6 Degrees of Separation: From Postcards from the Edge to The Last Bookshop
Welcome back to Six Degrees of Separation, where we all start with the same book title and link it to six others in any random way our mind chooses to create connections. It’s fun and it’s free, so join in!
This month the starting book is Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher.
Postcards from the Edge has been described as autobiographical fiction, so that was going to be my first link; however, the title immediately reminded me of a YA novel from the 1990s, LA Postcards by Glyn Parry.
I discovered LA Postcards while I was an English teacher, when I was always on the hunt for books that would appeal to the more reluctant readers amongst my students. Years later, though, I won a mentorship with Glyn for my first manuscript, also YA, and based on an experience from my teenage years living in remote Australia.
That manuscript was never published, but I did get to meet Meg McKinlay also a recipient of a mentorship with Glyn Parry. Meg has gone to to publish a stack of books, the latest being Bella and the Voyaging House (a sequel to the delightful, whimsical Bella and the Wandering House).
I can’t think of Meg McKinlay without a reminder of one of my favourite picture books of all time, Once Upon a Small Rhinoceros, about a rhinoceros who sets out to see the world despite having no idea where she is going. This book is particularly special to me as I read it to a young girl I had the privilege of mentoring, and it was the first book she ever really loved.
Unlike the small rhinoceros, we can’t venture far from home at the moment, so I’ll need to continue traveling vicariously through the pages of books. One that has recently been loaned to me is Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. Set in Italy during the Second World War, it’s about a young man who helps Jews escape over the Alps.
Another book on loaned to me is set in the same time period but in London. The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin is about a young woman who ends up working at a dusty old bookshop and discovers the power of storytelling during the Blitz.
This brings me to the final link in my 6 Degrees chain. With a similar title, The Last Bookshop by Emma Young is also an ode to books and bookshops, but it is contemporary fiction and much closer to home as it’s set in the city in which I live.
I hadn’t deliberately set out to connect this month’s 6 Degrees by the theme of travel, but I guess that’s the way the sub-conscious operates. I traveled from ‘the edge’ to LA before following the meanderings of a quirky house and a small rhinoceros. I was then transported across the world and through time to Italy and London during the Second World War and finally returned home to Perth, one of the most isolated cities in the world.
I guess I’ll have to be content with these armchair adventures for some time yet. Aren’t we fortunate to have so many good books to help us do that?
Over to You
Where will 6 degrees of separation lead you?
If you want to see where 6 Degrees led other participants, head over to booksaremyfavouriteandbest for links to other chains.
Next month (4 September 2021), the starting book will be 2021 Booker Prize nominee, Second Place by Rachel Cusk.