6 Degrees of Separation: From The Book of Form and Emptiness to Jack’s Island
Welcome back to Six Degrees of Separation – that time of the month when we all start with the same book and link it to six others in any way our mind decides to make connections.
This month begins with The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki.
After his father dies, 13-year-old Benny begins to hear the voices of objects in his house. When he seeks refuge in the local library, he discovers the objects there only whisper.
I haven’t read this yet, but it has been added to my to-read list after my local librarian and book club convenor recommended it to me.
A book I have read that contains a library is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Set in Nazi Germany during the Second World War, young Liesel starts stealing books from the book burnings as well the mayor’s wife’s private library.
The Book Thief has an unusual narrator – Death. The Ghost of Gracie Flynn by Joanna Morrison also has an unusual narrator, which I won’t give away – you’ll have to read it to find out. The book isn’t officially in book stores until October, but I was fortunate enough to receive a preview copy. All I will say is that it kept me enthralled until the closing pages.
Also on my bedside table is Still Life by Sarah Winman, a story spanning decades and exploring the Second World War, love, friendship, art and inter-generational connections. The novel is partially set in Florence, which is perhaps my favourite city I’ve ever visited.
Another novel set in Florence and the surrounding Tuscan hills during the Second World War is An Italian Affair by Caroline Montague.
Still war related, but on the other side of the world is the picture book Photographs in the Mud by Dianne Wolfer. In this story, Jack and Hoshi are soldiers, from opposing armies (Australian and Japanese), who meet in battle on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. Told from the point of view of two soldiers, the reader discovers the two young men have much more in common than they realise.
Another story with a main character named Jack is Jack’s Island by Norman Jorgensen. Also set during the Second World War, Jack lives on Rottnest Island, a small island just off the Western Australian coast, where his dad is helping to build an airfield. Although fiction, Jack’s Island is loosely based on the childhood of Jorgensen’s own father, and offers a taste of life on the home front during war time. (And rumour has it that there’s a sequel on its way, which I’m looking forward to.)
I began with a young protagonist who hears objects and books talking to him before spending most of my time exploring various locations during the Second World War, with a couple of slight detours into more contemporary times.
Over to You
Where will six degrees of separation take you?
Next month, we’ll begin with the book you finished with in this month’s chain. And if you haven’t done one, start with the last book you read – and let me know where you end up!