Saturday, September 4, 2021

Six Degrees of Separation — from Second Place to H is for Hawk

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is Second Place by Rachel Cusk, a new book about an obsession with a famous painter. It is hard to tell where this book it set – the author leaves it vague, although it is inspired by a story that takes place in Taos, New Mexico.
First Degree


I was reminded of another book about obsession and art recommended by my mother which I enjoyed years ago, The Caravaggio Obsession by Oliver Banks (1984), set in NY and Rome, part of a two-book mystery series. The main character is a private investigator for the art world.
Second Degree

Another book about an art expert in Italy is The Masks of Rome by Caroline Llewellyn, written in the style of my beloved Mary Stewart.
Third Degree

Masks reminded me of The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman, a historical novel set in 17th century Restoration London (I have been trying to find a reasonably priced copy that isn’t an ebook). A vizard (also spelled visard) is an oval mask of black velvet, worn by traveling women in the 16th century to protect their skin from sunburn.
Fourth Degree

In contrast to the historical fiction I enjoy is Sunburn by Laura Lippman (2018), a very dark novel of psychological suspense and obsession. You should know that Lippman is a Betsy-Tacy and Beany Malone fan.
Fifth Degree

Sunburn was inspired by the noir classics of the past, and I just read the uber-noir book, The Maltese Falcon, last week. Except for Humphrey Bogart, I didn’t really see the appeal, she admitted, somewhat shamefaced.
Sixth Degree

The sought-after falcon figurine reminded me of another book about obsession my book group read several years ago, H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. It was a very interesting read and I liked parts of it but it certainly ruined my impression of T.H. White
Next month’s selection is The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, which I just read with my Lawyers Book Group.  See you on October 2, or stick with me if you want to travel to France.

Where did your chain take you this month? Please share!

7 comments:

Lex @ Lexlingua said...

This was such an amazing chain! Especially those last links with Bogart, H is for Hawk and Maltese Falcon! :D I haven't read Vizard Mask, but I think Norman also wrote as Ariana Franklin, and I really liked her Mistress of the Art of Death. And Masks of Rome looks like something right up my alley, so I'm going to check that out, thank you~

Davida Chazan (The Chocolate Lady) said...

Great chain... very artsy!

Lisa of Hopewell said...

Very interesting. I certainly agree with you on H is for Hawk and TH WHite.

Mary said...

What a great chain! I'll be checking out Masks of Rome, as I also love Mary Steward. And I also loved Lipmann's Sunburn.

Kate @ booksaremyfavouriteandbest said...

I haven't read any in your chain (although have the Lippman and the MacDonald in my reading stack)but I am intrigued by your 'lawyers book group' and can't wait to hear the verdict on The Lottery (why did the group choose it?!).

TracyK said...

This is a very good chain, with interesting hops to related subjects. The first two you added were very interesting, new to me. I need to read more by Laura Lippman. Have you read any of the Tess Monaghan series?

Cath said...

Have a good time in France, Constance!

The Vizard Mask is excellent, I hope you manage to find a copy. It's not an easy book to find. The book that appeals to me from your list is The Carravagio Obsession, will go and look that up.