Saturday 17 September 2016

Six Degrees of Separation

I haven't joined in Six Degrees of Separation for ages and it feels like forever since I had a really good solid blogging session. You know the blogging session I mean, the kind where you catch up on all your reviews, plan a few forward posts and start writing a few foundation pieces to make life easier for yourself later on.

I've been flying by the seat of my blogging pants all year. No posts in waiting, no ideas book.

It has been a very organic, spontaneous, free-form kind of blogging life instead. Fun and easy in lots of ways, but a bit stressful at times too. And I've also missed lots of stuff that I enjoy doing because I haven't had the time to keep up.

Things like Non-Fiction Friday.

I'm reading stacks of non-fiction this year, but I don't seem to be finishing any of them. I currently have seven non-fiction titles half-finished by my bed. I plan to read them; I want to read them; other stuff just gets in the way. Sigh.

Today is the day to change that.

Starting off with 6 Degrees of Separation.

This is the old image, Books Are My Favourite & Best now hosts 6 Degrees (link above) but this is a good refresh of the rules.

This month the starter book is....drum roll please...Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews!

Yes, you read that correctly.

That pot-boiler of a book from your misspent teen years is back to haunt you with its incestuous themes and the most narcissistic, selfish mother in all of history!

Where does one possibly go from there?

It took me ages to find a suitable link. And in the end I went for 'tetralogy'.

Flowers in the Attic was the first book in a series of four. Four books filled with twins, mother-daughter angst, ballet dreams, foetuses in glass bottles and rat poison. Four books that took the 1980's (teenage) world by storm.

Jump forward 30 years and once again the world has been swept up in tetralogy book mania with a quartet of books about dolls, mother-daughter angst, feminist dreams, dead children and the mafia. Narcissistic, selfish mothers also feature in this series - I guess they make for good story!

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is also about friendship, female friendship.

Flip the coin to find a book about male friendship, the very best of male friendship, and I jump back 200 years to the delightful, adventurous, yet tender friendship shared between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin in Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander series.

The entire series was set at sea (except for the few times they were on shore between ships and adventures). Old ships makes me think of Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad.

This was a book I struggled to read, until I saw the marvellous movie starring Peter O'Toole. His interpretation finally gave me a way into this challenging book. And now I love it.

Most of the time I prefer to read the book before seeing the movie, but every now and again, it's the movie that helps me to appreciate the book. Or, in some cases, I saw the movie quite young, before I was old enough to tackle the book.

Dr Zhivago is another book that I now love thanks to the movie. It is impossible for me to read Pasternak's classic political love story without seeing Julie Christie and Omar Sharif and all those stunning scenic shots of snow.

One of the best snow stories I've ever read is Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow (this was one of those cases where the movie did NOT live up to the book).

A gutsy but disturbed female protagonist, wrestling with the truth about her heritage leads me to another gutsy but disturbed Nordic female protagonist wrestling with the truth about her heritage...Lizbeth Salander, she of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo fame.

Somehow it seems fitting that I started off with a young girl locked away in the attic by her mother and ended with a young woman locked up in a psych ward by the government.

Two very different types of women, yet both had to battle their childhood demons (& the adults who were meant to look after them), suffer all kinds of abuse and psychological trauma, only to escape, seek revenge and ultimately survive on their own terms.

I read most of these books prior to blogging, but one day I'd love to reread Lord Jim, Dr Z, Miss Smilla and the entire 20 book Master & Commander series! Once was more than enough for Flowers in the Attic!


  1. I didn't realise Flowers in the Attic was the first book in a series - it sounds like a perfectly horrible series (which means it sounds excellent). I loved Doctor Zhivago, even though I've only read it once. I vaguely remember it being on tv in the background when I was very young, but I've never actually sat and watched it. But I do love Omar Sharif - he was my favourite thing about Lawrence of Arabia; he was so dashing.
    Some excellent linking here!

    1. I believe there was a 5th book published later as a prequel or something. But I'd done with series by then!

      Thanks for stopping by ­čśŐ

  2. Anonymous20/9/16

    I've read this post 3 x WANT to try connecting the books but don't know where to start.
    Probably it would be best to wait till the evening, glass of Chardonnany and say to myself 'Now do it!'
    I will have to adjust my thinking cap...I think there lies the bottleneck! Hope to suprise you with a post on my blog about 6 Degrees of Separation, no promises yet.

    1. I hope you do join in & find that first connect.

      If I stop to think about this meme, I cant do it. I have to just start writing & the links appear almost like magic as i go along.
      A glass of wine in hand would help this process tremendously :-)


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