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Six degrees of separation, FROM Like water for chocolate TO …

October 7, 2017

I’ve decided to change my blog titling practice for my Six Degrees meme, from including the end book to not! I’ve decided it’s more fun to read the post following the connections until the end, rather than knowing the end book at the beginning? Let me know what you think. But now, the formalities. Six Degrees of Separation is a meme currently run by Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest). To find out more about it please click the link on her blog-name. It’s a fun meme.

Laura Esquivel, Like water for chocolateNow, the book Kate chose for October is one I’ve actually read, unlike many of her other choices, but it was long before I started blogging. It’s Laura Esquivel’s Like water for chocolate. Unfortunately, I no longer have my beautiful hardback copy, having lent it to someone and never got it back, as happens sometimes in our reading lives. As always, I’ve read all the books in my chain, though not all since I started this blog.

Fannie Flagg, Fried green tomatoesI had fun choosing my first book. Should I go with chocolate in the title (like Chocolat), or Mexican authors (like Valeria Luiselli), or magic realism (like Gabriel Garcia Marquez), all of which or whom I’ve read? Nope! The subtitle of Esquivel’s book is “a novel in monthly installments (sic) with recipes, romance and home remedies”, so I’ve chosen another book that (like Chocolat in fact) also glorifies food and eating, Fannie Flagg’s Fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I read it before blogging, so no review to link to I’m afraid.

Marion Halligan, The pointFood plays a shocking role at the end of Flagg’s warm Deep-South-set comedy, but I’ve decided not to go there. Instead, I’m linking on the cafe idea, and have chosen another book that I read before blogging, Marion Halligan’s The point, about a beautiful, top-class, but fictional, glass restaurant in my city, the capital of Australia. I did say I wasn’t going to follow Flagg’s shocking end, but I need to admit that there’s a murder in this book so it’s not all champagne and caviar! It deals with haves and have-nots, with insiders and outsiders (for which the glass motif works well, of course.)

Emily BItto, The strays, book coverAnd now, I’m going to get to books I’ve read since blogging. Another book which deals with insiders and outsiders is Emily Bitto’s The strays (my review). Its narrator is an outsider who is welcomed into a Victorian artists’ community as the friend of the founding artists’ children. She has her life, her expectations, her dreams turned around, until things go awry. How much it was all to her benefit is a question we ponder at the end, and that is also a relevant question for my next book …

William Lane, The salamandersWilliam Lane’s The salamanders (my review) which has its origins in an artists’ colony though the book is set sometime after that colony had disbanded. However, it too explores the impact on the children of the artists. It’s a very different book to Bitto’s, however, delving into bigger issues relating to the land. Salamanders, and lizards in general, feature, both to represent the antiquity of the Australian continent and also, I think, resilience.

Thea Astley, DrylandsRegardless of the intent, this motif reminded me of the bar, cheekily called the Legless Lizard, in Thea Astley’s Drylands (my review)! It’s set in the dying town of Drylands and presents a bleak picture of Australia. Here is the quote I used in my review, describing Drylands as

a God-forgotten tree-stump of a town halfway to nowhere whose population (two hundred and seventy-four) was tucked for leisure either in the bar of the Legless Lizard or in front of television screens, videos, Internet adult movies or PlayStation games for the kiddies.

[…]

No one was reading anymore.

Drylands could be called dystopian, albeit one set in the present not the future. And that made me think of Jane Rawson’s A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists (my review). There’s no doubt about its definition as a dystopian novel, dealing as it does with the devastating effects of climate change. Coincidentally, it also has several scenes in a bar!

Well, we haven’t travelled far once leaving the Americas – besides returning there briefly in Rawson’s book – but we have spent quite a bit of time in kitchens and bars. What does that tell you about me?

Have you read Like water for chocolate? And whether or not you have, what would you link to? 

35 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2017 10:10 am

    Much delicious linking here. 🍩 That’s a chocolate donut for you.

  2. October 7, 2017 10:24 am

    I’ve read all your choices too, so I’ll have to think of a different starting angle when I do mine.
    And yes, I agree, leaving the last title off the post title is better, I’ve always done mine that way, I think it’s more interesting.

  3. Meg permalink
    October 7, 2017 2:45 pm

    Hi Sue, I prefer the other way – I don’t like change. I have read all your choices, though I was not a fan of Like Water for Chocolate. I went straight to Chocolat by Joanne Harris (I met her and have a signed copy). Then Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, followed by two children’s books. Lucy’s Loose Tooth (I have a niece named Lucy), by Sue Ling Ng, and The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss. When you eat chocolate your teeth might discolour, so the the final book is White Teeth by Zadie Smith

    • October 7, 2017 3:11 pm

      Haha, Meg – sorry about the change, but that’s not why I’m laughing! I’m laughing at the White Teeth link. Love it! I haven’t read all your choices I’m afraid but have read Chocolat and White Teeth, and I’m pretty sure The Tooth Book (when the kids were young). I’ve read many McEwan’s but have missed a couple of the more recent ones.

