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!