#6Degrees of Separation: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

It’s the first Saturday of the month and that means that it’s #6Degrees of bookish separation time! Here’s a recap of the rules: #6degrees rules

I’m back in my family home this weekend and my father and I are about to embark on our annual trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon to get our Shakespeare hit.  We’re seeing Measure for Measure and I’m very much looking forward to it.

This month we’re starting with:

ImageHandler.ashxThe Paying Guests /  Sarah Waters

I’ve just finished this novel and I absolutely tore through it.  Waters is a brilliant storyteller and the world she created was so well drawn and the characters so real: I really didn’t want it to end.  I really admire her careful weaving in of historical detail which becomes part of the fabric of the story, not a hindrance to it.

 

when-nights-were-coldA Little Life / Hanya Yanagihara 

I’ve just started this novel which I was sent in my summer reading bundle from Picador.  As I started it straight after The Paying Guests the two are linked in my mind.  I was thrilled to hear it was longlisted for the Booker Prize last week: I’m already really enjoying it.  It feels like a luxurious book to enjoy and savour.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldBig Little Lies / Liane Moriarty

The title of this book is tenuously linked to the previous one.  Another pageturner that I read recently: Moriarty is another excellent storyteller, pulling you through the book and really making you care about her characters.  This book was also set in Australia and made me nostalgic for the place.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldDirt Music / Tim Winton

Australiana is the theme here.  When we first moved to Australia, I remember listening to this book as an audio book while running around Perth onto Heirisson Island.  It was an excellent introduction to Western Australia and started a love affair with Tim Winton’s writing.  It also made the running a little less painful.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Little Friend / Sarah Waters 

I’ve made my way back to another of Water’s books!  This is another book I listened to on audio book when I was in Australia: driving to work in Fremantle.  I worked at a beautiful art gallery on the beach there called Kidogo Arthouse in my first 6 months.  I was truly living the Australian dream.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldDollar Dreaming: Inside the Aboriginal Art World / Ben Gennochio 

My boss at the art gallery, the wonderful Joanna Robertson, gave me this book as a parting gift.  It’s an interesting look at the problematic Aboriginal art world.  While at the art gallery, I worked with many Aboriginal artists to help promote their fledgling careers.  Joanna is a powerful advocate for Aboriginal art, as well as an excellent teacher.

 

 

when-nights-were-cold What I Loved / Siri Hustvedt

I’m pretty sure I’ve used this one before in a #6Degrees chain, but it’s about the art world, and it’s the first book I thought of, so here it is.  I loved this book – in fact, it reminds me a little bit of A Little Life as both are set in New York and are about artistic, interesting people.

 

 

So I’ve managed to squeeze two Sarah Waters books into the chain, and I’ve also reminisced about my time in Australia.

Let’s see where Annabel Smith ended up…

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below. Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 5th September  and we’ll be starting with Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.

#6Degrees of Separation: The Signature of All Things

It’s the first Saturday of the month and that means that it’s #6Degrees of bookish separation time!

Here’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

I’m on the train to London as I write this: on the way to my friend and fellow-Masters-person Kat Gordon’s book launch for her excellent first novel, The Artificial Anatomy of Parks! This week has been sweltering in the UK so I’ve been outside as much as poss. Also had some excellent bookish news regarding my second novel which I’ll announce soon!

This month we’re starting with:

 

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The Signature of All Things / Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is the first novel of the author of the memoir Eat, Pray, Love. As I wasn’t a huge fan if the first book – I found it a little clichéd – I haven’t yet cracked the spine on this one, though it did get very good reviews so maybe I will give it a try.

 

 

when-nights-were-cold< State of Wonder / Ann Patchett

The cover design and title of Gilbert’s book reminded me of this novel, which I read and enjoyed last year while we were living in Indonesia. Although I felt it meandered a little, the sheer act of imagination necessary to create this story in the Amazon rainforest impressed me.

 

 

 

when-nights-were-coldMemoirs Of A Geisha / Arthur Golden

I read this book while I was at school, and was astounded by the ability of the author to create a world so far removed from their own experience – and that was before I realised it was written by a man.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldShe’s Come Undone / Wally Lamb

Another novel with a female protagonist written by a male author – and executed incredibly well. I fell in love with this novel about an obese woman and her struggles.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldA Kind of Intimacy / Jenn Ashworth

Similar in tone and content to the Wally Lamb, this book has an excruciatingly uncomfortable tension and an unreliable narrator: two if my favourite things.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Artificial Anatomy of Parks / Kat Gordon

The Artificial Anatomy of Parks also has an unreliable narrator and a tense atmosphere that builds to a powerful ending. It’s also in my mind as it is out this week and I’m off to the book launch! Great summer reading.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Vacationers / Emma Straub

The colour of the book cover led me to this one: though it is also great summer reading about a family holiday that goes wrong. One for the poolside, definitely.

