I have been a monumentally lazy blogger in recent months, since going back to work for the new school year and setting myself the ludicrous goal of reading 365 books in 2017. It’s time to have a word with myself, starting with linking up with 6 Degrees again; hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest, it’s a monthly challenge to link 7 books in a chain, starting with a particular title. This month, it’s Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero, which I read, along with Ellis’ other novels, a few years ago.
From Less Than Zero, I’m going to link to (probably) Ellis’ most notorious work, American Psycho, a book which freaked me out more than I’m really willing to talk about without a trained counsellor on standby. Even if I think of Patrick Bateman as Christian Bale, it’s still something I prefer not to return to.
This is compounded by the fact that I very stupidly read American Psycho on holiday, which brings me to my second link, based on other highly inappropriate beach reading. On the same trip, I read Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown, which was one of the most colossally boring books I have ever forced myself through, made all the worse by the fact that my husband was reading Danny Wallace’s Yes Man on the sunlounger next to me and having a great time.
Shalimar the Clown, as I recall, contained about a billion pages of conflict between India and Pakistan, which I’m sure is extremely fascinating and important; it’s just not really appropriate for a poolside in Mexico. Recently, I read Dorit Rabinyat’s All the Rivers, which links to Rushdie’s work in its use of a complex conflict; All the Rivers is about an Israeli woman and Palestinian man who meet in New York and fall in love. It has been banned in Israel for this depiction of a taboo relationship.
The banning of books brings me to my next link, as I have discovered that another recent read, Beloved by Toni Morrison, has also been prohibited, this time in the USA. I read this at university but revisited it last month and was mesmerised all over again; Morrison is really a phenomenal writer (I finished Song of Solomon last night, which was equally excellent).
From Beloved, let’s go for something else that’s creepy and claustrophobic, as well as being another favourite of mine: Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Like Morrison, Jackson is an author whose complete works I’m making my way through. I love this book’s depiction of Merricat and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of most of her relatives.
For my final link, I’m opting for Sarah Schmidt, following a domestic murder theme, and See What I Have Done, which is a fictionalised account of the Borden murders. As with a few of the other books I’ve chosen here, it’s creepy.
Next month’s starter book is It by Stephen King, which I will absolutely and completely not be reading, so expect a link with no relevance to the actual book at all. There’s a clown in it, right?