Miscellanea

Fight Club // Six Degrees of Separation

The idea behind this exercise is to connect books in any way that’s meaningful to you, from the profound to the inane. Although Kevin Bacon is typically behind the six degrees game, books are just a bit more fun. February’s pick is Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

It has been a long time since I read Fight Club, but I do remember thinking the best part of that book, although I enjoyed it, was the movie that was made after. It introduced me to Edward Norton, which is a win.

Edward Norton also stars in The Painted Veil, adapted from my favorite W. Somerset Maugham novel. If you haven’t read that book or seen the movie, I highly recommend both. A recent novel that has a similar feel to The Painted Veil is The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh.

Drawing on the tree connection, People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara tells the loosely fictionalized account of Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, a formerly revered anthropologist who ended up in prison.

Euphoria, also a fictionalized account of a famous anthropologist, recreates the tangled love life of Margaret Mead. It ends quite differently than Mead’s life ended, and I truly loved the book. It was published in early 2014 and although I saw quite a bit of praise, I didn’t read it for years.

Published at almost the same time, Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is another one I saw everywhere (what was I so busy with?), but picked up years later and loved (along with Marra’s The Tsar of Love and Techno). It’s a story set in a small village in Chechnya, and very much worth a read.

Playing off that title, constellations play a significant role in All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. Wavy Quinn is obsessed with the stars, finding what little peace she can come by in the night sky behind her house. Bryn Greenwood’s novel is not for everyone, but I found it excellent.

From Fight Club to All the Ugly and Wonderful Things in six easy steps. Care to join in? It’s quite a bit of fun, although I’ll admit to being absolutely stumped as to where I wanted to go from Euphoria.


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