#6degrees – opium dens, zombies and nightmares

I have had a weekend to treasure with family and bonfire and beef brisket, hence I am a little late with this month’s #6degrees hosted by Kate at booksaremybestandfavourite.

This chain commences with Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. Somehow this whole series has passed me by despite being adapted into a tv show, radio series and musical.  So, from a point of complete ignorance, I will say The Tale of the City sounds like a soap 220px-Lippincott_doriangrayopera.

I was addicted to a soap opera once. It was and still is called, EastEnders. The ‘otherness’ of the East End of London appealed to me. Nothing like sunny rural Queensland. The seedy ‘otherness’ was also an attraction for Dorian Gray whose self-indulgent pursuit of pleasure is the centre of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Dorian visited the East End’s opium dens. I would like to visit an opium den. Just to have look. There does not seem to be any in my local area. Sherlock Holme’s dabbled with drugs. That is not the only connection I can make between Sir Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde who met and had dinner with the publisher of Lippincott’s Magazine in which both the Portrait of Dorian Gray and Sherlock’s second adventure The Sign of Four later appearedWhat a meeting of minds. I wish I was a fly on the wall.Oscar_Wilde_and_Arthur_Conan_Doyle_green_plaque_(Westminster)

Speaking of a meeting of minds,  did you know James Patterson and Bill Clinton have co-authored a book? The President is Missing. I haven’t read it and probably won’t but I can’t miss the enormous signs at my local shopping centre (which does not have an opium den).

When I think I fiction in shopping centres I think of zombies and George A Romero’s Dawn of the Dead which happily for the purpose of this exercise is also a book – that is a novelisation of the movie co-authored with Suzanna Sparrow.

I do like zombies. I have detailed plans ready for when the zombie apocalypse comes. Watching The Walking Dead gives me nightmares. Proper wake in shaking fright nightmares. Last week a book gave me a proper wake in fright nightmare. The Parcel by Anosh Irani is set in the red light district of India and ‘the parcel’ is a ten-year-old girl the protagonist has to ‘break in’ or ‘open up’. Yes, that is the bad thing you are imagining. I am so pleased I found a reason to use this book in my chain.  Read it if you want nightmares.

My other favourite book set in India is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It is a long while since I read it but I remember being astounded by the injustice and poverty and surprised by the ending. I was left thinking of the people with the least enduring while those with more do not.

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