Six Degrees of Separation: from Wolfe Island to The Passion

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! 😀


29 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from Wolfe Island to The Passion

  1. Sorry to hear you’re in a slump Liz, I had a similar experience last year and it’s rubbish! My reading’s recovered but not my blogging sadly. i hope you’re able to get back to reading soon, but only when it’s fun for you 🙂

    The Passion is a novel I adored but it must be 20-odd years since I read it, it would be lovely to do a re-read.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I hope so Liz! I’ve wondered each time if I’ll manage it after all, but I do really enjoy it. It will be lovely if you’re able to keep me company but of course no problem if not, it is a big undertaking even when we’re not having a slump!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great news for all us readers of your blog, and thank you for your understanding re my input. I have a glorious pile of novellas here by my desk, so we shall see…! x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry you’re in a reading decline! It happens to me too, often after reading a book I really enjoy as nothing else seems to live up to it. I can start book after book without success – I’m definitely a ‘moody’ reader and it could be a case of the right book, but at the wrong time, if you know what I mean.

    An Indifference of Birds looks fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the sound of The Passion!

    Good luck with your reading slump! I have had to adjust to a new normal rather than getting back to how I used to read, but it’s working for me now, mostly


  4. Pleased to hear that Ducks is an audio! I also picked it up but then quickly put it back on the shelf – like you, I’ve had a bit of a slump of late and didn’t think a 1000+page book was the way through the slump!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Third time around for me on this post. I love your meanderings through the book aisles. You have the best ideas. My book reading is in the Tolkien fashion – step by step one travels far. Hugs coming your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your brilliant wisdom and insight! You are so right about taking things step by step – is there anything to which that would not apply?! Such a helpful lesson for life in general 😀💕

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I often find I can’t read. Usually it’s not having any time and being very tired but there are also occasions when I’ve no idea why I can’t read. The less I worry the quicker it passes I find, and any time that I would have been reading I spend doing cryptic crosswords or killer sudokus or jigsaws or anything easily picked up/put down, just to get rid of the fidgets.
    I read Richard Smyth’s ‘A Sweet, Wild Note’ a couple of years ago and found it charming and also an easy read. I have the paperback version and it has such a pretty cover and lovely black and white illustrations inside. I recommend it 🙂 I will be putting ‘An Indifference of Birds’ on my wish-list.

    Liked by 1 person

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