Six Degrees of Separation: Wild Swans by Jung Chang

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While I’ve not yet read Wild Swans, it has been on my to read list for ages. I even spotted a copy at Half Price Books last week, but couldn’t remember why I might want to buy and read it! Now I remember–it’s September’s Six Degrees of Separation starting point book.

This book’s topic brought to mind so many great books! I skipped Pearl Buck’s classic, The Good Earth and the popular Lisa See books, and focused mostly on very readable non-fiction. The one novel I hated to leave out was Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

 

My Six Books

 

 

 

America, and much of the Western world, first learned of China from Christian missionaries, so I chose Gladys Alyward  and the story of her life in China, The Little Woman.

The Joy Luck Club was assigned in my first college English class in the Fall of 1980. It is unforgettable.

Chinese Cinderella is a book for middle grade students, but is informative for any age.

Red Scarf Girl is a middle grade book, a personal account of life during the worst days of the Cultural Revolution as experienced by a school girl.

Factory Girls, which I have blogged about before, is a good look at where all those “Made in China” goods are  made and by whom.  Not many Americans would choose to live and work like these young women do.

A Heart for Freedom is book I’ve just started reading. The author fled China in a cargo container and went on to the Ivy League and more. A very vivid tale of today’s China.

 

Six Degrees of Separation is  a monthly book meme now hosted by Books Are My Favorite And BestWon’t you come and join the fun? Here’s the link to the rules. And, here is the link to this month’s Meme posts.

 

 

 

 

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Six Degrees of Separation: Picnic at Hanging Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not read Picnic at Hanging Rock and know about it only what the blurb on Amazon told me. Since I have a dear friend who promotes her nation’s literary classics on her blog, A Peaceful Day, I am now hanging my head in shame! From the movie version stills I gather I’d enjoy it. I’ll add it to my To Read list and hope I get to it soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book cover in the Amazon link may be different than those pictured here.

I do not make any money off of links. They are just for your convenience.

 

My Chain….

 

 

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

 

 

 

 

 

One of my few full 5 Star rated read,  A Town Like Alice is another Australian classic. It was made into a television series many years ago and shown on PBS Masterpiece Theater (as it was called then). I saw parts of it. I’ve read the book twice and love it more each time. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

 

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

 

 

 

 

 

Cloudstreet is always on those lists of great modern novels. I’ve had it on my To Read list since it came out. I really should read it because I’m sure I’ll love it. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

 

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

Since I have great-great grandparents who went out to Australia and failed before ending up in Indiana, I’ve intended to read this book for years and years. Another one I should probably just pick up and start reading already! The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes.

 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

 

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The Rosie Project is a contemporary Australian novel that is just plain fun. No other reason to include it. It’s fun. Read it. You’ll laugh. The Rosie Project by Grameme Simsion.

 

 

 

 

 

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot tell a lie on books! This is also an all-time favorite. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it. Meggie and Ralph–one of my gateway older man, younger women couples. They came into my life right after Scarlett and Rhett. I used to own a copy of the miniseries on VHS. Why you ask? Richard Chamberlain. (She swoons just remembering him in that bespoke soutane!) The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough.

 

 

Finally….

 

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Because who hasn’t thought of moving to Australia on a bad day?? Alexander…..Very Bad Day by Judith Virost. Did you know in the Australian version of the book he wants to move to Timbuktu?

 

Want to Join In?

I’m off to check out the other chains in this month’s Six Degrees of Separation before I go read a lot about Australia! How about you? Want to read them? Or join in next month? Here’s the link to the rules. And here is the link to July’s posts.

 

 

Six Degrees of Separation: Fever Pitch

 

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This month’s Six Degrees of Separation Chain starts with Nick Hornby’s memoir Fever Pitch–a book I haven’t read.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:  In America, it is soccer. But in Great Britain, it is the real football. No pads, no prayers, no prisoners. And that’s before the players even take the field.

Nick Hornby has been a football fan since the moment he was conceived. Call it predestiny. Or call it preschool. Fever Pitch is his tribute to a lifelong obsession. Part autobiography, part comedy, part incisive analysis of insanity, Hornby’s award-winning memoir captures the fever pitch of fandom—its agony and ecstasy, its community, its defining role in thousands of young men’s coming-of-age stories. Fever Pitch is one for the home team. But above all, it is one for everyone who knows what it really means to have a losing season.  Link

Soccer is a sport I tolerate fairly well. It’s simply and they keep the commercials to a minimum by not allowing tv time-outs. That said I’ve not read any soccer books. So, I’ll go with the title–Fever Pitch. Only that is difficult, too. Are we pitching a baseball or pitching woo? Pitching a fit or pitching a tent? Malarial fever or dengue fever? Football-football or soccer? Reaching a fever pitch or being pitched out the door? Perfect pitch or an elevator pitch.  All of them? None of them? Here’s goes.

  1. Fever Pitch–a baseball….

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I’m a life-long Cubs fan, but this book is great. You don’t even have to like sports to enjoy it. Presidential and First Lady historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s memoir of the Brooklyn of her youth, the Brooklyn of the Dodgers and Ebbets Field.  Wait Till Next Year.

2. Pitch a Tent…Get a Fever

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Another Presidential Historian, Candice Millard, has written a superb account of Theodore Roosevelt and son Kermit’s epic adventure–an adventure that darned near killed T.R. It is like reading an Indian Jones adventure! Charting the course of the Amazon in pre-war 1914 was not a job for the faint-hearted. Larger-than-life Bull Moose, Teddy Roosevelt took on the challenge but only just lived to tell. River of Doubt.

