Woo hoo, Spring has sprung (just) in the southern hemisphere, and I for one am glad to see the back of winter, albeit the real warmth is a way off yet. And this month, the first day of Spring is also Six Degrees of Separation day. You regular readers here will know what that means, but for any newbies, Six Degrees of Separation is a meme that is currently hosted by Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest). Clicking on the link on her blog-name will take you to her explanation of how it works.
Unlike last month, I haven’t read the starting book. In fact, mea culpa, I hadn’t even heard of it. It’s Where am I now? by someone called Mara Wilson. Kate chose it because she would be seeing the author at the (now past) 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival. Where to start with a book I hadn’t even heard of? Aha, while searching for the cover, I discovered that she’s the actor who starred in Matilda! Silly me. She was great.
So, I could, of course, go for another memoir by an actor, but I’m not. Instead I’m going for a book that I read (well, started to read, anyhow) in preparation for my festival, the Canberra Writers Festival, which overlapped with Melbourne’s. The book is the 60th issue of the Griffith Review, and is titled First things first. You have seen the Griffith Review mentioned here before. It’s a wonderful contemporary literary magazine that contains essays, fiction, memoirs, poems and reports on a specified subject. I have, in fact, already introduced this one, which was inspired by the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Now, you might think that from here I’d go to something by or about indigenous Australians, but I feel like being contrary, so instead I’m going on form, and will choose a book of essays, science essays, in fact – The best Australian science writing 2015 (my review) edited by science journalist Bianca Nogrady. I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed it at the time. I still share snippets of information I read in that volume.
For my next link, I’m sticking with science, but am turning to fiction – to Toni Jordan’s entertaining chick-lit novel Fall girl (my review). Her heroine is not your usual chick-lit heroine, but a con artist who presents herself as an evolutionary biologist and sets up a scientific expedition to attract money from a millionnaire-run foundation. It’s a bit of a hoot, as Toni Jordan can be.
And now, since we’ve moved from essays to chick-lit – a rather wild jump, n’est-ce pas? – let’s stay with chick-lit and go to Paris with Anita Heiss’s Paris dreaming (my review). This book has, in fact, multiple connections with this post – I read it after hearing Anita Heiss at a festival and she’s an indigenous Australian author.
Since we’ve gone to France, and since daughter Gums has just arrived in Paris, I figure we should linger there a while, so I’m going to choose one of my favourite French novels, Albert Camus’ La peste (aka The plague) (my review). This book is one of the few books I’ve read more than once – and I could very well read it again, because I love its lessons about life.
For my final link, I’m hopping over the channel to England, and to a book by one of my favourite authors, Jane Austen’s Sense and sensibility (my review of vol. 1). I could link on the fact that, like Camus’ La peste, I’ve read it more than once, but I’m going a little more esoteric, and am linking it on the fact that, also like La peste, it contains, for me, a memorable quote – almost a personal mantra in fact. There aren’t many quotes that I remember from books, but this is one of them:
Marianne Dashwood was born to an extraordinary fate. She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract by her conduct her most favorite maxims.
When I first read this, I was brought up short, because I realised I was often like Marianne – pontificating on things I had not experienced, and then discovering how wrong I was. It was one of those lightbulb moments – though I probably still do it sometimes!
So there you have it. Another Six Degrees meme done and dusted. We’ve read serious essays and fun chick-lit, we’ve been to the US, Australia, France and England, and we’ve read a diverse set of authors.
And now, over to you: Have you read Where am I now? And, regardless, what would you link to?