Monday 6 April 2020

Six Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Books are my Favourite and Best.

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.

This month's chain begins with Stasiland by Anna Funder.

This is a book about the former East Germany, a country that was a communist state from the mid 1940s until 1991. The stories of people who lived there during its existance and what happened when the wall came down are recounted in it. I haven't read it but would actually be interested in doing so.

East Germany also features in a book I've just finished.

Outsider: My Life in Intrigue by Frederick Forsyth is not exactly an autobiography of the famous author, more a series of essays about things that happened to him. And one thing that happened is that he was sent to East Germany as a journalist in the mid 1960s, which was of course at the height of The Cold War. It was fascinating.

One of the fictional books Frederick Forsyth wrote is The Odessa File.

This one involves the search for the overseer of a Nazi concentration camp who, it's believed, is alive and prospering in 1960s Germany. I haven't read this but bought it recently for my Kindle.

Also about Germany and the war is Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd.

This book charts how people visiting and holidaying in Germany in the 1930s experienced the rise of Nazism. I found it absolutely fascinating and it was one of my favourite books of 2018.

Another book with 'Travellers' in its title is The Virago Book of Women Travellers edited by Mary Morris and Larry O'Connor.

I can see from my review that I thought this was a brilliant volume of travel stories by women travellers. One of the writers included is Amelia Edwards, a Victorian lady, who started travelling in her forties. The book includes an exerpt from her book, Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys.

I read this in the same year as the previous book and found a wonderful account of her walks in the mountains of The Italian Dolomites and Austrian Tyrol during the 1870s. I'm reminded that I planned to search out the book she wrote about travelling up the Nile.

So my journey this month has taken me from East Germany to er... Germany with a brief foray across the border into the Italian and Austrian Alps. Not a huge journey in miles this time, but a bit further if you look at 'years', covering a timespan of 100 years or more. Tumultuous years at that...

Next month's Six Degrees will begin with The Road by Cormac McCarthy.



Caroline said...

What an interesting chain of connections and very refreshing in these static times. Thank you. And second your high opinion of Julia Boyd's 'Travellers in the Third Reich' which I found utterly compelling - from the smallest personal details to the broadest political and historical themes.

Marg said...

I like the look of that Women Travellers book! Sounds fascinating.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Cath,

Now that I have the time to take part in some of these smaller bite sized challenges, I find that I simply don't have the concentration or motivation to do so!

Which is really annoying when I have at least two thousand physical books sat here just longing to be linked up! Perhaps I'll have a look around later and try to prepare something for next month :)

I have also been following another similar challenge called 'book spine poetry', which seems to be quite popular. I see it has been around for ages, so that just shows how observant I am!!

I like the sound of 'Book Of Women Travellers'. It reminds me of a Victorian lady called Marianne North, who travelled to far flung places, recording her journeys in botanical art form.

Anyway, enough of my ranting.

I hope you are both staying safe and sound :)


DesLily said...

You sure have many types of books that interest you! (Don't forget the Lady in White!) lol

Sam said...

Cleverly done, Cath. I enjoy this particular meme and I'm tempted to give it a try.

The fun part for me is going back to take a look at the first book and the last book in the chain and imaging the unlikelihood that they would ever have been connected. Plus, it's a nice look at some books that are entirely new to me.

Stay well.

Lark said...

I love the way books can link together like this. :)

Nan said...

I loved this! I have Stasiland, and am very interested in that awful period especially because of a movie and a television episode. The movie was The Lives of Others, and the episode was on Inspector Lewis - Music to Die For.

Cath said...

Caroline: It's my pleasure. Yes, Travellers in the Third Reich was just excellent. So much in it that was surprising, verging on shocking.

Marg: The Virago Book of Women Travellers was an excellent anthology, I can highly recommend it.

Yvonne: I don't think there's any hurry to do these memes. I rather fancy we're in this for the long haul and that the beginning of May will see many of us still in lockdown.

Ah yes, Marianne North, I saw her paintings on a doc. I watched several years ago. I thought they were absolutely stunning.

Yes, thank you, we're ok. Ventured out to shop at our local little M&S today. First time out in over 2 weeks. I don't mind this slower pace of life at all, it would be fine if it weren't for this terrible virus endangering us all. How are you doing?

Pat: No, I haven't forgotten The Woman in White, it's on the coffee table pile for this month.

Sam: It would be great if you would have a go, it's a good exercise for the brain, thinking of the connections. And fun too of course.

You stay safe as well, difficult times.

Lark: It's endlessly fascinating isn't it?

Nan: I might get hold of a copy of Stasiland, the Frederick Forsyth book piqued my interest in that period and country. I don't remember that Lewis episode, will have to look that up. Hope all is well with you?

TracyK said...

I missed this one when you posted it. I keep thinking I will get around to reading Forsyth, but I haven't done it yet. All the travel books sound good. My husband likes travel books and used to read a lot of them and still has a lot of them on his shelves.

Cath said...

Tracy: So much posting going on at the moment... which is lovely... but I'm missing stuff too and struggling to keep up.

I now have The Odessa File by Forsyth on my Kindle so will report back on that when I've read it. My husband has read a lot of his and says they're excellent. It seems you and your husband and me and mine share a lot of similar reading interests.