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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Six Degrees of Separation - From Vanity Fair to Detective Inspector Huss

I'm here with Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. She chooses a book as a starting point and then links to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

The starting book in this month's chain is not one I've read and I'm not really likely to read it (being honest here) - Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray.



I found that Vanity Fair was published in 1848 and it tells the exploits of Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley - one is scheming and one is the pampered child of a rich man who falls into poverty.  Lots of shenanigans and drama.



Connecting to Becky Sharp, I remembered that the protagonist of Witch, written by a favorite author of mine, Barbara Michaels, was reading Vanity Fair in this tale.  Ellen March (that protagonist) mentions getting back to Becky Sharp's adventures.  I have read Witch more than once and enjoyed it each and every time.  It's typical early Michaels - very Gothic romantic suspense.



The next connection is to the name March and Geraldine Brooks' novel by that same name.  This book tells the story of the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.  And it won a Pulitzer Prize.  I liked it well enough, but Mr. March doesn't come across as very agreeable.  It was interesting to think about what might have been going on 'off the page' in the Alcott book.



 Another book by Geraldine Brooks is People of the Book.  I like this one much better than March.  This is the tale of the Sarajevo Haggadah, a very rare and precious Jewish illuminated volume and the journey of this book over the centuries.  It is based on a true story and is very interesting.



Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is also based on a true story, a very tragic one.   Agnes Magnúsdóttir was the last person executed for murder in the country of Iceland.  Her tale is bleak, but somehow beautiful in ways I have a hard time describing.  A debut novel, this author tells of this maid who is accused and convicted of killing her master in the early 1800's.  Our mystery group recently read and discussed this book.



The next connection is Iceland, the country, and the first book in the Sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir crime series.  It's entitled Frozen Assets and written by Quentin Bates.  'Gunna the Cop', as she is known,  is a widow and mother of two teenagers.  In other words, she's busy, mostly dealing with speeding drivers and drunks, but in this book she has to investigate a death.  I've only read this first book in the series, but I want to read more.



Our last connection today is about another woman police officer and mother, Detective Inspector Huss.  This book, written by Helene Tursten, features Irene Huss of the Violent Crime Unit in Göteborg, Sweden.  Dealing with family life and also a police force that is still not comfortable with women officers, DI Huss has her hands full.  First book in a series that now includes eight books.  I haven't read this yet, but definitely plan to make time for it soon.

We come to the end of this month's chain of books.  I've read 5 of the 7, which is not a bad average.  We began in early 19th century England and ended up in 21st century Sweden.  The connections were 'Becky Sharp', the last name 'March', books written by 'Geraldine Brooks', books 'based on a true story', books set in the country of 'Iceland', books with a protagonist that is 'a woman, a mother, and a police officer'.  I'm glad to be back with a 'Six Degrees...' chain and hope to be here in December when the starting book will be appropriately holiday-ish, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

34 comments:

  1. I loved People of the Book, but wasn't that fussed by March, although I always wondered if that was because I tried to read it while on holidays once and just never had the time to concentrate fully on it. I still haven't read Burial Rites, although I have Hannah Kent's second novel is on my bookshelf awaiting its turn to be read.

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    1. I want to read Hannah Kent's second book too. Our mystery group was a bit mixed in their reactions to Burial Rites. It's a sad story.

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  2. I particularly like your first link! Have you read Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders? It's the only one of hers I've really enjoyed.

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    1. Yes, I have read Year of Wonders. It was the first of her books that I read - with a book group. Minette Walters has a book about the plague out this year and I'd like to read that one too.

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  3. Wow, that first connection is awesome! I never would have remembered something like that. I read Vanity Fair years ago, and I don't remember a thing about it!

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    1. Angela, I have 'weird jeopardy memory' for certain things about books. I always did very well when playing Trivial Pursuit. Ha!

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  4. Very clever links and I'll share another one that you probably didn't know you'd made - Geraldine Brooks was Hannah Kent's mentor when she was writing Burial Rites! (I discovered that when I heard Kent talk years ago - https://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/wine-dinner-and-listening-to-the-lovely-hannah-kent/ )

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    1. How wonderful! And thanks for sharing that, Kate. I also heard that Geraldine Brooks was a good friend to Michael Robotham, a crime novel writer. I love his books. I'll take a look at your post - thanks for the link.

