It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up.
This month we begin with How to do Nothing by Jenny Odell (a book that many readers may not have come across, although Odell is ‘appearing’ at the Melbourne Writers Festival this month). I have started reading How To Do Nothing – the sentiments Odell is promoting are similar to those Julia Baird reflects on in her memoir/essay collection, Phosphorescence – both authors go further than the concept of ‘mindfulness’, and speak to the intrinsic value of time and nature.
I am halfway through another memoir/essay collection by an Australian author – The Details by Tegan Bennett Daylight. In her book about ‘love, death and reading’, Daylight devotes a chapter to Helen Garner’s ‘classic’ novel, Monkey Grip.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Monkey Grip, although deeply admired the scenes at the swimming pool – Garner’s words around the heat, the water, and the other swimmers are stunning. I have a bunch of books about swimming in my TBR stack, one of which is The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch.
Yuknavitch is described as a ‘lifelong swimmer and artist’ – Leanne Shapton fits the same description, and her memoir, Swimming Studies, is a book that I think about frequently, primarily because of the inclusion of her simple watercolours of pools.
Am I obsessing over pools and swimming? Yes! Swimming is the thing that I have missed most in lockdown and I’ve never gone six months without a dip in the sea or chlorinated water. So I’m finishing with a title that is poignantly relevant – The Memory Pool by Therese Spruhan (it’s a collection of Australian stories about summer, sun and swimming).
I started with ‘doing nothing’ and moved straight to swimming. Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.
Next month (September 5, 2020), we’ll begin with Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest novel, Rodham.