Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps.
Click on the titles to go to my reviews where they exist. Our starting book this month is the bestselling:
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
I read this book when it first came out in paperback back in the late 1990s. I’d never read anything like it, and found this historical novel of the young girl from a fishing village who becomes a geisha irresistible. While we mustn’t forget that this was a form of slavery, it was fascinating to find out about this oriental culture. Rather than go with any obvious links, I’ve picked the lips on the cover of my copy to lead me to:
The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
I really enjoyed this sassy page-turner from O’Porter, who is proving she’s more than a TV presenter. With two YA novels under her belt, this title from last autumn is her first adult novel. It follows the lives of three women who ‘don’t need to follow the herd’. The three narrators’ own stories gradually converge with some great dramatic moments, plenty of heartache and a couple of twists before the perhaps inevitable resolution. Good fun. Cows will be my link to a very different novel…
Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan
This is a comedy novel about zombie cows that won a half-share of the inaugural Terry Pratchett Award in 2012. It was very silly, very gory and great fun! Zombies will be my link this time…
The Fear by Charlie Higson
My first proper interview in person for the a previous incarnation of this blog was with the lovely Charlie Higson. He came to Abingdon to do a schools event promoting the third volume in his ‘Enemy’ series of zombie horror novels for older children and tweens. Mark from Mostly Books negotiated to get me the interview for which I was extremely grateful and rather nervous, but we had a lovely conversation. Read my interview here. Authors I’ve met is thus my link…
The Trees by Ali Shaw
I’ve met Ali at events for each of his novels so far, The Girl with Glass Feet, The Man Who Rained and The Trees. His novels are near impossible to categorise: contemporary dramas with transformation at their heart, not out and out fantasies, but full of fantastical elements. When I heard him talk after his debut, The Girl with Glass Feet, was published, he explained how the magic in his books is a natural extension of the character’s lives; just as in Kafka’s Metamorphosis in which a bureaucrat wakes up transformed into an insect and essentially carries on with his life! His advice then was: to be careful with magic, to work out rules for incorporating it, to consider up and down sides, and to keep it natural – and he is still following his own rules. His third novel imagines the force of nature fighting back and is a sort of magical eco-thriller, which leads me to:
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy is another genre-defying read. An eco-thriller, with horror, sci-fi, adventure, and plenty of weirdness, Annihilation, the first volume of the three was perhaps the best, but I loved the whole set – see here for links to all three. A final genre-defying read is:
Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts
This novel is far more than a SF novel about the existence or not of UFOs, it’s a psychological thriller about the fall of Stalin’s brand of Communism underneath. It’s dark, thoughtful, thrilling and hilarious by turns and I loved it.
My six degrees this month have gone from Japan to the UK where zombies and nature gone wild weirdly leave us back in the USSR.
Where will yours take you?