Saturday, 3 June 2017

#6Degrees June 2017

#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 link, otherwise, you just have to take my word for it!

This month the starting book is Steve Martin’s Shopgirl.
Are you game?

Old image alert - Kate @Books Are My Favourite & Best now hosts #6Degrees but this is a good refresh of the rules.

Shopgirl is a book unknown to me, but that has never stopped me from joining in #6degrees before!

Steve Martin is a comedian who unexpectedly turned to writing novels later in life - which seems like the best first link I can make - to another comedian turned author, Ben Elton.

I've only ever read one of his books, Past Mortem.
I remember nothing about it at all except that Elton used the School Friends Reunited website to (re)connect his main characters. Considering this is a crime thriller, you can safely assume that the reuniting part didn't end well for many of the characters!

The friendships in Past Mortem were fairly toxic and dysfunctional, so let's flip this, for link no. 2.

I'm currently reading the ultimate book about real and true friendship.
Friends that are loyal, steadfast and courageous.
These friends also just happen to be hobbits.

Samwise, Merry and Pippin's support of Frodo during his ordeal with the Ring is now legendary.

The Lord of the Rings isn't just a friendship tale though.
It's also a classic battle between good and evil forces.

And there's only one writer I know who completely revels in and thoroughly embraces the battle between good and evil. 

Stephen King's The Stand is the ultimate good versus evil story.
And he planned it that way -

For a long time—ten years, at least—I had wanted to write a fantasy epic like The Lord of the Rings, only with an American setting. I just couldn't figure out how to do it. Then . . . after my wife and kids and I moved to Boulder, Colorado, I saw a 60 Minutes segment on CBW (chemical-biological warfare). 
I never forgot the gruesome footage of the test mice shuddering, convulsing, and dying, all in twenty seconds or less. That got me remembering a chemical spill in Utah, that killed a bunch of sheep (these were canisters on their way to some burial ground; they fell off the truck and ruptured). 
I remembered a news reporter saying, 'If the winds had been blowing the other way, there was Salt Lake City.' 
This incident later served as the basis of a movie called Rage, starring George C. Scott, but before it was released, I was deep into The Stand, finally writing my American fantasy epic, set in a plague-decimated USA. 
Only instead of a hobbit, my hero was a Texan named Stu Redman, and instead of a Dark Lord, my villain was a ruthless drifter and supernatural madman named Randall Flagg. The land of Mordor ('where the shadows lie,' according to Tolkien) was played by Las Vegas
(Stephen King - The Stand Complete and Uncut 2008)

This is also a road trip book - the journey is informed by the environment and the characters grow and develop thanks to their experiences along the way. Which brings me to one of my all time favourite road trip stories.

Or more accurately in this case - a river trip.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was my first full-on encounter with characters speaking in local vernacular. Some people struggle with this, but curiously I felt very comfortable with it.

Which helped me when I read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston for the first time. I say the first time, because I adored this story so much that I know in the deepest part of my soul that this will be the first of many rereads.

Another first time read that has planted itself deep in my soul, waiting for its chance to be reread is Graham Swift's extraordinarily beautiful novella, Mothering Sunday

This is one of my few #6degrees posts that doesn't feature at least one Australian book.
Instead I went from an unknown, unread book, through some of the most popular books in modern history, to a much loved and hope to reread as many times as I possible personal favourite.

Where did you end up this month?


  1. Anonymous3/6/17

    Your Tolkien-King link is very nicely done :-)

    I haven't read the Hurston but will look it up on the strength of its link to Mothering Sunday which I adored. Like you, I'll reread it at some stage.

    1. Their Eyes Were Watching God is very different to Mothering Sunday...except for the 5 star rating I gave them and my plans to reread both of them one day.

  2. I love the way that everyone takes off in entirely different directions from the starting point with these.

    1. I was going to start with Amy Poehler, as I've read that too, but I didn't know where to go next. The Ben Elton book was simply an easier next step :-)

  3. Great links. I think it's time I re-read the Lord of the Rings trilogy! I haven't come across The Stand but I like King's books so it's going on my list of books to look out for. And The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is another favourite. I'm not familiar with the other books, although I have another book by Swift - Shuttlecock, have you read that?
    Margaret @ BooksPlease -

    1. The Stand is my favourite King (despite a few overlong, okay tedious, bits in the middle in the desert with Trashcan Man and the focus on all the blokes doing the really important stuff - somehow it still works for me!)

      I've only read the one Swift so far, but after Mothering Sunday I plan to try more.

  4. Great chain, and for once I've even read a few of them! LOTR of course, and I do love the friendship of the hobbits, but also the unlikely friendship between Legolas and Gimli. And like you I'm sure I will re-read Their Eyes Were Watching God...

    1. In my early reads of LOTR I hadn't really payed attention to the friendship between Legolas & Gimli - it was the movie that showed it to me. With this reread I realise it was there all along, I just wasn't paying attention.

      And I will always be grateful to The Classics Club for bringing TEWWG to my attention (& to Virago for producing such a gorgeous edition of the book a few years ago).

  5. I know what you mean by books that touch your soul. Some books just get inside you and never leave.

  6. We read Huck Finn when I was in grade school - part of the curriculum back then for schools along the Mississipi. While I don't remember having problems with the vernacular back then, I had a lot of trouble with it a few years ago when I tried to re-read it! Maybe we read an 'updated' version!

    1. B19 (when he was B12) also read Huck Finn at school - it was an abridged, modernised version, which I thought was a shame. He was horrified by the blatant racism and inequality though, so I guess one of the main messages from the book still shone through.

  7. I'm glad to see Picnic at Hanging Rock next month. One I've actually read. My link this month between Shop Girl and Gone With the Wind.


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