It is the first Saturday of the month again, which means it’s time to do the Six Degrees of Separation meme. If you are new to blogging and don’t know what that is, please check our host Kate’s blog – booksaremyfavouriteandbest.
The main point is, though, that Kate sets our starting book, and this month’s is – hallelujah, again – a book I’ve read and reviewed, Amor Towles’ A gentleman in Moscow.
Now, A gentleman in Moscow is set, almost completely, in Moscow’s famous Hotel Metropol. How many people live in hotels? I sense that it was more common in the past than it is now, but maybe I’m naive? Anyhow, the book I’m reading now (so no review yet) is Dominic Smith’s The electric hotel. My first link, however, is not to this fictional Electric Hotel, as you might have expected, but to the real Knickerbocker Hotel in Los Angeles, in which the main character, the now elderly Claude Ballard, is living at the start of the novel.
Claude Ballard, our gentleman in Los Angeles, is a film director, albeit a fictional one from the silent era, but it just so happens that my last read was the memoir of a contemporary Australian film director, Jocelyn Moorhouse, so it’s to her book, Unconditional love: A memoir of filmmaking and motherhood (my review) that I’m linking next.
Jocelyn Moorhouse’s husband, PJ Hogan, is also a film director, and two of his most famous films are Muriel’s wedding and My best friend’s wedding. A now classic novel, but one I only read recently, starts with a wedding, Mary McCarthy’s The group (my review), so that’s my next link.
The group, as I’ve said, starts with a wedding, but it ends, logically I suppose, with a funeral. A book that starts with a funeral – and this has its own logic – is Carmel Bird’s Family skeleton (my review).
But, enough of weddings and funerals. My next link is on something simple – the author’s name. Later this month I will be heading to Japan (my fourth visit). An early western visitor to Japan was the intrepid Englishwoman Isabella Bird whose 1879 travel book, Unbeaten tracks in Japan I’ve quoted from (although I haven’t yet finished it.)
I like reading Japanese literature, though I haven’t read a lot since blogging. However, I did recently read a contemporary novel, Sayaka Murata’s Convenience store woman (my review), which explores some of the challenges faced by people who dare to be – or, simply are – different, in modern Japan.
Hmm, this chain is more hodge-podge that mine usually are. For a start, it includes two books I have started but not yet finished. Also, we have traversed the world far more energetically than we often do, starting in Moscow, then going to Los Angeles, and then Australia. We then popped back to the USA, this time the east coast, before returning to Australia, and then ending up in Japan. Oh, and we started in a grand hotel and ended in a convenience store. I’ll leave you to ponder what that means!
And now, my usual questions: Have you read A gentleman in Moscow? And, regardless, what would you link to?