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!
This 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)!
I 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).
Another 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.
Amos 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.
I 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!
Another 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!
Hollywood… 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.