Six Degrees of Separation | Room

Another month, another Six Degrees of Separation! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my efforts for this month, starting with…

Room by Emma Donoghue, a novel told from the perspective of 5-year old Jack, a child who lives with his Ma in “Room”, a room in which he and his mother are held captive by a man who kidnapped her some years ago. Jack’s perspective of life has been entirely restricted to this single room he shares with his mum, who tries her best to raise him as well as she can in this small space. Donoghue chooses to tell her story through the eyes (and words) of 5-year old Jack, making some of the traumatic events he narrates quite unusually told.

Speaking of unusual stories narrated by children Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told through the eyes of the unnamed narrator, a man who returns to the house he grew up in to attend a funeral. Whilst there his memories of childhood are triggered and he starts to remember the events of his past, and a very strange and surreal narrative unfolds, told through his perspective when he was a child. The book won the Specsaver’s National Book Awards’ ‘Book of the Year’ in 2013, an award which was won the following year by…

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, Burton’s debut novel, set in 17th century Amsterdam and telling the tale of Nella Oortman, a young woman who arrives in the city to move into the home of her new husband, Johannes Brandt, a respected merchant trader, a home which is as unwelcoming as Johannes’ sister, Marin. Johannes, though distant to his new wife, gifts her a beautiful cabinet-sized replica of their home, a replica whose appearance begins to mimic events in the real household as secrets begin to be uncovered and the plot thickens. As I said this book is set in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, as is parts of…

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfincha book which I desperately want to read asap because I’ve heard nothing but good things and I adored Tartt’s The Secret History. This book, however, centres around the painting of the book’s title, the Dutch Golden Age painting of a chained bird by  Carel Fabritius, a pupil of Rembrandt. Just as The Goldfinch’s protagonist, Theo, takes the painting from The Met in the wake of an explosion, and has no idea how this action will affect the course his life takes, Annie McDee has no idea how happening across a lost masterpiece in a dusty junk shop will affect her life in…

Hannah Rothschild’s The Improbability of Love, a book which is inextricably bound in the art trade world, as Rothschild’s protagonist begins to discover the true provenance of the Antoine Watteau painting she has inadvertently bought. The journey takes character and reader back through early 20th-century European history to reveal the painting’s shady history. The painting itself is even given a voice and, let me tell you, it does not mince its words about some of its previous owners. Some may find this narrative device of giving an object a voice to be odd, some may find it a gimmick, I enjoyed it, but I digress… just as parts of The Improbability of Love are told from this unusual perspective, so is…

Nutshell by Ian McEwan, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet told from the point of view of a foetus inside the womb of the novel’s Gertrude character, Trudy. Trudy and her husband’s brother, Claude, hatch a plan to murder her husband, John (are you seeing the ‘Hamlet’ connection), but their scheming has a witness – the foetus itself. I have not read this novel, I’m not even sure what I think about this novel, but the fact it’s a Shakespeare retelling means I will inevitably pick it up at some point because I’m a sucker for that, which brings me finally to…

Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed, a re-telling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest which I am enormously looking forward to reading (The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays) and which tells the tale of a recently sacked artistic director, Felix, who was planning a production of said play before he was “deposed” (so says the dramatic synopsis) by his assistant and enemy. Exiled from his job, he takes up new employment teaching literature and theatre at a nearby prison where they plan finally to stage his interpretation of The Tempest. The performance places the possibility of revenge on his enemies within reach, all of which sets up a super intriguing retelling of the play which I’m hoping will be meta but derivative enough to keep me hooked.

And there we have it, folks, from Room to Hag-Seed! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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Six Degrees of Separation | Fever Pitch

It’s that time, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I’ve not read unfortunately, it’s Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. What I do know about it is that it was made into a film in the UK, starring Colin Firth and Mark Strong (so obv, I’d know about it)…

Mark Strong also starred in a book-to-film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy by John le Carré which follows retired deputy chief George Smiley’s efforts to uncover a Soviet mole lurking within MI6. One of MI6’s Soviet sources is code-named Merlin…

Merlin, of course, is a legendary wizard who appears in Arthurian legend and many a derivation of that legend, including Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. But of course Merlin is also woven into the society of…

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, in which characters use “Merlin’s beard!” as a form of exclamation, and which features an honour called the Order of Merlin (the wizarding world’s version of an OBE). The series was published by Bloomsbury, who also publish a book often compared (erroneously, I think) to Harry Potter and that is…

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, a YA dystopian/fantasy which takes place in a Scion-controlled London where clairvoyants are considered dangerous and so form a sort of Victorian-inspired gang system within the criminal underbelly within the city (and also I love it a lot ok?). Not to spoil the entire plot but this book also takes place in Oxford (a beautiful place I also love), as is…

Philip Pullman’s Northern Lightsthe first book in the His Dark Materials, a wonderful fantasy trilogy telling the story of Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry and there’s polar bears and parallel worlds and witches but it also has some really dark undertones regarding religion and theology and by god it’s SO good. The title of the trilogy (and the entire trilogy) is inspired by…

Paradise Lost by John Milton, an epic 17th-century poem which retells the Biblical story of the Fall of Man and the Original Sin etc. I studied this in my Renaissance to Restoration class at university and I never did finish it but the lectures and seminars I had about this text were genuinely some of the most amazing I’ve ever had. The poetic style of this text is extraordinarily cinematic and visual and it’s pretty damn impressive and I completely understand why it holds the place it does in the canon of English literature.


