Saturday 5 May 2018

#6degrees May

#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 Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.
Are you game?

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

Poisonwood Bible is one of those books that had so much hype when it first came that it actually put me off reading it. I still haven't gone there. Perhaps I will change my mind after reading your responses?

Which leads me nicely to another over-hyped, over-anticiapated book that I never read - Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The first page just made me want to puke!

So it was with great trepidation that I picked up Gilbert's novel, The Signature of All Things a few years ago. Yes, it was historical fiction, one of my favourite genres, but it was by the same person who wrote Eat Pray Love!
Could I go really there?

Yes I did!
And I'm so glad I did.
I learnt that a writer can be two very different people - as someone who writes historical fiction Gilbert was fabulous, but as a writer of biography/memoir, she's not my cup of tea at all.

I had a similar experience with one of my favourite Australian writers recently.
Alex Miller has written some wonderful contemporary and historical fiction stories, but his recent fictionalised memoir ended up by a big, fat DNF!
The Passage of Love did not work for me at all.

A fictionalised memoir/biography that I did enjoy, although it attracted a lot of controversy at the time is, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner.

Stegner not only fictionalised his own history, he also merged it into a fictionalised account of the life and times of Mary Hallock Foote. The controversy lay in Stegner's failure to properly chronicle what was fact and what was fiction and whether or not he had permission to use Foote's diaries and letters as he did.
Despite this act of literary dishonesty, I have found the memory of Mary's engaging story lingering long after I finished it.

A much happier mix of fact and fiction is Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club.

I ended up reading all of Tan's book on the strength of this wonderful book.
I love her mix of modern American life and historical fiction set in China.
And I love her women.
The mother/daughter dynamic was explored in all of her books and obviously reflected and helped her process her own internal journey.

Which brings me to Lily Brett and Too Many Men.

Brett's books spend a lot of time exploring the father/daughter relationship.
There's a lot to process.
Her parents are survivors of the Holocaust who immigrated to Australia after the war.
This was a beautiful, moving, tender yet funny story that made me cry.
Not many books do that.
It's a gem.

My #6degrees chain began with books that I don't like very much, if not at all and ended with some of my all-time favourites - a much nicer place to be.
How did you fare this month?


  1. Sorry for all the typo’s above; I ran out of time for a final edit before departing!

  2. I was one of those in the minority about The Poisonwood Bible. Much preferred Kingsolver's earlier novels, and I agree about both Gilberts!

  3. Love this chain! I highly recommend The Poisonwood Bible and think it is well-worth reading. Definitely the case of a book living up to its hype, IMHO. I hope to read The Signature of All Things soon, and can't believe I still haven't read The Joy Luck Club.

  4. nice chain. You absolutely need to read The Poisonwood Bible, great style, great writing!

  5. A great chain, and on the strength of it, I now want to read The Joy Luck Club (another of those books I feel I should have read way before now) and Lily Brett's Too Many Men. I've also heard similar reactions to The Signature of Things from others who didn't particularly enjoy Eat, Pray, Love, so perhaps yet another to add to my TBR pile.

  6. Fantastic chain, Brona! I know what you mean about Eat Pray Love! And because of that I've avoided her other books - maybe I should take another look at her books, especially The Signature of All Things. I loved Angle of Repose. It's one of those books that I couldn't put down - and it has stuck in my mind ever since.

  7. Love your links and always good to end on a high note! I haven't read The Poisonwood Bible either but it's slowly rising to the top of my TBR...

  8. Great chain! I also went on to read more Amy Tan on the strength of The Joy Luck Club and I've always held back from Eat, Pray, Love despite allegedly liking 'that sort of thing'. I had never heard of Wallace Stegner until yesterday and now here he is again. I think I should investigate him :-)

  9. The only book on your chain that I have read is The Joy Luck Club and I liked your comments about it. Now I want to reread the book. I think you should read The Poisonwood Bible so that I can check your review out and think about reading it.

  10. I feel the exact same way about Elizabeth Gilbert!

  11. I don't know if my post will be enough to push you to actually read Poisonwood Bible but I really, really love the book. Or hate it. The topic, the father, the colonialism, the blindness of the religiosity...the book is an actual marvel. Six narrators. All of them female. My Six Degrees list

  12. Same as you with The Joy Luck Club, I ended up reading all of Barbara Kingsolver's books (well, most of them) after The Poisonwood Bible was my first one. We read it in our book club and there was only one member who didn't like it. I do know what you mean with the hype and not wanting to read it after that but I'd say: Give it a try. I'm sure you'll love it.

    Happy Reading,
    Marianne from
    Let's Read


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