"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, January 5, 2024

Six Degrees of Separation --- From: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow to...

 Six Degrees of Separation

We begin with --


Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
The title, we learn, is from the Shakespeare play Macbeth (spoken by Macbeth.)

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This title is also from a famous Shakespeare play: Julius Caesar

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
The title of this book is also Shakespearean, though not from dialogue but from the stage directions in A Winter's Tale.

Generally, Shakespeare limited his stage directions to the most basic instructions -- [Exit Hamlet], [Enter Ophelia], [Dies] - simple enough. But in this particular direction, a lot of things happen at once without any warning or supporting dialogue. Antigonus has been tasked with abandoning the baby Perdita in a desolate place, but he's having second thoughts. Suddenly a storm wrecks his ship, and then… he exits, pursued by a bear (O.S.).

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
[This will seem like an abrupt change, but read on...] Like the girl in the above book, Exit, Pursued by a Bear, the protagonist in this book is sexually assaulted and uses athletics and friendship to find her way to a healthier mindset. 

“A human heart is the size of two hands clasped together. Imagine your own hands joined, or your hand in someone else’s, because that is what hands are for, and what hearts are for: holding each other. This can be very, very hard to remember when hearts have been so broken.”

Plan A by Deb Caletti
By the same author of A Heart in a Body in the World, this one grapples with the issue of abortion. It is her body and her choice, but politicians don't see it that way.

"My body is still my body. It's not my enemy. I'm kind of proud of it, how hard it works and the stuff it has to endure in order to carry myself around."

Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh
The protagonist in this novel is a health care counselor, assisting women who need reproductive care. Though not specific to this book, the topic of mercy is brought up by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice.

“The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thron├Ęd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthron├Ęd in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself."

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
My book group read Mercy Street and The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. Both books led to great discussions. And this book brings us back to Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow as Zevin wrote both of them.

“Sometimes books don't find us until the right time.”

How'd I do? Did you follow me and my decisions leading from Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow to The Storied Life of AJ Fikry?

Thanks to Books are My Favourite and Best for hosting this fun activity.


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