  4. October 7, 2017 3:05 pm

    Having seen your delicious Instagram pics I figured that scrummy food would be one of your links 😊

    Did you see the movie or read the book first re LWFC?

    • October 7, 2017 3:15 pm

      Haha, Brona, oh dear, I might have to change my Instagram pattern! (I did another food one this morning!)

      But yes, I read LWFC first. In fact, I can’t even remember if I saw the film. I don’t think I did as nothing is coming to mind though I recollect its being released. I don’t always rush to see films of books I’ve read and liked (unless it’s an Austen!), just as I don’t always feel the urge to read books of films I’ve seen.

  5. October 7, 2017 3:24 pm

    PS forgot to say that I like waiting until the end for the final book.

    • October 7, 2017 3:36 pm

      Oh thanks for that Brona, that’s two to one at the moment!

      • October 7, 2017 8:23 pm

        My reply from my blog 🙂
        “Now that is annoying – the bit about non-google commenters.
        I did look at moving my blog to wordpress, but I would need to hire a tech person to change some coding so that all my links could be moved as well. Having used wordpress for work and AWW now as well, I see that it has just as many clunky elements to it as blogger – just different!”

  6. October 7, 2017 4:40 pm

    Yes, I like it the way you’ve done it here. There’s a sense of a..an..an…anticipation!

  7. October 7, 2017 4:53 pm

    I vote to leave the last book out of the title. Glad you ended up with Jane Rawson, the only other one I have any connection to is Fried Green Tomatoes – saw the movie many years ago.

    • October 7, 2017 4:55 pm

      Thanks for entering your vote too Bill. Of those you haven’t read, I do suggest you try Drylands. Astley was an independent woman if ever there was one!

      • October 7, 2017 7:45 pm

        Don’t worry, I agree. I have two or three Astley’s in the TBR including Drylands (and I did review A Kindness Cup)

  8. October 7, 2017 4:59 pm

    I prefer the other way too as I like wondering how the chain could possibly end up with that final book. I haven’t read any of the books in your chain or indeed Like Water for Chocolate! I have read Chocolat and loved it (love chocolate too) but decided not to link to that this time – so I went for the Mexico link.

    • October 7, 2017 6:59 pm

      Ha, Margaret, maybe it goes with the name! I did notice that one person last year was clearly thinking this way i.e. she saw the end book and wondered how I was going to get there. Maybe, if the vote is three to one, I’ll title according to that ratio too!

      Anyhow, I’ll come and look at your links. It’s always fun isn’t it?

  9. October 7, 2017 7:47 pm

    I think I like your idea of not including the final book in the title. I really enjoyed A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, so I’m going to have to read your review now to see what you thought. And The Strays is on my to-read pile at home. I confess that my links did start with connecting to Chocolat, although I almost went to A Thousand Years of Solitude, so we were thinking along the same lines initially!

    • October 7, 2017 8:12 pm

      Thanks Melinda … more votes for the new way.

      Did you review Rawson’s book? I’ll come look at your blog.

    • October 7, 2017 8:13 pm

      Oh, so your blog is private? I remember wanting to check your links before and coming against a “brick wall”. A shame but I understand not wanting to go public.

  10. October 7, 2017 11:02 pm

    Perhaps I should leave the final book out of my title as well… I do always like to look at the next book in the chain and try to work out the link before reading why it was chosen.

    I almost started my chain with books that include recipes. Oddly, I’ve read Fried Green but I can’t remember the ending. I’ll need to re-read!

    Lastly, I haven’t read The Point but it looks excellent. Will hunt it down.

    • October 8, 2017 9:06 am

      Thanks Kate, I wonder if our different reactions to displaying the end book relates to whether we are puzzle-doers or not?

      As for, Fried green tomatoes, I may have misremembered!

      • October 8, 2017 6:37 pm

        Possibly! You might have started a trend with the titles – we’ll see next month 🙂

        • October 8, 2017 6:40 pm

          Haha … I noticed that some do it the way I decided to try but others the way I used to. Since most here like the surprise/puzzle element I’ll stick with it for a while.

  11. October 7, 2017 11:26 pm

    I was about to use Fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe for my first link, but then my chain ended up going a completely different direction.

  12. October 9, 2017 5:54 am

    Wow!!! Superb list!!!

  13. October 11, 2017 7:05 am

    Very intriguing list, with books and authors I have heard very little about (other than the Fried Green Tomatoes’).

    • October 11, 2017 7:58 am

      Thanks Marina. I guess all are Australian except for that one and of course the starting book, so it’s probably not surprising.

  14. October 16, 2017 10:41 am

    Like you, I have lost my beautiful hardcover edition of Like Water for Chocolate, and often suspect I’ll buy another to replace it. Such a lovely novel. I would connect to The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende for the magical realism elements mixed with Latin America. But after that I cannot say. 🙂

    (Thanks for visiting me and commenting. xo)

    • October 16, 2017 11:05 am

      Yes, I’ve been tempted to buy it again too, because it’s one of those memorable books, physically as well as the content isn’t it.

      Ah yes, Allende’s book would be a nice segue!

      And, thanks for visiting back!

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