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. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation: from Atonement to The Snow Geese

It’s the beginning of another month and another opportunity to write one of my favourite types of post.  ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ is a meme hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain.

This month, with the exception of the first leap, I have used the words in my books’ titles for all my links. This was not planned – isn’t it nice when happy coincidences emerge in life!

August’s starting point is the wonderful Atonement by Ian McEwan. This is a story about two sisters, which leads me to my first book in the chain – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Of course, I could have picked any of Austen’s books as a ‘sister’ link, but this one sticks out in my mind from this perspective, probably because I love Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet’s portrayal of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Ang Lee’s film adaptation.

Another book with ‘sense’ in the title is Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending. Winning the Booker Prize in 2011, this is a subtle and engaging story about adults reflecting on their lives through the lens of remembrances about their teenage years.

Talk of endings takes me to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. On the surface, this is an easy-read, albeit dark, fairy tale. But like all of Gaiman’s work, there are many hidden depths to explore and uncover.

This is also true of M L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans, which is a ‘what would you do’ type of novel. It is a compelling story beautifully told, about what happens when a lighthouse keeper and his wife find an abandoned baby.

Using ‘light’ as my next link gives me an opportunity to mention one of my favourite authors, Anita Shreve. I have read many of her books over the years, one of which is Light on Snow, which also happens to be about the finding of an infant. It is one of those ‘quiet’ books where it is the power of the narrative, rather than the thrill of the chase which compels the reader to turn the page.

And for my last link, let’s focus on snow. I think I could probably come up with a whole post using this as a theme as I seem to be drawn to snow-related books. But in this case, selecting just one is straightforward because I can pick one of my all-time favourite books – The Snow Geese by William Fiennes. I adore this wonderful story about a man who decides to follow the flight path of migrating geese across North America. It is a gorgeous piece of nature writing and I am very happy to be finishing this list with it.

Finally, if you enjoyed my list, why not check out my accompanying playlist post, over on my Leaping Tracks blog.

In any event, see you next month for a chain which will spring from Mara Wilson’s biography Where Am I Now? 🙂