Saturday, 4 June 2022

Six Degrees of Separation ~ From Sorrow and Bliss to The Birds Have Also Gone

Sorrow and Bliss
Mason, Meg "Sorrow and Bliss" - 2001

#6Degrees of Separation:
from Sorrow and Bliss to The Birds Have Also Gone

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I love the idea. See more about this challenge, its history, further books and how I found this here.

This month's prompt starts with Sorrow and Bliss (Goodreads) by Meg Mason.

When I saw the title of the starter book, I had to think immediately of an old German classic.

The Sorrows of Young Werter
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (GE: Die Leiden des Jungen Werther) - 1774
This epistolary novel is also slightly autobiographical. Goethe has always been a very important German author. This is probably one of his most famous books.
And then there is another famous classic author who has the word "young" in one of his titles:

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Joyce, James "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" - 1916  
Another partyl authobiographical novel. The story of a young man trying to find himself, a story about James Joyce himself.
And there are lots of titles with the word "man" but I chose one by one of my favourite authors:

The Man Without a Shadow
Oates, Joyce Carol "The Man Without a Shadow" - 2016   
An interesting story about an interesting topic, like all of her novels. We get to learn the characters all so well, their thoughts, their hopes, their ambitions, their wishes for the future. Only, that for one of them in this novel there is no real future, it always ends after seven minutes. One of the two main characters suffers from amnesia, the other one is a scientist who studies his brain in particular and thereby hopes to find more insight into the human brain in general.
When I hear the word "shadow", I always have to think about another favourite writer who had to leave us far too early:

The Shadow of the Wind
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Shadow of the Wind" (E: La sombra del viento - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1) - 2001
This is one of the best books I ever found. It is intriguing, exciting, has all the parts a good book should have, an interesting story, a historical background, a description of a great city. And, most important, it's a book about a book, how someone can get involved in something after reading a story. This was my first book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, I have read all of them in the meantime.
"Wind" is another word that appears often in titles. This is one of the books I have read and watched over various decades, again and again, first in the German translation, later in English. I still love it:

Gone With the Wind
Mitchell, Margaret "Gone With the Wind" - 1936
This book shows us all about the "life" of a war, the anticipation, how everyone wants this to happen for some reason or another, how they plunged into the fights and how they returned defeated and hopeless. This is what war does to any people. Back in the
19th century as well as today.
My last book takes us to Turkey with the word "gone":

The Birds Have Also Gone
Kemal, Yaşar "The Birds Have Also Gone" (TK: Kuşlar da Gitti) - 1978 
An interesting story not just about some boys from Istanbul but also about the ever changing times, the shattering of dreams, and about the streets of Istanbul.

Now, I am sure I could have found another title with "Birds" (like Birds Without Wings, Birdsong, ...) but this is SIX degrees of separation not seven or more.

As always, this was a fun list to do. I like both the way of going by words in the titles as well as by the subjects in the books. Since I hadn't read this one and "sorrow" offered itself, this is what I did last month. I'm looking forward to the other lists by other members.

Look for further monthly separation posts here


  1. A very neatly linked chain! I remember enjoying The Shadow of the Wind very much. Such an atmospheric opening.

    1. Thank you so much, NN, it still is one of my favourite books ever.

  2. Oh, I'm sure we could all go to seven or eight or nine or ten or... Lovely chain. I read Portrait of the Artist and Man Without a Shadow - but none of the other. I have a very old copy of Gone with the Wind on my shelf but never attempted to read that 1000+ page behemoth!

    1. They are all brilliant, Davida. Gone with the Wind has accompanied me through my youth, our local (German) cinema would show it once a year. And then I watched it in English for the first time when I moved to Brussels where they would show the films in the original. Needless to say, I also read it in German first but have read it in English in the meantime.

  3. Great chain, Marianne! Now please excuse me while I click off to the library to look for JCO's Man Without a Shadow.

    1. Thank you, Mary. That is the best excuse for ending a comment, LOL. Enjoy. I am a huge JCO fan and haven't read all of her books but I loved every single one of them.

  4. woohoo, so fun to see where you landed following the way I do it

    1. It's definitely an interesting way to create the list, Emma. Especially, if we haven't read the original book and can't tell much about what it would remind us of.