Monday, October 02, 2006

Six Degrees of Booking ... or Seven

Six Degrees of Booking is a game that I first heard about through Mary at Life, the Universe and Everything. Mary heard about it at Booking Through Thursday. There is a current round being played, so if you'd like to play along simply leave a comment here with your own list or tell us where to find your Six Degrees of Booking.

To play, simply connect any six books that you have read. The connections can be personal to you or drawn from the book or authors. I have started with the book I'm currently reading.

  1. Cloud's Rider by C.J. Cherryh. This book is part of a set of two that begins with Rider at the Gate. Humans have colonized a small piece of a distant planet where the native fauna are telepathic. This telepathy creates a constant state of tension and agitation as the animals both receive and send the thoughts and emotions of the humans. The author's ability to portray this mental landscape and transmit its tension and agitation to the reader is an astounding bit of writing. Another writer who has used this tension building device that places the reader into quite a disturbed mental "state" is Fyodor Dostoyevsky in The Idiot.

  2. There is a lengthy passage in Dostoyevsky's The Idiot that slowly increases the mental agitation of the reader, though you may not realize it until you find your brain falling apart at the climax of the passage. What you, the reader, might not realize until the end of the passage is that you are being taken on a disturbing inner journey that concludes with the character's epileptic seizure.

  3. While some journeys focus on the interior landscape, William Least Heat-Moon takes you on a journey of the back roads of the United States. These small highways show up on older highway maps as blue lines, hence the title of his book Blue Highways. The author has just suffered the loss of both his job and his wife and sets off on a journey to "meet life" and in the process writes some pretty amazing literary portraits of average Americans. While Heat-Moon's Blue Highways is an ode to the back roads of America and it's ordinary citizens, ...

  4. ... Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire is an ode (of sorts) to the canyonlands of America's deserts. If one can get past Abbey's rants against the United States government, the reader is rewarded with loving and beautiful descriptions of a place that is slowly being lost to commercial interests. The sense of a time and place slipping away can also be found in ...

  5. ... Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Golden's first novel portrays a now-vanished way of life in Japan of the 1930s and 40s.

  6. The Japan of the 1930s and 40s found in Memoirs of a Geisha is quite different from the Japan of the late 1960s and early 70s depicted in Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Norwegian Wood is a bittersweet coming of age story about a young man at university in the Japan of 1969-70.

  7. Another coming of age novel is The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue. In The Stolen Child, Donohue takes us through the poignant task of leaving our identity as a child behind and learning to live as our adult self. This story cleverly uses the myth of the changeling to accomplish the task of showing how we are both one and other to our child and adult selves.

POSTSCRIPT: This last book very neatly takes me back to the top of my list with Rider at the Gate and Cloud's Rider. This set also happens to be a coming of age story and a story of being both one and other via the telepathic connection. I didn't intend to make a circle here, but it conveniently worked out that way.

POST POSTSCRIPT: After posting this, I realized that I made a list of seven rather than six. So you get a freebie on this run!

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