Six Degrees of Separation | Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

So, I’ve just discovered another meme to add to my repertoire. It’s based on the game ‘Six Degrees of Separation’, the idea that everything, or everyone, can be connected in six steps or fewer.

It has been made even more popular by the game popular with the Internet – the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where you can Google any actor’s ‘Bacon Number’ to learn how many steps connect that person to Kevin Bacon. (It’s an intensely frustrating game and I apologise if I made you aware of it only now and now you are stuck in the spiral of trying to ‘win’ the game. It’s near impossible, don’t try.)

However, the book community has seemingly made this game less annoying by repackaging it as the ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ book meme. The idea is that every month a book is chosen and people then respond with their six degrees list, seeing how far away they can get from the starting point.

This month’s chain begins with a book I haven’t read: Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-seller, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Somebody who has read it though is Max from welldonebooks, whose other favourite book is…

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafón, a book which I loved but, most importantly, is a book about books, just like…

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath, one of the characters in the story writes fanfiction for a series called Simon Snow, something which bears a remarkable resemblance to…

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, a downright children’s classic of our time. I am sure that in years to come it will be considered a classic of children’s literature, as will…

Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman, an author who is mostly known for His Dark Materials’ trilogy but he also wrote…

The Ruby in the Smoke, a series about a young lady named Sally Lockhart who becomes embroiled in many an intrigue in Victorian London. She was played in the TV adaptation (a wonderful one, at that!) by Billie Piper, who has previously been in a book-to-screen adaptation, playing Fanny Price from…

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, a book I’ve tried on two occasions to get through but never can, thanks to not even being able to make it through a single adaptation of it. Some day though, some day! 


That was my ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ – it’s a fun meme to add to my regular posts and I hope you enjoyed seeing the connections you can make between seemingly disparate books. I highly encourage you to try it out for yourself and share in the comments below!


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T5W | Gateway Books To My Favourite Genre

top 5 wednesdayWelcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s theme is books which are Gateway Books To My Favourite Genre. Now, whenever I do these type of lists, I always seem to end up writing about Fantasy, specifically YA Fantasy so, for the sake of some variety (as I hear it is allegedly the spice of life), I have decided to talk about another of my favourite genres: Classics.

To be quite honest, the entire concept of having a genre as wide-reaching and wide-ranging as, simply, Classics baffles me. Especially since Classics are basically just books we (/someone) decided were important (for whatever reason) and so they remained in the culture and in the book world for years. Basically Someone Deems It Quality + Time Passed Since Publication = Classic. There are contemporary books today that could well become classics in the future, that’s just how it works.

All of this rambling is my way of saying that because the genre is so large and woolly, I understand when people feel they ought to read more classics yet don’t really know which ones to reach for. Maybe they had a bad experience of being forced to read a “classic” at school and so are put off the entire genre? Maybe they think they’re too difficult to read? Maybe they think they take too much time/effort to read, so they’d rather reach for something else. These are all entirely understandable reasons.

But I also know many people who say “oh I wish I read more classics” and then feel at loss as to how to start on that mission. I could go about basically saying “read some Dickens” or “read some Austen” or “read the Brontes” or even “read some Hardy” (if I really hated you)… instead of that I’ve decided to recommend some classics that specifically fall into the Classic Gothic fiction genre. Generally speaking, the Gothic genre is considered to have began in England in the latter half of the 18th century, growing in popularity into the 19th century, and continuing to this very day in fact. Common Gothic tropes include gloomy, decaying settings (i.e. a big scary castle), supernatural beings (an odd ghost or vampire or two), curses (gotta love a cursed mirror), some kind of transgression (oo sexy) etc. etc.

The reason I wish to recommend this genre in particular is that it’s about as far away as possible from the realist novels of the long nineteenth century which are usually taught as classics. Because of this, it would be easy to assume that this is what all classics are like but I assure you that’s not the case! And maybe you might end up finding something that tickles your fancy!

Now I’ve given an introduction that will probably be longer than the post itself… let’s get into the actual books:

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Fall TBR

toptentuesday

Another Tuesday, another Top Ten Tuesday. For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to. This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR. As those who have seen my latest TBR efforts might recall, I’ve ditched monthly TBRs in favour of seasonal TBRs – i.e. see my Summer TBR Review and Autumn TBR post. So this week’s topic is fairly easy for me to choose – it’s less easy to actually follow through with but shhh…

Without further ado, let’s see this list…

10. Cogheart – Peter Bunzl (x)

I fell head over heels for this book when I saw it displayed in Waterstones as their Childrens’ Book of the Month – I’m such a sucker for a good display. This book looks beautiful and includes “Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian adventure” – I mean why wouldn’t I want to read it?

9. The Girl of Ink & Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave (x)

Once again, I’m pretty sure Waterstones showcased this book at some point and it arrived on my radar because of that. This book is, visually, stunning. Seriously, illustrated borders, french-flaps, beautiful chapter headings, every inch of this book has been designed with care and detail… so I can only assume the words which accompany it are equally beautiful (and I’m pretty sure they must be!). As the blurb teases: “When [Isabella’s] closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.” Cartography and adventures and stars – yes, please!

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T5W | Books You Will Never Read

top 5 wednesdayWelcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s theme is Books You Will Never Read. I know, I know, ‘never say never’, right? But there are some books that I just know I will probably never get round to, mainly because they’re just not my thing. You’ll sense a theme.

