Six degrees of separation, FROM Beach read TO …

A new year, and here we are again with our Six Degrees meme. Before I get stuck in, though, I would like to wish you all the best for the New Year, and hope that 2023 proves to be a healthy and peaceful one for us all. We could all do with it, particularly those in troubled and disaster-affected parts of the world. Meanwhile, on with this post’s business. If you don’t know how it works, please check meme host Kate’s blog – booksaremyfavouriteandbest.

The first rule is that Kate sets our starting book. In January it is another book I haven’t read, Emily Henry’s Beach read, but, what’s new! It sounds somewhat intriguing. According to GoodReads “A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.” It is of course a perfect title for a down under January book …

Mary Grant Bruce, Early Tales

So, it would be easy to go with what my choice of a beach read, but that’s not where I’m going. Instead, I’m looking at author’s name. Emily Henry’s last name can also be a man’s first name. This is also the case with Mary Grant Bruce, so it is to her juvenilia, The early tales (my review), that I’m linking to first.

From linking on author’s name, I’m next going to title, and another Australian oldie, Price Warung’s Tales of the early days (my review). This title is so similar to that given to Bruce’s juvenilia, but the work is very different. Bruce’s juvenilia are family stories, though not without socio-historical interest, while Warung’s are about convict days and lives, and have clear political intent.

Next, we are going back to author’s name for the link. Price Warung is a pseudonym used by William Astley (1854-1911). Another Australian writer, pretty much a peer in fact, is Jessie Catherine Couvreur (1848-1897). She wrote under the name Tasma, so it is to her satirical Uncle Piper of Piper’s Hill (my review) that I am linking to next.

Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin (Public domain, via Wikipedia)

And now, enough of names and titles! My next link will likely push your credulity a bit, but, you know, all’s fair in six degrees linking, so here goes. As I recorded above, Tasma died in 1897. That year Kate Chopin’s short story “A pair of silk stockings” (my review) was published. It’s a powerful short story, and I want to leave Australia, so that’s where we are going.

Now, since I’ve pushed things a bit, I’m going to push it again. If you’ve read any of Chopin’s stories, you won’t be surprised to hear that she was inspired by Guy de Maupassant. In my review of the story above, I shared some of Chopin’s thoughts about de Maupassant, which included that, in him she saw, “Here was life, not fiction”. Another writer who admired de Maupassant, albeit with some reservations about the man I understand, was Henry James. However, he did say that his story “Paste” (my review) was inspired by Maupassant’s famous short story, “The necklace”.

William James
William James (Public domain, via Wikipedia)

For my last link, I am taking the easy path, and linking to Henry James’ brother, the philosopher William James and his essay “On some mental effect of the earthquake” (my review).

So, a bit of an unusual chain this month. Despite the fact that several of my links are straightforwardly on authors and titles, all of the works I’ve linked to are nowhere near contemporary, and the last three are short works rather than books. Some of you, though, may have read Chopin’s or James’ stories, at least? I’ll be interested to hear. Meanwhile, it does seem that this month we’ve not roamed far … staying essentially with “New World” authors.

Now, the usual: Have you read Beach Read? And, regardless, what would you link to?

39 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation, FROM Beach read TO …

  1. Degree one will be Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana. He was a college student who took leave from school to give his eyes a chance to improve, and who sailed before the mast to California, then in the late days of Mexican rule. He spent a lot of time landing on beaches, or helping to launch boats through the surf.

    Degree two will be Cape Cod by Thoreau, since he was also a Yankee and Harvard man. Also I think that Cape Cod was where I was first on an ocean beach.

    Degree three will be The Odyssey, for Thoreau quotes Homer a fair bit in Cape Cod. And Poseidon the earth-shaker plays a prominent part, which ties in with William James’s essay.

    Degree four will be Omeros by Derek Walcott.

    Degree five will be Ninety-Two in the Shade by Thomas McGuane, since like Omeros it involves fishing, though sport fishing: its leading characters are guides rather than commercial fishermen.

