6 Degrees of Separation: We Need to Talk About Kevin

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.

15.01 Talk About Kevin collage

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.

11 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: We Need to Talk About Kevin

  1. Great chain,

    I really enjoyed Six Degrees this month, mostly because Kevin is one of the best, most frightening books I’ve ever read.

    I also really loved Geisha and One Day – I read One Day on holiday, expecting a light beach read and was caught unawares by how emotionally invested I became. His latest book, Us, is hovering near the top of my TBR stack.

    Some Here Among Us looks good – will hunt it down.

    Here’s my Six Degrees chain – https://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/six-degrees-of-separation-from-we-need-to-talk-about-kevin-to-little-known-facts/

  2. I loved One Day! I’ve read loads of the books on your chain this week – Memoirs Of A Geisha used to be my favourite when I was at school.

  3. One Day was an enjoyable surprise for me too, after I ‘won’ a stack of books in a silent auction. I also loved The God of Small Things. I’m afraid I was missing in action for this month’s Six Degrees, but I have a couple of good excuses (at least I think they are!), and I’ll be back on board for February.

  4. Hi Annabel, I’m looking forward to doing this again, from next month on! I hope you’re well!

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