Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme that was started by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. It is currently hosted by Kate on her booksaremyfavouriteandbest blog, and normally runs on the first Saturday of the month. The main idea of this meme is to form a chain of books by linking something they have in common, kind of like forming a word ladder with common letters, and everyone begins their chains with the same book. Other than that, there are no set rules. You get to make your own!
This month, we are starting with Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. I haven’t read this book, not have a seen the movie. I do know, though, that it is a baseball movie; one that, as a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, I don’t have any interest in seeing considering it would make me relive one of the worst weeks of my life!
But this does lead me to think of another baseball movie, possibly my favorite movie ever! That would be Field of Dreams, based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella. I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone that this is the story of Ray Kinselle, who plowed down his corn to build a baseball field. There is a lot of magic in that field, and it all happens in Iowa!
Another book I read that was set on an Iowa farm is Some Luck by Jane Smiley. This family saga tells the story of a midwestern farming family through about 35 years, beginning in the 1920s. It got some good reviews when it was released a few years ago, but for me it was just an ‘ok’ read.
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler is another family saga that covered several generations that also received some good reviews when it was released. And as with Some Luck, I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about; it was just an ‘ok’ read. And to be honest, having read both I get the story lines confused.
The ‘blue thread’ reminds me of the ‘red string’ important to the story in Diamond Head by Cicily Wong. The red string of fate is a Chinese parable; the string works to bind a couple together when they are predestined to fall in love. This is another family sage, this time following the Leong family, a Chinese family who settle in Hawaii in the early twentieth century. .
While the Leongs weren’t really a Chinese-American family because Hawaii was not yet part of the United States at the time the settled, they do remind me of another Chinese American family. That would be the Wong family featured in Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok. This story is about Charlie Wong, a Chinese-American girl struggling with her identity. She thinks of herself as an American, but her father clings to his Eastern heritage, rejecting Western way. The real struggles begin when Charley takes a job at a dance studio and learns she is a pretty good dancer!
The last book in my chain is also a book about dancing and identity issues, The Girl From the Paradise Ballroom by Alison Love. This is set in the WWII period in London. Antonio is an Italian-born Londoner and an excellent dancer, Even though he considers himself British, he is considered an enemy alien because of his Italian heritage.And there’s my chain; from Fever Pitch to The Girl From the Paradise Ballroom in six moves! Visit the current Six Degrees post on Kate’s blog to link up your chain and see what others have done with Fever Pitch. Next month we will start with Room by Emma Donoghue, another book i’ve not yet read. Come back next month to see what I do with it!