The first book that came to mind was Picnic at the Iron Curtain: A Memoir by Susan Viets.  The author was fortunate to be there when the Wall came down and to stick around and see the Ukraine Orange Revolution and all that came in between. This one shows the “before” and “after” of revolution.

 

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Another book that came quickly to mind discussed similar experiences–life in a state that was friends with told Soviet Union and it’s Eastern Block of nations–Cuba. One of Cuba’s first blogger-reporters, Yoani Sachez tried to educate the world of the 2010s about the reality of the Cuban “dream.” Havana Real by Yoani Sanchez is a collection of blog posts on the insanity of life in Cuba today (circa 2011). She wants change–and isn’t afraid to work for it.

 

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This led me to another story of island life–albeit British diplomat life in Trinidad in the 70. They now live with the politics of a post-colonial country struggling with home-grown aggressors. Go native? Go home? The usual struggles. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey.

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Author Alexandra Fuller grew up to see the world of her childhood given away.  Born to British parents who became Rhodesian settlers and who fought to keep Rhodesia for the elite–the white Rhodesians like themselves who had invested their lives and their life savings, she found later she didn’t belong anywhere–much like defectors from the USSR who craved artistic freedom, but found it came with a capitalist market and people who weren’t starved for the truth about their experience. This book links both countries that have undergone radical change and a former Eastern Block country–Hungary. Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller.

 

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Another continent and more strife in a land formerly the playground of a tiny elite–the top brass of the USSR Communist Party. This novel wonderfully illustrates the changes between Stalin’s time (the Grandmother’s time) and today’s Russia of impossibly rich oligarchs and henchmen. A Terrible Country: A Novel by Keith Gessen.

 

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My final book brings us back to Germany, albeit Germany of today, flooded with immigrants–mostly from Africa. This novel tells their stories. The changes in Germany from the repressive regime surrounding the city of Berlin, the inclusion or rejection of the new cultures brought in by illegal immigrants from countries German’s don’t understand–it’s all here. It brings us full-circle. Travelers: A Novel by Helon Habila.

 

Do you enjoy participating in book events like #6 Degrees of Separation? Read the rules HERE and post with us next month. Six Degrees is hosted by Books Are My Favorite and Best and it is a lot of fun to create a chain of books each month.

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Six Degrees of Separation: Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar

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6 Degrees of Separation is a book meme hosted by Books Are My Favorite and Best on the first Saturday of each month. Here’s how it works:

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 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.

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.

 

#6Degrees

The Story

Kitty Hawke, the last inhabitant of a dying island sinking into the wind-lashed Chesapeake Bay, has resigned herself to annihilation…

Until one night her granddaughter blows ashore in the midst of a storm, desperate, begging for sanctuary. For years, Kitty has kept herself to herself – with only the company of her wolfdog, Girl – unconcerned by the world outside, or perhaps avoiding its worst excesses. But blood cannot be turned away in times like these. And when trouble comes following her granddaughter, no one is more surprised than Kitty to find she will fight to save her as fiercely as her name suggests…

A richly imagined and mythic parable of home and kin that cements Lucy Treloar’s place as one of our most acclaimed novelists.

My Thoughts

This has already jangled some pet peeve nerves. “Kitty Hawke”? Seriously?? Stupid names put me off almost instantly. And Aussie writing a story set in Chesapapeke Baby Has she lived there? I couldn’t find anything that said she had. Is her husband/partner from there? Ditto. Hmmmmm

 

My Chain

I skipped the obvious pull towards Wright Brothers’ books and toward wolf books. Nothing wrong with the Wright Brothers of wolves.

 

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I hated this book, but the Buddhist nun character sounded as out-there as Ms. Hawk in the Wolfe Island book, only weirder. Her great-granddaughter seeks a sort of sanctuary from the bullying at school. A Hello Kitty lunchbox full of mementos pulls another character back to the past. This book is odd, but it was the first that “clicked” in my thinking of a chain. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

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Another odd unusual person made eccentric and isolated by her circumstances apparently, [I haven’t yet read it] is the main character in the Persephone book Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd. The war-time Britain to which she returns after living so isolated is about as intelligible as HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would have been. (I’m hoping to buy this one soon for reading in the next Peresphone Read-Athon).

