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Six degrees of separation, FROM A Christmas carol TO …

December 1, 2018

And suddenly it’s the last Six Degrees of the year. Before we know it, everyone will be writing their top lists of the year, but I, as usual, will do mine in January, when the year is REALLY over. I like me “best books” of the year to be of the actual calendar year. I’m weird that way! But, that’s not what this post is about! Here we are talking the Six Degrees of Separation meme which is currently hosted by Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest). Click on the link on her blog-name to see her explanation of how it works.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas carolKate has chosen an older but appropriate goodie for the last starting book of the year, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas carol, which I have read, but way, way, way before blogging. It is a true classic, isn’t it, by which I mean it keeps on keeping on – particularly at Christmas time. Funny, that!

Alex Miller, LovesongNow, there are so many ways we could link from this book – on Christmas, on Dickens, on Scrooge-like characters – but I’m going with another book with a song word in the title. Indeed, the book I’m choosing has the actual word “song” in the title, Alex Miller’s Lovesong (my review). It’s the only Miller I’ve reviewed on this blog so I’m very happy to give this lovely writer a guernsey here.

Cate Kennedy, Australian Love Stories coverMiller’s book is, as you’ve probably guessed, more than a simple love story. It’s an exploration of love, and how it plays out over time, and in different age-groups. A delightful book that I fell in love with a couple of years ago and that also explores love – even more broadly – is an anthology of short stories devoted to the subject, Cate Kennedy’s Australian love stories (my review). I still feel the thrill I had reading that book.

Bruce Pasco, Dark emuThe first story in Kennedy’s anthology is by indigenous writer, Bruce Pascoe, and the story was about love in an older couple. However, it’s not that subject that I’m linking on this time, but simply on Bruce Pascoe and his non-fiction work Dark emu, dark seeds: Agriculture or accident? (my review). It was another memorable book for me – and it makes a contribution to the truth-telling going on in Australia at the moment.

Dymphna Cusack, A window in the darkI’m determined to mix this post up quite a bit – and not get stuck on specific themes and ideas – so my next link is, like my first one, on a word in the title, “dark”. The book is Dymphna Cusack’s A window in the dark (my review), which is her memoir of her years as a middle-class teacher who wanted – and achieved it too – to bring education and the associated opportunities to less privileged students.

Rebecca Skloot, The immortal life of Henrietta LacksAnd now, guess what I’ve done? I’ve worked it so I can link to my most recent review – Rebecca Skloot’s The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks (my review). Can you work out the link? It’s that Skloot, too, was a middle class person whose work brought her in contact with poor and/or underprivileged people, the Lacks family. Indeed, at one stage during the book, Henrietta’s middle-aged daughter Deborah Lacks started planning to continue her education, because she didn’t finish high school …

Bianca Nogrady, The end book coverThen, just like that, we’ve reached the last book in the chain, and I’m sticking with writer and subject matter, but from a different angle. My last writer is Bianca Nogrady who, like Skloot, is a science writer. The book is The end: The human experience of death (my review) and, like Skloot’s book, it deals with both the science and the ethics of its subject showing that scientists too can (though whether they always will, is another question) think beyond the test-tube.

Quite a different sort of chain this month, with a wider variety of forms. Four of my books are non-fiction and one a collection of short stories, meaning that only one is actually a novel. Only two of my six authors are male but, since one book is an anthology, I could argue that this month’s chain includes more male authors than usual!

I do apologise, however, that for this Christmas edition of Six Degrees I ended up with a book about Death not Birth. That wasn’t very clever of me, really, but c’est la vie! You just have to go where the chain leads you!

And now I will end by thanking all you loyal Six Degrees readers for reading my meme posts this year. It’s been great fun doing this meme, and even more having you all along for the ride. I hope to see you all again next year … Meanwhile, if I don’t “see” you before then, I wish you a very happy Holiday season.

Now, over to you: Have you read A Christmas carol? And, regardless, what would you link to? 

21 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2018 10:30 am

    Love the diverse links this monthSue. Mine were less diverse but I ended on Mars, so that was unexpected!

  2. December 1, 2018 7:24 pm

    I’d probably link it to my favourite Christmas book called Christmas Day by Paul Durcan, a very funny 80 page prose poem by an Irishman who finds himself alone at Christmas and reflects on a few things about that. Interesting chain!

    • December 1, 2018 9:03 pm

      Oh, that sounds really intriguing Claire – I’ll try to check that out. A funny 80-page prose poem sounds like just the thing.

  3. Meg permalink
    December 1, 2018 7:27 pm

    Hi Sue, I have read A Christmas Carol, My links are all over the place for this six degrees selection. Carol by Patricia Highsmith; Childhood of Jesus by J M Coetzee; and then I thought my selections were far too serious. I side stepped to How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss;The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay; Christmas Wombat by Jackie French. and finished with Yes, Virginia,There is a Santa Claus by .Francis Pharcellus Church. I have now read your selections and never thought of a ‘song’. Good one!

    • December 1, 2018 9:04 pm

      Thanks Meg – I love that you thought you were getting too serious so did a sidestep! Such fun these links are, eh?

  4. December 2, 2018 12:26 pm

    Love the basis for your first link.

    I hadn’t heard of The End but one that I’m now adding to my TBR list (I volunteer for a palliative care organisation and do a lot of my counselling work in grief) – wondering if the author would change anything now that Voluntary Assisted Dying is on the political agenda again?

    • December 2, 2018 2:25 pm

      I think you’d find the book interesting Kate. It’s broad-ranging but was inspired, as I recollect, by her experience of her mother’s dying.

  5. December 2, 2018 3:35 pm

    Since reading Dark Emu I look at the environment around me differently. We have so much more to learn.

    • December 2, 2018 6:40 pm

      We sure do, don’t we Kathryn – but all these books being written now are helping immensely.

  6. December 7, 2018 5:44 am

    I love your links, Sue.

    I worked this up and never got it posted, but my next link was to a Dickens, as you predicted: Mystery of Edwin Drood 😉

    • December 7, 2018 8:32 am

      Thanks Debbie – what a shame you did all the work to make your links. You can always still do it – until the next month’s time, anyhow. I must read Mystery of Edwin Drood!

      • December 7, 2018 11:33 am

        I may yet post – although I’m not sure who will take the time to read it in the holiday rush! BTW, another crazy North American question: what does it mean to give someone a guernsey?

        • December 7, 2018 3:31 pm

          Oh dear, Debbie, am I so colloquial? This is another saying that has some English origins. Guernsey relates to woollen football shirts in Australia in the 19th century (woollen Guernsey shirts being famous at the time for quality I think) so to give someone a Guernsey initially meant they were selected for the team. From there it has come to mean giving someone credit or recognition for what they’ve done.

  7. December 8, 2018 6:09 am

    I think I’ve just learned a new phrase – I was mystified when you said you’re giving “this lovely writer a guernsey”. The only guernseys I know are the sweater (ie knitted jumper) or the island from which it takes its name. But now I shall be fully equipped to impress Australian citizens when I visit next year….

    As for the chain, I never thought about ending with a birth. How clever that would have been.
    Mine just went full circle. https://bookertalk.com/2018/12/07/six-degrees-from-christmas-to-christmas/

    • December 8, 2018 7:54 am

      Interesting isn’t it Karen – the way a word from there has become colloquial here.

      My “birth” ending was quite by accident – was just following my nose.

      • December 11, 2018 5:41 am

        I used to amuse all my American colleagues with my British sayings but sometimes I totally perplexed them.

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