Six degrees of separation: from Tales of the City to On Green Dolphin Street

It is time once again to take part in Six Degrees of Separation, a meme hosted by Kate on her blog Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month, a book is chosen as a starting point. Players then publish their own chain, linking the first book six others. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the others on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The links can be a tenuous and tangential as you like!

You can check out a Six Degrees playlist for this post on my other blog Leaping Tracks.

We start with Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. This romp is set in 1970s San Francisco. I tried to read it ages ago and, unlike many other readers, did not find it funny at all. Hey ho, it would be boring if we all liked the same thing.

Something else I read ages ago but this time enjoyed very much was Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. One story stuck firmly with me – in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, the protagonist murders her husband with a frozen joint of meat, which she then calmly roasts and serves to the investigating officers – brilliant!

Talking of lamb takes me to The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks. This book is described as “modern dispatches from an ancient landscape [which] tell the story of a deep-rooted attachment to place, describing a way of life that is little noticed and yet has profoundly shaped this landscape.”

From here, it is a natural leap to Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain. Her surname as the link is but one connection; more substantive are the beautifully raw descriptions in both books of the authors’ deep affinity and reverence for their respective landscapes (the Lake District and the Cairngorms).

To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf is another book which takes the Scottish landscape, specifically the Isle of Skye, as its setting.  Woolf uses this magnificent island as a character in its own right to contrast with the sorrows of her humans.

This gives me a chance to link to one of my very favourite books The Hours by Michael Cunningham, in which Virginia Woolf, one of her readers and one of her characters all live through a single day. It is a brilliant homage to Mrs Dalloway.

Part of The Hours is set in Greenwich Village, New York. Thinking about things which are green takes me to my final book in this series, which is set in another part of the USA (Washington), namely On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks. I love his writing and this book is a fabulous read.

It is c1,000 miles from San Francisco to Washington, but who knows how much further one would have to travel also to take in the Lake District, the Cairngorms, the Isle of Skye and New York. It certainly sounds like a must-do trip some time! 🙂