Six Degrees of Separation Beginning with Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet is the starting place for January’s Six Degrees of Separation. Because it is about the loss and sorrow caused by a plague, it made me think of Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.

Geraldine Brooks wrote this book, but also March, a book I quite disliked for its portrayal of Mr. March as a less than honorable man. In thinking of male characters that I do admire, I think of John Galt in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand has written the book I want to read for the #1936Club, We The Living. Because Ayn writes of a time in post revolutionary Russia, another book I plan to read with the same setting is One Night In Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore.

Because of the horrors of life in Russia, (which make me somewhat fearful of occurring in America: Loss of freedom of speech? Loss of ability to worship? Loss of personal weapons?) I am reminded of the Nobel Prize winning book, Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich.

Another Nobel prize winning book is The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. Even though he is British, he was born in Nagasaki, Japan, which brings me to Japanese literature.

Of all the Japanese literature I have read, and plan to continue reading, Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami holds a special place in my heart. For it, like Hamnet, contains a mother/son relationship.

This is the first time I have participated in this meme, and it was quite a pleasant task to think of books I love and their connection. Might I add that Hamnet is a most worthy starting point? It was one of my favorite reads of 2020.

26 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation Beginning with Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell”

    1. Ayn Rand is not going to be very popular today with the masses, as she promotes the idea of personal responsibility. It seems today that more and more people wish the government to be responsible for them, and that terrifies me. I am afraid of losing what I have loved most about America: capitalism and rugged individualism.

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  1. This is a fun meme which I try to do off and on. I’m going to do this one as Hamnet is a book I have to read. Sounds so wonderful. And, very excited to know that Kazuo Ishiguro has a new book coming out. Really love his writing.

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  2. Oooh, I have Hamnet on my 2021 TBR list and hope that my book group will select it for discussion. I’m glad to hear that it was one of your favorites in 2020.

    I read Year of Wonders many years ago (for another book group) and thought it was quite good. I haven’t read anything else by Brooks, but I have Caleb’s Crossing in my stacks. Have you read that one?

    Fun meme!

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    1. I haven’t read Caleb’s Crossing; I think I was rather put off by March. But, Hamnet! Oh, I hope your group reads it, and if they don’t, that you pick it up all the same. It really touched my heart, and the writing was glorious.

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  3. By the way, I don’t think you need to worry about the US turning into something like Soviet Russia. As long as the majority of the country still want their leaders to uphold the Constitution, the rights you note are guaranteed to be upheld. Only if a dictator comes to power – someone who ignores or even tries to throw out the Constitution, someone who would pervert the will of the people for their own power, someone who would willingly break the law for their own profit – should you start to worry.

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    1. I first became concerned when Hillary Clinton, asked about the Constitution in a debate, proclaimed that she felt it should be fluid. And now, when I see that people are free to gather at Wal Mart and Costco, but the church behind us, in front of us and down the road from us have been closed since March, I’m rather alarmed about our freedom to worship. Harris has said she’s taking guns away, and Facebook/Twitter remove posts they don’t like, so that is what makes me a titch concerned about keeping American rights I’ve always taken for granted.

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      1. No one will take your guns away from you. If neither Obama or B. Clinton even tried, then neither Harris or Biden will try either. As for Facebook and Twitter – they’re not removing posts they don’t like. They’re removing fake news, dangerous posts, and posts that incite violence – which they should. Freedom of Speech must be curtailed when it puts people’s lives in danger (as in: you can’t falsely cry FIRE in a crowded theater, for example).

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        1. How terrifying that today Google, Apple and Amazon successfully shut down Parler. If that isn’t big tech taking away freedom of speech, I don’t know what is. Now, in America, only certain groups of people are allowed to express their ideas or opinions? Apparently so.

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          1. Actually, this doesn’t bother me. Private companies are allowed to decide who they want to do business with according to their own conscience and beliefs. The 1st Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The last time I looked, Google, Apple and Amazon were not Congress – they are private companies owned by private citizens. Therefore, these people can continue to express their ideas as much as they want, and I’m sure that they’ll find plenty of ways to do so – either online or in person. But also don’t forget that freedom of speech ends when what is being said can harm other people. You are not allowed to falsely shout “fire” in a crowded theater and cause a deathly riot.

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            1. Just because people have different opinions doesn’t mean they are being harmful. One of the greatest things about America is the freedom we have to express ourselves; others are free to agree or disagree. When Big Tech works to silence a conservative social platform, its motives become suspicious. I believe that liberals and conservatives alike have the right to express their opinions; neither side should be afraid of being silenced. I would never take down your thoughts about this issue on my blog although I disagree with them. You have the right to say what you feel, as do I.

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              1. Of course people have the right to express their opinions. Equally, businesses have the right to deny service to any customer who violates their terms of service. This was a business decision – nothing more, nothing less.

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              2. How does a conservative social media platform, like Parler, violate Google, Apple, or Amazon’s terms of service? Big Tech has no business shutting down a social media platform with different views than theirs – pure and simple.

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              3. This goes back to falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater. They are saying that Parler was not “removing content that encourages illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of users in direct violation of [their] own terms of service.” And again, a private company can grant or revoke their services to anyone they want – it is their right (like a restaurant with a sign that says: no shoes, no shirt, no service). Here’s another example. Remember the bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple? Agree or disagree with their decision, it was their right to refuse their services to someone with home they disagree. More importantly, that restaurant, that bakery, Google, Apple, and Amazon are not the government or congress, and therefore, they are not violating the 2nd Amendment.

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  4. I first became concerned when Hillary Clinton, when asked about the Constitution in a debate, proclaimed that she felt it should be fluid. And now, when I see that people are free to gather at Wal Mart and Costco, but the church behind us, in front of us and down the road from us have been closed since March, I’m rather alarmed about our freedom to worship. Harris has said she’s taking guns away, and Facebook/Twitter remove posts they don’t like, so that is what makes me a titch concerned about keeping American rights I’ve always taken for granted.

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  5. I loved Hamnet too. And you have a great chain here: Then only one I don’t know Svetlana Alexievich, has gone straight to my TBR list, Welcome to Six Degrees – it’s fun, isn’t it?

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    1. Thank you for visiting me! And yes, what a wonderfully fun meme. It wasn’t easy for me, and that’s what I loved: really thinking to come up with connections. Hope that you enjoy the Svetlana Alexievich book, although enjoy might not be the best word. It is terribly powerful and personal, as it tells personally stories from the women who suffered under Russia’s regime. I highly recommend it, even though I rarely read nonfiction (to my chagrin).

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  6. Who is John Galt? The eternal question, eh? Atlas Shrugged is an epic, and I’m so glad to find it here. And so too with Buried Giant and Kafka on the Shore (which also made me very excited about the Japanese Literature Reading Challenge!). Brilliant chain.

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    1. I can’t count the times I’ve read Atlas Shrugged, which seems more applicable now than ever. (Does anyone know the meaning of personal responsibility?) Buried Giant was not so powerful to me as Kafka on the Shore, but that could be because I had it on audio, and I’m a terrible listener. I’m not surprised we like the same books, though.😉

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