Thursday, April 13, 2017

April Six Degrees of Separation: Room (Part 2)

I've seen this on Wilde on My Side, and she pointed me to Books Are My Favorite and Best as the originator.  Basically, everyone starts with the same title each month, and then using your own personal trains of thought, lead your readers through six books, one to the next to the next.  It could be authors, covers, time of life when you read the book, or any other connection that comes up in your mind.

I missed doing this last month, what with the SOL frenzy, so I'm being completely self indulgent and doing two lists this time.  Part one was yesterday, and here's part two! 

My first list spent quite a bit of time on classic works of literature.  Today's list is more modern and fairly bleak, which seems fitting too.  

1.  Room
2. I Hunt Killers
3. The Game of Love and Death
4. Snow Falling on Cedars
5. The Merchant of Venice
6. The Haters

The starting point this month is Emma Donoghue's Room, which I read about five years ago.  
It is told from the point of view of a 6 year old boy who has lived his entire life in one room.  It becomes clear pretty quickly that he and his mom are prisoners of a man who kidnapped and raped her.

That's pretty grim, right?  I mean, besides all the rest of it, it means that the kid's biological father is a creepy kidnapping rapist.  Which makes me think of Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers series, in which the protagonist's dad is the worst serial killer of all time.  (Well, the best.  Which makes him the worst.)

I really like the black and white and red on the cover of the entire series.  It's a classic color combo, and it was also used to great effect on Martha Brockenbrough's The Game of Love and Death.  Take a look:

So cool.  I first heard of the book when Brockenbrough spoke at the Oregon Council of English Teachers conference in 2015.  She's from Washington and the book is set in 1930s Seattle,  A wealthy white boy falls for a cabaret singing, airplane flying black girl--but they are pawns in the eponymous game.  Another beautiful book about cross-racial romance in historic Washington is Snow Falling on Cedars.  

Several years ago my mother-in-law took us to a stage production of it, which was wonderful.  Even the scenes in the small fishing boats were beautifully done, which requires a complete buy-in from an audience.  I can't remember if she'd gotten us season tickets or what, but we saw an extremely avant-garde* rendition of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in the same theater around the same time.  

There was a sign outside the theater warning of male nudity and cigar smoking, which was our first sign that this was not your typical Shakespeare production.  They kept the language exactly the same, but created new action around the dialogue--gay lovers, a rape scene, and well, I don't remember where the cigars came in, but they were there.  My final connection is the loosest one yet, but I'd have to say reading The Haters gave me a similar sense of "Wow, did he just go there?  Yep, he sure did.  And now he's taking it a step further."  The humor is crude and the characters are in some ways not very likable. (I saw Jesse Andrews speak at the national convention for English teachers and he trumpeted, "Down with plot!  None of my characters learn anything!" with tongue only slightly in cheek.)

These are so much fun to put together.  I hope they are worth reading as well.  I'll be playing next month as well!

*I'm not actually sure what avant-garde means.  I'm basically using it here as a fancy word for "weird."

1 comment:

  1. I’ve read Room, The Game of Love and Death, and The Merchant of Venice. I own Snow Falling on Cedars, but I haven’t read it yet. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!


Please share your thoughts. Comments are almost as sweet as chocolate!