TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for February 6, 2021.

From “Redhead by the Side of the Road” by Anne Tyler to “Uncommon Type: Stories” by Tom Hanks.

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!

This month we start with “Redhead by the Side of the Road” by Anne Tyler!

Redhead by the Side of the Road 1This month (February 6, 2021), the chain begins with “Redhead by the Side of the Road” by Anne Tyler. I read and reviewed this book (link above) when it was released, and I enjoyed it very much. Tyler likes to write books with a cast of quirky characters, and her main character here – Micah – is no exception. Of course, he has all sorts of relationship problems, not just with his long-time girlfriend, but also with his family. While Micah seems to just muddle through his life without much ambition or desire to change anything, he’s at the same time not totally happy with his life. That he doesn’t know how to fix things in himself, due to his lack of self-awareness, is a recurring theme for Tyler, which allows her all sorts of interesting plot twists. By the way – two interesting things about this book. One: I keep trying to spell Micah as Micha, and; two – the title of this book is very misleading (the titular redhead isn’t a person, its a fire hydrant)!

First Degree. 

Wicked Redhead smallI could go several ways with this, but I’m going to go with the title word “redhead” and so my next link is to “The Wicked Redhead” by Beatriz Williams. I didn’t realize when I asked for the ARC of this book that this was the second in a series of roaring twenties, Jazz era books called “The Wicked City.” All I cared about was reading something by Williams. See, I’d read a couple of her books that she wrote with Lauren Willig and Karen White (the trio we call Team-W), and a short story by Williams, so I knew I wanted to read a stand-alone of hers, and this was the first one I found. While I’ll probably not read more of this series, I am hooked on Williams’ writing style, so I’ll be watching out for more from her in the future (and looking into getting books from her back-list).

Second Degree.

bec77-finding2bamosAnother book I’ve read that had three authors writing together is “Finding Amos” by by J. D. Mason, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, and Bernice L. McFadden. Now, I realize I only gave this book three stars, but I think we should make some allowances for this one. The ARC I read was originally supposed to be released several months before it was actually released, it had a different title, and I’m certain that the version I read was not what was eventually published. Despite this, I did like the premise of this book. To remind you, it is about three daughters (two biological, and one practically adopted) going to help their father after twenty years of essentially no contact. This was well written, and seeing their different relationships through three different sets of eyes, was fascinating.

Third Degree.

6edb1-prague2bsonataAmos was a musician, a pianist to be precise. That made me think about the novel “The Prague Sonata” by Bradford Morrow. This is a bit of a mystery novel where a young piano prodigy, Meta Taverner, had to give up her concert career and become a musicologist, ends up with a part of what seems to be an ancient (okay, 18th century) piano sonata and that leads her to a quest to find the missing parts. Although I found this to be a slightly bloated novel, that needed a good deal of editing, the idea behind the story was very good, and the protagonist was beautifully drawn and highly sympathetic. Of course, it didn’t hurt that this book was set in my favorite European city, and I probably gave it higher marks because Morrow took me back there so beautifully.

Forth Degree.

Taken Nothing with YOuI love classical music, and I love the piano. However, I’m not a big fan of the cello. Still, Patrick Gale’s novel about a young cello prodigy, “Take Nothing With You” is the book that came to mind to link with the previous one. Well, despite my preferences, if anyone could convince me to want to listen to someone play the cello, it would be Gale. This book is so beautifully written, and the descriptions of the music and the playing are so emotionally charged, you could almost hear it in the background while you were reading. Gale is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve noticed that he’s been bringing more of his own history, life, and experiences into his novels. In this novel, not only does our protagonist, Eustace, have to deal with the pressures of studying and becoming proficient on his instrument of choice, he also has to deal with his homosexuality, and coming to terms with it in an era when being gay wasn’t considered normal, among other things. This is a fabulous novel, and highly recommended!

Fifth Degree.

Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoAnother book that deals with being gay at a time when the world considered homosexuality as abnormal is “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins-Reid. I truly adored this book, and my husband did too. It is, essentially, a coming-of-age novel that is both romantic and tragic. Mind you, it is sometimes hard to feel sympathy for people who are enormously wealthy, but this book shows the side of the story that comes before that – the struggles to get into the film business, the troubles with directors and producers, the stress caused when you’ve made a name for yourself and need to keep going, often hiding things that could damage your reputation from the press or your many colleagues, and sometimes your own staff. This book really seems to have captured all of that beautifully. I’m now trying to get the ARC for her upcoming novel, “Malibu Rising.” Wish me luck!

