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
It 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.
So, 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.
I 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.
And 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.
Another 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?