Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked 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. This month’s Six Degrees begins with Steve Martin’s Shopgirl.
- I haven’t read Shopgirl so my first link is to another book with the word ‘shop’ in the title –
- The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens, a book full of weird, grotesque and comic characters, a mix of everyday people and characters of fantasy. It has elements of folklore and myth, as Nell and her grandfather, go on an epic journey, fleeing from the terrifying dwarf, Daniel Quilp and travelling through a variety of scenes, meeting different groups of people on their journey.
- Also full of eccentric and quirky characters is The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas, an intriguing mystery beginning with the death of an old woman, killed with breadcrumbs, then a car is burnt out with someone inside, and a pigeon is found with its legs tied together so it can’t fly. The main plot is based on medieval myths and legends: the ghostly army that gallops along the Chemin de Bonneval, led by the terrifying Lord Hellequin.
- Fred is the pseudonym of the French historian, archaeologist and writer Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau. A J Mackenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, an Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife team of writers and historians. Their book, The Body in the Ice is historical crime fiction set in Romney Marsh in 1796-7. One of the characters is Cordelia is a gothic novelist, who gave a young Jane Austen writing tips, which leads to my next link,
- which is Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, a parody of the Gothic novels of her day and a love story about Catherine Morland, a naive and impressionable 17 year-old, whose imagination has been filled with visions of diabolical villains and swooning heroines from those Gothic novels.
- Another author named Jane is Jane Casey, the author of the Maeve Kerrigan series. The Burning by the first in that series. Maeve is on the murder task force investigating the case of the serial killer the media call The Burning Man. Jane Casey is an Irish author.
- This links to another Irish author Deirdre Madden, whose book Molly Fox’s Birthday is a novel about identity as well as family and friendship, about how we see other people and how they see us.
My chain has gone from Los Angeles to Normandy, Romney Marsh, London and Dublin, from contemporary books to to murder mysteries and the classics.
Where will other chains lead, I wonder?