Six Degrees of Separation – 3rd March ’18

Here’s how it works: on the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Kate says: ‘Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge. Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the comments section of each month’s post.   You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees.’

This month’s starting book is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. Click on the book titles to read the description on Goodreads or my review, as appropriate.


Wolf’s ‘beauty myth’ is the obsession she sees with physical perfection that traps the modern woman in ‘an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfil society’s impossible definition of “the flawless beauty”’.  I can’t think of any occupation that defined women more by their appearance than a Las Vegas showgirl, which is the subject of Elizabeth J. Church’s historical novel, All the Beautiful Girls.  In the book, Lily escapes a traumatic upbringing with a dream of finding fame as a dancer in Las Vegas but ends up instead as a showgirl, prized for her beauty and voluptuous figure.

Lily makes her escape from her hometown in Kansas which naturally made me think of another Kansas resident, Dorothy in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.  Unlike Lily, however, Dorothy concludes ‘there’s no place like home’. It may not be home to the Emerald City or be inhabited by munchkins but Australia is often referred to as ‘Oz’.  Lachlan Walter’s novel, The Rain Never Came, immerses the reader in the post-apocalyptic setting of a drought-stricken Australia.

Too much rain is one of the disasters that beset Wang Lung and his family in The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, forcing them to flee to the city in search of food and employment.  However, Wang Lung’s belief that ownership of land is the key to the survival and prosperity of his family never leaves him.  There is a similar theme in Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song, whose heroine, Chris Guthrie, the daughter of a tenant farmer in the fictional estate of Kinraddie in the north-east of Scotland, struggles between her love of the land and her desire to escape the harshness of farming life and seek an education. A notable feature of the landscape in which the book is set is The Standing Stones.

This led me to The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements.  In the book, set in 17th century Yorkshire, a stone circle known as the White Ladies, where macabre happenings are said to have occurred, casts an eerie presence over the inhabitants of Scarcross Hall.

So, commencing with Wolf’s seminal feminist work of literature, we’ve travelled to Las Vegas, Australia, rural China, Scotland and Yorkshire by way of The Land of Oz.

Next month’s starting book is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden



11 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – 3rd March ’18

  1. Great chain – I’m particularly pleased to see Sunset Song on there! I haven’t read any of the others but am tempted to read the Pearl S Buck one day, since I enjoyed her Imperial Woman a couple of years ago. These chains are fatal to the TBR…

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