Here we are at the start of another month, bringing with it the chance to write another Six Degrees post. This is a monthly book meme hosted by Kate over at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest. I don’t seem to be able to concentrate much on proper reading at the moment. So thinking about books is a good substitute for now.
This month we start with Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar. This does not appear to have been published in the UK yet, but its premise sounds like it will be worth a read in due course: a woman lives in isolation on a small island which is threatened by rising sea levels. The arrival of four unexpected visitors turns her already threatened life upside down.
From an island that harbours danger, I’m linking to an island which proves to be a refuge and a salvation. In The Outrun Amy Liptrot writes about how her return to her Orkney home helps her to make sense of, and recover from, a decade of addition. It’s a beautiful book which I am sure I would love even if I was not obsessed with Orkney in particular, and Scottish islands in general.
The cover of The Outrun reminds me of a book I hope to read when I get my reading mojo back (note the when, not if – important to stay positive!). Jenny Offill’s Weather has had very mixed reviews but I like the sound of it. Being a librarian has helped main character Lizzie develop a penchant for faux-psychology on which she relies when asked by a famous podcaster to answer mail, forcing her to articulate views about everything from motherhood to climate change.
Which puts me in mind of Ducks Newburyport by Lucy Ellman. This is famously a few-sentence, 1,000+ page novel in which an Ohio housewife tries to make sense of the world while baking cherry pies. I started this last October for the Dewey Readathon, but this sadly coincided with my reading decline. It is not a difficult read as such, but definitely needs a certain amount of focus. So I don’t have a hope of getting back to it at the moment. Interestingly, though, when I was reading it at first I thought it would make a brilliant audiobook, and I was delighted to see that an audio version has just been released – I’ll definitely be getting it when my next Audible credit arrives.
Meanwhile, back to the chain. For my fourth link I am springing from ducks to crows. Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing With Feathers is an unusual, yet incredible read, in which a father tries with his two sons to come to terms with the death of their wife and mother with the help of Crow. I am hoping to include this in my list of books for A Novella A Day In May (although I am increasingly concerned about my lack of ability to read for that project).
Staying with the feathery theme, there are many bird-related books I could choose. I have plumped (as it were) for An Indifference of Birds by Richard Smyth. This is another book that I have not read but am intrigued by: it looks at the history of humans from the perspective of birds.
And finally, an arguable antonym to indifference gives me my final link. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson is a fairytale about Napoleon’s chicken cook, Henri, and Villanelle, the daughter of a Venetian boatsman. It sounds a bit bonkers, but I love Winterson’s writing (Lighthousekeeping is amazing) and look forward to picking this up some time.
I’m not sure if there is a reasonable link from the start to the finish of this chain this month (it’s very satisfying to stumble across a way to close the loop if one emerges), but I have enjoyed very much putting it all together, as I always do.
Next month (April 4, 2020), we’ll begin with Anna Funder’s ‘classic on tyranny and resistance’ – Stasiland. I hope to see you then! 😀