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Six degrees of separation, FROM Three women TO …

October 5, 2019

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

Book coverIt all starts, of course with Kate setting our starting book, and this month’s is – well, back to usual after a record run – that is, back to a book I’ve not read. Kate described it as a book everyone is taking about, Lisa Taddao’s Three women. I initially commented that maybe everyone is, but I’m not one of them. However, on reading a bit about it at GoodReads, I realise that I have heard the author interviewed. Her name and title just hadn’t clicked.

Book coverSo, Lisa Taddao’s Three women, for those of you who don’t know, is a non-fiction book in which the author spent nearly ten years researching the sex lives of three American women. It is, says the GoodReads blurb, “the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written.” This year I read an historical fiction work in which a woman’s desire – or, at least society’s attitudes to/assumptions regarding her desire – resulted in her execution. The book is Janet Lee’s The killing of Louisa (my review).

Another historical fiction work inspired by the story of a real Australian woman who was sent to gaol, this time for performing abortions, is Eleanor Limprecht’s Long Bay (my review). We do know that her character did the crime she did time for, but of course, her story was not as straightforward as those who imprisoned her would believe, and many of us would argue that she and her mother-in-law were performing a needed service, not a crime, albeit was also lucrative.

Since we are talking questionable or unjust imprisonments, I’m moving next to a highly questionable and unjust one, that of Australian journalist Peter Greste who was arrested in Egypt in 2013 for “spreading false news, belonging to a terrorist organisation and operating without a permit”. He spent over a year in prison there before his release was effected. While he was in gaol, a letter-writing campaign was organised to keep his spirits up (to which Ma Gums contributed). The book Prison post: Letters of support for Peter Greste contains a selection of those letters.

Nigel Featherstone, Bodies of menI think that’s enough of prisons for a while – though in my next book one of the characters was, in fact, close to being sent to military prison so perhaps this is a double link1 The book is Nigel Featherstone’s Bodies of men (my review). Much of it is set in Egypt during World War 2.

Hilary Mantel, Bring up the bodiesAnd now, just because I can, I’m going to take the easy path and link on title, so my next book is Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the bodies (my review), the second in her (expected) Cromwell trilogy. It was published in 2012, just three years after the first in the series, Wolf Hall (2009). When, oh when, we have all been asking, is the third one coming? Well, it has finally been announced I believe, and we should see The mirror and the light in 2020.

Marilynne Robinson, GileadAnother trilogy that was published over almost as long a time-frame is Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead trilogy, which started with Gilead (my review) in 2004, and ended with Lila in 2014. I know, it’s not quite the same sort of trilogy as Mantel’s. In fact some call them a “suite” of novels, and others call them “companion novels”, but there are three of them and they are generally described as a trilogy so, you know, all’s fair in love, war and six degrees.

I think I’ve done it! I’ve taken a book everyone is talking about, and created a chain that is probably a bit odd, but it makes sense to me. It includes a more than usual number of historical fiction novels, so most of our travels have been to past centuries. However, we have again travelled the world from the starting book’s America to Australia to Egypt to England and back to America. I’m not sure what John Ames would think about women’s desire, but he was a thoughtful, humane man and would, I think, wish them well!

And now, my usual questions: Have you read Three women? And, regardless, what would you link to? 

49 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2019 10:04

    I like the way your chain wandered today!
    I haven’t read the starting book either:

    • October 5, 2019 10:12

      I will try to catch up with them all tonight, Theresa! As am in Japan and about to go out for the day. I can’t recollect at all what I wrote as I did it 3 weeks ago before I left!

    • Neil@kallaroo permalink
      October 8, 2019 21:27

      Theresa, I was intrigued by “The Nest” and “Nest”, so I read them both. LOL. What a contrast. Now I want the illustrated “Nest”, the least said about “The Nest” the better.

      • October 8, 2019 22:32

        I’m so impressed you’ve read them both already! LOL, so you see what I mean about The Nest! I had forgotten there was an illustrated edition of Nest!

        • Neil@kalleroo permalink
          October 8, 2019 23:20

          I don’t think there is an illustrated “Nest”. I’m just wishing there were. It would be aaamazing!

        • October 8, 2019 23:46

          Inga does have a book that’s been released as an illustrated edition. I’ll have to look into which one!

        • October 9, 2019 17:27

          Oh, I’m back with you!

        • October 9, 2019 17:25

          I wish I knew what you are both talking about.

        • October 9, 2019 17:25

          He’s quick eh?

      • October 9, 2019 00:58

        And I’m completely confused!

        • Neil@kallaroo permalink
          October 9, 2019 17:38

          I guess we should put you out of your misery. Theresa’s chain links to “The Nest”, and from there to “Nest”. “The Nest” is set in New York. It’s noisy and busy, and the story is filled with characters, just about all unlovable. We don’t care about them. “Nest” is set in rural Queensland, near the coast. The protagonist paints birds. She is quietly working through some issues. We cheer her on and wish her well. And wish there were an illustrated version of the story – it would be stunning.

        • October 9, 2019 17:45

          Thanks Neil! I feel fully informed now.

