Six Degrees of Separation: From Memoirs of a Geisha to A Tale of Two Cities

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 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I have never read it, but I know it is set in Japan.

Thinking about other books I’ve read that are also set in Japan, the first one to come to mind is Shogun by James Clavell, but I prefer to only link to books that I have actually reviewed on my blog. My next choice, then, is The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer. I really enjoyed this novel about Atsu, wife of the Shogun Tokugawa Iesada.

The Shogun’s Queen was part of a quartet of novels, although I still haven’t read the other three in the series. Another quartet of novels I have started (but not finished) is Johan Theorin’s Öland Quartet, which begins with Echoes from the Dead.

These four crime novels are all set on the Swedish island of Öland, which is a very atmospheric setting, and each book takes place in a different season. The other two I have read are The Darkest Room and The Quarry. I don’t often read Scandinavian crime fiction, but apart from the Theorin books, another that I enjoyed was Burned by Norwegian author Thomas Enger.

The main character in Burned, Henning Juul, is a journalist. Journalism makes me think of a book I read recently and loved – Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce, about a young woman who dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent but finds herself typing up letters for the problem page instead.

For my next link, I thought of other books I’ve read with ‘bird’ in the title and decided on Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore. This was Dunmore’s last novel before her death and although the story is set in England, the French Revolution is played out in the background.

I have read quite a few novels about the French Revolution so I had plenty of options for the last book in my chain. The one I’m going to choose is A Tale of Two Cities, which, so far, is my favourite Charles Dickens novel.

So, that’s my chain for this month! From Japan to France via Sweden, Norway and England. Have you read any of these books?

Next month, the starting point will be The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, yet another book I haven’t read!

26 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From Memoirs of a Geisha to A Tale of Two Cities

  1. Kay says:

    Loved your connections and chain. I’ve only read the first book, but I’m happy to learn of a new crime quartet. For me, it’s usually about the crime novels. And I recently read good things about Dear Mrs. Bird. Can’t wait to try that one. Great job!

    • Helen says:

      Dear Mrs Bird is a lovely book! I don’t read a lot of contemporary crime, but I did really enjoy those three Johan Theorin books and am not sure why I still haven’t read the fourth.

  2. Margaret says:

    Great chain – I’ve read just two of these books, Birdcage Walk and A Tale of Two Cities, one of my favourite Charles Dickens’ books too. I haven’t read much Scandinavian crime fiction – can’t think of any Norwegian books, so good to have that recommendation.

    • Helen says:

      I loved A Tale of Two Cities. It felt a bit different from Dickens’ other books, I thought. I hardly ever read Scandinavian crime, but I did enjoy the two books I’ve mentioned in my chain.

  3. Calmgrove says:

    I’ve only read the Dickens novel, but am attracted to the Helen Dunmore and ‘Dear Mrs Bird’. As the former is set in my ex-hometown (I know Birdcage Walk only too well, having lived for a while in Clifton) I’ve had my eye on it for some time; but your review of the latter has already predisposed me to considering that too! 🙂

    • Helen says:

      I enjoyed the Helen Dunmore novel, although it isn’t my favourite of her books. I’m sure you would find it interesting with your knowledge of the area.

  4. Judy Krueger says:

    I love this meme! And you do it so well. Memoirs of a Geisha is really good! So is The Poisonwood Bible. I started A Tale of Two Cities back when I had finished reading The Glass-Blowers by du Maurier but I did not get far. Time for another stab at that one.

  5. Brona says:

    I didn’t realise that Dunmore’s last book had a French Revolution link – I’m more interested now, even though everyone says it wasn’t her best work….

    • Helen says:

      The French Revolution isn’t a huge part of the story, but it is happening in the background. I enjoyed it, although I preferred her previous book, Exposure.

  6. Kate W says:

    Have heard such lovely things about Dear Mrs Bird… and Helen Dunmore has been on my ‘must get around to reading some…’ list for years! I really must read some Dunmore…

  7. Yvonne says:

    I’m looking forward to reading Mrs. Bird. A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favourite Dickens novels. I love the covers of those Wordsworth Classics

    • Helen says:

      I have quite a few of the Wordsworth books, although I prefer Oxford World’s Classics because of the notes and other material they include. I haven’t read all of Dickens yet, but A Tale of Two Cities is definitely my favourite so far.

  8. Sandra says:

    I’m playing catch up on the chains this month: I was completely caught out by the date and have avoided reading anybody’s chain until I’d at least decided on my own choices of books. I just need to write the post now!

    Love your chain, Helen – crime fiction and Paris featured in Margaret’s chain too (having come straight from hers to yours) – yet the chain starts with Japan! It’s fascinating how widely everyone ‘travels’ when making their links. I am wanting to read Birdcage Walk and Dear Mrs Bird – in part through reading your reviews of them. And one day I shall get to A Tale of Two Cities. It may take me a while!

    • Helen says:

      I’ll look forward to reading your chain when you post it, Sandra. I enjoyed Birdcage Walk and Dear Mrs Bird and would recommend both, especially the latter – it’s such a lovely book. A Tale of Two Cities is great too. I thought it had a different feel from the other Dickens novels I’ve read and it’s the only one that made me cry!

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