Six degrees of separation: From The Tipping Point to Doctor Zhivago

Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate on her blog Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month, a book is chosen as a starting point. Players then publish their own chain, linking the first book six others. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the others on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The links can be a tenuous and tangential as you like!

And as a bonus this month, I have created a playlist to accompany my book links on my LeapingTracks music blog.

This month’s starting point is Malcolm Gladwell’s non-fiction book The Tipping Point. I have this on my shelf and read it ages ago when it first came out in paperback. It is an excellent read, with many fascinating insights.

On the back cover, it says that the book is about “that magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviour cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire”. So taking magic as my link to the first book in this sequence, my next choice is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I adore this book and flick through it regularly. It is full of wisdom about the importance and joys of maximising creativity in our lives. I wrote about this in more detail here.

There’s another form of magic for my second link: my first encounter with magic as a child was reading Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. How marvellous it seemed to find oneself in an enchanted wood, with a tree which provides a gateway to mystical lands. I loved reading about Moonface and all the other inhabitants of the faraway tree, although I must admit to having a few nightmares about being left forever in one of the lands when it turned away from the tree’s portal. No wonder the memory of this book has stayed with me for more than 40 years!

Mention of Moonface gives me my next link to Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. This is one of my current reads – I want to read, or re-read all five books on the Golden Booker Prize shortlist before I vote.

One of Lively’s main characters in this book is called Jasper and the title makes me think of Tiger’s Eye. So my mind is very firmly on gemstones taking me to my next link, The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor – an incredible true story about a Viennese Jewish society lady and her relationship with a now-famous painting and the Nazis.

Vienna is the setting of, and therefore the link to, my next book, which is The Third Man by Graham Greene, a brilliant thriller based around the murder of Harry Lime. Some herald the film of this book as one of the greatest of all time. Certainly it must have one of the most memorable theme tunes. So, for my final leap, I lean on another soundtrack-related link. Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago is one of my favourite books, and perhaps my favourite ever film, not least because of its musical themes.

And there you have it. A book about human relationships and behaviours in non-fiction form eventually leads us rather nicely to a novel about the same thing. Nice! 🙂

28 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation: From The Tipping Point to Doctor Zhivago

  1. This is such a fun thing to do. I read Moon Tiger many moons ago and I remember loving it. But I think I loved these two books even more: A House Unlocked (2001) and Oleander, Jacaranda: A Childhood Perceived (1994)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mandy. I am really enjoying Moon Tiger – my first of her books, but definitely not the last. I’ll make sure to pick up your two recommendations as I read more. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature Of All Things after reading some negative reviewers say how it wasn’t what they thought it would be, but the focus on nature, especially mosses and the birth of Kew Gardens told through a family really caught me. If you’ve not read it, it’s really something special. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, thanks for this heads up. I bought TSoaT on Kindle ages ago, so will rescue it from the depths of the pixel pit 🙂


  3. The Magic Faraway Tree… now there’s a book that brings back wonderful memories for me 🙂
    Lovely 6 degrees journey.


  4. Liz, what a brilliant chain! I have never read The Magic Faraway Tree or Big Magic. The former was such a favourite of my daughter’s and the latter has been on my list for so long – I must read them both! I had also missed the Golden Man Booker shortlist. Very interesting! And as for the matching music – I’m off to explore your other blog now! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Liz, I am ashamed to say I haven’t read any of the books on your list – which is beautifully constructed, I must say! The Third Man and Doctor Zhivago are both on my tbr list. Richard and I were discussing Graham Greene a couple of days ago – he has read as many GG’s as I have but all different ones and was recommending ‘The Third Man’. We both love the film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clare, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of – according to Google, there have been nearly 130 million books published, so the chances of anyone else having read any from my list is very small!! I definitely need to read more GG – I have Our Man in Havana on my TBR. And I might well treat myself to another viewing of both films 🙂


      1. Our Man in Havana is another one Richard has read and thoroughly enjoyed. We were saying that Green’s main characters struggle through terrible moral dillemmas; sometimes completely harrowing and sometimes really comical. Alec Guinness is brilliant in ‘Our Man in Havana’!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The Tipping Point sounds like a great one – I’ve always wondered why some ideas catch on and others don’t. I love Doctor Zhivago too, though I haven’t read the book – the movie seemed long enough. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol – the book is even longer than the film in terms of breadth of story, but don’t let that put you off – it’s a super read! 🙂


  7. Loved this ramble from one book to another Liz – many of them my favorites, especially of course, Dr Zhivago, film and book and music, and the wonderful Tipping Point –
    But what has prompted me to comment was your mention of The Faraway Tree, my favourite reading when I was six and seven, when I couldn’t wait for Friday to come, and my walk to the newsagent on the corner across the street, to pick up my copy of Sunny Stories and devour the Faraway Tree… and this was also a chocolate moment – the sweet coupons and my grandmother allowed me to buy a Mars bar – back in 1944/5 … those were the days,,, simple, but profound…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.