 

 

So I’ve ended this chain predictably considering my state of mind as the English summer hits and everything seems sunny and bright. Long May if continue!

Let’s see where Annabel Smith ended up…

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 6th June
and we’ll be starting with The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.

#6Degrees of Separation: The Casual Vacancy / J. K. Rowling

It’s the first Saturday of the month and that means that it’s #6Degrees of bookish separation time!

Here’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

I’ve just dashed in from a rainy walk through the fields around our house to dry off and write this post – so much for hopes of summer weather approaching!  Hope things are sunnier where you are – but not so sunny that you don’t have time to join in our meme!

This month we’re starting with:

 

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The Casual Vacancy / J. K. Rowling

Though this book got a lot of negative commentary when it first came out, I found it an interesting read.  It really captures life in an English small town and though there were rather more cliched characters than I would have liked, I couldn’t help being pulled along by the plot and feeling rather emotional by the end.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldFlowers in the Attic / V. C. Andrews

This is my book club choice for this month and like The Casual Vacancy, despite abounding with cliches, I find myself compelled to read on.  I’d heard a lot about this book before I began, and I can see why it has become such a cult classic.

 

 

 

when-nights-were-coldForever / Judy Blume

Like Flowers in the Attic, Forever was a cult classic book amongst teenagers of my generation.  I remember being surprised to find it in the school library as I’d heard it was rather risque.  And it didn’t disappoint.  I can’t wait for Blume’s new novel for adults to come out soon!

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Giver / Lois Lowry

Another book I loved as a teenager, and one I now can’t remember a thing about!  However, I found this book the other day when unpacking my millions of books, so maybe I’ll give it a reread.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldHer / Harriet Lane

Another book I found while unpacking and was reminded I want to read.  I’m painting my bookcases at the moment and am rediscovering all sorts of gems.  I must stop buying books and actually read the ones I have!

 

 

when-nights-were-coldWatching the English / Kate Fox

I bought this book at around the same time I bought Her.  I purchased the new edition which is updated for the digital age: it is a anthropological book about English habits and looks to be an informative read.  I saw Kate Fox at a literary festival last summer and she was an excellent speaker.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldFantastic Mr Fox / Roald Dahl

The name of the author of the previous title led me to this one, which is another book I loved as a child.  I also loved the recent film adaptation with George Clooney as the voice of the fox!

 

 

So from a book about provincial English politics, I’ve taken a journey through some childhood classics, throwing in a thriller and some non-fiction.  What a whirlwind!

Let’s see where Annabel Smith ended up…

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 6th June
and we’ll be starting with The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

#6Degrees of Separation: Elizabeth Is Missing

It’s the first Saturday of the month and that means that it’s #6Degrees of bookish separation time!

Here’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

I can’t believe it’s May already: isn’t this year just flying by?  I’ve been manically scribbling away at my new book this month, and it feels like it’s finally coming together.  Just write faster, Emma, a friend at work repeatedly tells me, and I only wish it was that simple!

This month we’re starting with:

 

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Elizabeth Is Missing/ Emma Healey

I bought a signed copy of this novel when I was on my #IndieBookCrawl last year, and I devoured it while on the road.  I thought it was an interesting and insightful portrayal of a dementia sufferer, and also was cleverly plotted.  I’m thinking of recommending it for my next book club!

 

 

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Eyrie/ Tim Winton

This is another book I picked up on my Indie Book Crawl travels.  I adore Tim Winton, who I discovered while living in Western Australia.  His style of writing is so evocative of the landscapes there, and just thinking about his books makes me homesick for WA!

 

 

 

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Dirt Music/ Tim Winton

This book is the first of Tim Winton’s I read.  I say read, I actually listened to it as an audio book on runs when I first arrived in Perth, and it reminds me of darting around the city and being so excited to be in a new environment.

