Saturday, December 3, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Snow Child to Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

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 The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, which I have intended to read for ages but never got to.  
First Degree

Well, Eowyn is the best female character in The Lord of the Rings (admittedly, there are few) so my fairly obvious link is the book in which she first appears, The Two Towers.  Can one assume her parents were Tolkien fanatics?
Second Degree

My second link is Towers. Barbara Willard has a wide body of work that includes historical and contemporary novels and I especially liked two books about a close-knit family that owns a motor company. The second book is called The Toppling Towers.  The family reminds me of the Haverards and Kitsons in Elfrida Vipont's books.
Third Degree

Willard is probably best known for the outstanding Mantlemass series, which starts in 1485 with The Lark and the Laurel and continues through the English Civil War. The series begins in 1485: as Henry Tudor becomes king, one of Richard III’s loyal Yorkists leaves his 15-year-old daughter Cecily with his elder sister at Mantlemass in the Sussex countryside before he flees for his life.
Fourth Degree

The link is Richard III. In The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, her detective Alan Grant tries to solve the mystery of who killed the Princes in the Tower, nephews of Richard III. Of course, I think Henry VII did it!  I persuaded my book group to read this once and we had a good discussion.  Half loved it and half could not keep up with the history.
Fifth Degree

The link is time and my fifth book is No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This is a fascinating book that covers the lives of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, focusing particularly on the period between May 10, 1940 and Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945. The title comes from a speech Eleanor Roosevelt made at the Democratic Convention in 1940:
“You must know that this is the time when all good men and women give every bit of service and strength to their country that they have to give. This is the time when it is the United States that we fight for, the domestic policies that we have established as a party that we must believe in, that we must carry forward, and in the world we have a position of great responsibility.

We cannot tell from day to day what may come.
This is no ordinary time. No time for weighing anything except what we can do best for the country as a whole, and that responsibility rests on each and every one of us as individuals.”
Remember, Europe was already at war but there were still Americans who did not think the country should get involved and Pearl Harbor  (which changed most minds) did not take place until 1941.  I really enjoyed this book, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

Sixth Degree

Back in 2011, my book group read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and we were unimpressed by this disingenuous A-Z collection of random thoughts. What was more interesting is that several years ago, right before she died at a relatively young age, she wrote an essay called You may want to marry my husband, which quickly went viral. Now I see her husband has written a memoir about rebuilding his life without her. Memoirs are not my favorite genre by a long shot because I feel there is a certain arrogance in assuming I am interested in their pretentious lives.  Usually, I am not.
I started with a snow child (thank goodness, no snow in Boston as yet) and finished with a sorrowful
 widower.  Have you read any of these? Did you play #6Degrees this month? Next month (January 7, 2023), we’ll start with Beach Read by Emily Henry.


Helen said...

I enjoyed The Daughter of Time and agree with you on Henry VII! I haven't read anything by Barbara Willard but The Lark and the Laurel sounds good.

Davida Chazan (The Chocolate Lady) said...

Nope, not read any of these. But a very lovely chain here.

Nicola Scott said...

Yes I was a bit me about The Daughter of Time. I imagine that if you are really absorbed in the history you would love it more. Fascinated by Barbara Willard.

Marianne said...

There are some great connections there. And you are right, she was named after the character in Lord of the Rings. Since I didn't read that (I'm not into fantasy), I didn't even think about it, so my chain is very different from yours. And I haven't read any of your books but some sound quite interesting. Thanks.

And thanks for visiting my Six Degrees of Separation which took me from The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey to Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Marianne said...

I definitely need to get the last one.