May 2, 2020
#6Degrees of Separation: From The Road by Cormac McCarthy to…
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#6Degrees of Separation: from The Road by Cormac McCarthy to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.
#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and a recent post by Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!
Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:
- Link the books together in any way you like.
- Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
- Share these rules in your post.
- Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
- Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
- Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
- Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.
This month’s prompt starts with The Road by Cormac McCarthy….
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a book I have not heard about even though it has won a Pulitzer Prize. Post-apocalyptic is not my preferred genre, so it’s not a surprise that it wasn’t on my radar. Because I don’t read in this genre, my chain will consist of books that include a road journey.
Amazon Summary: “A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.”
First Degree. From the summary of The Road, I notice that a father and son (sustained by love) are journeying along a road toward a better future. This reminds me of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins in which a mother and son embark on a treacherous journey to America in search of a new beginning.
My Summary: “Lydia, her journalist husband, and their young son live a comfortable, middle-class life in Acapulco, Mexico. Lydia and her husband are following their dreams: Lydia owns a bookshop while her husband writes investigative pieces that expose gang crime in the area. One day Lydia unknowingly befriends a charming bookshop customer who turns out to be the head of the newest drug cartel that has taken over the city. Her friendship with Javier sets in motion a tragic sequence of events that force Lydia and her eight-year-old son to flee for their lives as they undertake a journey by foot and rail to America.” My American Dirt review.
Second Degree: Another story involving a journey is The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. Here, Nuri and his wife, Afra, flee war-ravaged Syria in search of a safer life.
My Summary: “A compelling story of love, loss, hope, and compassion…Nuri, a beekeeper, and his wife Afra, an artist, live happily with their son in beautiful Aleppo. They enjoy a quiet and peaceful life and value the friendship of close friends and extended family. Suddenly, their lives are turned upside down by war and, out of desperation, they make a decision to flee Syria. What Afra has experienced and seen causes her to go blind, complicating their journey through Turkey and Greece to get to Britain. On this risky and uncertain journey, they must learn to survive in unpredictable situations, to deal with their loss, to trust each other, to depend on the kindness and compassion of strangers, and to keep their hope alive. My Beekeeper of Aleppo review.
Third Degree: The next book to involve a journey is The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate. In dual timelines, the 1875 timeline follows three girls on a harrowing journey to Texas in search of an inheritance and a lost family.
My Summary: “Searching for family… As “Lost Friends” advertisements appear in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, freed slaves desperately try to find loved ones who had been sold off. In 1875, three young girls from Louisiana set off on a perilous journey to Texas. Two of the girls are financially desperate and in search of their inheritance and the third is looking for her long lost family and helping others do the same. The present-day timeline takes place in Lousiana in 1987 as a young and inexperienced teacher lands her first job in a poor, rural community. Throughout the year, she discovers the story of the three girls from 1875 and their connection to her current students.” My The Book of Lost Friends review.
Fourth Degree: Connecting to these strong themes of journeys is This Tender Land by William Kent Kreger in which four children flee an unsafe children’s home and trek across country roads in search of someone to love them.
My Summary: “A journey to find safety, love, and home….During the Great Depression, four orphans escape from the Lincoln School in Minnesota, an unhappy and perilous home/institution for Native American children where they had little food, harsh punishments, and suffered abuse. This quartet of miserable children consists of rebellious, free-spirited, and harmonica-playing Odie; his responsible and conscientious older brother Albert; their best friend and Native American, Mose; and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy. The foursome makes their escape in a canoe down the Gilead River toward the Mississippi in search of a safe place to call home and people to love them. They become found family to each other and survive encounters with all types of people.” My This Tender Land review.
Fifth Degree: Continuing the theme of journeys, The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar tells stories of two girls and their journeys: one a modern girl who flees her home in Syria in search of safety and the other, a mythological girl who becomes an apprentice to a mapmaker.
My Summary: “The Map of Salt and Stars is really two stories. One story is contemporary and the other is a mythological folk tale that takes place 800 years earlier. In the contemporary story, Nour’s mother, a Syrian-American, a cartographer and painter of beautiful maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria after the death of Nour’s father. The mother feels a strong desire to live closer to her family. After they arrive in Syria, they experience the effects of the civil war evidenced by protests and shelling in their quiet neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s home and neighborhood, she and her family and a close family friend of her father are forced to flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety.
The story within the story is a favorite folk tale that Nour’s father told her over and over again as a young girl. Nour loves the main character in the folk tale, Rawiya, who becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the region. Rawiya follows al-Idrisi on a journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where they encounter a mythical beast and fight epic battles.
There are strong connections between the two stories as Nour and her family are forced from their home to travel the identical route that Rawiya traveled eight hundred years earlier. Throughout the journey, Nour remembers and is inspired by the heroine of her favorite folktale as she faces similar challenges and fears.” My The Map of Salt and Stars review.
Sixth Degree: The final link in the chain is a little departure from the first five dramatic stories. I can’t leave the theme of journeys without linking to Harold Fry and his epic journey in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.
My Summary: “Harold Fry is recently retired and lives in a small English village with his wife. After a long marriage, they have their differences but have settled into an amicable, predictable, and manageable daily routine. One day, a letter arrives for Harold from a woman (former co-worker) that he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie is writing from a hospice to say goodbye. In the process of mailing his reply, Harold decides that he must deliver his message in person and decides to walk. As Harold impulsively sets out on his quest, he figures out the logistics of the six hundred mile journey as he goes. On the way, he meets interesting people, finds plenty of time to reflect back on his life, and confronts some unsettling thoughts and feelings that he has buried.” My The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry review.
I hope you enjoyed this #6Degrees of Separation chain from The Road to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry…The Journey!
Even though I haven’t read The Road, the most striking thread that connects the stories in this chain is the journey that each character takes in which love often sustains the individual. I have read all six in the chain and can highly recommend each one! (available reviews are linked)
I need to note that these are the first six books I thought to connect. Many stories are out there that could also fit this chain. Can you think of another title?
The choice for next month (June 6, 2020) is Normal People by Sally Rooney.
If you have a May #6Degrees of Separation post, please leave a link in the comments!
Do you have ideas for creating your own chain?
What book would you add to this chain?
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
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