#6Degrees December 2022

A very appropriate starting point for our Six Degrees of Separation game this month, hosted as always by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. A wintry book set in Alaska, entitled The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, based upon the Russian folk tale Snegurochka. I’m ashamed to say that, although it is probably one of the first books I ever got on the Kindle after receiving the device as a birthday present way back in 2012, I still haven’t read it.

So my logical starting point will be another book that has been the longest on my Kindle – this time a Netgalley download. Not quite as long as The Snow Child, but The Cartel by Don Winslow has been waiting patiently since June 2015. I’ve heard very good things about it, perhaps I was waiting for the appropriate happier time when the hardcore drug wars on the Mexican/American border wouldn’t feel too depressing… and those happier times just never seemed to come!

From the oldest to the most recent Netgalley download: Haruki Murakami’s essay collection Novelist as a Vocation. I enjoyed his book about running (and writing) very much at a time when I was doing both, so let’s see if this inspires me to start writing more regularly.

My next link is to a book about a novelist that I have just read recently: Yellowface by R. F. Kuang – except that in that novel the novelist is less concerned about craft, and more about fame – and will do anything to achieve it, including stealing someone else’s work and pretending to be of Chinese heritage.

A very simple link next, another title with the word ‘yellow’ in it: Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley, his debut novel in fact and a satire of the 1920s English society and country house lifestyle. With the exception of Brave New World, Huxley seems to have fallen out of fashion recently, but I have always enjoyed this novel which is very much based upon several real-life characters who also intersected with the Bloomsbury Group (Lady Ottoline Morrell, Bertrand Russell, Dora Carrington and so on).

Another person who was on the fringes of the Bloomsbury Group (and supposedly the only living writer that Virginia Woolf was jealous of) was Katherine Mansfield. Perhaps her best-known short story collection is The Garden Party, but my favourite one (and the one I am linking to here) is Bliss and Other Stories. One of the stories in that collection, Je ne parle pas français, a strange little cross-cultural love triangle with homoerotic undertones, links to my final book today.

David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of essays and memoir pieces, not all of them equally appealing to me, but I do want to put a good word in for the title one, which is about the author taking French classes in Paris and the way he and his fellow classmates struggle with the language. As an expat in France, and someone who is currently murdering the Italian language with my classmates on Zoom, I find that particular story very relatable and funny.

So my six degrees have taken me from Alaska to the Mexican border, Japan to Washington DC, England and Paris. Where will your literary travels take you this month?

19 thoughts on “#6Degrees December 2022”

  1. Quite the globe-trotting chain this time, Marina Sofia! And I like your use of yellow and length of time on your Kindle, too – very clever. I like Winslow, and if you get a chance to read that one, I’ll be interested in what you think of it.

    1. I’ve read other books by Winslow, but I know that particular one (and the ones that followed) are very highly regarded. I really need to get a move on.

  2. I remember enjoying Chrome Yellow but I read it very long ago so the details have all but gone; the R.F. Kuang looks very interesting–I enjoyed another by her recently.

    1. This is very different, I understand, than her fantasy novels, so I gather some of her previous readers were disappointed. But, since I didn’t know her at all, I quite enjoyed it.

      1. Must have a look; even the one fantasy I’ve read was different from the usual with its strong historical background based on the second Sino-Japanese war (with all the brutalities of real-life wars) and also considering metaphysical questions in some depth.

  3. A pretty interesting chain. The only one i have read is Crome Yellow. More than Huxley’s novels, I liked his short-story collection, Brief Candles.

  4. I like your connections starting with how long it’s been on your Kindle. Snow Child was on mine for over 7 years…..don’t know why it took me so long to read it because it’s actually quite good – one of the other chains ends with the sequel/companion book to it, which I didn’t know about. Maybe it can sit on my Kindle another 7 years. 🙂 Yellowface is already on my TBR and I really liked all the locations your chain took us. Cool list. Thanks for the visit.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  5. I love your first link – I’m ashamed to say that I have two books on my NetGalley shelf that have been waiting even longer! Crome Yellow sounds interesting. I read Brave New World years ago but never got round to looking for any more of Huxley’s books.

  6. It’s centuries since I read Crome Yellow, perhaps when I was too young for it, in fact, but bits of it still stick in my mind which shows it must have had an impact on me. Perhaps it’s time for a re-read. Yellowface sounds interesting…

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