From “Rodham” by Curtis Sittenfeld to “Girls on the Line” by Aimie Runyan.
This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:
- Link the books together in any way you like.
- Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
- Share these rules in your post.
- Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
- Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
- Share you post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
- Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.
THANKS FOR PLAYING or COME JOIN US!
This month we start with “Rodham” by Curtis Sittenfeld!
This month (September 4, 2020), the chain begins with “Rodham” by Curtis Sittenfeld. According to the blurbs, this is a fictional, biographical novel about Hillary Rodham Clinton, which seemed odd because I thought it was a non-fiction biography of her. Then I read this part, “… in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.” Oh… well there you go; this is actually an alternative reality story, so no, I’m not going to read it, no matter how good it might be! The other surprise here was to see that Sittenfeld is female – because Curtis is quite an unusual first name for a woman.
And an unusual first name for a woman is my first link in the chain. I’m going with a book by Yannick Murphy who wrote an amazing novel called “Signed, Mata Hari” which is a fictional memoir of the famous spy. This absolutely gorgeous novel was recommended to me by a former co-worker, who was Murphy’s agent for this novel. When she heard I had a book review blog, she lent me her signed copy of the first edition in hardcover! When I retired from my job, she noted that she was impressed that I’d not only read the book, but reviewed it for my blog. Well, I couldn’t NOT review it, because I loved it so much, even though the main character was so controversial, and you don’t like her all of the time.
Although the copy of the book that my friend lent me was of the original hardcover, the picture above is for another edition, and you’ll notice that it has part of a famous Klimt painting. I just adore the Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles by Klimt and his contemporaries used, and that’s the main reason why I decided I wanted to read Mary Sharrett’s book, “Ecstasy” which you can see has a Klimt-like cover. This biographical, historical fiction novel is about Alma Mahler, the wife of Gustave, the composer, who apparently met Klimt at one time. Now, I’m not a huge fan of Mahler’s work, but Alma does sound like an interesting personality, even if she was a bit hard done by, and might not have been a very nice person.
From the wife of one composer, we go to the woman who was the muse for another one, in the novel “Vienna Nocturne” by Vivian Shotwell. This is again a biographical, historical fiction novel, which is about Anna Storace, the young British soprano who left England for Vienna (and other meccas of opera) to advance her career. Through this, she became involved with none other than the one and only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. To this day scholars believe that the arias Mozart wrote for the part of Suzanna in his “Marriage of Figaro” were written for her to sing. Furthermore, some of the original arias had to be cut out or cut down whenever another soprano tried to sing the part. Too bad there was no way to record her singing back then, because she must have been marvelous!
I think for this link, I’ll go with the inspiration route. In this case, I’m choosing a novel that was inspired by a piece of music. The book I have in mind is called “The Sunken Cathedral” by Kate Walbert, and the piece of music that inspired the novel is by Debussy, called “La Cathédrale Engloutie,” (and guess what? That’s French for sunken cathedral!). This piece of music was also inspired by the Breton legend of the City of Ys. Now, Debussy is considered a composer who infused his music with the same theories of the artistic movement, impressionism, and in doing so, he tried to evoke this ancient legend through his music. I believe that Walbert’s novel captured both that piece of music and the essence of the legend itself, through her lyrical prose. This is probably one of the more underrated novels I’ve ever read (and if any of these links inspire you to put something on your TBR, I hope this will be the one).
Now, where to go from there isn’t as easy. And then I thought about this Breton legend… that’s folklore, right? Some folklore stories are also fairy tales, right? So how about a re-imagining of a fairy tale? That make me think of “The Girls at the Kingfisher Club” by Genevieve Valentine, which is a modern-day telling of the Grimm fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” While I loved the premise of this novel, and the fact that Valentine didn’t resort to any magic or fantasy in the book, I wasn’t totally sold on her execution. However, if you can overlook too many parenthetical remarks, and a touch too many asides to help fit all of the elements that the Brothers Grimm put into the original tale, you might like this roaring 20s novel about girls who sneak out of their home to visit a dance hall/speakeasy.
Since my first link was related to the author’s name, and the one after that linked to the cover art, maybe my last link should be connected by the novel’s title. I’ll go with the easy out here, and use the word “girls” which gives me quite a few really great choices. I think I’ll go with “Girls on the Line” by Aimie K. Runyan, partially because she’s got a new novel coming out (hint, hint), and partially because the women in both this book connect to the the previous one, because they act like sisters in their efforts to help keep each other out of trouble, despite their all heading straight into danger with their eyes wide open. In this book, we’re talking about the women who worked as radio operators, known as the “Hello Girls” transmitting vital information back to the allies during WWI from behind enemy lines.