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  5. Excellent links. I love reading all of the Six degrees posts. I haven't read any of those (I know I should have read Vanity Fair, but I haven't) but I do like the sound of Frozen Assets. I believe the author translated Ragnar Jónasson's first book, Snow Blind.

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    1. Yes, he did translate Snow Blind. And I don't think you 'should' read anything that you don't want to, Cath! LOL

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  6. Nice chain! I keep wanting to read People of the Book! Here is my post: https://wordsandpeace.com/2018/11/03/six-degrees-of-separation-from-fair-to-dining/

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    1. Thanks, Emma! People of the Book was just one of those books that really suited me when I read it. I'm definitely going to read it again before long.

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  7. Whew! This doesn't seem to be an easy exercise at all! I love reading these posts. I don't want to read Vanity Fair either, but you can watch a couple different versions on Amazon Prime. I saw the Susan Hampshire one many years ago, but that one is not available. I wrote about Frozen Assets here - https://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2012/04/book-notes-on-four-books.html - and mentioned your post about it. Not my favorite, and I haven't gone on to read the others. Bates is also a translator, and I am reading his translation of the second in Ragnar Jonasson's Dark Iceland series. He is the one who was supposed to be at Malice Domestic, but wasn't. Louisa May's father was indeed a disagreeable man. A dreamer who neglected his family. I have read four of the Helene Tursten books. It's been a few years and I should get back to this series.

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    1. Nan, it's not actually all that hard for me. I just sit and let my mind float around and book after book and connections come to me. I enjoy it. Thanks for the info about Vanity Fair, but I don't think so.

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  8. Great links! I loved Burial Rites - one of my favourite books of the last few years. I won't try to encourage you to read Vanity Fair, but if you ever get the chance, look out for the old BBC adaptation starring Natasha Little - it's great fun!

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    1. Ah, another one encouraging me to watch Vanity Fair. Well, maybe, but probably not. I'd rather watch a crime show. LOL

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  9. I have had such fun with this meme the last few months. I haven't read any of the books on your chain, although I am familiar with them all. I really want to give Brooks a try and Witch sounds like something I would like. Have a great weekend, Kay.

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    1. I think you'd like Witch. It was a favorite from way, way back.

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  10. What a great chain! I haven't done Six Degrees for several months, hope I can get back to it soon.

    I do want to read Vanity Fair but the length deters me. But sometime I will. I like the series by Helene Tursten and Quentin Bates; I have read two of each and will continue them.

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    1. Good to know about the Tursten series, Tracy. I have meant to continue the Bates series, but haven't as yet. Think I might have to reread Frozen Assets to remember more about the characters.

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  11. These book chains are so fun!

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  12. I love your chain - some books I've read and some I haven't. I liked March, but loved People of the Book. this has reminded me that I still haven't read Year of Wonders - so many books I want to read ... And I wonder where A Christmas Carol will lead us in December?

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    1. Oh, you should read Year of Wonders. Have you read that new Minette Walters book? I can't remember if it was you or Cath or both?

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  13. I haven't read any of the books in your chain, although I do own two of them (People of the Book and Burial Rites).

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    1. Yes, that happens to me on a lot of these chains - ha!

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  14. Great chain! I've read some of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries, but none of her books written as Barbara Michaels. I'll have to try one. People of the Book sounds like something I would enjoy too.

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    1. I started reading her Barbara Michaels books first, way back when I was in middle school (or junior high as it was known then). I didn't even know about Elizabeth Peters for a while and then my friendly local librarian told me. I love Amelia Peabody!

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  15. I've only read one book by Geraldine Brooks Year of Wonders which I thought was an amazing read - I'm tempted by March even though you didn't rate it so highly. Burial Rites was the book that got me into the sub genre of books inspired by real events and one that still upsets me now...

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    1. Yes, Burial Rites was certainly bleak, but I found it beautiful. You could try March and see what you think.

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  16. Great chain! I haven't read any of these but wouldn't you know it, some of these have become shelf sitters in my collection!

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    1. Yes, I think that's the case with many of us. Ha!

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  17. Very interesting. I really March and did wonder what was going on "off the page"....

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    1. Yes, it was clever of her to think of that story.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!