It’s time for another Six Degrees post – yay! Hosted by Kate, this is a monthly meme where we all start from the same bookish point and add six more books which are somehow linked in any way we choose. Love it!
This month we start with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I gave this a quick re-read last weekend and found it interesting to read such familiar pages from an adult point of view. I think I may have enjoyed the book more this time – my recollection of reading it as a child was utter bewilderment!
To start the chain I have chosen to link to one of the most iconic elements of Alice – the playing card characters, which I absolutely love. They are loyal servants to the Queen of Hearts in the most difficult of employee circumstances! It puts me in mind of Michael Dobbs’ House of Cards in which the characters are anything but loyal.
A house of cards is notoriously precarious, reminding us that life as we know it can change at any moment. Such is the case in the brilliant Station Eleven by Emily St John, where a deadly virus sweeps across America – how might the few survivors rebuild their lives….? I must re-read this one some time.
Meanwhile, another book with a number in its title is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. I remember this being totally gripping, not just for the main storyline, but also for the insights about life in 1950s Russia. Highly recommended.
Child 44 is the first book in a trilogy. Another such title is Pat Barker’s Life Class, which is about the lives of Slade Art School students around the time of the First World War. It is a super read and I am currently half-way through the follow up, Toby’s Room.
My fifth link draws on the Slade theme. The art school has many famous alumni, including Gwen John, who these days gets deserved recognition as an artist in her own right, rather than being eclipsed by the celebrity of her husband Augustus. Keeping The World Away by Margaret Forster opens with an imagined Gwen, struggling to make her way as an artist in Paris. Forster uses a particular painting to explore the lives of women whom it touches across the 20th century. It sounds like just my thing and I have it on order from the library.
Another book which is about a particular painting and which I absolutely loved is Headlong by Michael Frayn. In typical Frayn style, this is something of a comedy thriller about what happens when the main character thinks he has discovered a missing masterpiece. It was a highly enjoyable read and another one which I should look at again. (These six degrees posts are a nightmare for flagging up new reads, and for making one’s re-read list ever longer!! 😱😂)
So there you have it – a chain which begins with a character falling headlong down a curious rabbit hole and finishes with a character falling headlong down an ever-more crazy rabbit hole. I did not see that circularity coming when I started. Oh the joys, surprises and satisfaction of writing these posts – such fun!! 🙂