Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Six Degrees of Separation

I've fancied doing Six Degrees of Separation for a long time, just never got around to it. It's hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best and is a monthly meme.

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.

I decided to try and use books that I've either read or are on my to be read pile.

The chain begins this month with Daisy Jones and the Six, a book I'd neither read nor even heard of. (Good start!)

I gather it charts the rise and fall of a 1970s rock band and centres on a female songwriter connected to them, Daisy Jones. It doesn't sound like a book I'll be rushing to read but I assume young Daisy is an independently minded young woman who went her own way and so is another 'Daisy', one of my favourite characters from the crime genre, Daisy Dalrymple.

Superfluous Women is one of the best in the series as it deals with the serious subject of the two million 'superfluous' women left without any hope of marrying after the carnage of World War One. Three of these women have moved in together in this book and are unfortunate enough to find a body in their cellar. Which is also what ex-Chief Inspector Wexford has to deal with in my next book.

Wexford has retired in The Vault, and is spending quite a lot of time in London. He has his books but it's not quite enough so he walks the streets of the city every day discovering new places and eventually comes across an ex-colleague. The colleague asks him to help solve a case he's on where the remains of three bodies have been found in an underground coal-hole. Also walking the streets of London was author, Mark Mason.

In Walk the Lines the author decides to walk the entire length of the London Undergroud, or 'Tube', but not down there (because... you know... 'dangerous') above ground on the streets, taking in all of the stations. And stations are the main theme of my next book.

I haven't read Station to Station by James Attlee yet but it's on my TBR pile. The author focusses on the London to Bristol railway line and explores what lies around it... various towns, The Thames Valley, many different people with amazing stories. And ghosts. Charles 1, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, Lawrence of Arabia, Diana Dors (!), the spooky list is endless apparently. And it seems the railways are very good hunting (or should that be 'haunting'?) grounds for your average ghost, which leads me to my next book.

The Ghost Now Standing on Platform One edited by Richard Peyton is one of my all-time favourite ghost anthologies. It's full of fictional ghost stories and real life experiences and is beautifully illustrated. A real gem.

Well that was fun! From the first book I moved on to murder in dark undergroud places, to strolling around London, to railway stations and thus to the ghosts that haunt them. Quite a journey! Will definitely have another go at this meme at some stage.

Next month's Six Degrees will start with Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Ackner, another book I've not heard of.



DesLily said...

Ummm,when do you sleep? lol <3

TracyK said...

That is a very interesting chain, Cath. Great connections between books. I plan to get back to Six Degrees of Separation now that I have more time.

I need to read more of the Daisy Dalrymple books. It has been a while.

Marg said...

I am contemplating trying to do one of these. Not sure if I am brave enough to try!

Cath said...

Pat: Sleep is over-rated when there are books to read. LOL! I got so wrapped up in doing this I was still up at 1am fiddling. Had to force myself to go to bed and finish it in the morning. I'm nothing if not obsessive...

Tracy: I had a lot of fun doing it. Not sure if I'll do it every month as it is quite time consuming.

Marg: Have a go. It's taken me a long while to buck up the courage but once I got going it was fine. I looked at what other people had done first too.

Kay said...

You did a good job with this event, Cath! I haven't done one for quite a while, but I found that not 'overthinking' it was better for me. Which is why most of mine were packed with mystery or suspense books. I need to take a look at what the February one will begin with and maybe I'll plan for that.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Cath,

What an excellent series of connections you made between your books, you are definitely obsessive about things when you accept a challenge, and I thought I was bad!

Until I did a double take on the post, I didn't realise this was a monthly challenge, that makes it even more impressive! If circumstances change over the coming months, I might consider stopping by and taking part myself one month, as this is a challenge I quite fancy - a bit like a chain letter with books!

Do you plane to read any of the books you feature, or are they destined to return to the depths of your TBR pile? :)


Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I love this meme - so I'm glad you're doing it too. I'd completely forgotten about Daisy Dalrymple when I made my chain - an excellent choice! Those railway themed books sound good too.

Cath said...

Kay: Thanks. I didn't overthink it either, partly because I don't read literary books so couldn't do the analysis of characters or plot type of comparisons. Mine are mostly crime yarns or travel writing, my favourite reading fodder.

Yvonne: There seems to be quite a few fun memes around at the moment. I have another one in my drafts folder to post in a day or two.

Yes, it's a monthly meme but I think it's one you can do occasionally as the mood strikes though I know some bloggers do it every month. I fancy it's an idea to start a draft post as soon as the last one is done as the host always gives the next book. .

I have actually read all but two of the books. I haven't read the host's start-off book (and probably won't) or Station to Station by James Atlee.

Margaret: I've been threatening to have a go for yonks so as it was the start of a new year I thought, 'It's now or never'. Not sure how I got from pop groups to railways but there you go, all things are possible. LOL

Sam said...

Very cleverly done, Cath. I might try that one sometime because it looks like fun.

I'm curious about the book about the man who walked the route of the Tube system. I can't even imagine how he managed to do that.

That made me think about those long-abandoned stations on the London Tube that were just closed up and left as they were all those years ago...posters on the wall, etc. I always wondered where they were and whether or not anyone ever visited them.

Cath said...

Thanks, Sam. It really was so much fun.

Walk the Line was an excellent read. If memory serves he did it over a year or so and it was quite the arduous undertaking.

Isn't the idea of abandoned undergroud stations fascinating? I've seen a few on documentaries and I have a feeling there's a book about them. Also seem to recall a recent ghost story set in one... I'll check... yes, it's called The Eighth Lamp by Roy Vickers and is in a collection called, Blood on the Tracks, edited by Martin Edwards. (At least I 'think' it was an abandoned station.)

Sam said...

Thanks. I'm going to see if I can find that short story collection.

Cath said...

Sam: Now of course I'm wondering if it was actually an abandoned station or just a creepy one. Regardless, the collection is a good one.

Literary Feline said...

I haven't read any books on your chain, Cath, but all of them sound like books I would like. I really like the direction you went with your chain and the connections you made!

Cath said...

Literary Feline: Thank you. I had such a lot of fun doing it.

Marg said...

I ended up having a go!! It was actually not as hard as I thought it would be!

Cath said...

Marg: And what a good job you did too. I hope you'll do it next month as well. :-)