 

when-nights-were-coldRoom/ Emma Donoghue

Speaking of books I read while living in Western Australia, I remember reading Room while I was on City Beach, counting my lucky stars that I was not only basking in the sunshine, but also reading an excellent novel.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Sealed Letter/Emma Donoghue

The next book Donoghue published after Room was The Sealed Letter, a domestic thriller which is also historical fiction.  I haven’t read this one yet, but it sounds juicy!

 

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Crimson Petal and The White/Michel Faber

The cover of The Sealed Letter reminds me of that of The Crimson Petal and The White.  Also historical fiction, and written in a unique style, I greatly enjoyed this novel when I read it at university.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldMiddlemarch/ George Eliot

My tutor at uni who recommended The Crimson Petal and The White also taught us a course which featured Middlemarch.  It took weeks and weeks to read, and I’m not sure how many of my group actually finished it!

 

 

Let’s see where Annabel Smith ended up…

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 6th June
and we’ll post the book we’re starting with soon!

#6Degrees of Separation: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

It’s the first Saturday of the month and that means that it’s #6Degrees of bookish separation time!

Here’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

I hope everyone is well and happy.  Over the last month, I’ve acquired a puppy and two cats which is very exciting (and a little overwhelming).  I’m enjoying the countryside around our house now the weather is on the turn.  I’ve also done lots of reading and made great progress on my second novel.  All in all, our lives in the UK feel like they are settling into a happy equilibrium!

This month we’re starting with:

 

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The Rosie Project/ Graeme Simsion

I adored this book when I read it last year.  It’s funny and unpretentious, and a great one for book clubs.

 

 

 

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Before We Met/ Lucie Whitehouse

Speaking of great book club titles, this one by Lucy Whitehouse is sure to set tongues wagging.  It builds to an extremely thrilling conclusion, and I couldn’t put it down.

 

 

 

when-nights-were-coldGone Girl/ Gillian Flynn

 Like Before We MetGone Girl is a marriage thriller – a new genre of books which centre on creepy marriages (How To Be A Good Wife is one too!).  I adored the twists and turns in Flynn’s narrative, and was totally in awe of her plotting abilities.

 

when-nights-were-coldKiss Me First/ Lottie Moggach

We’re going for a creepy theme here: this novel explores what happens when one person wants to commit suicide and employs another person to impersonate them on social media and email so that their loved ones will think they are still alive.  A very intersting premise, and well implemented.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Followers/ Rebecca Wait

This one isn’t out for a month and a half, but also has a very interesting premise and lives up to its promise.  It’s about a religious cult that takes a dark turn, and asks lots of interesting questions about what we will do to be happy.

 

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Handmaid’s Tale/ Margaret Atwood

I’m pretty sure I’ve used this book before in #6degrees (perhaps more than once) – the link here is the religious theme.  It’s a dystopian novel about what would happen if a right-wing fundamentalist religious group took over North America after a fertility crisis.

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Blind Assassin/Margaret Atwood

An Atwood link: this is the only one she’s won The Booker for and it’s brilliant.  In fact, I might go and reread it right now…

 

 

Let’s see where Annabel Smith ended up…

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 2nd May
and we’ll be starting with Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.

#6Degrees of Separation: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

It’s the first Saturday of the month and that means that it’s #6Degrees of bookish separation time!

Here’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

How are things wherever you are in the world?  Here in England, Spring is trying its best to emerge: though it snowed today – the waether just can’t seem to make its mind up.  Perfect weather for curling up with a book in front of the fire: one of the main things I missed about England.  My little office even has an open fire, so as you can imagine I’m in heaven!

This month, we’re starting with…

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Wild/Cheryl Strayed

This book is back in the public mind due to the recent film release.  I haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard a lot about it.  Reese Witherspoon is playing the main character, and she is an actress I like.

 

 

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Les Liaisons Dangereuses/Choderlos de Laclos

A bit of a leap here, but Reese Witherspoon also starred in the film Cruel Intentions, which was based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses.  I’ve always wanted to read the original book.

 

 

 

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Les Misérables/Victor Hugo

Another French classic, the stage adaptation of which is my favorite musical.  I wonder what ol’ Hugo would have made of the singing, dancing spectacular…?

 

when-nights-were-coldOld Possum’s Book of Magical Cats/T. S. Eliot

A stage adaptation link here: this is the book of poetry that the musical Cats was based on.  Anpther wonderful musical, and a great collection of lighthearted poetry from the usually intellectual Eliot.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Wasteland/ T. S. Eliot

The marvellously dense and profound collection that T. S. Eliot is most known for.  I read this at university and loved how little of it I understood.

