Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate on her blog Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month, a book is chosen as a starting point. Players then each create their own chain, linking the first book six others. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the others on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. And from what I can gather, the links can be a tenuous and tangential as you like!
I have for a while now very much enjoyed reading various contributions to this project and thought it was about time I had a go at producing my own list, so here goes.
This month’s starting point is Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. Not one I have yet read, but I have always been meaning to have a look at it and I have it waiting in my current pile of library books.
Another book with poison in its title is Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers. I was introduced to DLS by Hub when we first met, over 25 years ago, so her books have a very special place in my heart. We would often listen to audio versions together, while each working on our own hobbies. Strong Poison is one of my favourites because it is where Sayers’ famous sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey meets and falls in love with Harriet Vane and the pair of them set off through a series of books developing their relationship and solving crimes along the way.
Thinking about romantic couples solving crimes together took me to A S Byatt’s Possession. This is the story of two modern day academics who investigate a possible previously unknown love story between two well known Victorian poets.
My most recent encounter with A S Byatt has been to read her introduction to Vintage’s latest edition of Iris Murdoch’s The Bell. I am following Liz Dexter’s Iris Murdoch Readalong – having not read any of Murdoch’s books previously, this seemed like, and definitely is, an excellent way to familiarise myself with her work.
The Merchant Ivory production of Maurice is a gorgeous example of that film genre. Perhaps my favourite Merchant Ivory film, though, is The Remains of the Day, which brings to the big screen Kazuro Ishiguro’s novel of the same name. I was reminded of this touching and tragic book when listening recently to Radio 4’s brilliant programme A Good Read, in which two guests join presenter Harriett Gilbert to discuss three books they recommend. This book was the choice of author Kit de Waal.
Anthony Hopkins was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Stevens the butler in The Remains of the Day. He has played many memorable parts over the years which have literary connections and I was tempted for my last link in the chain to home in on his portrayal of C S Lewis and thus pick up The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But instead I am plumping for 84 Charing Cross Road (in the film, Hopkins plays English bookseller Frank Doyle). I am a sucker for books about books and Helene Hanff’s novel is a captivating read, so I am very happy to be finishing my chain with such a gem. 🙂