TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for August 7, 2021.

From “Postcards From the Edgeby Carrie Fisher to “Little Nothing” by Marisa Silver.

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 Postcards From the Edge by Carrie Fisher!

postcards from the edgeThis month (August 7, 2021), the chain begins with “Postcards From the Edge” by Carrie Fisher. According to Goodreads: “Fisher beautifully brings readers the inside of Hollywood through a web of humor, drugs, relationships, Hollywood Party Terror, and much more. The plot centers on a 30-year-old actress named Suzanne Vale, and follows her challenges as she overcomes her drug addiction, gets back into the swing of things, and falls in love, sort of.” Now, I know that this is a semi-autobiographical novel, which was made into a movie staring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLane, but I never read the book and I dislike Streep in dramas, so I never saw the film either. Maybe I should… we’ll see. In any case, may Carrie’s memory and film legacy – both as an actor and as a writer – be a blessing for us all.

First Degree. 

5f2f2-letters_fireThe first book that came to mind when I thought of Carrie Fisher’s novel, is that was semi-autobiographical. That’s what made me think of “Letters from the Fire” by Alma Alexander and R. A. (Deck) Deckert. This is the story of two people communicating during the bombing of Kosovo. Dave lives in the US, and Sasha is living in (the former) Yugoslavia. The book is written through emails and internet posts – and is technically the first novel ever written as an electronic epistolary book. This is also a fictionalized version of how Alma and Deck met and fell in love. I’ve been thinking of Alma lately because not long ago, her beloved Deck (whom she married not long after they published this book) passed away.

Second Degree.

71156-letters2bfrom2bskye2bbrockmole1Since I don’t think I’ve read any other books set (at least partially) in the former Yugoslavia, I think my next link will be to a book with the word “letters” in the title. I think a good choice would be “Letters from Skye” by Jessica Brockmole. I was very impressed with this debut novel that spanned both World Wars, and was another epistolary novel, albeit with traditional letters and not emails. It was also nice to combine the stark beauty of Scotland with a character hailing from my home state of Illinois – albeit from Urbana, and not the Chicago area where I came from, but still… I liked that element of long distance correspondence.

Third Degree.

love song queenieFrom the Isle of Sky to another spot in Scotland, my next book is “The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy” by the one and only Rachel Joyce! In this novel, we see the other side of Harold Fry’s journey. You see, while Harold is in Cornwall, Queenie is in a hospice in Berwick, Scotland. The premise of this book isn’t to be a sequel to Harold Fry, but instead to tell the other side of the story – Queenie’s side, and her relationship with Harold. Told as a type of memoir that Queenie is writing, we get to understand why Harold would undertake to walk across Britain to say his goodbyes to her before she dies. If you have even half a heart, you’ll find this novel will move you to tears!

Fourth Degree.

dac8e-allrussiansStarting out with the word ‘love’ from the previous book, and continuing with the idea of a journey and/or a destination, my next book is “All Russians Love Birch Trees” by Olga Grjasnowa. In this book, the protagonist Masha has certainly traveled a great deal – and she even ends up in Israel at one point. However, most of her trips are more like ways to run away from both her past and herself. This is a deeply introspective book, at least from Masha’s point of view, and one of the more unusual one’s I’ve ever read. I suppose you could call it a coming-of-age story, but I think that would be far too much of a generalization. Masha is very complex and, if you ask me, a character who is well worth getting to know.

Fifth Degree.

Charmed WifeSo, how about an author’s name as a connection, for a change? Obviously, I don’t know any other author by the name of Grjasnowa, but earlier this year I read a book by another Olga. I’m talking about “The Charmed Wife” by Olga Grushin. The more I think about this book, the more I think it really needs more recognition. This is a type of re-telling of the Cinderella story, but it isn’t really a fairy tale, but it is, in a way a modernization of one. See, the book begins very much in the spirit of the original story, but poor Cindy is unhappy in her marriage to Prince Charming and her life in his luxurious castle. If that puts off any readers who – like me – don’t care for fantasy, let me assure you that the more you read, the less fantastical this book becomes!

Sixth Degree. 

f217e-little2bnothingSince I don’t generally read fantasy or fairy tale books, my choice for this last link is very limited. In fact, there are only two books that come to mind, and the one I’m going to choose is “Little Nothing” by Marisa Silver. I actually asked for the ARC of this book because her previous novel, Mary Coin, is one I really want to read (but I’ve never gotten around to getting myself a copy). This novel is quite fantastical, and I read it more like a fable than a fairy tale. The novel centers around Pavla, a dwarf born in an unnamed Slavic country, who lives a life filled with many types of transformations – both physical and emotional. Silver’s writing is highly intelligent, and just luscious. So again, even if you don’t care for this genre, you might still enjoy this book.

