IT by Stephen King // Six Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees ITThe idea behind this exercise is to connect books in any way that’s meaningful to you, from the profound to the inane. Although Kevin Bacon is typically behind the six degrees game, books are just a bit more fun. And finally, FINALLY, it’s one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. IT by Stephen King. There are so many places this chain could go.

IT by Stephen King was recently made into a rather fantastic movie (the first of two parts). It starred Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, but the role I primarily know him in is Roman from Hemlock Grove. The next connection is of the visual sort.

Hemlock Grove and Young God by Katherine Faw Morris have similar covers, but completely different styles and genres. Young God is…sparse. To say the least. There’s not quite enough story to support Morris’ debut, but it had the promise of good grit lit, in the vein of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.

Whenever it’s winter, I long for summer, and Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters is one of my favorite “summer” novels. I read it years ago, and the story has stuck with me, similar to Travis Mulhauser’s SweetgirlIt is the story of survival, and to bring this full circle, The Stand by Stephen King is one of my favorite tales of surviving against all odds. I still wonder about Frannie and Stu and wish them well.

I’m slipping this particular post in just under the wire (care to join in?), as it’s almost January and time for a new chain. I’ve got big plans to visit this space more than once every other month. Happy New Year to all!

Wild Swans // Six Degrees of Separation

The idea behind this exercise is to connect books in any way that’s meaningful to you, from the profound to the inane. Although Kevin Bacon is typically behind the six degrees game, books are just a bit more fun. September’s pick is Wild Swans. I thought, finally, a book I’ve read! Only it’s not that Wild Swans… The subtitle is important (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang), clearly.

Wild Swans Six DegreesNaturally that is my first link. Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood is a novel about complicated family dynamics, particularly between mothers and daughters. So that is the connection between my next choice, Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser focuses on teenager Percy and her incredibly irresponsible, often absent mother. It reminds me, in the best possible way, of the television show Justified, which is one of my all time favorites.

Justified is based on, among other Elmore Leonard works, the novella Fire in the Hole, which appears in the short story collection When the Women Come Out to Dance.  Although I dearly love Stephen King, and Bag of Bones is one of my favorites, I found the television adaptation to be absolute shit, not to put too fine a point on it. Pierce Brosnan was the wrong actor to cast to play a young-ish American widower.

When I read that he’d be cast to star in the adaptation of another favorite of mine, The Son by Philipp Meyer, I was nervous. I’ve not had the chance to see it yet, but I hope it’s better than I expect. If I can, I like to end the chain with one I haven’t read, but plan to. In this case, I just downloaded My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (like The Son, I do believe there is a fraught parent-child relationship), which I’ve heard wonderful (and also terrible) things about.

Care to join in? Please do!

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

Isle au Haut

 

  1. I keep waiting to have something meaningful to post about. You can clearly see how that is going for me.
  2. My baby just hit 9 months old. I know everyone says it, but I honestly don’t know how that happened. She might be one before I publish my next post…(I wish I was kidding)
  3. I haven’t been particularly satisfied since returning to work post “maternity leave.” I’m in the process of competing for a new job that would be both terrifying and fantastic. So wish me luck.
  4. I don’t watch much in the way of television, but I am very excited for the return of Outlander. I think it works better as a television series than as a book series (how long are those things?!).
  5. If I do get a new job, I will be using that as an excuse to buy new clothes. Regaining my former shape and size has not been a smooth process. I am working on it though.
  6. We recently returned from a 9 day trip to New England (including Isle au Haut, pictured above) and I still can’t get back in the groove of things (plus school just started again). I feel like I just need a push in the right direction, but there’s no one to give me that push (my husband is incredibly forgiving of my disorganization/need for take-out).
  7. Because I hardly visit this space anymore, I suspect I may see how difficult it is to switch BACK to wordpress.com (as opposed to wordpress.org). Anyone have any tips?
  8. On said vacation, I randomly decided to read out of my normal zone and bought Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. It was fun, but as I read on in the series, I was reminded of exactly why I don’t start with that nonsense in the first place. The final book I read ended on a ridiculous cliffhanger. It’ll be nearly a year before the next one, and will I even remember my interest by that point? Sadly no.
  9. If any of you happen to stumble upon this post/haven’t entirely giving up on me putting a coherent sentence together, what is THE book of the summer? What have I missed?

    Photo found here.

The Slap // Six Degrees of Separation

The SlapWe are now 21 days into the month of May. Chris Cornell has died. Trump is still in office. It snowed, a lot. I wish I could say I have something to offer to cheer you (meaning me) up, but blogging seems a bit like talking into a vast void – and it’s practically my only adult conversation as of late. Because, trust me, talking to library patrons, despite their right to vote and serve in the military, is not the same thing*. Often good, but not the same. So, in lieu of a witty, scintillating post – which I’m honestly not sure I have in me – I offer you a chain of books. Kevin Bacon style. Stephen King makes an appearance, as does Jane Eyre (in passing), I even mention W. Somerset Maugham. What more could you want?!

(Could you possibly want Anne of Green Gables set to Soundgarden and Audioslave? Because I totally did that.)

The month begins with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. I have not read it, but I do enjoy the simplicity of the title. The “noun”. When trying to think of a comparably abrupt title, Brian Doyle’s The Plover came to mind.

The Plover chronicles Declan O’Donnell’s voyage across the Pacific, and while I didn’t love it, it was beautifully written. A novel I did enjoy that also chronicles a man named Declan is Karina Halle’s The Darkhouse, but instead of an ocean voyage, Halle’s Declan chases ghosts.

