Six degrees of separation, FROM Three women TO …

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 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation, FROM Three women TO …

  1. 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.

  2. 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:)

  3. 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 😀

  4. 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???)

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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