There you have it – my chain of books for this month (which, yet again, are all female authors). So… the question is, does this last book connect in any way back to our starting novel?

The only thing I can think of is that both are stories about problematic people who are highly susceptible to how the world perceives them. Mind you, there are quite a number of journeys – both literal and metaphorical – in this chain as well.

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 07 August 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 (September 4, 2021), we will start with the 2021 Booker Prize nominee, Second Place by Rachel Cusk.

36 thoughts on “TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for August 7, 2021.

  1. Nice chain! I was ambivalent about Harold Fry but you’ve reminded me about Letters from Skye – been meaning to read that for so long! I’m intrigued by All Russians… and Little Nothing. The tbr just grew a little longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t mind SFF at all (in fact, I prefer it!), so definitely going to check out Charmed Wife and Little Nothing. And as a kid, I used to gorge on Russian folk tales, so I love them too, those birch trees. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hadn’t heard of any of the books in your chain, but there are certainly some interesting ones there. I was particularly intrigued by Letters from the Fire … I wonder why the authors wrote this as fiction rather than memoir.

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    1. They wrote it as fiction because the members of internet forum (where most of this played out) said they should write it as a novel. When we suggested it, we didn’t know how the real story would end (she moved to the US and they got married) or how the fictional book would end (sorry… no spoilers)!

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  4. I haven’t heard of any of these books, and like you I’m not much into the fantastical … but I must say that I love the covers of the last two books. The charmed wife has a little hint of Escher, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great chain as always Davida! I loved The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Yes, it’s not a sequel or a follow-up to Harold Fry, it’s more like a companion.

    Have a good month of August Davida!

    Elza Reads

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I also don’t usually read fantasy, but The Charmed Wife sounds very interesting, thank you for drawing our attention to it.

    Letters from Skye also appeals; I like to think of Skye as it must have been even only a few decades ago, whereas when we finally visited it in 2019 I found I struggled with the crowds in many places (it did lead to us also visiting Raasay though, which was an unforgettable experience.) Letters are fertile ground for authors, aren’t they? I’ve heard a lot of discussion about 84 Charing Cross Road recently – I’m not sure why it’s come to the fore again at this precise moment, but having read it when it first came out, I now plan to revisit it.

    I also went down the route of letters, but mine then led me to holidays, and memories of my own childhood trips to the seaside: https://sconesandchaiseslongues.blogspot.com/2021/08/six-degrees-of-separation-august-2021.html

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  7. What an interesting chain. Like you, I don’t care for fantasy, but you’ve made a case for giving the Silver a go. Also the Rachel Joyce, though I wasn’t a total Harold Fry fan. Actually though, I’m quite interested in every book in your chain. Which is a disaster, as the day has just begun, and already my Six Degrees TBR list is far too long!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I nearly linked to Letters from Skye too – instead went with A Card from Angela Carter.

    By the way, I have a copy of The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry – must check if it puts Berwick in Scotland! It is not in Scotland – it is in England, on the border with Scotland.

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      1. There are two Berwicks. Berwick-on-Tweed is the border town, currently in England, but at various times in the past a part of Scotland. North Berwick, however, is a seaside town in Easy Lothian – the county to the east of Edinburgh. North Berwick is a very smart place these days, full of coffee shops and second homes. It’s also the town that features in one of our recent starter books, Evie Wyld’s The Bass Rock (the rock being just off the coast, opposite the town.)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Right! If I had remembered that when we did The Bass Rock, I might have linked to Joyce’s “The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy,” which is where the home Queenie was located!

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  9. I remember liking Letters from Skye but the real surprise in your chain is the book by Marisa Silver who was in my class in college. I knew she was a writer but it hadn’t occurred to me that I would like her books. Given that my book group is an alumnae group, I think we should read one of her books. Her new book, The Mysteries, sounds good too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool! I think this wasn’t a great book for me, but I’ve always wanted to read her Mary Coin, which was inspired by a famous photograph of a woman during the depression.

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  10. What an amazing chain!! Congratulations! I loved Letters From Skye even though I wondered how she kept that Island from gossiping? Seriously–the post office was the center of all gossip! Great chain!

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