If we’re discussing novels that attempt to frighten you, it’s not a stretch to jump from The Darkhouse to The Dark Half. The latter is by Stephen King, and one of his more enjoyable works. It’s about a writer – who else? – who cannot escape the darker side of himself, despite his best efforts.

Jane, in Lyndsay Faye’s Jane Steele suffers from much the same issue. No matter how far she runs, or how good she tries to be, she just can’t manage not to murder those who cross her. Murders aside, Jane Steele is a wonderful retelling of Jane Eyre. It’s fun, fresh, with the right amount of levity.

Jennifer McVeigh’s The Fever Tree was not a retelling, but it reminded me – in the best way – of The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham. I enjoyed McVeigh’s writing and have yet to read her new release The Leopard at the Door, but I hope to get to it soon.

Care to join in?

*A patron accidentally cut off limbs to their conifer tree. They wanted advice on how to reattach them.

Room // Six Degrees of Separation

RoomThe movie edition!

The idea behind this exercise is to connect books in any way that’s meaningful to you, from the profound to the inane. Although Kevin Bacon is typically behind the six degrees game, books are just a bit more fun. April’s leading book is Room by Emma Donohue.

Room was adapted into an award winning movie starring Brie Larson. While I’ve not read that particular book, Brie Larson also starred in the fun and dysfunctional The Spectacular Now (which I did read), as the girl who dumped the boy. The boy finds solace in a new girl, played by Shailene Woodley, who refuses to be a feminist because she likes men. Fifty billion eyerolls, if you please.

Woodley also stars in The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings with George Clooney. My favorite Clooney movie is O Brother, Where Art Though?, which is loosely based of The Odyssey by Homer.

Costarring in said favorite Clooney movie is John Turturro, who appears in another one of my personal favorites, The Big Lebowski. That movie is loosely based on the work of Raymond Chandler, who wrote The Big Sleep. Jeff Bridges, who will always be The Dude to me, also appeared in True Grit (by Charles Portis) with Hailee Steinfeld.

And lastly, Ms. Steinfeld appeared in Hateship, Loveship, an adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story.

There you have it, from being locked in a room to a childhood game, in six easy steps, yet none of them literary… Care to join in?

 

Fever Pitch // Six Degrees of Separation

fever pitchBetter late than never should be my new life motto. The idea behind this exercise is to connect books in any way that’s meaningful to you, from the profound to the inane. Although Kevin Bacon is typically behind the six degrees game, books are just a bit more fun.

Fever Pitch is Nick Hornsby’s ode to soccer (or football, depending where you live). Oddly enough, when it was adapted for a film in the US, it was about a fan’s love of the Red Sox. How you get from one to the other, I’m not quite sure, but the love of the Red Sox* inspired the next link.

In Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Trisha, a Red Sox fan, is (nearly) hopelessly lost in the woods. She survives relatively unscathed, but the same can’t be said of the pseudo-outdoorsmen in James Dickey’s Deliverance.

Initially planning on taking a two day canoe trip, the men have a run in with the locals that derails their course. The canoe provides the next link with Love Is a Canoe by Ben Schrank, a lovely novel about the destruction of a marriage. Schrank detailed his play list on Largehearted Boy. One of the characters was said to enjoy Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Everyone knows that CCR’s hit Bad Moon Rising is the official werewolf anthem, but I specifically assigned it to The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. The novel is a literary take on the werewolf genre, so to speak, just as Colson Whitehead’s Zone One is a literary zombie apocalypse novel.

I once called Zone One “fresh, interesting fiction” and recommended The Sisters Brothers for a similar reading experience. I’m standing by that recommendation now and making it my final link. From a love of soccer to a blood soaked western, all in six easy steps. Care to join in?

*Of note, one of the items on my bucket list was the see the Red Sox play in the world series and I did. I watched them absolutely slaughter the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 World Series (though I only attended one game).

Fates and Furies // Six Degrees of Separation

The idea behind this exercise is to connect books in any way that’s meaningful to you, from the profound to the inane. Although Kevin Bacon is typically behind the six degrees game, books are just a bit more fun. Like a few other chains I’ve visited, I too had a hard time figuring out where to start with this month’s prompt. I haven’t read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, though I want to, so I was stumped. In what was probably the world’s tiniest epiphany, I decided to simply link it by the idea of “want to read”.

Fate and Furies Six Degrees

For the purpose of this exercise, I chose the last book I added to my to be read list, which was Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford (based on Kate’s review). Using Mitford as my next link, I thought of John Sandford’s character Neil Mitford (from his long running Lucas Davenport series), who appeared most recently in Extreme Prey. One of the weird things about a Lucas Davenport novel is that it always makes me crave a really good cheeseburger.

If you were to dig through my archives (please don’t), you’d find that the book Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo has the exact same odd effect. Nobody’s Fool was turned into a surprisingly decent movie starring Paul Newman (not as good as the book, of course).

Paul Newman also starred in the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ Message in a Bottle, and while I didn’t particularly care for the book or the movie, Paul Newman is never a bad thing. Message in a Bottle takes place on the North Carolina shore and while it’s certainly not exactly the same, it’s at least similar to Virginia’s coast, which is the setting of The Shore by Sara Taylor.

The Shore has a gritty, Southern Gothic vibe with a fair amount of family drama. In that respect, it is similar to The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock. And with that, I’ve reached the end of my chain!

From Fates and Furies to The Heavenly Table in seven easy steps. Where would you end up? Give it a try.