Sixth Degree. 

Uncommon Type USHollywood… hum… Well, the character of Evelyn Hugo is a fictional actor, but Tom Hanks is a real-life movie star. That’s why my last link is to his debut book, his collection of short stories “Uncommon Type“. Interestingly enough, I don’t think that Hanks drew all that much from his own experiences in the motion picture industry for these stories. Mind you, I’m sure a few of them were inspired by some screenplays he might have read and rejected. But there are no stories here about actors or making films – which is a thought that just occurred to me now, while writing this. Also, in stark contrast to Evelyn Hugo, Hanks is in a very stable and long-time relationship with Rita Wilson, so there aren’t any divorces, and obviously, Hanks is straight. Still, I think my Hollywood connection to the previous book still stands.

There you have it – my chain of books for this month. So… the question is, does this last book connect in any way back to our starting novel?

Hanks’ book is a collection of short stories and Tyler’s book is relatively short (almost novella length)! Also, Tyler’s characters are quirky and there are many quirky characters in Hanks’ stories.
Do those work?

If you don’t know any of these books, I hope you’ll click on the links to my reviews and check them out!

#6Degrees 06 Feb 2021

If you decide to join in on this meme, I hope you’ll give me the link to your post in the comments below, and/or put your link on the linky page that Kate has on her blog for this meme.

Next month (March 6, 2021), we will start with Phosphorescence by Julia Baird (because Kate wants it to win the 2021 Stella Prize).

51 thoughts on “TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for February 6, 2021.

  1. There are so many books in here that I would like to read. I have some Patrick Gale books sitting on my shelf, and have heard only good about him. so I hope to try at least one this year. My daughter plays the cello and it is one of my favourite instruments – in fact we recently had the second movement of the Elgar at my father-in-law’s funeral.I think it is such an evocative sound.

    I had just been reading about Daisy Jones and the Six, which I haven’t read and thought I would like to – not sure now, as not everyone seems to be enthusiastic! But The Seven Husbands looks great, maybe I should try that first?

    Tom Hanks always seems such a genuinely nice person, I would be interested to read his stories. I thought he was terrific in Bridge of Spies.

    And I so wish I had known that the ‘redhead’ was a fire hydrant! Think where we could have gone from that – fires, water, street furniture (!)….

    Obviously I did not go there – here’s mine: https://sconesandchaiseslongues.blogspot.com/2021/02/six-degrees-of-separation-february-2021.html

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh… I don’t think saying the redhead was a fire hydrant is much of a spoiler – it comes out in the very beginning of the book! I loved Daisy Jones but my husband didn’t. We both loved Evelyn Hugo, so… up to you!

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  2. I haven’t read any of your books but have heard of a couple. Interesting about the cello. I love piano, but I also love the cello. Bach’s Cello suites are beautiful. Yo Yo Ma’s cello playing is really moving. I love it when our chamber music subscription series features a cellist!

    Oh, and must go to Prague one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only cello I can listen to is the Elgar Concerto played by the late, great Jacqueline DuPre. Trust me, I’ve tried. Yo-Yo Ma, Leonard Rose, Rostopovitch, Pablo Casals… all the greats and they all turn me off except for her.

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  3. Thanks for visiting my blog and Six Degrees post.

    I was surprised to see Tom Hanks’ book of short stories at the end of your chain. I only recently purchased that book at a small book sale. I haven’t read it yet.

    I enjoyed hearing about two sets of three authors who write books together. I had not heard of that before.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read any of these books and hadn’t heard of them either – so there’s plenty here for me to explore! I have read two of Gale’s books,so maybe I’ll start with that one and do want to read Tyler’s book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck with that! I was turned off by the cello at a very young age, and nothing has ever turned me back on to the instrument. Well, except Jacqueline DuPre and her Elgar concerto – that I can listen to any time!

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  5. You’ve reminded me that I have an unread ARC of Finding Amos…. not sure why I never got around to reading it but I recall requesting it because it had three authors, which seemed quite the novelty.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved the Patrick Gale, and having been to orchestral summer schools in my youth, I can absolutely see that he gets all the musical intensity spot on – there’s nothing like playing music together in a small chamber group to heighten the senses.

    Liked by 1 person

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