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T5W | Books To Be Read By the End of the Year

top 5 wednesdayWelcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s theme is Books You Want To Read Before the End of the Year. Now I’m sure we all have TBR stacks, TBR shelves on Goodreads, maybe an old-fashioned pen-on-paper list of some books we really ought to get round to, so this isn’t exactly a struggle to put a list together. What is a struggle is limiting it to just 5 choices – but, hey, everyone likes a challenge so without further ado, let’s go…

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Top Ten Tuesday | Earliest TBR Books I Still Haven’t Read Yet

toptentuesdayAnother Tuesday, another Top Ten Tuesday. For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to. This week’s theme is about admitting some of the books we still haven’t read although we completely intend to… at some point aka Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet. 

I am the worst for this. Especially when it comes to classic literature with a capital L and The Canon. As an English literature graduate it’s not exactly surprising that most of the books on this list are considered “literary classics” which I probably should have gotten around to before now. I felt ashamed at times when I admitted I hadn’t read some of these alleged staples – my knowledge of particularly American literature, for example, is shockingly bad since my studies mainly focused on early modern (British) literature. I must correct this at some point in my life and, hopefully, by admitting some of these titles today, it’ll give me the kick up the bum needed to pick them up sooner rather than later.

Without further ado, here we go, here’s my list of shame:

  1. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  4. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  5. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  8. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  10. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Maybe at some point I can stop lamenting over not having read these yet and just actually, you know, pick them up and read them and finally cross them off this list. That’ll be the day!


That was my list of Books That Have Been On My TBR From Before I Started Blogging That I Still Haven’t Read Yet – do any of these feature on your TBR list? Have you read any of the above and think I should make reading them a priority?

Comment below/link your own post below if you have one – I’d love to read it!


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T5W | Favourite First Sentences

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic. This Wednesday’s theme is Favourite First Sentences. As we all know, first sentences do a lot to sell a book to a new reader. They are an author’s chance to really grab the reader and suck them into the world they have created. Because of this, my favourite first sentences are often ones which instantly highlight the weird or wonderful story that is about to unfold in front of my very eyes.

Confession time: I am a fiend for browsing those ‘top 100 first lines of novels’ lists that you often get on book sites (I’ve linked some at the bottom of this post), to the point where I collect opening lines. I might end up with a first sentence in my collection which I adore because it sets up a story so wonderfully, even if I didn’t end up loving the story that follows. Likewise, some of my favourite books only have so-so opening lines in comparison. So, whilst some of these first lines are on the list because they are the opening lines of some of my favourite books, others on this list are just damn good first lines. Since this is quite long enough already, I’ll just let the lines speak for themselves instead of rambling on about why I picked them – if you’re curious though, comment below and I’d be happy to explain my reasoning.

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t simply pick five so, instead, I offer up 4 different lists which contain my top 5 first sentences from… Shakespeare plays, classics, modern/contemporary novels, and books I have yet to read – hopefully you enjoy a good list as much as I do, since I’ve given you four of them!

Enough explanation, let’s go…

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T5W | Most Recent Wishlist Additions

top 5 wednesday

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. We all know how this show goes… but, for those who are unaware, Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Basically, every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 books based on a given topic – because who doesn’t love a good list?

This Wednesday’s theme is Top 5 Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist. I loosely interpreted the word ‘recent’, I think, and there were way too many I could have picked that I already mentioned in my post about my most anticipated releases in the latter half of 2016, so I tried to not repeat that too much. Some of these are new releases, some aren’t released yet, and some have been out for a little while, but I would like to own all of them, please and thank you.

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Teaser Tuesday | 12th July

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme created at A Daily Rhythm. Its simplicity greatly appeals to me since all that you need to do is grab your current read, open to a random page and share two “teaser” sentences, being careful about spoilers.

This week was prompted by the slightly foolhardy decision yesterday to pick up a rather hefty book, as though I wasn’t already reading two books at the moment, one of which is A Clash of Kings, no small task itself. But, clearly, clearly just one tome isn’t enough for me and since this is the first time in a long while that I’ve had a sudden urge to read I decided to go along with it and see how I fare.

So, I’ve picked up one of my “project books”, one that I’ve meant to read for years at this point, one that I have actually got about 200 pages through in the past before I set it aside for some (probably stupid) reason… Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. So, today’s Teaser Tuesday will draw from that book. And I decided to bend the rules a little bit and instead of picking a random couple of lines I just had to pick the opening line of the novel because it’s just brilliant, in my opinion. (And I might have picked out three instead of two sentences – buy 2 get the 3rd free, I guess?)

Anna Karenina

“Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 

All was confusion in the Oblonskys’ house. The wife had found out that the husband was having an affair with their former French governess, and had announced to the husband that she could not live in the same house with him.”

 

Have you read Anna Karenina or do you plan to sometime in the future? Do you have a Teaser Tuesday? Please do share/comment below!


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Book Travelling Thursdays | Favourite Series Conclusion

168709Book Travelling Thursdays is a weekly meme for book bloggers which celebrates the distance a book travels around the world through its covers in different countries. It was created by Cátia and Danielle and you can visit the Goodreads group for more information.

This week’s topic is Everything has an end! Choose your favourite conclusion to a series. Now, given my unfortunate tendency to prefer standalone novels, or to have only partly read trilogies or series of books, or to have caught up but be a fan of an ongoing book series, this topic was actually quite challenging for me. So I’m going to have to be very, very stereotypical and choose JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Confession time: I obviously bought this book the day it was released, but it took me weeks to finish it. I’m not sure how much of that was me not wanting to finish the Harry Potter books forever and how much of that was actually a reflection of how much I was enjoying the book itself. It was never my favourite book of the series (Prisoner of Azkaban or Order of the Phoenix probably are) but I can safely say it has been a grower and after nearly 9 years I think I have finally come to terms with it as a series conclusion and actually admitted that it works very well as a conclusion to the entire Harry Potter saga. It might not be many people’s favourite book but I think it is a fitting and appropriate conclusion. (Caveat: … were it not for all the deaths!)

But, more importantly for this post, let’s look at the covers…

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