Old image alert – Kate @Books Are My Favourite & Best now hosts #6Degrees but this is a good refresh of the rules.
Poisonwood Bible is one of those books that had so much hype when it first came that it actually put me off reading it. I still haven’t gone there. Perhaps I will change my mind after reading your responses?
Which leads me nicely to another over-hyped, over-anticiapated book that I never read – Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The first page just made me want to puke!
So it was with great trepidation that I picked up Gilbert’s novel, The Signature of All Things a few years ago. Yes, it was historical fiction, one of my favourite genres, but it was by the same person who wrote Eat Pray Love!
Could I go really there?
Yes I did!
And I’m so glad I did.
I learnt that a writer can be two very different people – as someone who writes historical fiction Gilbert was fabulous, but as a writer of biography/memoir, she’s not my cup of tea at all.
I had a similar experience with one of my favourite Australian writers recently.
Alex Miller has written some wonderful contemporary and historical fiction stories, but his recent fictionalised memoir ended up by a big, fat DNF!
The Passage of Love did not work for me at all.
A fictionalised memoir/biography that I did enjoy, although it attracted a lot of controversy at the time is, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner.
Stegner not only fictionalised his own history, he also merged it into a fictionalised account of the life and times of Mary Hallock Foote. The controversy lay in Stegner’s failure to properly chronicle what was fact and what was fiction and whether or not he had permission to use Foote’s diaries and letters as he did.
Despite this act of literary dishonesty, I have found the memory of Mary’s engaging story lingering long after I finished it.
A much happier mix of fact and fiction is Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.
I ended up reading all of Tan’s book on the strength of this wonderful book.
I love her mix of modern American life and historical fiction set in China.
And I love her women.
The mother/daughter dynamic was explored in all of her books and obviously reflected and helped her process her own internal journey.
Which brings me to Lily Brett and Too Many Men.
Brett’s books spend a lot of time exploring the father/daughter relationship.
There’s a lot to process.
Her parents are survivors of the Holocaust who immigrated to Australia after the war.
This was a beautiful, moving, tender yet funny story that made me cry.
Not many books do that.
It’s a gem.
My #6degrees chain began with books that I don’t like very much, if not at all and ended with some of my all-time favourites – a much nicer place to be.
How did you fare this month?