Friday, November 02, 2018

Six Degrees of Separation: From Vanity Fair to Girl Waits With Gun


Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate of Books Are My Favourite and Best in which our lovely host chooses a book and participants take it from there: creating a chain of books, each connected to the one before. Seeing where we end up is half the fun! 


I have not actually read the starting title for this month's Six Degrees of Separation, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, although I do have a copy on my TBR pile. It has been there quite a while, sad to say. Looking over the synopsis of the novel, about two women from very different sides of the track, I cannot help but think of another novel that has that in common.


Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is about two very different women, one an orphan who makes a living as a petty thief and the other an heiress to a fortune. Fingersmith reads like a classic and is a delicious Gothic novel--one of my all-time favorites.


Although I generally like to stick to books I have read for this meme, I am straying from that with this next one. I have long wanted to read Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman. Admittedly, I had started reading it once, but got distracted by other books and never got back to it. While perhaps not an obvious connection to Fingersmith unless you know something of Nellie Bly's history and what happens in Fingersmith, there is a connection nevertheless. During her career as an investigative journalist, Nellie Bly went undercover in an asylum, her articles about her experience being quite the exposé. And in Fingersmith, one of the characters is forced to go to an asylum.


I did a report on Nellie Bly in sixth grade, and she has since been one of my favorite and most admired historical figures. I know less about Elizabeth Bisland, but I hear she is also a journalist worthy of knowing. Just as these two women had to prove themselves in a field once dominated by men, so did women like Hilda Matheson, a pioneering radio talks producer at the BBC who also served as the first Director of Talks. I had not heard of Ms. Matheson until I read Sarah-Jane Stratford's Radio Girls. While Radio Girls may be fictional, Ms. Matheson was not. She has quite a résumé, in fact.


While on the subject of talk radio, another favorite talk show host comes to mind. This one a bit of a pioneer herself--at least in the world the author has created. Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn brings readers late advice talk show host, Kitty Norville, who provides advice to the supernaturally disadvantaged. The Kitty Norville series was one of my first forays into shapeshifter urban fantasy, and there was no going back (Laurel K. Hamilton and Kelley Armstrong are also to blame).


Author Carrie Vaughn read her favorite children's book, Charlotte's Web by E. B. White, over and over when she was growing up. It was the first book to make her cry, and it affected her deeply. This classic novel  about friendship between a barnyard pig and a spider moved me as well.


While Constance Kopp and her sisters did not live in a barn like Charlotte and Wilbur, they did live on the family farm. They lived a relatively quiet life until a buggy accident changed everything. Amy Stewart's Girl With a Gun takes the real life Kopp sisters in her fictionalized novel about their lives in the early 1900's. Constance was one of the first female sheriff deputies in the U.S.

This month I am all over the place with the types of books chosen. My husband was hoping I would end with Lord of the Flies due to the pig connection, but I could not bring myself to go there. Six Degrees of Separation is such a fun exercise to go through each month. Sometimes it takes a bit of thought, but I love seeing where all I end up!

Have you read any of these titles? What sort of chain do you think you would put together?

Next month (December 1, 2018), we’ll begin with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.


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10 comments:

  1. I've only read Charlotte's Web but I'm sure you've done a terrific job.

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  2. Nice chain! Eighty Days was very good, but my favorite children book is Charlotte's Web. Here is my post: https://wordsandpeace.com/2018/11/03/six-degrees-of-separation-from-fair-to-dining/

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  3. Love this, Wendy! The only one I've read is Charlotte's Web, but I've heard good things about several of them. You had some great covers!

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  4. So fun to see these reading chains! I love how everyone connects the books. Of course now after reading several posts about Vanity Fair I feel like I need to read it!

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  5. It is so much fun seeing all of your connections. I haven't read any of these books but do want to give Kitty Norville a try.

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  6. Funnily enough, Fingersmith has been in my TBR stack for way too long!
    I adore the cover of Radio Girls!

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  7. Good job! I've looked at Radio Girls, it sounds good.

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  8. You've reminded me that I still haven't read Fingersmith, which truly is a modern classic. And I love your invigorating set of connections!

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  9. There's CHARLOTTE'S WEB again :D My 14-month-old granddaughter's name is Charlotte and for Halloween my daughter-in-law dressed her as the spider. Part of her outfit was a cape on which she put "SOME PIG" :D

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  10. Girl Waits with Gun sounds so fascinating! I think its a book my books club would adore... And I was looking for books with two female protagonists but could only think of Truthwitch so went a totally different way. I love that about these chains! ❤

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