The 6 Degrees of Separation meme is a monthly meme that explores the ways in which a chosen book can be linked to six other books.
The June 2017 book is Shopgirl by Steve Martin. I haven’t read this one, but I have seen the film version.
My chain of six books features books about the art world, historical fiction set in the Colonial era, and terrifying dystopian societies:
1. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
To start off this chain, I thought I would include the Steve Martin book I have read. Like Shopgirl, this novel features a female protagonist; but instead of taking place in a LA department store, An Object of Beauty is set in the NYC art world. Both books explore themes of modern urban life- wealth, desire, ambition, social status, and relationships.
2. The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
The Improbability of Love contains similar themes and is set in the London art world. The title stems from a fictional, lost eighteenth-century painting. An entire chapter is even narrated from the point of view of said painting.
3. Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
This led me to Vreeland’s novel which traces the history and provenance of a fictional Vermeer painting. Girl in Hyacinth Blue also takes its title from the painting at the center of its plot.
4. The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd
My fourth pick was inspired by the similarity of the titles. This historical fiction novel is based on the remarkable life of a woman in Colonial era South Carolina, who learns to produce highly valued indigo dye. As part of the deal to learn the secret recipe of this dye, Eliza Lucas agrees to teach the slaves on her father’s plantation to read- even though it is illegal.
5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This reminded me of the law in Atwood’s Gilead that prohibits women from reading so much as a food label.
6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Handmaid’s Tale led me to another dystopian novel- Fahrenheit 451. Books are banned in this society; and instead of extinguishing fires, a firefighter’s job is to burn books.
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