TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for May 7, 2022.

From “True History of the Kelly Gang” by Peter Carey author to “The Children’s Crusade” by Ann Packer.

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.


This month we start with “True History of the Kelly Gang” by Peter Carey!

True history kelly gangThis month (May 7, 2022), the chain begins with Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang, which is about “the legendary Ned Kelly [who] speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semiliterate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged.” This actually sounds kind of cool, but I wasn’t overly impressed by the one book by Carey that I read, “Jack Maggs” (which I already used as a link last October).

First Degree. 

collected bill the kidHowever, when I read what this book was about (although the title was pretty obvious), I immediately thought of “The Collected Works of Billy the Kid” by Michael Ondaatje! While the Kelly Gang were outlaws in Australia, Billy the Kid was an American outlaw. In this book, much like with Carey’s, Ondaatje lets his main character tell his own story through snippets of poetic prose. In fact, some call this book a hybrid of poetry and prose, and others consider this to be a book of poetry. It doesn’t matter though, because this is a fascinating and engaging book (and I’m very upset that my print copy got lost when I moved house).

Second Degree.

4c926-alice2bnetworkSince I don’t have any other books about outlaws (I do, but I used that one for this meme already), I thought I’d use a word from the previous title (works) to make my next link (and adding “net” to it). That’s how I got to “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn. This was the first book by Quinn that I read, and I was so impressed with her writing, that I’ve become a true and faithful fan. Mind you, I found the story here wasn’t perfect, but I promise you that each of her subsequent novels have proven that I was right to follow her career, and each one was better than the previous one. This is an historical fiction novel about women involved in the spy rings on the sides of the allies during the two world wars.

Third Degree.

Curtain Call LFrom a name in the title of the last book, I move on to a book whose author shares a name with the last author! For this, I’m going to go with Quinn, and link to the murder mystery novel, “Curtain Call” by Anthony Quinn. I had a few problems with this novel, but overall the premise and the writing were fun. I’ve always liked stories set in the world of London’s theater scene (or should I spell it theatre?), and having it set between the two world wars means we haven’t got to deal with international espionage, which seems to be a popular topic that doesn’t seem to ever go out of fashion. Mind you, I wouldn’t call it a “cozy” mystery per se, but there’s no gore here, so that’s another aspect of its appeal.

Fourth Degree.

ad884-my-so-called-ruined-life_mrNow, from that book, I could have easily linked Agatha Christie’s novel “Curtain” but I decided to go with the word ‘call’ instead, which gave me lots of choices. Since I hardly ever read YA novels, I thought I’d go with “My So-Called Ruined Life” by Melanie Bishop. It also connects up with the last book because our protagonist here, Tate McCoy, lost her mother just before her 16th birthday, and her mother was murdered. Since her father is suspected of the crime, there’s some mystery here as well. I was sorry to see that this book didn’t get much buzz among the YA crowd because I thought it was an excellent debut novel. Maybe my highlighting it here will get her to write a sequel (since it was supposed to be the first in a series).

Fifth Degree.

Children's Blizzard LargeI’ll go back to linking the authors’ names for this next one, with “The Children’s Blizzard” by Melanie Benjamin, which was one of my favorite novels of 2021. This novel is a fictional telling of the terrible events of January 1888, where a sudden cold snap and blizzard proved fatal for hundreds of people, including children, across the Northwest plains of America. Benjamin confined her story to the what happened in the Dakota territory, and was based on real oral reports of the storm and its aftermath. Needless to say, and excuse the pun, it was a chilling story, but told with lots of warmth.

Sixth Degree. 

ba49a-the-childrens-crusade-9781476710457_hrFor my last link, I’m going to go back to a word in the title, and that obviously must be ‘child’ since I don’t have any other books with the word ‘blizzard’ in the title. I’ll pluralize it for this link and go with “The Children’s Crusade” by Ann Packer. Although I think Packer wrote this novel with a truly lovely poetic quality, this was a difficult book for me to read. See, I had the distinct feeling that one of Packer’s main characters was illusive to both her readers and to Packer as an author. That said, it certainly was an interesting study into the many aspects of a dysfunctional family, and how the actions of one person can spark controversy and change the dynamics of the relationships for everyone involved.

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?

Nope… I’ve got nothing, I’m afraid! No matter – after all, it isn’t required!

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 May 2022

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 (June 4, 2022), we will start with Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason.

19 thoughts on “TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for May 7, 2022.

  1. I absolutely loved how you hopped back and forth between using a word in the title and the name of the author. This is an absolutely beautiful idea. And you mentioned so many interesting books. I haven’t read any of them or anything by any of the authors, except for the starter book, but if I had all the books right in front of me, I wouldn’t know where to start. Well done, Davida.

    Thanks for visiting my Six Degrees of Separation which ended with The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought I had a copy of Curtain Call, but when I looked on my shelves it was in fact Quick Curtain by Alan Melville, republished in the British Library Crime Classics series. But by some miracle my library has a copy of Curtain Call itself so I have added that to my list.

    They didn’t have any of the others, but I found the Melanie Bishop for just £2.20 on Prime, so I have put that into my basket. Interestingly it has lots of positive reviews and no negative ones at all (82% 5 Star, 18% 4 Star out of 14 ratings) so it seems especially sad that she was not able to get the next one published. Looking forward to reading it.

    I’ve also added The Children’s Blizzard to my wish list. It reminded me of a local story here, about two children dropped off at the foot of a hill by the school bus in a blizzard, who tried to find their way up to their house, got lost and died. I don’t know if this is actually true, I’ve never been able to find any references to it online, but many people have told me about it. Nowadays primary school children are not allowed to be let off the bus unless a parent or recognised carer is there to meet them.

    Thanks for an interesting list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow… Glad you found the Melanie Bishop! She’s a good friend of an old High School buddy of mine, and I read and reviewed it as a favor to him. Her publisher has moved over to publishing for a very niche market, and she’s not in that niche, so they declined the second book, and other publishers aren’t interested in the 2nd book of a series, unless they’ve got the first one.


      1. What a shame that she can’t get the first one back from the original publisher. Seems very unfair.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the link to Billy the kid, but my your “works” link was cheeky!! I also love the cover and title of the YA novel.

    But I’ve heard of few of your authors, besides Ondaatje of course,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to be cheeky from time to time. The author of that YA book has a sequel that she can’t get published, because she sadly didn’t get much sales for the first one. Really sad, because it is a mature, intelligent, well-written book without any of the teenage angst you usually find in literary YA books.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Probably the later, as I understand the publisher (which is now a non-profit publishing house) has decided to narrow their focus for a very niche market, that isn’t YA Literary fiction.


  4. Great links! I’m currently reading The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn, but I would like to read The Alice Network too, even if you don’t think it was one of her best.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I first heard about Ned Kelly in a tour around Old Melbourne Goal, years ago. His fame and name have stuck with me. In other books, I loved The Alice Network and Quinn’s more recent books too. What an interesting six you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You always feature such interesting books in your chain and I love the sound of all of them, particularly Curtain Call. Interestingly one of the streaming channels here is showing a series about Billy the Kid and the lead actor is an Australian.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Billy the Kid on Stan starring Daniel Webber. Not seen it because I don’t currently subscribe to Stan, but I still see all the ads in my insta feed 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

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