Six Degrees of Separation – from Sorrow and Bliss to Wild Game

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 Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason. I absolutely loved this book – the challenging character of Martha, the humour, the serious elements of the story. It links me to another perfect novel with an imperfect heroineEmma by Jane Austen (settle down – I’m not really putting Mason and Austen in the same category!).

I have recently finished The Jane Austen Remedy by Ruth Wilson – it’s essentially Wilson’s account of her reading history and her re-reading of all of Austen’s books.

The Jane Austen Remedy is filled with references to other books, but one that surprised me was Herman Melville’s novella, Billy Budd, and the fact that the libretto of the opera by the same name was written by author E. M. Forster – how did I not know this?! (I’ve seen the opera, which incidentally is composed by Benjamin Britten).

Next link is to Damon Galgut’s fictionalised account of E. M. Forster’s life, Arctic Summer.

Wednesday was the first day of the popular 20 Books of Summer reading challenge. Of course, it’s winter in Australia and the first day of the challenge in Melbourne was arctic (9°). I kicked off the challenge with Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick.

Gornick’s memoir describes her troubled relationship with her mother. I could link to dozens of books using ‘troubled mother/daughter’ relationships as the criteria, but the one that stands out is Adrienne Brodeur’s absolutely crazy memoir, Wild Game.

Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (July 2, 2022), we’ll start with Wintering by Katherine May.

25 responses

  1. Oh great chain Kate… I nearly went with an Austen as my first link too, but on titles with opposing concept like “Sense and sensibility”. I haven’t read Mason yet but I gave one of her books – this one I think – to my son’s partner and she read it and has read another of hers. (I might have given her another one, actually, and then she read this!)

    Anyhow, a few books here interest me, including Damon Galgut’s Arctic summer. Intriguing.

    Re Billy Budd. It’s interesting how many novelists also write librettos/song cycles e – like Malouf, Goldsworthy, Featherstone and other Aussies.

    Anyhow, here is my chain:

    • I have Mason’s other books but not read them yet – they seem a little more ‘light weight’ than Sorrow & Bliss, but perhaps that’s an unfair judgement!

      I wasn’t a fan of the Galgut but I’m in the minority I think.

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  5. The only one of yours I’ve read is Emma. I’d like to read Billy Budd. I know the opera but, like you, didn’t know the librettist was E M Forster. I’d also like to read Arctic Summer.

    I’ve linked Women’s Prize Almost-Wons together in my chain, which also has troubled parent-child relationships in it, along with women trying to make sense of who they are and a bunch of dysfunctional marriages.

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