Saturday 5 August 2017

#6degrees August

#6degrees is a monthly meme hosted by Kate @Books Are My Favourite and Best.

Oftentimes I haven't read the starting book for this meme, but I can assure you that I only play the next 6 books with ones I have actually read. 
If I've read the book during this blogging life, then I include my review, otherwise, you just have to take my word for it!

This month the starting book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Are you game?

Old image alert - Kate @Books Are My Favourite & Best now hosts #6Degrees but this is a good refresh of the rules.
In case you've been hiding under a literary rock, the 18th July marked the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. So it's only fitting that this month's #6degrees starts with her most well-known, and dare I say, most favourite and best book, Pride and Prejudice.

I've decided to keep my first link simple by staying with the same author.
I've also just finished reading Lady Susan, Austen's 'most ambitious and sophisticated early work' (as described by wikipedia), so it's still fresh in my mind. It features a rather salacious, manipulative protagonist, whose character is revealed via a series of letters.

The epistolary style of Lady Susan reminds me of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Written just a handful of years before Lady Susan, this novel depicts the decadence of the French aristocracy just prior to the Revolution.

Which leads me to Pure by Andrew Miller - another book set on the edge of the French a cemetery. I've just spent an hour on goggle trying to find the name for this pot-boiler of a book I read 20 yrs ago about a woman buried alive in Sydney after suffering some kind of seizure that made it look like she was dead. Google failed me.
So my next link will take us to London and Highgate Cemetery instead.

And vampires.
The Highgate Vampire by Asa Bailey is a YA thriller that appealed to me at the time because I had once lived in Highgate.

I also once lived in Cowra, which made me very keen to read Thomas Keneally's recent book Shame and the Captives, set in a fictional town based on Cowra. Trouble was I hated it. I was really annoyed by the fictionalising of Cowra. It was obviously meant to be Cowra, Keneally made no bones about that fact, yet he chose to give the town a fictional name. It bugged me more than I can say and for reasons I cannot really articulate. I also struggled with the dialogue, but that's another matter entirely....

Finally, we come to another book centred around real events.
Sarah Schmidt's recent See What I Have Done was a fictionalised account of the Lizzie Borden murders. Unlike Keneally's attempt, Schmidt was able to get inside Borden's head and give her a voice. She also gave us a plausible scenario in which the murders might have taken place.

From a classic story about love and marriage set in Edwardian society, through the disintegration of French society during the Revolution, to the fantastical underbelly of Highgate cemetery and WWII prisoners in rural NSW to finish with unsolved murders in 1890's Fall River, Massachusetts. It has been quite a journey!

Where did you end up with your #6degrees?

September's starting book will be Wild Swans by Jung Chang.


  1. Ooh - I loved Pure. Highly recommended. I have a copy of See What I Have Done too and am looking forward to it, heard great things.

  2. I particularly like your Les Liaisons Dangereuses/Pure link.

    1. Thanks. I didn't want to do the obvious book in translation link after Les Liaisons and any chance I get to spruik Pure, I do :-)

    2. Anonymous5/8/17

      I thought that link was clever and so unexpected. Pure genius s a fantastic novel - I felt I could smel the cemetery it was so evocative

    3. The smells in Pure still linger whenever I think about it too.

  3. Great #6degrees! Austen's 'Lady Susan' doesn't get enough attention. I included some epistolary novels on my list too, and I just finished reading 'See What I Have Done' as well.

    My six degrees:

    1. I've just realised that my chain could circle back to P&P thanks to the name Elizabeth.
      Lizzie Borden & Lizzie Bennett. Two very different Elizabeth's you could ever hope to find!

  4. Anonymous5/8/17

    Ah, excellent chain indeed - I too associate Lady Susan very much with Liaisons dangereux - clearly those manipulative but attractive countesses/aristocrats must have been quite a feature of Georgian/pre-revolutionary French society.

  5. Anonymous5/8/17

    Ohhh, love your Lady Susan and Dangerous Liaisons link - and the film versions of both were marvellous as well (did you see Love & Friendship? Probably the funniest movie I saw last year).

    1. I haven't seen Love and Friendship yet, but now that I've finished reading Lady Susan it is very high on my to do list :-)

  6. Great job!

  7. Somehow I hadn't realised Les Liaisons Dangereuses predated Austen, though it seems obvious now you've told me! I also loved Pure - some of the images of the cemetery will never leave me...

    1. LLD was published in 1782 and translated into a English a couple of years after that. Lady Susan was written about 1794 when JA was 20.

      I'm not sure if the daughter of an English country rector would have had a book like LLD within her reach. even if she did have 'unfettered' access to her fathers library and that of a neighbour...

  8. Very nice chain. I never heard of Pure until now. You've made me curious - and my local library has it. I'll take a look.

  9. Other than P & P I've not read any of these. I'll look into them more. Thanks


  10. Great chain. I have only read Austen of your choices. Been on holiday, so my chain will come soon.

  11. I haven't read most of your selections but i bet I'd like them if they are just a step away from Austen's PP. Here is my My 6-Degrees of Separation


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