Sunday, February 3, 2019

Six Degrees of Separation: Fight Club to The Age of Innocence

I don't post about as many memes as I used to, but I'm in the middle of several different books. Six Degrees of Separation is a challenge to connect six different books in a chain. This month my chain has an underground boxing ring, dystopian fiction, and a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. 



So, the starting point is Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Never read it, never want to, nor seen the movie. But I have read another book by Palahniuk, Diary, about an artist living in a family-run hotel on a island resort. 




It was really weird and I didn't enjoy it much, but I was living in Japan in the time and we didn't have many books to choose from, so when I saw it at the Base Exchange I bought it. I remember reading most of this on various train journeys around Tokyo. Which leads me to my next book, also read while riding the Tokyo trains. 




The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I don't remember much about this because it's been more than ten years since I read it, but I do remember it's a story within a story and that I really liked it. I think I bought it for $1 at the library sale, and that I read most of it on a series of train rides from Tokyo to the suburb of Saitama, where I went to see the John Lennon Museum. It closed in 2010 so I'm really glad I made the trip to see it. 



Of course Margaret Atwood's most famous book is The Handmaid's Tale. I remember reading it back in the 1990s, around the time of the original movie adaptation, which I've never seen. I have since watched the first season of the TV adaptation and it's absolutely chilling. I was hoping my book group would read it this year. We only choose about two months ahead so hopefully we'll get to it before we break for the summer. 




My book group leads me to the next book in the chain, It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. It's another classic with a timely twist that would be great for discussion. Published in 1935, it's about the rise of fascism and a fictional president who becomes a dictator to " save the nation from welfare cheats, rampant promiscuity, crime, and a liberal press." This is another book I would love to read with a group, though I'm a little scared to read it, it sounds almost too timely. 




Sinclair Lewis leads me to Main Street, which I finally got around to reading in 2016, just after I moved here. I can't imagine why it took me so long to read it, as it's about a young librarian in the Midwest which is right up my alley. I don't know why I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I just read somewhere that this book was favored to win the Pulitzer Prize but narrowly lost to Edith Wharton for the next book in the chain.



Edith Wharton, one of my favorite authors, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for The Age of Innocence (the first woman to be awarded the prize). It's her most famous novel, about a wealthy man named Newland Archer, and his love for a scandalous divorcee. It was the first novel I read by Wharton, and I liked it but I didn't become a fan until I read The House of Mirth, which got me completely hooked on Wharton. I've since read nearly all her novels, plus her novellas and many of her short stories. I'm currently reading The Children and will most likely tackle her biography next. The Age of Innocence isn't my favorite of her books but I should probably give it another read. 

So -- from Fight Club to The Age of Innocence. Not what I was expecting at all when I started this post, but sometimes that's how reading leads you, right? 

8 comments:

  1. Great chain, Karen! I also have no desire to ever read Fight Club. I'm planning to pick up The Blind Assassin in the next few months, so I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it. Edith Wharton is one of my favorites. Like you, I prefer The House of Mirth to The Age of Innocence. How are you finding The Children so far?

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    1. I just finished The Children and I quite enjoyed it, it's sort of different than her usual. There are rich society people, but it's really more about their children and how their shallow lives affect them. The main character is not what I was expecting. Much better than Twilight Sleep which was published just before it in 1927. I'll post my review in the next few days.

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  2. I loved The Handmaid's Tale and have enjoyed some of Margaret Atwood's other books too. I haven't read The Blind Assassin yet but it's one that I've been particularly looking forward to reading.

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    1. I also really liked The Robber Bride, though it's been about 20 years since I read it. I'm also intrigued by the idea of a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. I know Atwood was involved in the TV adaptation so I'm curious to know where the story goes.

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  3. I love this meme, though I’ve never done it myself. I definitely didn’t like Blind Assassin, but have liked other books by Atwood—she sort of hit or miss with me.

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    1. I tried Alias Grace but couldn't get into it, though it was a really long time ago, I should give it another chance. I did watch a bit of the Netflix series and it was pretty good, I don't know why I didn't finish it.

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  4. I really like this way of linking your reading past! Also, I too have fond memories of reading books on trains in the 1990s. I really miss that (though I don't miss waiting in bad weather for trains or buses!).

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    1. Waiting outside in bad weather for a ride is awful. I remember waiting on the L platform during the winter in Chicago. I loved Chicago but do not miss the weather! It's also so much easier to read a book on my phone on a train, especially while standing up. Not as nice as turning pages but books don't always fit in my bag or pocket.

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