Six Degrees of Separation – September 2017 – Wild Swans

I spotted this meme on the outstanding blogs of Susan at A Life in Books and Marina at Finding Time to Write. If you haven’t visited their blogs I’d recommend you do for insightful reviews, bookish observations and original poetry. The meme was created by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best.

From what I can gather each month starts from a different book and the aim is to move from the initial book to the sixth book with one link from the previous title. This month’s starter book is Wild Swans.

Wild Swans is the true story of author Jung Chang, her mother and her grandmother, as they live in the dramatically changing China of the twentieth century. It is a book I am sure I have read many years ago. I have little memory of it, which is a shame. It’s one I should re-read.

Another book I’m sure I have read but have no memory of, other than, I must have read it, is The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. The story itself, of Iris and her memories of her childhood woven excerpts from the novel her sister Laura wrote, The Blind Assassin, a scandal at the time. I have absolutely no recollection of reading the book – the only reason I think I have is because the cover is so strikingly familiar. Again another I must re-read.

There are lots of books to feature fictional books, and another that borrows it’s title from the fictional book it contains and one I know I definitely have read, and thoroughly enjoyed is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon. Daniel Sempere, taken by his father to The Cemetery of Books in Barcelona, choses The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. Years later Daniel is running his father’s book shop and someone is trying to gather all copies of Carax’s work, in order to burn them. Daniel is determined to track down the mysterious Carax, of whom there is no trace.

A peculiarly special library also appears in The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. The unnamed narrator travels to Romania on the hunt for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, uncovering secrets about her parents past. This is a wonderfully involving and engaging novel.

I can’t mention vampires without linking to Bram Stoker’s classic. His iconic creation Dracula barely needs any explanation. Jonathan Harker no doubt rued the day he agreed to travel to Transylvania to help Count Dracula. What follows is a battle against the undead Count and his minions as Harker is followed to Whitby, that wonderful Yorkshire seaside town, and the eponymous Van Helsing pits his wits against the vampire horde. Having recently visited Whitby I was reminded I had still to read Dracula, so I promptly treated myself to a copy on my return.

Loveday Cardew’s  adventures in Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland, take her to Whitby. Loveday has escaped her past, finding solace in the written word and taking sanctuary in the bookshop where she works in York. Loveday begins to find books from her past, a past she has tried to supress. As she hunts for the person who is sending her the books she reassesses her life choices and how her life can progress.

So there we have it, from China to Whitby by way of Spain and Romania. Have you read any of these books? Where would your chain have taken you?

 

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    Well, I have plenty of not very flattering thoughts about The Historian and the vampire association with Romania, but that’s just me being touchy about things. Ultimately, if it’s a good source of tourist income, we Romanians have to embrace it, although it is an entirely fictional creation and has very little to do with historical truth.
    That aside, I’m very pleased you took the leap and joined in. You’ve reminded me I still haven’t read Shadow of the Wind, but I really enjoyed some other books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

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    1. janetemson says:

      I had thought twice about putting that in there. I read it such a long time ago I wouldn’t be able to tell you what my thoughts were on it’s reflection in Romania. I can just recall it involved books. I’ll avoid it in the future :-). I hope you like The Shadow of the Wind if you read it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MarinaSofia says:

        Ah, no that’s fine! When you come from a small culture, even being known for the wrong things is better than not being known at all, believe me!

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  2. Love this! You’ve linked them really well 😊 I’ve got “Lost for Words” on my TBR

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    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks. I think well might be pushing it 🙂 I hope you like Lost for Words, I really enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the lovely mention, Janet. Delighted that you’ve joined in!

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    1. janetemson says:

      I think I did it right! Hopefully I’ll improve for next month 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The Blind Assassin is one of the best Margaret Atwoods, I thought when I read it though like you I remember little now. But my blindness is to how the links work in this game: what’s the connection between it and Wild Swans and the Shadow of the Wind please? I did get the Romanian connection though, not entirely thick and the stereotype a previous commentator disliked helped too!

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    1. janetemson says:

      The link can be tenuous, at least I hope. In this case it was because I thought I had read both but can’t remember either (between Wild Swans and The Blind Assassin. Then The Shadow of The Wind because it is also a story about a fictional book. As I say, very tenuous (and I’m not sure if I’m doing it right!) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah well if you can have books you think you’ve read but can’t remember it can go anywhere! Never mind, any excuse to discuss a few books and also to get off the current bestseller treadmill seems good to me! It was an interesting article and I may pinch the idea sometime.

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      2. janetemson says:

        Well it was a very tenuous this month. I did better last month with Pride and Prejudice!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Karen says:

    Well done for the links – I’ve read Wild Swans (many years ago but it was certainly an eye opener of a different culture),Shadow in the Wind and Lost for Words.

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    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks. I didn’t know where I was going to go, then I thought of a few other books I could have used instead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. writelindy says:

    You are my kindred reading spirit. I love Wild Swans and have often listed Shadow of the Wind as one of my top ten. In addition I am just about to read Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. Not really into vampires or monsters but three isn’t bad is it?

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      Three out of six is good. I’m not a big vampire fan but I thought I had to at least try Dracula. And I will as some point, I hope 🙂 I hope you like Alias Grace 🙂

      Like

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