And there we have it, folks, from Fever Pitch to Paradise Lost, which are two things I never thought would be said in the same breath! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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Six Degrees of Separation | Fates and Furies

It’s that time, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my (somewhat belated) efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I’ve actually read (and adored): Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. This tells the story of the relationship of Lotto and Mathilde and their seemingly perfect marriage. As is all too often the case, there are two sides to every story and their marriage turns out to be a little… turbulent.

Speaking of turbulent and not-as-it-seems marriages, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is pretty much the epitome of unreliable narrator. (Or so I’m told, I never actually made it past 50 or so pages when I tried to read it) The 2014 film adaptation of it starred Rosamund Pike as the perfect wife, Amy. She has also previously starred in a 2005 book-to-film adaptation of…

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, as directed by Joe Wright, which I love and thought she was the perfect Jane Bennet, but I digress… Pride and Prejudice is considered a classic of the 19th century, just like…

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a story that tells the tale of the eponymous Jane from orphanhood to a position as governess at Thornfield Hall where she falls for the stern Mr Rochester. It’s a book I never “got”, I read it and it was fine but I don’t think I appreciated it as I should have (maybe I should give it a re-read now I’m older?) The bits of it I did enjoy, however, were the Gothic-y elements, as I seem to like my books with a slight Gothic trend. Unsurprisingly, then, this next Gothic-y book is high on my TBR…

Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree, ostensibly a children’s book which won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2015. The main character, Faith, is a young girl with an interest in science (so I gather from the book’s synopsis). Another “Costa” winner (it was previously called the Whitbread Book Award until 2006) from 2001 which was the first “children’s” book to win the Award…

… and featured a strong young lady named Lyra, whose story is told in The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, the third book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. The book takes place in cities in parallel worlds, not unlike…

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, the first in her Shades of Magic trilogy which tells of a very unique traveller, Kell, an ambassador to the royal family who is able to travel between parallel versions of a city called “London” situated in very different worlds which have different amounts of magic. I adore these books and am eagerly anticipating the final book in the trilogy, A Conjuring of Light, which is released tomorrow!

And there we have it, folks, from Fates and Furies to A Darker Shade of Magic, as easy as that! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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Six Degrees of Separation | The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

That’s right, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here is my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with Nordic thriller, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, written by Stieg Larsson, a book which features a protagonist, Lisbeth Salander, who has a photographic/eidetic memory, just like…

Robert Langdon from Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code/Angels & Demons (amongst others!), a film version of which starred the likes of Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou and Paul Bettany.

Paul Bettany also appeared in the film A Knight’s Tale, in which he plays Geoffrey Chaucer. The film, though not the same, takes its title from Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales, a work whose style also inspired…

Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, a sci-fi novel about an extra-planetary group of pilgrims which won the Hugo Award in 1990…

Similarly, the 2005 winner of the Hugo Award was Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, an alternate history novel in which the North-South divide in England, as figured during the Industrial Revolution, is inverted. This divide is also the subject of the nineteenth-century novel…

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, which tells of Southerner Margaret Hale’s move to an industrial city in the North of England, Milton, whose mills bring her into contact with Mr Thornton, a mill-owner whom she disagrees with intensely, creating an interesting dynamic which is not dissimilar to that of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy in…

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

And there we have it, from Nordic thrillers, to a Middle English story collection, to novels featuring nineteenth-century magicians, mills, and marriage alike! Who would’ve thought it? 

I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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Six Degrees of Separation | Revolutionary Road

I’m a little late to the party this month but I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here is my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I haven’t read (quelle surprise): Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. The book, which tells the story of the seemingly model marriage of Frank and April Wheeler, was published in 1961, the same year as…

Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, a book which was adapted into a film in 1966 which was made up of a combination of live-action and stop-motion effects. It was directed by Henry Selick who also directed a film adaptation of…

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, a dark children’s fantasy about a young girl who goes exploring in her new home to find a door leading to an Other world, complete with an Other Mother and an Other Father. Oh and they all have shiny black buttons for eyes. Creepy, or what? Gaiman is the master of unsettling fantasy, but he also wrote a slightly more traditional Tolkien-esque fantasy tale which was called…

Stardust which tells the story of young shop boy Tristran Thorne who lives in a rural town called Wall and has never ventured outside his own little comforting bubble until he vows to bring back a fallen star as a prize for his beloved Victoria. The film adaptation (which I adore, by the way) starred Mark Strong as “bad guy” Prince Septimus. Strong has previously appeared as Mr Knightley in a 1996 film adaptation of…

Emma by Jane Austen, a book which famously features an unlikable heroine, of which even Austen herself said  “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Another novel which features an unlikable protagonist is…

William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, a hella long novel (which I will probably never get around to reading despite the fact I own it) which is set during the Napoleonic Wars, as is…

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, an alternative history set in the nineteenth-century and, surprise surprise, it’s yet another hella long novel. However it’s one which I actually will read in the new year not only because I need to, but also because I actually really want to read it finally. I mean, come on, this is it’s opening line: “Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic.” Just yes, this is what I want. I rest my case and, indeed, my Six Degrees of Separation.


So that was my ‘Six Degrees of Separation’, from Revolutionary Road to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. This is 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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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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