 

 

 

when-nights-were-coldUlysses/ James Joyce

During our move, I discovered I have two copies of this novel, and I understand neither.  I’ll have to revisit this book when I’m older and wiser.  Like The Wasteland, there is a strange satisfaction from being lost in the words without a clue as to the meaning…

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Odyssey/ Homer

This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus’ (known in Roman mythology as Ulysses) jounrey home after the fall of Troy.  We had to memorise lines from this poem for our Latin GCSE, though I can’t remember any of it these days.

 

So, from Wild, we’ve taken a jounrey through film and stage, ending up with an epic Greek poem.  You just can’t predict what will happen with this blog meme!

Let’s see where Annabel Smith ended up…

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 4th April
and we’ll be starting with The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

#6Degrees of Separation: This Book Will Save Your Life

It’s the first Saturday of the month and that means that it’s #6Degrees of bookish separation time!

Here’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

I hope the January blues haven’t hit you too hard: we’ve just moved house and are yet to set up the internet, so I’ve been living like an eighteenth century hermit and it’s actually been quite fun! I’ve had to journey out to the neighbouring town to post this, so I very much hope you enjoy it!

This month, we’re starting with…

This Book Will Save Your Life/ A. M. Homes
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Although it’s been out for some time, this book caused quite a splash when it first came out, and it sticks in my mind partly because of it’s beautifully garish cover, festooned with pop-artish donuts.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Lemon Grove/ Helen Walsh

Another book which has a beautiful bright cover (just what we need in chilly England at this time of year) is Helen Walsh’s The Lemon Grove. I read this book last summer and loved the languid prose and the holiday setting. Although it had a strong central idea, I felt it rather petered out towards the end and didn’t quite live up to what it could have been.

 

when-nights-were-coldElizabeth is Missing/ Emma Healey

The Lemon Grove was a book I picked up on my Indie Book Crawl this summer. Visiting so many bookshops, it was inevitable that I would spend a small fortune, and another book I bought and read on the journey was Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey, which has just won the Costa First Novel Award. I loved how this book dealt with dementia as well as the strength of the protagonist’s voice.

 

when-nights-were-coldThe End of Everything/ Megan Abbott

Elizabeth is Missing’s main character is trying to piece together the clues to solve a fifty year old mystery. In Megan Abbott’s The End of Everything, the protagonist is also trying to get to the bottom of a missing person case: that of her best friend.

 

when-nights-were-coldLolita/ Vladimir Nabokov

At times painfully dark and difficult to read, Abbott’s book but me in mind of Lolita: both books dealing with older men praying on young girls. Despite its shadowy core, Lolita is as compelling as it is horrifying.

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Lovely Bones/ Alice Sebold

Another book dealing with similar themes is Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, which was a huge success and was also made into a blockbuster film. For me, the supernatural aspects of the ending became a little far-fetched, but again, I loved the concept behind the book.

 

when-nights-were-coldLife of Pi/ Yann Martel

If I’m not wrong, this book came out in the same year as The Lovely Bones. Also made into a successful film, I preferred the book, which played with the unreliable narrator motif and the reader’s imagination to great narrative effect.

 

So, from This Book Will Save Your Life, to Life of Pi, even the titles of my first and last books link back to each other this week!

 

Annabel Smith ended up with Willy Vlautin’s The Free, a book I’ve never heard of. I wonder how she got there… 

 

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

 

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 7th March and we’ll be starting with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. See you

#6Degrees of Separation: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Happy new year everyone!  It’s the first Saturday of the month, and that means only one thing: a new #6Degrees of Separation Post! Here’s a recap of the rules: #6degrees rules

This month, Annabel Smith and I are starting with Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin.  I absolutely love this book: it’s one of the best unreliable narrator-based novels ever!  Shriver does a brilliant job of leaving questions about what happened hanging for the reader, and she also pulls off an excellent twist which I didn’t see coming.

Here’s my chain:

ImageHandler.ashxWe Need To Talk About Kevin/Lionel Shriver

This book was published in 2003 to great acclaim, winning the Orange Prize in 2005 (now the Baileys Prize).  Not only is it a wonderful novel, it also has an interesting publication history.  It was Shriver’s fifth novel and she struggled for years to get a publisher for it, finally being picked up by small indie Serpent’s Tail.  It’s a book that gives many hope.

