From “No One Is Talking About This” by Patricia Lockwood to “Five Quarters of the Orange” by Joanne Harris.
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 “No One is Talking About This” by Patricia Lockwood!
This month (February 5, 2022), the chain begins with Patricia Lockwood’s novel, “No One is Talking About This.” I haven’t read this one, but according to Goodreads, it is about “… a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms “the portal,” where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now dictating her thoughts. When existential threats—from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness—begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal’s void. An avalanche of images, details, and references accumulate to form a landscape that is post-sense, post-irony, post-everything. “Are we in hell?” the people of the portal ask themselves. “Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?” Kate picked this because it topped the 2021 best sellers lists, but I hadn’t even heard of it before last month’s meme! To be totally honest, this sounds unlike anything I’ve ever read, and well… I don’t think it is my cup of tea (and I generally drink coffee), so… NO thanks!
What made me go to this first link was also part of the Goodreads blurb, which read, “As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.” That made me think immediately of “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr. This is mostly because in this book, there are a whole lot of absurd antics going on, and the portal made me think of that futuristic part of the novel. Plus, the good vs. evil (or sinister) worked here as well. Finally, in the futuristic bits, no one was talking about the epidemic that was killing people off!
Another book where no one was talking about things was “The Beautiful Bureaucrat” by Helen Phillips. In this book, although set in 2013, the world where Josephine lives is a very bleak place, and Josephine has to take a type of data-entry job regarding something that she doesn’t understand, and no one seems able to answer her questions. But for her, a job is a job, and anything to keep from starving or ending up on the streets. That is, until she figures out the real significance of the information she’s inputting, and everything and everyone – including her husband Joseph – become even more puzzling as well as ominous.
Instead of continuing down this dark path (and also because I’ve used most of the books that fit this in other #6Degrees posts), my next link connects on a superficial level, meaning with the word “beautiful” from the title of the previous book. I’m thinking of “Goodnight, Beautiful Women” by Anna Noyes. This collection of short stories was good, but it had some problems; mostly because there wasn’t enough variety to them, and they all seemed a bit depressing (which, by the way, the previous book was as well). Still, I liked her writing style and I wonder why she’s not put out anything since this.
On the other hand, a book that didn’t disappoint at all, which has the word “woman” (you’ll let me go from plural to singular, right?) in the title is “A Well-Behaved Woman” by Therese Anne Fowler! This biographical, historical fiction book is about the Vanderbilt family, in particular Alva Vanderbilt, and how she led her family from being snubbed as being “new money,” to the heights of New York’s high society. I can’t say that I ended up loving Alva by the end of this novel, but I did understand her – to a certain extent. I mean, I might have liked her better if she’d been less of a social climber, and more socially minded, especially considering her own early hardships.
Another way to connect is with the author’s name, and for this one, I think I’m going to link up to a book by an author who, like Fowler, uses both their first and second names. For variety’s sake, I’m going to take a male author and go with “Sweetness #9” by Stephan Eirik Clark. This contemporary novel is about how one man, David Leveraux, discovers that the artificial sweetener he’s been testing is actually a very dangerous substance, even as it may still be helpful for those who shouldn’t be consuming sugar. I personally have adverse reactions to artificial sweeteners, and while I’m lucky to not be diabetic, even if I was, I think it would be better to give up sugar than ingest something that might poison you! This dilemma, together with David’s discovery of the cover up, was very nicely done in this novel.
The food element in the last link is how I’m completing this chain, with my favorite of Joanne Harris’ culinary fiction novels, “Five Quarters of the Orange.” This is one of her books where food takes a front and center position on the stage, but this time with a creperie (as opposed to the chocolaterie in her novel Chocolat). Here, the main character, Framboise not only recreates her mother’s (almost magical) recipes for the residents of the French town of Les Laveuses, she also delves into growing fruits and vegetables, preserving foods for present and future use, and preparing and consuming the grown, bought and preserved products in gourmet dishes. I suppose this shouldn’t link with a story about anything artificial, but I wanted to counter the bad taste that the substance in the previous book leaves in the mouth!
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 think not, to be honest, except maybe that Framboise does pull of some… strange antics. But that’s a really tenuous link. No matter!
If you don’t know any of these books, I hope you’ll click on the links to my reviews and check them out!
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 5, 2022), we will start with The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.