TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for December 4, 2021.

From “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton author to “The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances” by Ellen Cooney.

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 “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton!

ethan frome smallThis month (December 4, 2021), the chain begins with “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton. This pick by Kate was serendipitous since it coincided with choice for Classics Week for Novellas in November. Since it was published in 1911, it was available for free download via the Gutenberg Project, and I was able to read it in time for both of these challenges. The story is quite simple, where the titular character falls in love with his ailing wife’s cousin who comes to help care for her on his farm. The story starts and ends with an anonymous narrator who ends up in Frome’s home to shelter from an unexpected blizzard.

First Degree. 

3a48d-undiscovered2bgyrlI could have gone with a blizzard as the next link, but instead, I decided to go with an inappropriate relationship that also includes a narrator who is trying to be anonymous, but this time by using a pseudonym. I’m thinking of “Undiscovered Gyrl” by Allison Burnett. This is the story of a teenage girl Katie (or so she calls herself) who starts a blog about her life while she’s taking a year off after High School. Her relationship with a married man, much her senior, becomes the topic of many of her posts, along with her problematic relationship with her family. By the way, this book was made into a movie called “Ask Me Anything.”

Second Degree.

An-Unknown-Woman-finalWhile I do have a couple other books about being online I could link to here, I think instead I’ll do a tenuous link to the title here. While I don’t believe I’ve reviewed any other books with typos in the title, when I think of ‘undiscovered’ I also think of something being unknown, which brings me to “An Unknown Woman” by Jane Davis. This novel is about a woman whose whole life changes when her home burns to the ground, and not just because she’s just lost everything she owned. Davis is a very special writer who likes to shine a light into the dark and hidden corners of her characters’ lives.

Third Degree.

77c0b-undisturbed2bpeaceKeeping with the “un” theme, but with a book where people have to hide rather than have the truth of their lives revealed, I thought of “An Undisturbed Peace” by Mary Glickman. This historical fiction novel takes place in America on the backdrop of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which lead to the infamously shameful “Trail of Tears.” What makes this novel unique is that Glickman’s story mainly focuses on early Jewish immigrants to America, and how discrimination against them, in some ways paralleled the racism against the Native American populations, as well as the black slaves.

Fourth Degree.

Address UnknownContinuing with the racism, which also includes an “un” word in the title, I’m picking for this link, the novella “Address Unknown” by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor. This was published in 1938 and was received as both a sensation and with disdain. The reason for this mixed reaction was that it attempted to chronicle the effects of the growing antisemitism in Europe prior to WWII. It shows through letters how easily those living in Germany became seduced by the Nazi rhetoric, and even adopted these philosophies. At the same time, the story also shows how the Jews living in Germany ignored what was really happening around them, much to their own future detriment when it was too late to leave. A truly breathtaking piece of writing.

Fifth Degree.

1740908To get me out of the “un” books (all of which, I believe, I’ve exhausted by now), I’ll continue with the migration aspect that leads to discrimination. The book I’m linking to is “Two Caravans” (aka “The Strawberry Pickers”) by Marina Lewycka. The story here follows migrant workers (one from Africa, two from China and the rest from non-EU Eastern Europe, with our heroes coming from the Ukraine) who come to England to pick strawberries (hence the alternate title). There was one aspect of this novel I didn’t care much for, but otherwise, it was a fun rom-com, with a small nod to Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice,” regarding people from different socioeconomic classes falling in love with each other.

Sixth Degree. 

1d6ef-mountaintop2bschoolSince I can’t see any way to link to either of the titles here, I think I’ll go with dogs – because the thing I didn’t care much for in Lewycka’s novel was that she had a dog as one of the first-person narrators! Thankfully, in “The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances” by Ellen Cooney, we don’t have non-human narrators. What we do have is a story about a young woman Evie, who is trying to escape her miserable life, and takes a trainee job working at a remote dog sanctuary (which used to be a ski resort). The thing about this place is that the dogs there are being trained after having had abusive owners. It is much more complex than it sounds, and it is a truly fascinating coming-of-age story.

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?

I’d say that the connection is second chances. Because that’s something that both Evie and Ethan are hoping to get for themselves!

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 04 December 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 in the comments for Kate’s post for this meme.

Next month (January 1, 2022), we will start with a story that begins on New Year’s Eve – Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

38 thoughts on “TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for December 4, 2021.

  1. Hi Davida! As always, a brilliant chain with beautiful chosen covers. I especially like the sound of the last one. It sounds like something I will definitely enjoy reading.

    Hope you are well and will have a wonderful December!

    Elza Reads

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your chains are always so interesting Davida. Address Unknown particularly atrracts me, as I have just finished Paula Byrne’s excellent new (600 page!) biography of the author Barbara Pym, in which she explores in great detail Pym’s pre-war visits to Germany and her relationship with a young man who was a rising star in the Nazi movement and became one of Hitler’s close allies. (Previous biographies of Pym had skated over much of this).

    Byrne compares Pym’s behaviour to that of Unity Mitford, but concludes that Pym was just incredibly naive. The Jewish Austrian family for whom she was to be a governess sent her home (at great personal risk to themselves) just before the outbreak of war, and once she was back in England she soon realised how stupid she had been. She was mortified and spent the next six years contributing to the war effort and eventually joining the WRENs. But she was not an uneducated or silly girl, and Byrne really shows how easy it was for a middle class young woman like Pym to get swept up in things and ignore the obvious signs.

    The Mountain Top School for Dogs also sounds good. Years ago a solicitor colleague of mine, who loathed the law just as much as I did and was struggling somewhat with her mental health, decided to take a chance and give up her career to become a dog walker. She never regretted it. I will look for this book.

    My chain went from winter in Massachusetts to winter in the Cairngorms, with books about evacuees and optimistic young people in between: https://sconesandchaiseslongues.blogspot.com/2021/12/six-degrees-of-separation-december-2021.html

    Like

  3. So prompt! Thanks for the reminder… a lot of books that I’m not familiar with there. I am rather interested in the life of seasonal workers in agriculture, since so many of them are Romanian, and I’ve read some fascinating articles about what drives them to come over and their daily lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read any of yours either but as always I enjoyed your linkings. You may have noticed a strange spelling in mine … Jane Austen’s Love and freindship! Autocorrect keeps wanting to fix it.

    Loved your “un” books. I realise that I’ve read a few but done before blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

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