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.
This month we are starting with Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, a book I read before Christmas and enjoyed, although I still need to post my review. It tells the story of a fictional 1970s rock band and is written in a documentary style, in the form of interviews with the band members. Books written in unusual or unconventional styles often don’t work for me, but this one did.
A book written in an unusual, unconventional style that didn’t really work for me was A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (1), which is also about the music industry. Each chapter is different from the one before: a different narrator, a different time period, even a chapter presented as a series of Powerpoint slides – very imaginative, but I found it overwhelming and confusing.
I haven’t tried any other Jennifer Egan books yet, but eventually I will need to read Manhattan Beach for my Walter Scott Prize Project (I’m reading through the shortlists for that prize and Manhattan Beach appears on the 2018 shortlist). I have still only managed to read one book from the 2018 list and that was Sugar Money by Jane Harris (2), a novel set in the Caribbean in the year 1765.
Sugar is the name of the heroine in Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (3). I loved that book, which follows the story of a prostitute’s rise through the ranks of society in Victorian London. Crimson is a shade of red and so is scarlet, which leads me to the next book in my chain…
The classic adventure novel The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (4) is set during the French Revolution. The mysterious and elusive Scarlet Pimpernel is rescuing aristocrats from the guillotine and smuggling them to safety, but who is he and will he ever be caught?
I recently read The Bastille Spy by CS Quinn (5), another French Revolution novel, and couldn’t help noticing the similarities with The Scarlet Pimpernel – something the author definitely intended, as the code name adopted by the spy in the novel is ‘Mouron’, which translates to pimpernel! I will be posting my review of that book soon.
Bringing this month’s chain to an end is another book with the word Spy in the title – the wonderful An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (6), a fictional account of the Dreyfus Affair, a political scandal that caused great controversy in 19th century France. A book I would highly recommend!
And that’s my chain for January. The links included unusual books about the music industry, sugar, shades of red, pimpernels and spies! In February, we will begin with Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, a book I know absolutely nothing about.