Friday, March 01, 2019

Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist to The Girls of Atomic City


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 read Chloe Hooper's The Arsonist, a nonfiction book about Black Saturday, the February day in 2009 when an arsonist set two fires in Victoria, Australia. The fires would claim the lives of 173 people, not to mention the loss of animals, and structures, including entire towns.


Living in California, I know all too well the devastation wildfires can cause, not only in the moment, but in the aftermath. The first book that came to mind related to The Arsonist, is Catherine McKenzie's Smoke which features an arson investigator, once firefighter, who finds herself and her community in the middle of a massive wildfire, set in Colorado. Meanwhile, her friend worries that her son might be the one who set the fire.


A booklover's nightmare would surely include a massive fire in a library, and that is exactly what happens in The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman, as my favorite librarian takes on the Library's biggest enemy yet. This is the 3rd book in the Invisible Library series, which really should be read in order.


Or what of an infectious disease that causes bodies to spontaneously combust? The fear is real in The Fireman by Joe Hill, as society panics as the pandemic spread, and those infected search for places to hide and survive.


Just as people were ostracized and persecuted in The Fireman, a fear of leprosy resulted in people being sent to an isolated island, where they are sent to die. Only, life continued and they found ways to survive, including Rachel Kalama who was torn apart from her family and sent to live on the island at the age of seven in Richard Brennert's Moloka'i.


Another boy, separated from his family and forced to live in isolation, is Jim, in Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard. Jim had been living in Shanghai with his parents when World War II broke out, but finds himself sent to a prisoner of war camp, doing what he can to survive.


One of the most memorable and devastatingly sad scenes in both the book and movie version of Empire of the Sun is when the sky lights up and a huge mushroom cloud can be seen rising in the distance. Before that moment, however, quite a few people unknowingly had a hand in putting together that ultimate bomb which would cause so much destruction. Women from all over settled in Oak Ridge Tennessee to work on the unknown project, grateful for the work. All they knew is that they were part of the effort to end the war. And with that, we end with The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II  by Denise Kiernan .



I would like to have carried the fire theme through all the books, but my musings took me in a different direction. I have read all but the starting book, The Arsonist, which does sound like it will be an interesting read. Thanks to Kate, it has made it onto my wish list. As before, I had such fun creating this list!

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


Next month (April 6, 2019), the starting book will be How to Be Both by Ali Smith. I hope you will play along!



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15 comments:

  1. A very interesting chain of books! The only one I had heard of was Empire of the Sun, although I think I've only seen the film - is the book worth reading as well?

    My chain is here: https://www.melindatognini.com.au/6-degrees-of-separation-the-arsonist/

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  2. I must get my hands on The Girls of Atomic City, it sounds fascinating.

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  3. The only book in this chain that I've read is Girls of the Atomic City - although The Burning Page is definitely on my TBR list!

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  4. I was tempted to carry the fire theme throughout the chain but in the end decided to include just two that featured fire and one of those had a library that was burned down. The only one of yours I've read is Empire of the Sun which I thought was so good. I must look out for the Invisible Library series!

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  5. It's always fun to see where you start and where you end up with this.

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  6. I haven't read any, but I love your smart links! My chain is here, with some unusual result: https://wordsandpeace.com/2019/03/02/six-degrees-of-separation-from-hooper-to-hooper/

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  7. I also used arson as the first link, but then my chain went in a different direction.

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  8. So fun to see these connections. I would love to read The Fireman by Joe Hill. I've read a couple of his books and thought they were perfectly spooky!

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  9. That's a great variety of books, Wendy. The only book I've read is The Fireman and boy, what a chunkster but I'm glad I read it in the end. :)

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  10. Such an interesting chain, particularly your last choice.

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  11. I love your chain for its variety of genres; you've got contemporary fiction, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, and history in that list. I have yet to read any of these, but The Girls of Atomic City and the Invisible Library series are on my to-read list. (I've already read The Invisible Library, but not the subsequent books in the series.)

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  12. Good work! I really enjoyed Girls of Atomic City. Now, though, I have "Joe Hill" lodged in my brain--this version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX7M9psH0rM

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  13. What a cool post idea. I've not read any of these yet, but three of them are on my TBR. I've been wanting to read The Invisible Library series for ages.

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  14. have never read Empire of the Sun but I lived the movie! The Invisible Library is already on my TBR and now I'm adding the The Girls of Atomic City! Sounds so good!

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  15. I got distracted by the covers and completely forgot what was happening! I haven't read any of the ones you mentioned but there are so many I want to read. The Invisible Library is going to get read this year and I really want to read The Girls of Atomic City. Oh and Smoke! Love seeing how you linked them all up.

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