Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps.
Links in the titles will take you to my reviews. This month – the starting book is:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A childhood favourite that I re-read so many times. However I had a harder time with when I read it aloud to my daughter when she was younger. Doing all the different voices did me in, and I did find Alice rather irritating and petulant – or was that me! (More about that experience here). My link shall be through the name ‘Lewis‘ which leads to…
Advantages of the Older Man by Gwynneth Lewis
This novella was just brilliant. Jennie, a recent graduate, applies for a job with The Dylan Thomas Gallery. In her parents’ house her mother goes ‘Pig of a man,’ every time his name is mentioned and she is aghast when Jenny gets the job – it turns out she knew him – but she won’t give any details. It is there she meets Peter, a poet and helps him to start up an Open Mic Poetry Club despite not being a poetry fan. Peter doesn’t seem to notice her though, so when he and Bernard decide to hold a Dylan Thomas celebration, Jennie leaps into helping and gets into the spirit of Dylan … or rather he gets into her. All this attention has brought the ghost of Dylan Thomas back and he appears to Jennie in her bedroom, with hilarious consequences! Under 100 pages, but briliiant. My link could only be Dylan Thomas leading to…
Pistache by Sebastian Faulks
Faulks used to appear as one of the team captains on a Radio 4 Quiz programme called The Write Stuff. At the end of each programme, the two captains would face off with a literary parody. This little book contains loads of Faulks’s gems – including a cereal advert in the style of Dylan Thomas – click through to read that piece – it’s hilarious! My onward link shall be through the name ‘Sebastian‘ which leads to:
The Juggler by Sebastian Beaumont
I don’t know what’s happened to Beaumont – he published a couple of LGBT novels before a pair of more mainstream ones, of which the Juggler came second – nothing I’ve seen since. That is a shame. as The Juggler was well-written and one of those mess with your mind psychological dramas in which nothing was quite what it seemed. I really enjoyed it. But as jugglers are often circus performers, that leads me to:
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
I so enjoyed this story of life in a travelling circus. I read it pre-blog, but it has stayed with me for its imagery and superb characters, especially Jacob the narrator, Walter the dwarf clown – and Rosie the elephant. The circus travelled by train as did:
The Adventures of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
This was a beautiful book. Spivet is a 12-year-old genius, who gets invited to go to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC as winner of a competition. They didn’t know he was only 12, Spivet has a whale of a time getting there hitching a ride on a train. The book, at least in its hardback incarnation, followed his journey closely in illustrations, pictures and footnotes – it was just lovely. My final link is the ultimate goal of getting to the museum, which leads to:
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
Hoffman takes the idea of 1900s freak shows and tells us about the life and work of an entrepreneur who sees those with interesting characteristics with a scientific eye rather than showman’s eye – hence his ‘museum’. His teenaged daughter Coralie, who has webbed hands, narrates this story of Coney Island in 1911. I really enjoyed this book, and got the opportunity to send some questions to Hoffman (here) too. And for once, I’ve managed to get back to the starting book with Alice.
My six degrees was anchored in the UK and the USA, but went further in the mind this time…. where will your six degrees take you?