Greetings, bookworms and welcome back to Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly meme in which myself and Emma Chapman invite you to link six books in a chain, according to whatever connections spring to mind. The rules are: there are no rules! This month’s chain begins with Lionel Shriver’s contemporary classic We Need to Talk About Kevin.
I should begin by admitting that I haven’t read this book. I put it off for years because the subject matter scared me, and then when I eventually psyched myself up to it, the epistolary form grated on me. It tells the story of a teenaged boy who shoots his classmates (hence my dread). The same subject matter is tackled by DBC Pierre in his novel Vernon God Little which I read when I was less easily horrified than I am now, but anyway, I believe it takes a much lighter tone that Shriver’s novel.
Vernon God Little won the Booker Prize, as did Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. But wait, there’s more: both books have God in the title. There is also a synonym connection in the titles: one contains little and one contains small! Triple connection = bonus points!
The God of Small Things was Roy’s first and only book. Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha was also a one-hit wonder of the book world. On a holiday in Bali I ran out of books and picked it up in the lobby in sheer desperation, and much to my surprise, enjoyed it very much.
Another popular book I believed I wouldn’t like and was completely wrong about was David Nicholls’ One Day. It was so funny and heartwarming and relatable – I loved it. It is, in some ways, the story of a friendship over many years, as is Some Here Among Us, the latest novel by New Zealand author Peter Walker. Walker’s novel had some of the smartest and funniest dialogue I’ve read in ages and in that sense it reminded me of Patrick Somerville’s This Bright River, one of my favourite novels of the last few years.
So my six degrees journey took me from school shootings to Booker prize winners, to one hit wonders, to surprise favourites, to books about friendship and finally to brilliant dialogue: so many ways to connect the books we love (and even the books we don’t!). Join the fun by blogging your own chain. Don’t forget to post your link in the comments.
Next month: On Saturday, February 7th we’ll start the chain with This Book Will Save Your Life by AM Homes; I hope you’ll join us.