It’s the first “Six Degrees” challenge of the year, and I am super excited to see where our book journeys will lead us this year.
For the first chain of 2021, we are going to start with “Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell. Alas, I am still waiting for the book from the library, so I’ll have to construct my chain based on the synopsis.
“Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.”
Let’s dive right in.
“Running on the Cracks” by Julia Donaldson
I also haven’t read this book, but I read recently that Donaldson, more know for children’s books such as “The Gruffalo”, also lost a son. His name was Hamish, and it is in this YA book that he is most present. I have put the book on my TBR list.
“You Won’t Always Be This Sad” by Sheree Fitch
Another children’s book writer—“Mabel Murple” is her most famous book, and it’s a book that is delightful on the tongue—Fitch also lost a son. In this memoir in verse, Fitch writes movingly of the loss and of her reconstructed world.
“Still: a Memoir of Loss, Love, and Motherhood” by Emma Hansen
On my list for my Mount TBR challenge, this book I acquired from one of the local little libraries is a memoir of one woman’s experience of something little talked about in our society: stillbirth.
“How to Pronounce Knife” by Souvankham Thammavongsa
This 2020 Giller award winning book of short stories pivots around the theme of loss of culture and values. All the main characters are from Laos, a country I’m not too familiar with, but I’m always interested to learn more about other countries and cultures. Favourite quote: “We lose each other, or the way we know each other gets lost”.
“How to Fly: In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons” by Barbara Kingsolver
Though the poems in this book, Kingsolver’s second book of poetry, have many themes, there are many that are threaded with a palpable sense of loss, especially in her section on ancestors. Kingsolver ends her poem about the death of her mother, with whom she had a challenging relationship, with “Here begins my life as no one’s bad daughter.”
“off script: Living Out Loud” by Marci Ien
Rounding out the list is this book that I mentioned in last week’s blog post. Ien writes about the ups and downs of her career and her personal life, including several significant losses.
I hope the theme of loss hasn’t gotten you down. As we look back on 2020, we have all experienced some sort of loss, and sometimes reading about others’ loss in some form or another helps us to cope. I hope that you find something to read from this list, and I hope you join us next month where we’ll start with “Redhead by the Side of the Road” by Anne Tyler.
That wraps up my first blog post in 2021! Happy New Year! Here’s to better times in 2021.
Shoe’s Seeds & Stories
@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler
Excellent chain – some grat books to add to my TBR for the new year.
Ah, so many good books…
I will have a look at Still. I’ve lost twin boys to stillbirth.
You’ve got a clever chain here! Well done. Mine is just boring old go with the Alphabet theme this month! Next month I will try to let the creative juices flow a bit more.
Happy New Year!
So sorry for your loss. I hope that you find the book helpful.
Ah, this one’s about bereavement, which is, of course, what Hamnet is about too. Hopefully, 2021 will bring some much needed good cheer for all of us. “We[You] Won’t Always Be This Sad”.
~Six Degrees Post @Lexlingua
Yes, here’s hoping that 2021 is better for all of us.
Oh, I didn’t even think about the link to a loss of a child. Such a moving chain here, and I’m so sorry for your loss. I know a bit about the emotional roller-coaster you must have suffered through – I had a miscarriage many years ago, and the memory is still vivid.
I’m sorry for your loss and that you had to ride that emotional roller coaster.
Oh, this was a bit of a sad chain… I have to admit that I did weep a little while reading the last chapter of Hamnet, and it was in a way the perfect book to be reading in 2020.
People have different reactions to loss. Some people find comfort in reading about it, but others do not. Much like dystopian literature!