Posted by: Lisa Hill | January 4, 2020

Six Degrees of Separation: Daisy Jones and The Six, to …

This month’s #6Degrees starts with a book I’ve never heard of: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid — it’s about a rock band, and contrary to the blurb at Goodreads, I’d never heard of them either.

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.

So it’s a memoir?  Curious, I Googled ‘rock music of the 70s’ and found bands I had heard of (and even some that I quite liked): Queen, Sultans of Swing, Elton John, George Harrison, Elton John, Carole King, Pink Floyd, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Springstein.  But no Daisy Jones.  Ah ha, the penny dropped: all those bands bar one are male.  The book is a rewriting of rock history to accomplish gender balance… and then I knew where my chain could go.

I’ve read quite a few books attempting to rescue various women from oblivion: women who were married to famous men and never had their contributions acknowledged.  Germaine Greer did it best with Shakespeare’s Wife (see my review) and Glenda Korporaal did it not quite so successfully with Making Magic, the Marion Mahoney Griffin Story (see my review).

I think that in the case of the Griffins, a joint bio that pays credit to both members of the partnership, works better. Grand Obsessions: The Life and Work of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, by Alasdair McGregor won the National Biography Award and it’s a beautiful book, profusely illustrated with photos of their plans and designs. (Though that cover photo is dreadful, just dreadful. It does no favours to either of them). See my review here.

Another gorgeous book that was profusely illustrated with maps and reproductions and portraits that really enhanced the text was Encountering Terra Australis: The Australian Voyages of Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders by Jean Fornasiero, Peter Monteath and John West-Sooby.  I read it when I was developing curriculum about Australian maritime exploration (and a wiki to support it) but it was more than a reference book.  It was captivating, see my review here.

Peter Monteath is also the author of another very interesting book: Captured Lives, Australia’s Wartime Internment Camps. So often we have a skimpy knowledge of our domestic war-time history because it doesn’t fit the prevailing narrative.  Monteath’s book is a comprehensive survey of internment from both World Wars, showing that the reasons for and effects of internment policies were much more nuanced than I had realised.  The internees weren’t all harmless old Germans peacefully growing grapes in the Barossa!  See my review here.

I am reminded by that review that Rebecca Huntley’s memoir The Italian Girl offers another perspective, that of her grandmother who ran the family farm alone while her husband was interned…

And that leads me to the story of Australia’s most famous and successful female farmer, who ran the family farm in her husband John’s protracted absences and finally got the biography she deserves in Michelle Scott Tucker’s Elizabeth Macarthur, a life at the edge of the world, see my enthusiastic review here.  If you’ve got the second edition of this unputdownable book, you will see that the publisher has quoted me as one of its blurbers, which pleased me immensely.  (As far as I know the only other publisher to pay me that compliment is Magabala Books was when Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu went into a second edition, see my review here).

So that’s my #6Degrees: from a novel about a rarity — a female rock band — to a bio revealing that female farmers weren’t the rarity we might think they were.

Next month’s book is another one I’ve never heard of: Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

Thanks to Kate at Books are my Favourite and Best for hosting:)

 


Responses

  1. I like the direction you took here! I am keen now to read Shakespeare’s Wife. It sounds very much like my sort of read – far more than Daisy Jones and The Six was, but more about that later in my review.

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    • I’m impressed that you read it…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was more of a skim than a read but in addition to it being the six degrees title, it was also my local book club pick for January. And I always read those otherwise there’s little point in turning up to book club!

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        • Should be a lively discussion then: it’s always more fun when some people love the book and others don’t.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not surprised you couldn’t find references to Daisy Jones & the Six: it’s a completely made-up band! I’ve not read it, but it’s on my wishlist. The Thrill of it All by Joseph O’Connor, published a few years ago, does the same thing: creates a “memoir” based on a fictional UK band from the 1970s. O’Connor writes it so well it’s hard to believe the band was simply a figment of his imagination.

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    • Yes, I know, but when you’re as out of touch with popular culture as I am, I took what was written at GR at fave value. Silly me…

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      • It took me a while, I must say, to decide that that GoodReads blurb was part of the fiction, and that the group didn’t exist. I started my post describing it as a biography and set off on a different chain altogether, but then decided I need to check further. The opening paragraph of your post had me second-guessing myself all over again!! Haha.

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  3. I fell for the trick too, not surprisingly because my musical knowledge is fairly limited to the big names of the period.
    Your chain took an unusual but very interesting path. I’m drawn to the Germaine Greer which I’d heard of a long time ago but had forgotten about.

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    • It was such an excellent book, one of my favourites:)

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  4. Well, actually, both Daisy Jones as well as the band The Six were both fictional, and it wasn’t a female rock band, just a rock band that added a female lead singer, Daisy Jones. Mind you, The Six did have one other female member, but that’s it, and it was total fiction. I loved the book. Very unique! And thanks for this chain which has more Australian authors – I want to read more of them this year, so I’ll bookmark your chain!

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    • Not like Suzi Quattro then, because she had an all-female band.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No. Nor Heart, with Nancy and Ann Wilson (one of my favorite rock bands)!

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        • Actually… almost exactly like Heart, come to think of it! Ann and Nancy Wilson found a floundering rock band doing mostly covers of famous songs, and they turned them into Heart by taking the leads and writing songs for them. Why didn’t I realize this before?

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I am not sure I could do this meme!! Well done you!

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    • Hey, Marg, so good to hear from you:)
      Would love to catch up one day soon…

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  6. You win the prize for the most original first link – very clever :-)

    I need to get a hold of Elizabeth Macarthur – for the record, I’m VERY impressed you get a mention! (the power of book blogging!).

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    • LOL Kate it doesn’t often happen, publishers are always looking for blurb material, but I’m usually too long-winded!

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      • I’m thrilled they used your wonderful blurb. Totally on merit and entirely without input from me, by the way. And thanks for this shout out too – you really are very kind.

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        • The chain is entirely unplanned, I assure you… it’s just the way my haphazard brain works:)

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  7. […] Recommended by ANZLitLovers […]

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  8. I like the direction chose to go with this right from the start. The connection between the first and last book is clever. Thank you for sharing!

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