It’s the first Saturday of the month, which means it’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation hosted by Kate of Books are my Favourite and Best. The idea is that Kate chooses a book to use as a starting point and then we have to link it to six other books of our choice to form a chain. A book doesn’t have to be connected to all of the others on the list – only to the one next to it in the chain.
The first book this month is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. For the first time since I started taking part in Six Degrees in January, I haven’t read the starting book in the chain – and I have to confess that I hadn’t even heard of it. It seems that The Beauty Myth was originally published in 1990 and was “the bestselling classic that redefined our view of the relationship between beauty and female identity.” It sounds interesting, but is probably not a book I will ever read.
I struggled for a while trying to decide where to take the chain next, but in the end I went with another book with a ‘beautiful’ title: For the Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser. This is a novel based on Homer’s Iliad, retelling the story from a feminine perspective and focusing on two female characters – Krisayis and Briseis.
It’s the first of three books which form the Golden Apple trilogy, which brings me to my next link: books with an apple connection. I had two to choose from here – one was The Wilding by Maria McCann, about a 17th century cider-maker, but the book I’m going to include in my chain is At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier, the story of a family trying to establish an orchard in the Black Swamp of Ohio.
Another book with an orchard in the title (not one containing apples, though) is The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed. This is a novel set in 1980s Somalia, following the lives of three women as the country heads towards civil war.
In 2013, Nadifa Mohamed was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Also nominated in the same year was Joanna Kavenna, who wrote The Birth of Love, a novel about childbirth and motherhood. This turned out not to be my sort of book, but I think a lot of readers would love it.
Staying on the subject of childbirth, the next link in my chain is to The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich. Set in 16th century Venice and Malta, this is the story of Hannah Levi, a Jewish midwife accused of witchcraft after assisting at a difficult birth.
Venice is a wonderful place to visit and to read about. The book I have chosen to finish my chain is Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. I read it for German Literature Month in 2015 and although I didn’t love the book, I did love the atmospheric descriptions of Venice.
Have you read any of the books in my chain? What did you think of them?
Next month’s chain will begin with Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, another book I haven’t read.