3. Malarial Fever

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This was a fun read. As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, the title immediately caught my eye. Happily the story did not disappoint. First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria….

4. Pitching a Fit…or Not

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French kids don’t pitch fits … even at dinner. They eat their rocket salad with tangy mustard vinegrette. No one has heard of Ranch [dressing]. Not sure if the lessons in this book work in suburban America–at least not the parts I’ve been in, but I’m assured French kids simply get on with with their after-dinner salad like seasoned gourmands. Bringing Up Bebe.

5. Pitching Some Woo

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As recently as my childhood it was still illegal for black and white to marry in many states. This book tells the story of how the Supreme Court decided such laws were wrong. I’m anxious to read it. Love Wins.

6. Perfect Pitch

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This beautiful picture book tells the story of famed operatic contralto Marian Anderson–who caused “Marian Fever” in Europe according to one book review. Famously denied the use of Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ms. Anderson’s fame became immortal when first lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for a larger venue for Ms Anderson’s concert: The Mall stretch from the Lincoln Memorial, which was the stage, to Capital Hill. When Marian Sang.

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme now hosted by Books Are My Favorite And Best.

Twitter hastag #6Degrees

Six Degrees of Separation: Fates and Furies

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Six Degrees of Separation is a fun way to link books together, and then to link bloggers together. The first Saturday of the month a new book title is announced and everyone develops and posts their chain of books. This is my second time doing this. You can read last month’s 6 Degrees post here.

 

February’s Book

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Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff .

My Review

After all the hyper-hype on this book, I felt like I’d read it before I began (not the author’s fault). Due to the over-hyper I can’t really. I listened to the audio version and found it slightly exhausting. I felt sorry for the wife, but then, too, I felt sympathy for the husband. I always tell myself “there’s two sides to every story” and never is this more true than with a marriage. I loved hearing both sides, but wish I’d read it in the print version. I look forward to more of Lauren Groff’s writing. Highly recommended.

 

My Chain and the 6 Degrees of Separation

 

 

Fates and Furies first brought to mind the last Chief Inspector Gamache novel I listened to. Peter and Clara’s story line was also about how we hurt or protect each other in marriage.

Then it brought me to A Beautiful Mind (again–I just mentioned it in another post recently) and how mental illness impacts any relationship–let alone a marriage.

Next it brought up the stories of Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge. I’ve always meant to read the books, but I count the movie as a tour de force for Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Then I thought how things aren’t always what they seem in a marriage and recalled The Headmaster’s Wife and the fabulous Portrait of a Marriage.

Finally I recalled Madeline L’Engle’s superb Crosswicks books. Superb to the reader, but apparently thought of as fictional in places, if not total fiction, by her children. The book on her marriage, to actor Hugh Franklin is the Two-Part Invention.

No one really knows a marriage but the two in it.

What about you? Where does Fates a2nd Furies lead you? And, yes you can join in and play even if you haven’t read it. #6Degrees

 

 

 

Six Degrees of Separation

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I saw this on Falconer’s Library. Everyone starts with the same book title, then leads thru whatever thoughts, memories, etc. to six books. Apparently it originates with Kate at Books Are My Favorite And Best.  Or maybe it started with Annabel Smith on her blog? So, today, I’m giving this a try. We’ll see where my odd brain leads us in terms of books.

First of all, I haven’t read Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, though I am familiar with it and the  rest of Stieg Larsson’s series.

Girl With the Dragon Tattoo makes me think of a song in Camelot:

I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight?

You mean that a king who fought a dragon,
Whack'd him in two and fixed his wagon,
Goes to be wed in terror and distress?
Yes! 

So that leads me to …

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…T.H. White’s magnificent  The Once and Future King. Because, obviously, dragon whacking was big back then. Merlin, I’m sure, had Wart practice daily–like soccer drills at practice today.

This leads me to……

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…a best selling recent book that is two books in one–a story of girl who gets into old-school hawking like Merlin would have taught and a biography of T.H. White himself. H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Which leads me to ….

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…Maurice by E.M. Forester, but really more the 1987 movie version–I could hear White talking like them, see him dressed like them, as I read H is for Hawk.I also imagined the public school old boy falconers were really some of the college Dons and similar in Maurice.

This, in turn, leads me to …

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…the French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles for the simple reason that I always think Jeremy Irons was in Maurice but it’s Hugh Grant. And Jeremy Irons came to my attention in the Pallisers on P.B.S. and with Meryl Streep in the movie version of French Lieutenant’s Woman. I read the book in college and loved it. Then I saw the movie and, well, didn’t like it as well- except for Jeremy Irons who has been part of my inner life ever since. That voice…..

[Don’t even try to work out the logic….]

Which brought to mind…..

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….my favorite Tracy Chevalier book, Remarkable Creatures both because it is also set in Lyme Regis and because I confuse the title with Jeremy Iron’s movie Beautiful Creatures.

Which leads me to a funny story about George V who recovered from a life-threatening illness in the lat 1920’s at Bognor. The town decided to immortalize its role in the King’s recovery by renaming itself “Bognor Regis.” When Lord Stanfordham, the King’s private secretary, told the king this he replied, supposedly, “Bugger Bognor.”

Now back to six degrees of separation….

So Remarkable Creatures leads me to….

…my must-read book of 2017–about an animal who likely will become a fossil

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You can read more about The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating in my Must-Read Book of 2017 post.