Six degrees of separation: from The Road to Murmur

Hello May! Here we are again on the first Saturday of the month, so it is time for Six Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate over at BooksAreMyFavouriteAndBest.

This month’s starting point is The Road by Cormack McCarthy, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2007. The following year’s winner is a book which I have just finished re-reading. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is my favourite kind of read – brilliant, sensitive writing about the apparent blandness of everyday life concealing the turbulent under-currents of hidden realities. I rarely re-read books but wanted to pick this one up again prior to reading Strout’s sequel, Olive Again.

Another feature of Olive Kitteridge is that its chapters are like a series of short stories, each linked by Oliver herself. This format is similar to another book I really enjoyed – Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart, which explores the impact of Ireland’s financial collapse in 2008 on the characters living together in a particular town. Ryan’s writing is absolutely beautiful and the way in which each separate chapter links with the rest of the book is so clever.

Sticking with hearts for my next link, I am going with Any Human Heart by William Boyd. I consider Boyd to be one of my favourite writers and yet here is a book of his that I have not yet read – I must remedy that some time.

And thinking about humans takes me, not surprisingly, to The Humans by Matt Haig. This is a highly entertaining read which I recommend if you are looking for something light yet engaging. I recommend his other books too – he writes extremely well about mental health and wellbeing.

The Humans involves, among other things, a mathematical breakthrough.I have just started reading a book in which hinges on another breakthrough – this time in the field of artificial intelligence. Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me is set in a world ‘not quite like this one’, where Sir Alan Turing is alive and well.

So for my final link this month, I have picked another book based on the real Alan Turing – Murmur by Will Eaves. I am about a third into this thought-provoking and somewhat challenging read, and am already realising that it is one that will need to be re-read to be fully understood.

On reflection, that final line could perhaps take us all the way back to the start and be attributed to The Road. That is a book which I have not ever felt able to pick up because I understand it to be bleak and challenging. But I am not afraid of a difficult read, so hey – bring it on.

Next month, we’ll be starting with Sally Rooney’s Normal People. I have not read the book, but have just finished watching the TV series, which is frustrating, heart-wrenching and altogether fabulous.  See you then!

*Featured Image: Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

31 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation: from The Road to Murmur

  1. I love how your chain takes different things from each book to get to the next one. I should try to be more free-wheeling in my chains, but I seem to get bogged down on one theme. Maybe for June… Great list and I agree with you about Boyd – I love his writing but haven’t read nearly enough of his books. His short stories are really good, too! I recently reviewed a collection on my blog.

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  2. Liz, I’ve just read a book simply because it was recommended by Elizabeth Strout, who is just about my favourite author. It’s called Writers & Lovers by Lily King and when Strout said it was “gorgeous“, she was absolutely right. You might want to look out for it.

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  3. I like the way you’ve steered neatly away from dystopia, Liz. Any mention of Elizabeth Strout cheers me up. I’d echo Ann’s comments about Writers & Lovers which I read for the same reason she did and loved it.

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    1. Thanks Susan – I was very keen to keep upbeat! And thanks for the additional book endorsement – amazingly, I found a copy available on NetGalley – perfect!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So pleased you enjoyed it, Mary. And I found yours very interesting too. It’s always satisfying to find an extra way of linking the books thematically as well as to each other – nicely done! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘You keep wanting to be lost’ – isn’t that just the perfect description for anything that draws you in. Thank you for such a brilliant Sunday morning insight! Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read any of the books featured in your chain nor any of the authors! I don’t often read new novels – lots of new non-fiction – and I always try to avoid anything distopian or dark. However, I enjoyed the twists and turns of your links from book to book which is the main point of six degrees. Very cleverly done, Liz!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant chian, Liz! I’d forgotten how much fun these chains are, and how much I learn from them. There’s still time for me to sneak in a six degrees in May …. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been really wanting to read Olive Kitteridge. The Humans has been on my radar awhile, but I haven’t yet picked it up either. Someday. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!


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