 

 when-nights-were-coldSalmon Fishing In The Yemen/Paul Torday

Like We Need To Talk About Kevin, this book is also written in the form of letters.  This is a tricky thing to pull off, and both books do it really well.  They’ve also both been made into successful movies.

 

 

the little friendLegend Of A Suicide/David Vann

The covers of these two books link them in my mind: fishy!  I remember reading Vann’s book by the fire a few Christmases ago and greatly enjoying it.  I saw him talk at the Ubud Writers Festival in 2013.  He shocked me by claiming he only writes for an hour each morning: I’ve since adopted his strategy and found it to be very effective.

 

To_Kill_a_MockingbirdBird by Bird: Instructions On Writing And Life/Anne Lamott

Speaking of writing advice, I’ve just started reading this wonderful book.  I’ve heard so many people recommend it, so I decided to give it a go and I’m loving it so far.  It’s an enjoyable read and laugh-out-loud funny, as well as proving very inspiring.

 

 

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The Narrow Road To The Deep North/Richard Flanagan

As well as reading Bird by Bird, I’m just coming to the end of our book from last month’s Six Degrees and the winner of the Booker 2014.  I must confess that this wonderful novel has rather taken precedence, leaving Bird by Bird a bit neglected.  It’s a book of such gravity and really feels like the pinnacle of a career.  I’m savouring every moment.

 

 the_awakeningThe Railway Man/Eric Lomax

As well as being on the same subject as The Narrow Road To The Deep North, these two books were given to my Dad as a Christmas present this year.  He left them behind at our house and I’ve comandeered them for reading before returning them to him.  Luckily, he’s a bookworm too and totally understands.

 

the_yellow_wallpaperBrick Lane/Monica Ali

My husband and I recently watched the film of both The Railway Man and Brick Lane and greatly enjoyed both!  I still haven’t read the book of Brick Lane and though I have it it’s lost in the move somewhere.  Yet another book to be read when rediscovered.

Both Brick Lane and We Need To Talk About Kevin were published in 2003 (what a great year for books!) and so I’ve come full circle.  In that year, I was in my penultimate year of high school and longing to be a writer myself.  Let’s see where Annabel Smith ended up…

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 7th February and we’ll be starting with A M Home’s This Book Will Save Your Life. See you soon folks and a very happy 2015!

#6Degrees of Separation: The Narrow Road to the Deep North

It’s the first Saturday of the month, and that means only one thing: a new #6Degrees of Separation Post! Here’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

This month, Annabel Smith and I are starting with Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which was announced in October as the 2014 Booker winner.  We’ve chosen to spotlight it to celebrate an Australian (and a Tasmanian) winning the Booker, and to highlight Richard Flanagan’s incredible career.  All of his 6 novels have garnered considerable critical acclaim, and his winning of the Booker was incredibly well-deserved.  Congratulations Richard!

Here’s my chain:

ImageHandler.ashxThe Narrow Road to the Deep North/Richard Flanagan
This book, winner of the 2014 Booker Prize, has garnered considerable critical acclaim.  The Guardian called it ‘a masterpiece’; The Australian said it was ‘beyond comparison…An immense achievement’.  It follows a survivor of the building of the Burma railway during the Second World War, which Flanagan’s father also helped to build.

 

 

when-nights-were-coldThe Luminaries/Eleanor Catton

From the 2014 Booker winner to the 2013 winner.  This book is also an epic feat: I wrote about it in more detail in my Bestseller Breakdown post earlier this year.  Although I could admire it’s strengths, the characters didn’t quite ring true for me.

 

 

the little friendMidnight’s Children/Salman Rushdie 

Like The Luminaries, I didn’t connect with the characters of this book, despite being able to admire certain things about it, including the writing style and the magical realism elements.  Midnight’s Children won not only the Booker Prize, but also the Best of the Bookers, a prize awarded to the best of all the Booker winners in 2000.

 

 

To_Kill_a_MockingbirdNights At The Circus/Angela Carter

Nights At The Circus is another book with magical realism motifs.  It follows the life of a circus worker and incorporates many otherworldly, fairy-tale type ideas.  i’m not partial to this style of writing: I’m more into realistic explorations of the world we live in or the past, rather than supernatural ones.

 

 

uncle_toms_cabin.largeWhite Noise/Don DeLillo
I studied both Nights At The Circus and White Noise on the same Postmodernism course at Edinburgh University.  It was a very tough course, but I have many fond memories from it, including making up a “Postmodern Game” with a fellow student and great friend.  Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Nights At The Circus, I loved White Noise, and it remains one of my favourite books to this day.