        • October 9, 2019 18:09

          I must be thinking about someone else with regards to an illustrated edition because I can’t find anything!

  2. October 5, 2019 15:37

    Love the prison theme (!).

    I am probably one of the few readers who just hasn’t loved the Mantel books. Abandoned the first one half way through. Tried to watch the TV series, thinking it might reengage me, but no… Have been tempted again after hearing Margaret Atwood speak of them however also think that life’s too short for books that don’t call your name.

  3. October 5, 2019 17:30

    Interesting, my daughter has quite a fascination with prisons, she might like some of these books.

    • October 5, 2019 21:24

      She might then Rose. Particularly if she’s interested in historical stories about them.

  4. October 5, 2019 18:00

    I’m not going to read The Mirror and the Light: I don’t want to read about Thomas’ being relieved of his head. 😦

    • October 5, 2019 21:26

      Haha, fair enough M-R. I must say, it seems particularly gruesome doesn’t it. Not sure why. Hanging is probably worse for the subject. Let’s face it, execution is just darned horrible.

  5. October 5, 2019 18:33

    I haven’t definitely decided, but I think I’m probably going to skip this month. I have other things I want to write…
    Pleased to hear that Cromwell#3 is on the way:)

    • October 5, 2019 21:30

      Understand completely Lisa. Sometimes the posts come thick and fast, so you don’t really need to add to them, do you?

  6. October 5, 2019 18:46

    Fascinating connections as always. Most of the book choices seem very worthy reads and some important books. As for the chain being a little odd, that is half the fun.

  7. Neil@kallaroo permalink
    October 5, 2019 21:15

    From Three Women to Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), Jerome K Jerome, then, in keeping with English humour and animals, Pigs have Wings, P G Wodehouse. And if we’re talking about pigs, we must include Animal Farm, George Orwell. From here I could link to Orwell’s 1984, but instead I prefer Brave New World, Aldous Huxley. To get away from England, but keeping with future worlds, the Sea and Summer, George Turner. And for a more recent rendition of the same theme, A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, Jane Rawson. Can’t say I’ve read them all, but at least I was aware of them 😀

    • October 5, 2019 21:29

      And there I was being impressed you’d read them all Neil. Still, I’m impressed that read or not you knew enough to make the connections.

  8. October 6, 2019 03:15

    Not an odd chain at all, its fun to see how people’s minds find different associations…
    Mantel is definitely coming out with Mirror and the Light – its due in March in the UK and one large book chain is already taking orders. I’ve never done this before but this is one book I will absolutely order (I refuse use the nonsensical expression pre-order. How can you order before you order???)

  9. October 6, 2019 04:40

    I had Long Bay as an option for my chain at one point but ended up going in another direction.
    Thanks for sharing your links.

    • October 6, 2019 10:32

      How fun Shelleyrae. I’ll try to catch up with people’s links later. Right now I’m struggling to keep up with my travelling, let alone blogs!

  10. Muse & Views Bookclub permalink
    October 6, 2019 23:53

    Well put together chain! Muse & Views has not read Three Women but we certainly managed to link a chain, albeit not at all like yours!

    • October 8, 2019 18:12

      Thanks Muse and Views. Will come look at yours later. Am in Japan at present and am struggling to keep up with blogs.

  11. George permalink
    October 7, 2019 09:50

    I haven’t read Three Women. Step one is Max Beerbhom’s Seven Men, for seven like three is an odd and prime number, and then one has the women/men symmetry. Second, Ford Madox Ford’s The Fifth Queen, and odd and prime number (and for that matter “queen” is cognate with Scandinavian words meaning “woman”. Third, Isak Dinesen’s Five Gothic Tales. Fourth, Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, as having both “tale” and a prime number in the title. Fifth , Thomas Pynchon’s V: V is a number only by Roman notation, but one important character is from the “Five Towns” area of Long Island, giving us a prime number and an urban area. Six, because I’ve painted myself into a corner, Muriel Sparks’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

  12. October 8, 2019 06:24

    Well done making the chain! Three women ending up linked to Gilead is not a connection I would have expected!

    As for the final book in the Cromwell series, fingers crossed it comes out next year! It’s been a very long wait!

  13. October 8, 2019 14:27

    I have read ‘Three Women’. I am not a fan. Reading it made me uncomfortable; I felt like a voyeur. What would I link it to? Perhaps ‘The Group’ by Mary McCarthy (a much better book). And I am delighted to hear that the final book in the Cromwell series will be available in March next year.

    • October 8, 2019 18:28

      Thanks Jennifer, I very nearly did link it to The Group in fact. I’m glad you’re not a fan of Three women. Helps me not put it on the TBR.

  14. October 12, 2019 14:38

    Your line – “This year I read an historical fiction work in which a woman’s desire ” reminded me of a book I didn’t link to but read in bookclub An Almond for A Parrot described as ” is an interesting mix of erotic romance, historical fiction, and magical realism set in 18th century London.” Was certainly a different but yes interesting book

  15. October 13, 2019 20:00

    Not 100% sure I recommend it but not the worst book i’ve read :p

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