#SixDegrees December: A Christmas Carol, Of Course!

It’s time for #6degrees, as featured on Kate’s blog Books are my Favourite and My Best (in fact, it’s a bit over-time, as I never get a chance to do it at the weekend). Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up! A seasonal starting point today with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

It would be far too easy to take the Christmas route here, but I prefer the snow association. Snow makes me think of skiing, what else, and there are far too few books which feature skiing. One crime novel which is all about the skiing is Dead Men Don’t Ski by Patricia Moyes, set in an Alpine resort, with someone dead on arrival in a chairlift (and no, it wasn’t the cold that killed him off). Witty and very Golden Agey, although written considerably later.

A far more brutal contemporary look at murder in skiing country is Black Run by Antonio Manzini. Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone, with a passion for marijuana and a very personal concept of legality and justice, has transferred away from Rome to the freezing Aosta Valley, where he attempts to learn who is responsible for killing a man and burying the body beneath a ski slope. I haven’t read it yet, but it comes recommended by Italian crime writer Sandrone Dazieri, so I’m planning to read this at some point.

One of the classic books about taking drugs is Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater, written in 1821. A contemporary and friend of Wordsworth and Coleridge, he was the ultimate drop-out and vagabond, struggling to make ends meet, although he did finally more or less manage to shake off his addiction.

Pina Bausch Tanstheater Wuppertal

I  understand the recent film Suspiria is at least partially based on De Quincey’s book (or on its sequel, Suspiria De Profundis). A far more obvious influence on that film is the choreography of Pina Bausch. There is a recent biography by Marion Meyer about this most influential of 20th century choreographers and founder of the Tanztheater Wuppertal. I haven’t read this but would be quite interested if I can get my hands on it.

From biography to an autobiography (composed of diaries and letters) that I absolutely adored, namely Barbara Pym, A Very Private Eye. As her friend and champion Philip Larkin said, she had an uncanny ‘eye and ear for the small poignancies of everyday life’.

From one Barbara to another: Barbara Kingsolver has just published a new novel Unsheltered. Although her books have been a bit hit or miss with me, I will probably want to seek this one out and see if it is a return to form.

So an unusual chain for me this month, with three books that I haven’t read (yet), and journeys taking me through Victorian London, South Tyrol, the Aosta Valley, two more Londons at different moments in time, the industrial Ruhr/Dusseldorf/Wuppertal region in Germany and last but not least Vineland, New Jersey.

Where will your free associations take you?


19 thoughts on “#SixDegrees December: A Christmas Carol, Of Course!”

  1. This is a very clever chain, Marina Sofia! I give you credit for taking it all in an interesting direction. I was just thinking the other day that I ought to do this meme some time. Still haven’t, but it’s always enjoyable to read about others’ links.

  2. Hello! I love these six degrees posts and the different connections you come up with. I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award if you’re interested in completing it!

  3. A fascinating chain, with lots to tempt me from start to finish. Barbara Kingsolver’s books have been a bit hit and miss for me too, but I will look out for her new book.

  4. I love that you picked a Patricia Moyes book for the first link. Dead Men Don’t Ski was her first book and I want to reread it. I have read them all. I am envious of those who have experienced real snow, although I don’t like the cold. I grew up in Alabama and one year when I was young we had 10 inches of snow (for a while) and that was a really really big deal. I am reading Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow right.

  5. Lots of interesting books there! I haven’t read any of them (apart from A Christmas Carol), but I would love to read the Barbara Pym autobiography as I’ve enjoyed some of her fiction.

  6. As usual, your post delights. But, really, I particularly love the quirky connections–undoubtedly because that is exactly how my mind works–which results in my lurching from one read to the next one==which to me connects–but to anyone else?

    1. Ha, glad to hear I’m not the only one with a mind like that! But sometimes I do get into a batch of reads which connect very well and enrich each other.

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