#6Degrees of Separation: March 2018

It’s time for #6degrees over on Kate’s blog. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up! This month’s starting point is Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, which I read a few years after it came out (while doing my anthropology course). I remember it made me furious at the time – because I saw so much that I knew to be true in it, and it seems to continue to hold true, even after all the balooney about airbrushing and expensive creams have been exposed.

Another book which makes me angry, because I realise how little has changed since it was written is James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native SonI was also fascinated by the differences he notices in the treatment of black people (and how they perceive themselves) in America and in France. There is also a rather sinister chapter set in a remote Swiss mountain village – which I suspect might play out almost identically today. Unless you are rich and throw money around as you go to the spa in Leukerbad, in which case they don’t notice your colour!

The book that spells Switzerland for pretty much all of us who grew up in Europe or saw the animated TV series back in the 1980s(?) is of course Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Full of nostalgia for childhood and for the healthy mountain air and simple life – despite the fact that back then goat herds were probably very poor indeed. It seems to have the opposite thesis to Baldwin’s account: that villagers and simple Alpine folk are much more generous and kind. But Switzerland is full of such contradictions: very rich people who try to appear casual and understated; welcoming to refugees yet very reluctant to integrate them.

My next link is somewhat tenuous – the author’s name is Heidi Julavits: The Folded Clock. It is a fascinating sweep through a woman’s mind, her past and future, her attempts at creativity – it is a strange sort of diary, quite hypnotic. I am fascinated by these recent non-fiction, dream-like, almost poetic sequences, although I don’t quite know what to call them. The cover is just beautiful, and I kept underlining passages of it, even though it didn’t quite hang together for me. A book for dipping into.

A very different diary is featured in the hilarious series by Sue Townsend which began with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4. Fun though The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is, I believe this English series to be the original and the best. I read them later, when I was quite a bit older than Adrian himself, but I adored his rage against Thatcher and his adolescent pretentiousness (so similar to mine at that age). I haven’t read the last two, but am tempted to look them all up again in the library.

The book was adapted for TV in 1985 and more recently so has the Outlander series based on the books by Diana Gabaldon. Described as historical fiction meets sci-fi meets fantasy meets romance, it is not necessarily my type of book at all, but I have a vague recollection of reading a couple of them in the 1990s and being unable to put them down. I only remember something about the Scottish Highlands and clan wars now.

Books which are definitely my kind of thing and which I cannot put down are crime novels and the most recent one of this type which I’ve read (and which also contains some fantasy elements) is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I’ll be reviewing it shortly on Crime Fiction Lover, but it’s interesting to note that in the US Evelyn will be granted an additional half-death, as the title there will be The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. Bizarre!

There you go, I’ve tried to include other genres and something for all tastes in my links this month! Look forward to seeing what you’ve come up with.




27 thoughts on “#6Degrees of Separation: March 2018”

  1. This is a great chain! I haven’t thought of Heidi in years! James Baldwin and Evelyn Hardcastle (yes, mixing authors and titles) are already on my list and I have loved the Outlander series for ever. It’s The Folded Clock which intrigues me; I shall investigate this one.

  2. Now you definitely had an interesting chain. From James Baldwin to Heidi – and then on to Outlander and the Evelyn Hardcastle book (which I’m planning on reading soon). Well done! And crime fiction is my favorite as well – it will always make a path through my chains. LOL

  3. This is so clever, Marina Sofia! I love that you’ve integrated Heidi here. I remember loving that book as a child. And you’re right about the bitter truths in both the Wolf and the Baldwin.

  4. Great chain – you’ve included Heidi! Wonderful – I loved this book as a child and have been wondering whether it would still be as good now. I really enjoyed Adrian Mole too when I read the books some years ago – would they stand up to a re-read, I wonder? I’ve read some of The Outlander books, but got fed up with them. And the Evelyn Hardcastle book is definitely tempting me.

    1. I think there was a clash with another book with a similar title. Still, must be a bit of a pain. But as the author wittily said: ‘Worry not, you’re still getting the same number of murders for your money!’

  5. That’s a wonderful chain with a good variety of books. I enjoyed The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – I’ve never read anything else quite like it! I also love the Outlander series, although the earlier books were the best and I think I’m starting to get bored with them now.

  6. Heidi, Adrian Mole, James Baldwin, Outlander series…quite a chain you have linked. I have just started re-reading Baldwin. I remember Heidi annoyed me when I was a child and teen. I Read the first Outlander and stopped. Not being a reader of romance novels. It’s time to pull the Mole off the shelf and give it a re-read
    As always your books are full of interest. Happy spring to you!

      1. I lived in the mountains of NC (the highest and wildest part) as part of a commune back in the day. I loved it. We even had goats! My mother reminded me that my ancestors came from Norway and Ireland (when the Vikings took over Dublin) and that always accounted for my wildness. She also would add the addendum that apparently it counted for hers as well. I am re-reading the first of Baldwin’s books even now as we speak.

        1. I wouldn’t mind a few goats and pigs. Not sheep though – my grandmother’s sheep were more unruly than all the other animals put together. I can imagine you in a commune…

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.