    Degree six will be The Kingdom of Babylon Shall Not Come Against You by George Garrett, as involving ill living and violence in Florida, resembling in that way Ninety-Two in the Shade, but without fishing. (Actually, I’m not 100% sure this novel is set in Florida, for I don’t have a copy now. The terrain could as easily be southern Georgia. But Garrett was raised in Florida.)

    I have not read Beach read. Of the authors on your list, I have read only William James, and of his work I have read only his lectures on pragmatism and his famous (and entirely futile) essay against the Ph.D.

    • Once again you return to many works I have not heard of – but I do like your reference to William James in The Odyssey! I haven’t heard of George Garrett, Thomas McGuane or Derek Walcott, but I like their titles, particularly Ninety-two in the shade which I wish we had right now in unseasonably cook Canberra!

  2. Hmmm… an interesting and highly original chain! Not read any but that first surprise me seeing as I tend to focus on modern and contemporary writers. I’ve learnt something new from your chain: I hadn’t connected the two James’ before and had no idea they were brothers !

    • Ooh, I do like to surprise Kimbofo … I had a lot of fun with this chain. Tasma to Chopin had a few fits and starts as i thought of going with date but took me a little while to find the right date …

      I’m glad you learnt something too!

    • I’m not surprised, Lisa. They are a bit out there … though many of the authors of course are not! My sim was not really go find obscure works. It’s just what happened when I was chasing links.

  3. Hi Sue, yes usual links, and I like them. I have not read Beach Read. But, I kept with the sand and sea. On the Beach by Neville Shute; Into the Water by Paula Hawkins; Our Wives under the Sea by Julia Armfield; A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende; Lucy by The Sea by Elizabeth Strout; and On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.

    • Thanks Terrie … I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’d know the pseudonyms but I decided that a date might be a fun link from Tasma to land me somewhere different and that one took a bit of research to find something that would link on her birth or death date or the date of publication of her piece. The challenge is that I like to link to something I’ve reviewed and that was tricky for the 19th century!

  4. Definitely an original chain! I haven’t read any of the books, although I have read The varieties of religious experience by William James, Kate Chopin’s short story The Awakening and The Hostelry by Guy de Maupassant.

    • Thanks Margaret. I was hoping some would have read others like you have. I’ve read The awakening too. Great read. I may have read The hostelry too but it’s so long since I’ve read any de Maupassant.

      • I was almost sure I’d read The Necklace, so I went searching for some old books that my mother had given me. And there it was in The World’s Greatest Short Stories. I must have read it in my teens!

        • Very likely Margaret. That’s when I read it … though I’m not sure why. Maybe for school though studying it doesn’t ring a bell. I think it was just because I’ve always liked short stories, and I found them good to read when I was studying in that I could just read a story before bed without getting caught up in a novel which could distract me from my studies!

  5. Like Cathy above, the only author here I’ve read is Henry James. I love how you mixed things up with this chain. I also did a “last name of the author could be a man’s first name” connection on my chain!

    • So you did … I didn’t read that purple end paragraph when I read your post! Why not I wonder? I was on my phone and reading there isn’t easy is my excuse. Anyhow, all I can say is great minds – haha.

  6. It’s surprising how few authors from your part of the world are readily available in ours, which can be quite frustrating. Back in Europe, I hadn’t come across Kate Chopin, so that’s a gap to fill. And it’s an age since I’ve read any de Maupassant or James, so plenty to keep me busy here from this interesting chain.

  7. Very creative links! I don’t think you are “pushing it” – as you say there aren’t really any rules in Six Degrees. I haven’t read any of the books in your chain, but to he honest, that happens regularly with this meme. Part of the fun!

  8. This is quite varied! I hadn’t read Beach Read either but had read her newer book.

    I have also read a couple Mary Grant Bruce books in her Billabong series. I bought them from a lovely minister’s wife in Australia who used to sell me books not available in the US, including those by Mary Scott; do you know her work? I consider her the Betty MacDonald from Down Under.

    I have also read The Awakening, although nothing else by Chopin. And while I have not read anything by William James, I took a class in college that met in a building named for him at Harvard.

    Here is my chain:

    • That’s sort of what I expected this time Mallika – that people would know some of the authors, but not these works which are short stories or essays rather than full books. They are all good reads though!

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