 

 

the_awakeningBlonde/Joyce Carol Oates
I can’t think of exactly why these two books are linked together for me: other than the fact that both of them were studied during my time at (two different) universities, and that they are by two great contemporary American authors.  I read Blonde while I was studying for my Masters, and was incredibly impressed by the writing style and the subject.  It is a fictionalisation of the life of Marilyn Monroe.

 

 

the_yellow_wallpaperTigers in Red Weather/Liza Klaussmann

Liza Klaussmann was a fellow student on my Masters course at Royal Holloway, and she was the student who chose Blonde as our selected reading.  We each had to pick a book or author who had influenced our writing, and then the rest of the class had to read the novel and we’d discuss it.  We also critiqued parts of each otehr’s novels on the course, and it’s quite surreal now that a few members of our group have been published to think of us all in that room, striving to be writers one day.

 

From the latest Booker winner to the novel of an old friend.  Liza is American, and now that the Booker has opened up internationally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her win it one day, so perhaps those two books will have more in common in the future! Let’s check in with Annabel Smith and see what she came up with!

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 3rd January and we’ll be starting with a modern classic: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. See you soon folks!

#6Degrees of Separation: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

It’s the first Saturday of the month, and that means only one thing: a new #6Degrees of Separation Post! Here’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

This month is the first time we’re starting with a book I haven’t read, though I’ve heard lots about it.  It’s We’re All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Here’s my chain:

ImageHandler.ashxWe’re All Completely Beside Ourselves/ Karen Joy Fowler
This book has garnered a lot of buzz this year, winning the PEN Faulkner Award and making the shortlist for the Booker Prize.  Having just had a sneaky peek at who else is on the list this year, I’ve realised I haven’t read any of them yet, so that’s something fun to do over the coming weeks.  I’ve been so immersed in reading for my new novel I haven’t looked up.  Perhaps I’ll start with this one.

 

when-nights-were-coldWhat I Loved/Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt is on the Booker longlist this year alongside We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, though it’s for her new novel The Blazing World, and not What I Loved, which remains one of my favorite books of all time.  I remember reading it in the last year of school and though I don’t remember much about the plot, several of the images of art and setting have really stayed with me through the years.  As have a vague sense of the characters: flawed, creative types who I longed to believe existed in real life.

 

the little friendNotes On A Scandal/Zoe Heller
Speaking of books I read in my final year of school, this was another that sticks in my mind.  It’s the plot I remember about this one, and the sense of ominous inevitability that all will not end well.  The unreliable narrator is one of the most chilling characters I’ve ever read in fiction, and was brilliantly played by Judi Dench in the film. 

 

 

To_Kill_a_Mockingbird

The Great Gatsby/ F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The link here is unreliable narrators: Nick in the Great Gatsby is the quintessential definition of the trope.  He’s an outsider, who observers the action of the novel from a position where he can’t be truly accurate in his telling.  The world of Gatsby is therefore always viewed from outside, as a whirling ball of glamour, which makes its breaking apart even more shocking and heartbreaking when it happens.

 

 

uncle_toms_cabin.largeThe Bonfire of the Vanities/Tom Wolfe
Both The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the Vanities are set in New York City.  They also both deal with the upper echelons of New York society, and how their interactions with the lower classes can prove tragic.  I loved the writing style and scope of Bonfire of the Vanities: a book that can only be admired for what it achieves.

 

 

the_awakeningTo Kill A Mockingbird/Harper Lee
This book deals with race, though in the South of America rather than in New York, and at a different time in history.  In 2000, this book was voted the greatest book of all time, and I understand why it ranks so highly with so many.  The universal themes of a good man triumphing against evil foes, as well as the fact that many people read it when they are in their formative teenage years, makes it one that’s likely to stick in people’s minds.

 

 

the_yellow_wallpaperHarry Potter/ J. K. Rowling

This series is another one that often ranks highly in polls of readers’ favorite books.  This book has been called ‘more influential than the bible’ according to a Facebook Poll, which is a pretty incredible claim.  It’s read all over the world.  I absolutely loved the series.

 

 

So, from a book I’ve never read to a series I devoured.  Let’s check in with Annabel Smith and see what she came up with!

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 6th December and we’ll be starting with Richard Flanagan’s Booker winner Narrow Road to the Deep North. See you soon folks!