Six Degrees of Separation: From Rules of Civility to A Pair of Blue Eyes

A very Happy New Year to everyone. And what fun to be able to kick off our 2022 Six Degrees adventure on the very first day of the year.

Hosted by Kate, this is a monthly meme where participants all start with the same book and choose six more linked titles. It’s always fascinating to see how the different chains take shape.

We start this time with a book which fittingly opens on New Year’s Eve: Amor Towels’ Rules of Civility. I haven’t read this yet, but have heard people absolutely raving about it, so will check it out some time.

My first link is to another book which opens on New Year’s Eve, and which I have also not read: The Snow Ball by Brigid Brophy. This has been described as a ‘dazzling cult classic’ and sounds intriguing.

Sticking with the subject of lavish dances, one book in which these are a regular feature is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I cannot resist including this here so that I can give a shameless plug for our forthcoming #WarAndPeace2022 Readalong, which starts on 5 January.

For my third link, I have chosen another book which is set around the time of the Napoleonic Wars: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Sylvia’s Lovers. I recently read Gaskell’s brilliant North And South for #Victober2021 and absolutely loved it, so am keen to explore more of her work. I like the idea of reading this, one of her least-known books.

I gather that whaling features in Sylvia’s Lovers, as it does in The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. This is another recent read which I very much enjoyed.

My reading of The Mercies was partly inspired by the responses I received to a call-out on #BookTwitter for recommended books set in/about Norway. We are hoping (Covid permitting of course) to go on holiday there next summer and I want to do some related reading beforehand. I now have a great bunch of books to explore. So for my fifth link, I have chosen another one from the Twitter list; Berlin Poplars by Anne B Ragde, which sounds very whacky and funny. I’ll be posting more about my Norway reading plans in the coming weeks.

And talking of reading plans, I am hoping to participate in a number of group reads this year, including #TheGreatThomasHardyReadalong2022 run by Steve @Pezzasclassicbooks on Instagram. The first in the series is A Pair of Blue Eyes. It is a long time since I read anything by Hardy so I am looking forward to rediscovering him.

So my chain this month both starts and finishes with books about unlikely lovers, with various meanderings along the way. It’s always nice to go round in a circle.

Next month, we start with No-One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood. See you then! 🙂

28 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From Rules of Civility to A Pair of Blue Eyes

  1. I’m glad you were able to link to War and Peace given your earlier post, Liz. Fingers crossed for all our 2022 travel plans. If you’re interested, I have a Norwegian entry on the Five Books… feature on my blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m always interested in your Five Books posts!! And thank you for the reminder about your Norway collection, which I have enjoyed reading again. I don’t think any of those titles came up in my Twitter responses, so I’ll be adding all five to my list! X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. PS, in reading the comments on your Norway post, I learnt about ‘Walter Presents’. How has this not come in to my life before now…?!? It looks amazing, so thank you for highlighting it.

        Like

  2. That’s a great chain. A Pair of Blue Eyes is one of my favourite Hardy novels and I liked Sylvia’s Lovers too, although I found it very bleak. Good luck with War and Peace! I read it for a readalong a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t read Thomas Hardy in decades! YIKES!!! I am going to enjoy following your Six Degrees of Separation – a brilliant collection. I am looking forward to the #WarAndPeace2022 readalong. Thank you for employing your exceptional organization skills in bringing together this momentous year. Only 5 more sleeps till we start!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very welcome! I haven’t read any of his novels for years, so I’ll be interested to see if I still enjoy them as much as I remember doing before.

      Liked by 1 person

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