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This month the chain starts a cook book – The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver – which was a massive hit way back in 1999 following the success of the TV show of the same name which launched Oliver’s career.
A cook book writer is the main protagonist in Heartburn by Nora Ephron, an autobiographical novel about Rachel, whose husband leaves her when she is pregnant with their second child.
Another woman abandoned during pregnancy is Charity Royall, the main character in Edith Wharton’s novella Summer. Written in bursts whilst Wharton performed charity work in France during the First World War, Summer drew an equal measure of fame and scandal upon first publication for its defiant depiction of female sexual awakening.
Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls also met with scandal on publication for its depiction of female sexual awakening, and its critique of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The Irish censorship board banned The Country Girls upon its publication, adding it to a list of over 1600 books banned in Ireland.
A book which has been the subject of many attempts to ban it in libraries across the United States is Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic which chronicles the author’s childhood and youth in rural Pennsylvania, focusing on her complex relationship with her father and exploring themes of class, gender and sexuality.
Class, gender and sexuality are themes in another book about family, this time in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Now considered a classic, the book is structured as a series of subtle vignettes, telling the story of Esperanza Cordero, a 12-year-old Chicana girl growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago.
William Burroughs also uses the literary device of vignettes to tell a very different story in Naked Lunch, in which the reader follows the narration of junkie William Lee, who takes on various aliases, from the U.S. to Mexico, eventually to Tangier and the dreamlike Interzone.
The vignettes, which Burroughs said could be read in any order, are drawn from Burroughs’ own travels and his experience of drug addiction.
So there we have it, from a Naked Chef to a Naked Lunch, these are my 6 Degrees of Separation for November. Have you read any of the links in my chain?
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!