Six Degrees of Separation – The Anniversary to Potterism

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.

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This month we’re starting with Stephanie Bishop’s The Anniversary about a writer whose husband disappears overboard on a celebratory cruise without explanation, or maybe not.

Another writer whose word can’t be relied upon features in Michelle de Kretser’s The Life to Come.

De Kretser’s novel features some amusing scenes at a literary festival as does Dan Rhodes’ enjoyable slapstick satire Sour Grapes.

The star of Rhodes’ novel is Wilberforce Selfram, given to abstruse vocabulary and babbling about psychogeography, a thinly disguised Will Self, a phrase that reminds me of James Delingpole’s novel, Thinly Disguised Autobiography, about a journalist partying away the 1980s.

The eponymous Becky is also a journalist in Sarah May’s twenty-first century take on Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.

Which brings to mind Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, an amusing satire on sensationalist newspaper reporting in the 1930s.

Leading me to Rose Macauley’s Potterism, which takes a swipe at tabloid journalism. First published in 1920, Macauley’s novel still rings loud bells today. I’m pleased to have ended with a title from the excellent Handheld Press who will shortly be publishing their last book.

Lots of satire in this month’s Six Degrees which has taken me from a literary festival where some chickens come home to roost to a century-old novel about the British press which could have been written yesterday. 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.

26 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – The Anniversary to Potterism”

  1. An intriguing chain as usual, from which I’ve only read Scoop (years and years ago…) and Becky. If Michelle de Kretser’s book features an unreliable narrator, I’m in!

  2. They’re all very clever links, particularly the ‘thinly disguised’ one! I haven’t read any of those books but I think Becky appeals to me the most.

    1. Thank you, Davida. I gather it’s a semi-retirement – Kate will still be involved in giving talks and writing about writers who slipped out of view – but sad for us readers!

  3. Goodness, that reminded me of how long it’s been since I read Scoop. An interesting set of links in your chain–I like the literary festivals link as also ‘thinly disguised’ especially. Your final book reminds me I am still to read Rose Macaulay and indeed Becky which seems very well done!

    1. Thank you, Mallika. I’d recommend Potterism although it’s very dispiriting how little, if anything, has changed over a century of UK tabloid journalism.

      1. I actually have that somewhere–will try and pick it up. I had vague plans of reading her Towers of Trebizond with my book group years ago but never managed to secure a copy in time and since I did, it’s simply been sitting on Mount TBR!

  4. Staircase Wit

    Michelle de Kretser has been recommended to me before so this time I need to hunt down one of her books!

    I do like books set at literary festivals or writers’ conferences because they are nearly always arch and amusing (and sometimes include murder). Having attended a few when I worked in publishing, I believe almost anything could happen!

    1. I wasn’t quite so keen on her last novel but this one and Questions of Travel are both excellent.

      Ha! Perhaps your should write a literary festival crime novel. I’m sure it would do well.

  5. Ha! A mention of Sour Grapes – for some reason, I haven’t seen much mention of it, although it’s such an obvious satire of the literary establishment and publishing and festivals…

  6. The current theme for my read on a theme bookclub is writers festival so a couple of these would have fit that theme.

    Fun chain!

  7. I’ve not read even one of these: some memes are like that, I guess! Even when there’s a fair bit of overlap between two like-minded readers, there’s that much more divergence in all (especially with the ocean between us).

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