Six Degrees of Separation: From Fleishman Is In Trouble to I’m Not Complaining

I have had a brief break from this blog in recent weeks, but if there is one thing to get me going again, it is the monthly Six Degrees meme hosted by Kate.  These posts are always such fun to compile and I love reading everyone else’s lists too.

The starting point this month is Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.  I had not heard of this before, which is surprising given all the plaudits from a wide range of luminaries on its Amazon page.  I’ll have to give it a look sometime.

Meanwhile, the last book I read which involved trouble was The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon.  This is a light and jolly romp concerning the misunderstandings of children and the prejudices of adults, all set in 1976 when the UK was in the grip of a heatwave.

I remember that summer well and feel drawn to related books, so my next link is to Maggie O’Farrell’s brilliant Instructions for a Heatwave, which has two things in common with Cannon’s book: the time setting and the plot device of someone going missing.

But, however much I like reading about the summer of 1976, I find it difficult to read about warmer months when it is winter, so let me leap quickly to a book with a more fitting title for this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere:  Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata.  This is a beautiful-sounding novella which I have on my TBR for the forthcoming ‘A Novella A Day In May’ project run by the wonderful Madame Bibliophile.

One of the themes of Snow Country is unspoken love, which puts me in mind of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, perhaps my favourite of her novels.  I don’t know if this is a controversial choice but who cares!  I just love that simmering tension between Anne and Captain Wentworth.

Another book which features a sea-faring hero is All The Nice Girls by Joan Bakewell.  My lovely Mum bought me a copy of this when it was first published in 2009 and over ten years later I can still recall the pleasure of reading it.

While Bakewell’s hero is at sea, her heroine is a teacher.  I am currently reading and very much enjoying Ruth Adam’s I’m Not Complaining, which is also set in a school.  It tackles some bleak and serious subjects head on and is a marvellous window on a range of social challenges for people from different backgrounds in the 1930s.

So the two ends of this month’s chain provides a life lesson: one might find oneself in trouble, but don’t moan – just crack on.  🙂

 

 

41 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From Fleishman Is In Trouble to I’m Not Complaining

  1. Always so much fun to read your six degrees of separation. Perhaps I should be reading Instructions for a Heatwave as we have a heat wave forecast for next week, per unkind favour of the Australian heat across the ditch. When they are done with their weather we get the residue!

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  2. HA! I was also in the UK during the 1976 heatwave – Manchester, visiting my cousins. I also loved O’Farrell’s book that takes place then. Did you know she has a new book coming out? Hamnet – historical fiction. I got the ARC and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Great chain!

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  3. It’s interesting reading other people’s chain I sometimes find myself creating derivative chains from their chains! Yours had me going off in all sorts of directions!

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  4. I’m glad #6degrees enticed you back! 🙂

    Thanks for the Goats & Sheep reminder – I have this on my shelf, on the strength of the really lovely and warm reviews it got at the time of its release.

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  5. I just love your posts….especially the book ones. As it had been a while since the last one I was beginning to get worried that you had stopped!
    Asked for, received and read Soul of An Octopus at Christmas. Marvellous. Thank you.

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  6. Definitely a couple of suggestions here that I’ll be following up, Liz, once I’ve tracked down The Soul of an Octopus, that is….
    There is a third book you might have added about the summer of 1976, in which someone goes missing – Ruth Rendell’s A Fatal Inversion, one of her very best non-detective novels, and being Ruth Rendell characters, the very last thing they do when they find themselves in trouble is just crack on with it……

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  7. I love your chain! I’ve now added Instructions for a Heatwave to my library wishlist.

    Snow Country is a beautiful book. I read it 5 years ago. Nothing really happens, in the way life often feels as though nothing is really happening, but underneath that nothing is everything.

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  8. I so enjoy your 6 degree posts. There is a wonderful sense of continuity in the transitions, which mirrors our lives which are always in transition. You celebrate the passage of thoughts, ideas and time. Books are interesting because they allow us to do two things: 1) Stop Time and 2) go back in time. But – and here is the catch. We need to use present time to accomplish this! I look forward to every one of your posts – they bring joy and beauty to my day.

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    1. Thank you Becky for these lovely words of support and encouragement. You are so right (as always!) about the flow of ideas. The six degrees posts are fascinating to compile because they are a pure mixture of form and serendipity. As in life, we all have some daily structure to adhere to, and yet we find ourselves meandering down unexpected paths. What an amazing journey! xxx

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  9. I too am a fan of Persuasion, and I love the rest of your links too. Snow Country is probably my favourite Kawabata, he writes so lyrically, although he was never one of my favourite Japanese writers. (As a student I preferred Mishima, but am not sure I’d feel the same today).

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    1. Hooray re Persuasion! I have very limited (?non-existent) knowledge of Japanese literature, so am pleased to be putting that right in a small way. And it is always fascinating to read your take on books from different countries. What it is about your view of Mishima’s writing that you think may have changed?

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      1. As my Japanese professor used to say, Mishima is of the glittery, shiny, very decorated school of writing. Beautiful but sometimes a little excessive. Nowadays I seem to prefer the more pared down style of writing.

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  10. And…nothing beats the serendipity of wandering the library shelves, choosing a random book, and finding it part of that chain of connection to either other books or just your life!

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