Six Degrees of Separation: from A Gentleman In Moscow to From Russia With Love

It’s the beginning of another month, and so another opportunity to participate in my favourite meme – six degrees of separation hosted by Kate.  We all start off from the same bookish point, add six more books and see where we end up.  It’s always such fun to put a list together and to see what everyone else comes up with.

 

This month we start with A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towels.  I have not yet read this, but have an e-library copy on my online library bookshelf just waiting to be opened.

 

 

Meanwhile, thinking about men in Moscow reminds me of Gorky Park by Martin Kruz Smith.  This is a faced-paced thriller which I read years ago and remember being excellent.  It would be interesting to re-read it some time to see how well a book set in 1980s Russia holds up today.

 

Gorky Park was one of my late father’s favourite books.  Or at least this is what I remember. Another memory takes me to the next book in the chain – A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush by Eric Newby.  I remember Dad being tickled by this title, as was I.  He had a copy on his shelf but I don’t know whether he actually read it.  Perhaps it is one of those books which is as fun to own as it is to read – another one for me to pick up some time.

 

 

The opposite of a short walk is a walk from Canterbury in the UK to Jerusalem.  This is the topic of Guy Stagg’s book The Crossway, in which, despite being a non-believer, he talks about his pilgrimage to help with recovery from mental illness.  I have this in my TBR pile and am looking forward to it reaching the top.

 

 

Speaking of epic walks, either real or metaphorical, takes me to the powerful Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela.  This is a gripping read, despite its length and complexity.  I remember being utterly unable to put it down.

 

Another autobiography which I have just bought, and am expecting to be unputdownable is Lemn Sissay’s recently published My Name Is Why.  Sissay is these days considered to be something of a national treasure, and one of our best-loved poets.  But he comes from, and has written about, a background of cruelty, mistreatment and sadness.  This feels like a must-read.

 

 

And finally, what else comes to mind when you hear ‘My name is…..’?  One answer is surely ‘Bond, James Bond’.  It is irresistible to go for Ian Fleming’s From Russia With Love as the last link in my chain, taking us neatly back to where we started.  How very satisfying!

 

 

To finish off, the Moscow theme of this month’s post allows me to include a clip of one of my very favourite jazz tracks.  Take it away, Kenny! 😀🎶

 

36 thoughts

  1. Thanks for fixing the comment box. A great selection of books. On books and Russia, I learned, only yesterday, about the amazing Russian State Library which was founded on July 1, 1862, as Moscow’s first free public library. It was named The Library of the Moscow Public Museum and Rumiantsev Museum.

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  2. Good choices, a gentleman in Moscow would probably push me to War and Peace which I really want to read again. I now have a bunch more books to explore and add to the list. Life is good!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for the Kenny Ball clip!
    I read Short walk in the Hindu Kush many, many years ago and absolutely loved it. Led me on to read Love and War in the Appenines….which is another fantastic read based on his experiences hiding from German/ Italian forces in the Appenines during World War II. Yet another one to put on your reading list.

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  4. It’s so satisfying linking back to the opening book! I thought about linking to Gorky Park, but in the end I didn’t – I haven’t read it yet but have a copy on my Kindle. I also have a hardback copy of Nelson Mandela’s book – it’s been on my shelves for years but I have to admit I’ve never finished reading it. I got stuck with names I didn’t know, perhaps I should start it again.

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  5. Ah, how satisfying to return to Russia 🙂 Great chain in between. I had (still have maybe?) a battered old copy of Newby’s book for years without reading it. Like your father, the title always amused me. As for A Long Walk to Freedom – it took me a very long time to read this one – years rather than months. I really don’t know why but I’m very glad that I persisted.

    (And now I’m wondering whether I shall get a post up for this month’s six degrees. Strange how the blogging mojo ebbs and flows 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been very much in ‘ebb and flow’ mode for most of this year. I find with the six degrees posts that it sometimes helps to let a couple of months go by, and then the enthusiasm and energy returns to jump back in again! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • This was meant as a respond to Gallivanta. But I have more to say to Liz – so here goes. I LOVE how you weave together books, stories and events with family history. Books connect us and allow us to experience events, emotions, that we will never encounter within our personal realities. I cannot imagine being a spy like James Bond, or understand years of living behind prison bars like Nelson Mandela, or uncovering a vast network of deceit and intrigue in Moscow like Arcady Renko. These days, reading has taken on many forms from newspapers, magazines to blogs, podcasts and vlogs. More than a lifetime awaits us in a library. But as Mae West said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

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      • We are all tellers of tales, and readers of those tales being told. And who knows when a tiny snippet of story may rear its head. I don’t think I had thought about those memories of my father and his books for years, and yet there they were, waiting to be woven into a post. Life is grand!

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      • It is indeed grand. We belong to the past, just as we belong to the now. Your “we are all tellers of tales and readers of those tales being told” reminded me of:

        “We are the music-makers,
        And we are the dreamers of dreams,
        Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
        And sitting by desolate streams.
        World-losers and world-forsakers,
        Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
        Yet we are the movers and shakers,
        Of the world forever, it seems.”
        Arthur O’Shaughnessy

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Very clever final link Liz! I’m keen to read the Lemn Sissay too. It’s encouraging to hear the Mandela is so readable – I’ve had it the TBR pile for ages but the size is intimidating – you’ve encouraged me to take the plunge!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fleming novels seem to be very handy as links. I remember being particularly pleased to link Life After Life to You Only Live Twice! Hub says that FRWL is one of the best Bond books so perhaps I might actually read it one of these days!! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks so much for the Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen link, Liz. I think you’ve featured this track before, somewhere. I’m not complaining, as I adore it and the consummate professionalism of the band.
    I enjoyed this six degrees very much and hooray for making a loop! I remember enjoying Gorky Park and, like Ste J, I might have included War and Peace somewhere along the way (a brilliant book). I haven’t heard of The Crossway so thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    Liked by 1 person

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