It’s the first Saturday of the month, and that means only one thing: a new #6Degrees of Separation Post! Here’s a recap of the rules:
This month, Annabel and I had a bit of help choosing our title: we put it to some of our lovely meme followers! We decided on the Miles Franklin winner 2014 – Evie Wyld’s All The Birds, Singing. Evie is one of my favourite authors: it’s impossible to read her fiction without an intake of breath. I loved her first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, which was also critically acclaimed. All The Birds, Singing has already won the Miles Franklin Award, the Encore Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, has been shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize, the James Tait Black Prize and the Sky Arts Times Breakthrough Award and longlisted for the Stella Prize and the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction – phew! Go Evie!
Here’s my chain:
All The Birds, Singing/Evie Wyld
This novel is a stunning exploration of the power of running away. Can we ever escape our pasts? The female protagonist exiles herself to a bleak, unnamed island to try and find peace. Jake is a hardy, tough woman, who has spent much of her life working in sheep farming among male counterparts.
The link here is farming. I remember when I first met my father-in-law (who is a sheep and pig farmer) – he professed a love for Thomas Hardy’s poetry. Evie Wyld’s book opens with a vivid description of a dead sheep. The two are somehow linked together in my mind, though they are dark in very different ways.
Animal Farm/George Orwell
Obviously staying on the ‘farming’ angle here: this time I’m jumping to Orwell’s classic allegory of a dysfunctional society. I read this book many years ago: though it’s short, it really packs a punch. The writing style is deceptively simple and the story multi-layered, which allows children as well as adults to enjoy it.
Just this past week, Will Self has written a damning article about Orwell’s writing, calling it ‘supreme mediocrity’. He’s been damned on Twitter for conveniently coming out with a controversial article around publication time of his new novel, which I haven’t read yet but which has been well reviewed.
Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs/Jonathan Self
I’ve recently discovered that Will Self has a less well-known brother, Jonathan Self, who has published a few books: one of which is this guide to dog dieting. He also owns a dog food company, selling healthy dog food. He published a memoir in 2001 called Self Abuse (great title).
Marley and Me/John Grogan
Carrying on the dog theme here: I haven’t read this book, but I know it’s super popular amongst doggy people. I am one, but I’ve never really been a big fan of dog or animal-themed books or films. Especially if they have talking animals (which I don’t think this one does). That’s just weird.
Another classic animal tear-jerker (which I haven’t read). I actually wanted to link to the overly-hyped John Lewis advert of last Christmas in the UK, with the rabbit and the bear, but that’s not a book, so it didn’t make the cut. Most people who’ve read Watership Down find it highly emotional. I think I’ll save it for when we have kids.
Another chain that’s led to a place I never imagined. There’s a bit of an animal theme this month. From Evie’s wonderfully, stunningly written novel about sheep farming, through Will Self’s new novel, Shark, to famous filmic/bookish dogs and rabbits. There’s even a TV advert in there: what more could you ask for?!
Annabel Smith ended up at Joyce Carol Oates’ We Were The Mulvaneys. Let’s see if her chain is as odd…
What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.
Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 4th October and we’ll be starting with 1984 by George Orwell, in celebration of Annabel Smith’s brilliant new dystopian novel, The Ark. See you soon folks!