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Poor Miss Raskin being washed overboard, combined with the grandchild & great-grandchild seeking sanctuary in the other books brought  The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by M.L. Stedman to mind. It features a reclusive couple who insist upon sanctuary for a baby who washed up from a shipwreck seemingly in answer to their prayers for a child. The put the ethical issues of keeping the child into a special mental compartment and go on with life. The child is safe, loved, and “theirs.” Another isolated couple had their prayers for a child answered differently–with a Snow Child, but that story didn’t really fit here as well. I’m including it just in case anyone has missed it. It’s lovely and wonderful.

 

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Next to mind was The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It was read aloud to us by my 6th-grade teacher. I remember thinking how utterly alone this poor guy was–possibly my first “mature” thought about a book. That loneliness has always echoed through Hemingway’s writing for me. Here is a lonely man, alone against a fish. No sanctuary for him–not in his mind or soul, until he gets that fish.

 

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Next to mind was a book about taking to the sea to seek sanctuary. A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea is one young woman’s powerful refugee story, taking her from Syria to Europe the hardest way possible. There were many times when young Doaa would have been safer alone. (These two books came to mind with this one–all 3 are on the same crisis).

 

Escaping the wolves of communism and finding sanctuary 90 miles away is the theme of two books about the same family, as well as the theme of the forthcoming book in the series, by Chanel Cleeton. The first book, Next Year in Havana tells the story of the family’s prepared to leave–the coming to power of Castro, the loss of the father’s companies, the involvement of a daughter with a freedom fighter, etc. The second book, When We Left Cuba, tells of their new life in Miami, and the continued work of one to liberate Cuba. The new book, coming in June is The Last Train to Key West. So, those political wolves being on an island, we could re-christen Cuba as Lobo (Masculine Wolf) Island, bringing us full circle.

 

Bonus:

Kitty Hawk–idiotic name. Here’s the best Wright Brother’s book I’ve read:

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The Wright Brothers by the ever-wonderful David McCullogh. It all took flight at Kitty Hawk. My recommended book for the must-read book of 2016.

 

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One of the best nature books on wolves by Canada’s fabulous Farey Mowatt, Never Cry Wolf.

 

To participate in 6 Degrees of Separation each month go to the Rules and then on the first Saturday of the month post your link in this list.

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Six Degrees of Separation: Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

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#6degrees

This month’s starting book is

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I haven’t read this one, so here is part of the Amazon blurb:

“Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this.

My Chain

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The first book that came to mind was one of a husband’s treachery. The wife is always the last to know, right? Just deserts await. Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan.  Link to my review.

 

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Of course, there are even worse Dad’s out there. After all, Tara lived to tell her story. I chose Educated to tell how badly a Dad’s craziness can impact the family making everyone wish for a divorce. Educated by Tara Westover [I did not review this book because I never finished reading it. It didn’t shock me–I’ve studied religious cults who do even worse].

 

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Combining father [figure] and education and [imagined] abuse brought me next to the Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene. Link to my review.

 

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Next to mind came Fathermothergod: My Journey out of Christian Science by Lucia Greenhouse. A father and husband who leaves his wife to die before her children inch by inch in the name of faith.

 

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I truly HATE this new cover, by the way

My fifth book came to mind from both the first book and the fourth. Here is a wife from a failed marriage who must step-up and help her ex-husband when ALS strikes. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova. Link to my review.

 

 

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Alice wakes up to find herself 10 years older than she remembers being. She had been 29, happily married and expecting her first child. Now she’s 39, has three kids, and her marriage is falling apart. How did she get here?  What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Link to my review.

 

 

You can read the rules for 6 Degrees of Separation here. Why not join in next month?

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Six Degrees of Separation: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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I’m Lisa and I’m an Alice-hater. There, I’ve said it. Weight of the world off my shoulders. So, that makes this month’s chain of 6 Degrees of Separation books just a bit more interesting, wouldn’t you say? bwahahaha!

 

Brief history lesson before we start

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Prince Leopold, the youngest and hemophiliac son of Queen Victoria, named his daughter “Alice” for Alice Liddell who inspired Alice’s Adventures–she was the daughter of Lewis Carroll’s friend, you see. If I remember correctly, Princess Alice was the longest-lived of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren and one of the longest-lived British royals. Her brother was the Nazi Uncle no one wants to remember today, Charles Edward. She was known for going to her winter home by banana boat! Her husband was the most forgettable Governor-General in Canada’s history, though her relatives (her mother’s family) included the Dutch Royal Family, whom Alice took in at Rideau Hall in Canada when they initially fled the Nazis after the invasion of the Netherlands. Her memoirs are interesting, but sadly reflect the racism and phobias of their time (no mention is made of her father’s hemophilia). There. I’ve redeemed my dislike of this month’s book by educating everyone! [And, that sums up my interest in Alice’s Adventures and most things Lewis Carroll.]

