Six Degrees of Separation – From Postcards from the Edge to The Book of Lights

Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It works like this: each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six others to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the titles on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

This month we’re starting with Carrie Fisher’s autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, about an actress in rehab. I read this so long ago I can’t recall it in detail but I do remember that it’s a very funny piece of Hollywood satire.

The link’s in the title to Annie Proulx’s Wyoming-set short story collection, Postcards, first published when she was still E. Annie Proulx

Not a writer but Prince’s name change popped into my head so the next link has to be to Alice Walker’s classic The Colour Purple which tells the story of Cecile, an abused young black woman.

Which brings to mind another classic with a colour in the title, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, a tale of insanity and control.

Arsenic was one of the ingredients in the nineteenth-century manufacture of yellow, one of the snippets of esoteric information packed into Kassia St Clair’s enjoyable The Secret Lives of Colour.

Sticking with colour, at least in the title, Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow is my next link, a book raved about by my partner but I gave it up early on although I do remember that V-2 rockets are at its centre.

In contrast, I was riveted by Chaim Potok’s The Book of Lights which follows the son of one of the creators of the Atom bomb and his friend who becomes a rabbi in the military.

This month’s Six Degrees has taken me from a sharp slice of celebrity satire to a deeply moving and profound meditation on spirituality and war. Part of the fun of this meme is comparing the very different routes other bloggers take from each month’s starting point. If you’re interested, you can follow it on Twitter with the hashtag #6Degrees, check out the links over at Kate’s blog or perhaps even join in.

36 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – From Postcards from the Edge to The Book of Lights”

    1. I loved that book although it took me a very long time to read it. Each gradation of colour has one or two pages devoted to it. Fascinating! I hope you enjoy it if you get to it.

  1. The only one I’ve read is The Yellow Wallpaper. I like the sound of the Potok… I’ve read a few of his books before (all pre-blog) but don’t think I’ve heard of this one…

          1. It’s funny but one day I must write a piece about all the very interesting novels I read at school when I was 15 / 16. I went to a government high school in the countryside and I’m pretty sure the books were picked by our teachers rather than selected by committee for the state curriculum (that only applied in the last year of high school, the Australian equivalent of A-levels). I adored so many of the books we read, including 1984 (in the year 1984!!), The Day of the Triffids, The Chosen and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.

  2. Great chain. I used postcards as my first link too, though in a different way. The only one of your books I’ve read is The Yellow Wallpaper, but I’m intrigued by The Secret Lives of Colour.

    1. Thank you! I’ve notied that several bloggers started off down the postcards route. I loved Secret Lives of Colour, one of those niche non-fiction books chock-full of interesting information.

    1. Thanks for the link. I wasn’t at all keen on Gravity’s Rainbow, I’m afraid, but the Potok was superb. I went on to read as many of his books as I could find.

  3. I remember Yellow Wallpaper! Positively spine-chilling and yet so thought-provoking. *shivers* That’s one tale that really has stood the test of time.

  4. Have now ignited my coloured-pencil-set envy thanks to that lovely cover. Don’t feel bad…it’s always just barely beneath the surface. 🙂

  5. I don’t know why I saw Gravity’s Rainbow and thought it was Summer of Rockets – this has led me down an interesting Google rabbit hole, but I now find I haven’t read this or indeed any of your books this month!

    The only Annie Proulx i’ve read is The Shipping News, which was apposite at the time as we were living in rural Newfoundland – ever since then I’ve wanted to read more of her work and haven’t, but Postcards looks good. I am also interested in her memoir, Bird Cloud.

    Top of my list in your choices must be The Yellow Wallpaper; I’ve heard so much about this book, and feel that until I do read it there will be something important missing from my understanding of female oppression.

    Thanks for an interesting list.

    1. You’re welcome! I’ve enjoyed some but not all Poliakoff dramas but he’s always interesting.

      Postcards is very different from The Shipping News, quite visceral at times but also quite funny. I like the sound of Bird Cloud, too.

      It’s a long time since I read The Yellow Wallpaper but I remember it as being both chilling and powerful. I hope it hits the spot for you when you read it – ‘enjoy’ isn’t the appropriate word for this one!

  6. Yellow Wallpaper and Colour Purple are two of my favourites. I’ve been surprised to see that a number of other bloggers doing this chain enjoyed the Carrie Fisher.

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