6 Degrees of Separation November 2020

6 Degrees of Separation November 2020

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Hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best on the first Saturday of every month, the 6 Degrees of Separation meme asks us to start with one title and create a chain of bookish connections to see where it takes us. This month, we’re starting with our last link from a previous chain. I chose Dissolution, from my September entry, as my first book and ended at One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Dissolution by C. J. Sansom is a historical mystery series centered around Matthew Shardlake, a disillusioned “hunchbacked” lawyer working in Tudor England. His appearance singles him out for abuse, both physical and emotional, at the hands of a prejudiced public. Someone else who draws undue attention because of her appearance is…

Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump, a real person and the titular character in the historical novel, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin. Reaching a height of only 32 inches (81 cm), she could have been just as negatively impacted by public opinion as Shardlake was. But “Mrs. Tom Thumb” is made of sterner stuff and leverages her size into an advantage. She enters into a contract with P. T. Barnum himself and ends up touring the world and regularly dining with royalty and other elites. Another character who doesn’t stay down for long and hobnobs with the rich and powerful is…

Jacky Faber, the main character in the Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer. Jacky is a sailor at heart so she has seen a lot of the world in her short life. I believe she’s circled the globe at least once, maybe more, by book nine, which is where I am in the series. Speaking of characters who cover a lot of ground…

Allan Karlsson, The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, travels extensively throughout Europe and even the United States, I believe, in this picaresque novel. Much like Forrest Gump (not my next connection because I haven’t read it), he finds himself at many turning points in the history of the 20th century. In his centenarian rambles, he improbably meets an elephant named Sonja in Sweden. This does lead me to my next connection…

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which takes place in a traveling circus in the 1930s and obviously features an elephant. I don’t remember a lot of details about this book but I do remember that it ended with a twist, as did…

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Shutter Island is the location of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Another book that takes place in a mental health hospital is…

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. This can be tied back to Dissolution pretty easily. Shardlake has his own mental health issues, apparently suffering from depression because of his imposed isolation.

Where do your connections take you? Link up at Books Are My Favourite and Best!

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site.

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  1. Very interesting! I’ve not read any of these books, though I have seen the film of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And I had no idea that Shutter Island was about an asylum, I’d like to read that.

    Mrs Tom Thumb sounds a bit like a miniature Becky Sharpe!

    1. After reading the book, I don’t think I can watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I’m not even interested in watching the new show about Nurse Ratched. That was a tough book.

      Shutter Island was so good! It’s also a movie. The book is better, of course, but the movie was good too.

      I don’t think Mrs. Tom Thumb is as grasping as Becky Sharpe but she definitely looks out for herself and strikes some hard bargains with Barnum!

  2. I’ve read tow from your (great) chain. One I enjoyed — the Sansam. The other I didn’t – the Karlsson. I’d better try some more to see what I think of those!

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