Six Degrees of Separation: From The Soho Leopard to The Feast

This month we begin with a wildcard selection: the book you finished with last month (or, if you didn’t do an August chain, the last book you’ve read. See Kate’s opening post.) For me that’s Ruth Padel’s poetry collection The Soho Leopard.

#1 Another “leopard” title I’ve read is The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma, a fun selection from my 20 Books of Summer in 2019. A linked short story collection with an unreliable narrator, it explores how life becomes fiction and vice versa.

 

#2 The typewriter on the cover immediately made me think of Uncommon Type, the short story collection by Tom Hanks. I haven’t read this one and, if I’m honest, don’t ever plan to.

 

#3 Tom Hanks features in the delightful story behind the title essay of These Precious Days by Ann Patchett: after Patchett interviewed him on his book tour, she became close with his personal assistant, Sooki Raphael, and ended up having Sooki stay at her Tennessee home during Covid lockdown while Sooki underwent cancer treatment.

 

#4 That’s Sooki’s painting of Patchett’s dog Sparky on the cover. Another pet named Sparky adorns Jenny Offill’s charming children’s book about a sloth. I love finding the odd-one-out in an author’s oeuvre, and Sparky is simply darling.

 

#5 Was the animal named after the personality trait/failing or the other way around? In any case, Sloth by Wendy Wasserstein is one of three books I happen to have read from the Seven Deadly Sins Series published by Oxford University Press (the others were Lust by Simon Blackburn and Gluttony by Francine Prose; all were, I’m sorry to report, just okay).

 

#6 The Seven Deadly Sins provide the metaphorical setup of The Feast by Margaret Kennedy, a rediscovered classic that I read on our trip to Spain in May.


Where will your chain take you? Join us for #6Degrees of Separation! (Hosted on the first Saturday of each month by Kate W. of Books Are My Favourite and Best.) Next month’s starting book is Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller.

Have you read any of my selections? Tempted by any you didn’t know before?

17 responses

  1. Hmm. I’m thinking the Margaret Kennedy is the one I might go to first. Definitely not the Tom Hanks, anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Kennedy was a great read. Maybe I’m being too snobbish about Hanks.

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      1. ‘salright. I can do snobbish too.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely chain, Rebecca. I particularly liked the Tom Hanks/Ann Patchett link.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m proudest of then remembering her dog’s name!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed the Tom Hanks short stories – they were well written and inventive – he had to make sure each one had a typewriter in it. You might actually enjoy them! Interesting chain here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good to hear. I shouldn’t be so dismissive!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s fun that Offill has written children’s books. Isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like finding picture books written by random authors you wouldn’t expect to write for children. I once found a whole bunch at the library, by Junot Diaz, Helen Dunmore, Ian McEwan and more.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the sound of Sparky! Gorgeous cover too. I didn’t realise that The Feast was based around the seven deadly sins – I have a copy (natch!) but might need to promote it (or at least remember to add it to my 20 Books of Summer 2023!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be a great summer read. You’re already planning ahead, eh? 😉

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  6. I would never have guessed that Jenny Offill had written a children’s book about a sloth, but I LOVE it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love such trivia. For a while there was a whole Twitter thread going on the odd one out in writers’ oeuvres. It’s amazing how many people think they’re qualified to craft a cookbook…

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      1. Omg have you heard about Jeanette Winterson’s diet book? It is 100% real and amazing(ly terrible): https://www.thechatner.com/p/jeanette-wintersons-1986-diet-book

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I loved the Twitter thread about that, it was hilarious!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not much of a short story fan and the Hanks collection didn’t make me a believer – they were ok, but as I remember, there was only one that really stood out. This is my first time participating and I’m having so much fun visiting everyone’s chains! You have a terrific list!
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys
    https://www.bookshelfjourneys.com/post/6-degrees-of-separation-1

    Like

    1. Thanks for reading, Terrie!

      Like

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