Six Degrees of Separation: From Murmur to Someone at a Distance

How can it be the beginning of June already? The year is flying past. But at least it means that it is time once again to take part in the Six Degrees meme, hosted by Kate over at BooksAreMyFavouriteAndBest. For extra Six Degrees enjoyment, check out my playlist to link with this month’s titles over on my Leaping Tracks blog.

This month we start with Murmur by Will Eaves. This is a multi-award winning novel about a character whose life is based on that of Alan Turing. I have a copy on order from the library and am really looking forward to reading it.

Thinking about pioneering scientists, I am choosing for my first link Discoverers of the Universe by Michael Hoskin which showcases the amazing work of astronomers William and Caroline Herschel. Until fairly recently, William received all the plaudits for their work. But happily, and quite rightly, more is now being written about his sister’s equally important (and in some cases more significant) contributions.

Moving on, I am taking the universe as my next linking point. I love this quote….

“Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe.”
Douglas Adams

….which makes me think of James Gaines’ Evening in the Palace of Reason. This book is about a meeting between J S Bach and Frederick the Great, an encounter which leads to Bach’s masterpiece composition ‘A Musical Offering’. I have had it on my ‘To Be Read’ shelf for years and am pleased to have been reminded of it now!

Switching from evening to morning for my next link, I have chosen Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa. This is another book I have had for ages and really must get around to reading (one of the many joys of these six degrees posts is the unexpected shuffling of the To Be Read pile!). It is a powerful-sounding family story set against the backdrop of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

To carry on with a time-related link, we move on to Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys. I read Wide Sargasso Sea not so long ago, and was also interested in Diana Athill’s recollections about Rhys in Stet. So another reading plan (sigh) is to read more of her work, including this one which is set in Paris, leading me to…

….Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. As this list has rapidly taken on a ‘books I would like to read’ vibe, I thought this Paris-set story would be a good choice because I have recently started Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk and am sure I will want to read more of his work.

Giovanni’s Room is a close examination of the complexities of different types of love and obsession. Both this, and its French setting call to mind Dorothy Whipple’s Someone at a Distance, a wonderful book which, hurrah, I have actually read and is a fitting conclusion to the chain, given that I am participating in Jessie’s Persephone Readathon this week.

Next month we will be starting with the children’s classic Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. See you then! 🙂

Six degrees of separation: From The French Lieutenant’s Woman to First in the World Somewhere


It’s time for the first Six Degrees post of 2019 – hooray! This is a meme hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a common starting point and participants then link to six other books to form a chain. It is endlessly amazing to see all the different results and I love taking part.

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