Six Degrees of Separation: From A Christmas Carol to Letters From Father Christmas

Greetings! It’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation post. This is a meme hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a common starting point and participants then link to six other books to form a chain. It is endlessly amazing to see all the different results and I love taking part.

This month begins with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This is pleasing for all sorts of reasons, the most important of which for me is that it reminds me immediately of my darling husband. He likes to read this story every year in the lead up to Christmas, which is a lovely tradition.

My favourite rendition of A Christmas Carol was by Sir Patrick Stewart in a one-man performance where he played all the characters. With only a few spare props on the stage, he recited the whole book as if it was a play and it was absolutely captivating. A testament to his acting skill and Dickens’ amazing text.

Sir Patrick is my link to the next book in the chain, which I offer with slight trepidation because I am not sure whether plays are allowed. But hey, it’s Christmas so I am going for it. I saw Sir P in Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra, together with the wonderful Harriet Walter. Another powerful and memorable performance.

Thinking about Egypt as a setting takes me whizzing across to Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. Described as ‘Agatha Christie meets Indiana Jones’ this is an enjoyable romp. I must explore Peters’ other novels in the series some time.

Mention of sand makes me think of Erskine Childers’ The Riddle of the Sands – a vintage tale of adventure and espionage.

I love a good spy story and am currently reading the excellent The Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. I watched the film last week and only just about managed to keep up with the story. But it was completely gripping and I was delighted to see that Matthews’ book is the first in a trilogy. I am hoping that with the narrative from the film under my belt, I might be able to work out the finer details of the twists and turns in the original text – fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, the main character in The Red Sparrow is a former ballerina. So what else could there be for my next link? Yes, it is of course the classic Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield.

And if the chain was ending here, I could reference Streafield in the title of a Christmas carol, namely The First Noel, taking us very satisfyingly right back to where we started. But I need to find one final link in the chain. So instead I am going to use Noel to hop across to my most favourite Christmas book of all – JRR Tolkien’s Letters From Father Christmas. This is a collection of letters he wrote to his children, ostensibly from Santa. They are absolutely charming, full of invention and beautifully illustrated. It is a treasure of a book and a lovely seasonal way to end this month’s linking adventures.

If you would like to continue with the linking fun, why not check out the accompanying playlist for this chain over on my other blog, Leaping Tracks

Next time, we will be seeing in the New Year with John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Until then, I wish you all a wonderful festive season. 😀🎄

20 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From A Christmas Carol to Letters From Father Christmas

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    I loved the Letters from Father Christmas, which I read to my children when they were small. I’m afraid Christmas has lost its magic somewhat since they got bigger and are less excited about the whole thing…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Liz says:

      I know what you mean about the way things have gone with Christmas over the years. I think charming, personal treasures like the Father Christmas Letters can bring much needed, albeit simple, pleasures amidst all the consumerism etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen says:

    Great chain this month – I like the way you started and finished with Christmas books. I enjoyed Crocodile on the Sandbank too and really need to continue with that series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gallivanta says:

    Love your graphic at the top of your post, and I was delighted that you included Ballet Shoes, an all time favourite for me. Letters from Father Christmas is a gem, too. Now, I am curious to know; if you had taken ‘darling husband’ as the link from A Christmas Carol where would your list have gone? 🙂 🙂 How lovely that he reads A Christmas Carol to you each year. I enjoy listening to his voice on his Youtube videos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz says:

      His voice is as gorgeous as the rest of him! When we were first together, he would sometimes read David Copperfield to me – we never got past the first few pages because it always helped me get instantly to sleep! He also produced a beautiful set of recorded readings of Thomas the Tank Engine books for our disabled nephew when he was small which really helped to soothe and calm him. He is clearly a natural, as evidenced by all the brilliant railway videos! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Clare Pooley says:

    I look forward to these posts of yours so much, Liz! I love your ingenious chain from Christmas story to Christmas story; London to London again via Egypt, the Baltic and Moscow and ending at the North Pole! Amazingly, I have read more than one of the books in your chain! I never saw Sir P’s one-man Christmas Carol but we always try to watch him each year as Scrooge in the 1999 film of the Christmas Carol. I love the book and film of The Riddle of the Sands; it’s so shocking isn’t it, that Childers was shot as a spy? Ballet Shoes was a favourite of mine as a girl and I loved reading Tolkien’s Father Christmas Letters to both my girls. I haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Peters or Jason Matthews – a treat to come!

    Like

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