I expect my chain will be about as odd as tiresome little Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were to me.

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My Chain

  1. The Beatles Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds period

True, these are movies and albums, not books, but they ARE what first comes to my mind when I hear of the dreaded Alice. Both the song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and I Am the Walrus make me think they come straight from the dreaded Alice.

2. Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolf

 

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My brain next brought up drinking the Kool-Aid, albeit not in Guyana with Jim Jones. Instead, I thought of the original Kool-Aid–Tom Wolfe’s book telling the tale of a grown-up adventure made psychedelic by using the drug LSD. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, bratty little Alice! (I have only read excerpts from this book.)

Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolf

 

3. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

 

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Yes, I know, this is not THE version of the book. But the cover was the coolest.

That groovy trip in the Patridge-family bus’s even cooler cousin-bus brought to mind THE road trip that inspired nearly all trippin’ road trips–On The Road by Jack Kerouac. I think Lewis Carroll would have liked this book. (I’ve only read excerpts). They didn’t even have Dorritos back then and nobody said “Dude….” so he has to be a great storyteller. It has since earned a reputation as one of the original pieces of radical or “Beat” literature. Beat that, hair-band girl Alice.

You can listen to it here so maybe I’ll finish it eventually.

4.  The Universe of Peter Max by Peter Max

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All of this groovy stuff, road trips, LSD, make love not war, brought to mind Peter Max’s bright works could be pulled straight from ever-loathed Aliceland. This is the best-looking book of his art I could find. (I have not seen it).

The Universe of Peter Max by Peter Max

5. A Thurber Carnival by James Thurber

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Whiplash, right? You are lost now, I’m sure. The Beatles, beatniks, drugs, psychedelic road trips–ok. But James Thurber? What? Well folks, according to ever-reliable Wikipedia, Thurber’s phenomenal creativity may have owed something to a syndrome that caused hallucinations! So, no off-brand mushrooms or strange green plants or funky kool-aid and Doritos needed for him to be creative and imagine worlds icky-Alice couldn’t even fathom! tapocketapocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa at you Alice!

 

6. Tommy a Rock Opera and Me: Elton John by Elton John

 

What could be more vivid than Elton in the early 70s? Vivid imagination? Check. Vivid Scenes created [albeit in music]? Check. Vivid clothing and glasses? Check. Vivid personality? Double-check. Like the Beatles albums and films I started with, Tommy brings me to detestable Alice every time. And who could be more vivid a personality than Elton, at least now that Liberace is dead? I haven’t yet read Me, his new memoir, aside from the parts the Daily Mail serialized, but it is well-know that Elton’s creativity was long enhanced by drugs. His imagination, though, has proved it can still churn out amazing song-stories even when he is still in full Rehab Grad mode.

Bringing this trip full circle

What’s more, Elton John is friends with today’s Royal Family–he was the singer at Prince Andrew’s 21st birthday party and then, of course, and at Diana’s funeral.  Well, it so happens the Queen is old Prince Leopold’s great-great-niece (Prince Philip is his gr-gr-nephew, but thru a different sibling of Leo’s–there were nine children in Victoria’s family) AND Leopold’s daughter, is not only some version of cousin but is Queen Elizabeth’s great-aunt-by-marriage because she married Queen Mary’s brother, Algy (Prince Alexander George of Teck).

So, there. Back where we started with Prince Leopold naming his daughter for the Alice who inspired it all.

Me: Elton John by Elton John

 

Bonus

Kaleidescope Designs and kalediescopes

 

If I had real money, I’d collect kaleidoscopes! They remind me of ever-annoying Alice in a good way! Maybe Disney put kaleidoscope images in the cartoon? (I saw it in the 1960s and allowed it home from the library ONCE for my kids, so don’t really remember much) I actually own the model kaleidoscope shown here. It’s beautiful. It kept my son happy for nearly an hour! A record until video games.

A final note:

Disney’s dreadful Alice brought us memorable cartoon figures including the Chesire Cat. Disney’s Chesire Cat always brings to mind Theodore Roosevelt. See what you think:

 

See? No questions please on the source of my creativity or boost to same! I’m not into any of that, thanks.

 

Want to join the fun? Go read the rules at Books are My Favorite and Best. Next month’s chains will start with