Posts Tagged ‘Six Degrees of Separation’

This month’s 6 Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate, begins with a book club read from years ago, of which I remember not a word! I read a synopsis. Still nothing.   However, it appears that the novel, which contains many Mexican recipes, is also an ode to the love of food.  In that case …

… there’s nothing I love more than a German cake, but I always found that baking a German recipe in Scotland never truly worked. Classic German Baking has modified the recipes to American measures and ingredients, and they work perfectly, even on the other side of the Pond.  The crustless baked cheese cake is to die for ….

as is Kafka’s Lemon Drizzle Cake, albeit for completely different reasons!  It is presented in Tom Gauld’s Baking with Kafka.   So too is a Wolf Hall Activity Fun Book, which I would buy in a heartbeat, if ever one were to be produced.

Which brings me to Wolf Hall, surely the finest historical novel and Booker Winner ever (regardless of what happens next Tuesday).  As we know, it concerns Thomas Cromwell and his aiding and abetting, along with the Seymours, of  Henry VIII’s conquest of Anne Boleyn. Predators all, and the Seymour family seat, Wulfhall in Wiltshire,  could not have been more aptly named.

While on the subject of predatory buildings, there’s one in Daniel Kehlmann’s latest novella, You Should Have Left. I won’t say too much here, as I will be reviewing during German Literature Month.  I will say though that one protagonist has to make the ultimate sacrifice to enable others to escape.

Sydney Carton also did a far, far better thing than he had ever done before in Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. The setting of that novel, during the French Revolution, provides the link to the final book in this month’s chain.

Fittingly, for it is the centenary of the Russian Revolution, and that is the subject of China Miéville’s latest and my current read, simply entitled October.


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I’ve had my eye on this game, hosted by Kate, for a while, never quite finding the time to join in until today.  The idea is to freely associate books based upon one common initial link.

1. Today’s starter for 10 is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, with Darcy perhaps the world’s most popular literary crush.  Not mine as it turns out because …

2. Prince Andrej from Tolstoy’s War and Peace is the man for me!

3. Andrej would be Andrew if he lived here in Scotland, and I’m spoilt for choice for the next book with so many Andrews to choose from.  Let’s go with the town, named after the Scottish patron saint, and The Book of St Andrews, an anthology that accompanies me whenever I visit.

4.  What do I think of whenever I think of St Andrews?  The two-mile long beach, the best bookshop in Scotland, or the bottle dungeon in the ruined castle, the horror of which haunts me,  and was so effectively captured in Belcampo’s short story Funeral Rights, contained in the Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories.

5. I can’t mention Dutch Literature without thinking of W F Herman’s The Darkroom of Damocles, my favourite novel of all time. (Note to self – it is time for a reread.)

6. The sword of Damocles is an allusion to the ever-present threats to those in power. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” as King Henry says in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part Two.

7.  Which brings me rather neatly to my current read.  New Boy, the latest release in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, is Tracy Chevalier’s homage to Shakespeare’s Othello, another leader who discovered peril where he least expected it. There is also a circular link back to Pride and Prejudice.  Wasn’t Mr Bingley, once upon a time, the new boy on the block?

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