Friday, June 1, 2018

Six Degrees of Separation from The Tipping Point to Ask for Me Tomorrow

The Six Degrees of Separation meme is hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavoriteandbest. The idea behind the meme is to start with a book and use common points between two books to end up with links to six other books, forming a chain. Every month she provides the title of a book as the starting point.

The starting point this month is Malcolm Gladwell’s debut, The Tipping Point. Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the tipping point is defined as "the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place." Malcolm Gladwell explores that idea in this non-fiction bestseller, published in 2000. I have not read the book but it does sound very interesting.


That book leads me to another non-fiction book that I recently read: A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre. I read this book because I wanted to know more about the Cambridge Five before I read any more fictional works based on one or more members of that group.

At this time, the particular fictional book I want to read about the Cambridge Five is Young Philby by Robert Littell, one of my long list of favorite authors of spy fiction. Another book by Littell is The Defection of A. J. Lewinter, in which an American scientist defects to the Soviet Union.


This reminds me of one of my favorite series set in Russia, the Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov series by Stuart M. Kaminsky. My most recent read in that series is Hard Currency, published in 1995, which features a trip to Cuba. One of the things I like about the series is that there were books written before and after the break up of the Soviet Union, and the series reflects the changes in Russia over those years.

I will stay with the same author but a different book for my next link: Bullet for a Star, the first book in the Toby Peters series, published in 1977. The Toby Peters mysteries feature a private eye who often works for the movie studios. Each book centers around a real person, usually a movie star. This one features Errol Flynn and is set in 1940 in Hollywood, California.


Another mystery novel that features a real life movie star is Bye Bye, Baby by Max Allan Collins. In the 15th book in the Nate Heller series, the private detective is hired by Marilyn Monroe shortly before her death. Other books in the series deal with real crime and real people from the 1930's into the 1960's. Max Allan Collins is a very prolific author (see his books listed at Fantastic Fiction) and was honored with the Grand Master Award by the Mystery Writers of America in 2017. This is another author whose books I have not read yet, although I have several on my shelves.

My last link is to a book by another Grand Master of the MWA ... Ask For Me Tomorrow by Margaret Millar, Originally from Canada, she later moved to Santa Barbara, California with her husband, Kenneth Millar (who wrote as Ross Macdonald). This book was published in 1941 and partially set in a town very much like Santa Barbara, although the town is called Santa Felicia in the book.


I find it interesting that the books in my chain all have links to the past, whether the books are historical fiction or non-fiction or actually written at an earlier time.

Next month (July 7, 2018), we’ll begin with Tales of the City, the first in the much-loved series by Armistead Maupin. I haven't read that one either, but I have it on my Kindle, and I will read several chapters from it in the next month, at a minimum.


18 comments:

  1. I wondered how you'd get from The Tipping Point to crime fiction but it was a cinch!
    Thanks for joining in.

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    1. I would actually prefer to mix it up and include some non-mystery links, Kate, and I do read some of that, but most of the time I am either reading mysteries or reading about crime fiction authors, so it is hard.

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  2. I think it's great that you got the Cambridge Five and Marilyn Monroe in the same chain. Well done! And I'm not surprised that crime novels appear in your chain. Of course they are in mine as well. LOL

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    1. I know, I have been wanting to read that book with Marilyn Monroe as a character for a while, Kay. Just too many books, I cannot read everything.

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  3. Wow! Great work! Love the sound of the Soviet/Russian series.

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    1. Stuart Kaminsky's series set in Russia is very good, Lisa. Unfortunately I am stuck in the middle of it, even though I have all the books.

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  4. I like that you included the Cambridge Five, Tracy. What an interesting story that is, on so many levels. And I hope you'll enjoy the Kaminsky. I think it's a solid like at the 'star scene' of Hollywood's Golden Years.

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    1. It is amazing that I really knew so little about the Cambridge spies, Margot. I did not know that Philby became a spy for the Soviet Union so young. A fantastic story.

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  5. Nicely done Tracy, I admire your thread.
    I loved the Tales of the City books, hope you do too.

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    1. I bought the Tales of the City book (on Kindle) when you featured it on your blog. Or whenever it showed up at a good price after that. But haven't pursued it. I will give it a try soon.

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  6. Crime fiction is in my chain too and with two books set in Cambridge. I haven't read any of your books but am particularly interested in reading Bye Bye Baby and the Cambridge Five books too.

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    1. I remember reading a couple of books -- spy fiction -- about the Cambridge spies and I was too confused by it, Margaret. So I hoped to remedy that a bit by reading something that gave me an idea of the chronology and the relationships. The book by Macintyre was particulary well written.

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  7. Good job, I like the way you trailed it along. I've read both of the Kaminsky books, but not the others. So much to read...

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    1. Kaminsky is one of my favorite writers, Rick. Since he wrote so many books, not all are equal, but the one I have read are very entertaining.

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  8. All authors with the exception of your start point that I've been meaning to read at some point. Just not sure when!

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    1. What I would like to do, Col, is read at least one book by each of the MWA Grand Masters. That would be quite a challenge, but most of them I want to read anyway. There are about 20 of them I have read nothing by.

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  9. What a cool idea--thanks for another great post. I'm sipping ginger tea as I read this. Not bitter necessarily, but it fits your blog's theme! :)

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    1. J.P., I have always enjoyed ginger tea. It has a strong taste that I like. I love doing the links in the Six Degrees meme.

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