Kate explains how #6degrees works:
On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.
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 or esoteric 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.Simply put, "Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up!"
I like to think of this as a bookish free association exercise!
We begin with Atonement by Ian McEwan. I read this with an online book group many years ago (anyone remember Yahoo's Book Group List?) This is the book that introduced me to Ian McEwan, an author people seem to either love or hate. I've gone on to read quite a few of his novels and, although Atonement was not one of my favorites, I identify with the "love him" group.
This reminds me of another "gateway" book... Wish You Were here by Stewart O'Nan. One year after the death of her husband, Emily Maxwell gathers her family on Lake Chautauqua in western New York for what will be a last vacation at their summer cottage. I remember reading this book over a rainy Labor Day weekend and enjoying it immensely. I went on to read several other novels by O'Nan including...
Emily, Alone which further chronicles the life of Emily Maxwell. It was a favorite the year I read it (2011) and I recall thinking how unusual and refreshing it was to read a book with an older female protagonist.
Since that time, it seems there have been more and more books featuring women "of a certain age." A few months ago I read Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes. Three American women in the midst of upheavals in the personal lives bond and decide to rent a house in Italy for a year. The year, of course, is transforming. The book is positively sumptuous... the Italian countryside, the food, the art. It was the next best thing to being there!
Another book that transported me to Italy was The Enchanted April by Elizabeth van Arnim. This time a group of English women rent a castle in Portofino for a month. I remember it being dreary and cold here, but the book was like my own Italian vacation. Originally published in 1922, it is one of my favorite classic novels.
I do enjoy classics and am currently working on my second list for The Classics Club. The last one I read was The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. A favorite nearly twenty years ago, James seemed a little more long-winded this time around. (Perhaps I'm growing impatient with age?) The audio version, narrated by Juliet Stevenson, helped pull me through.
I reread James because I wanted the story fresh in my mind before tackling Mrs. Ormond by John Banville. In this novel, a sequel of sorts to The Portrait of a Lady, Banville takes on a Jamesian tone as he imagines Isabel Archer's life after her marriage to Gilbert Osmond. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but honestly don't know why anyone unfamiliar with James' novel would want to read it!
So there you have it... my first #6degrees from Atonement by Ian McEwan to Mrs. Osmond by John Banville. Have you read any of these books?
Click over to Kate's post for links to more #6degrees.