Six degrees of separation: From The Tipping Point to Doctor Zhivago

Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate on her blog Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month, a book is chosen as a starting point. Players then publish their own chain, linking the first book six others. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the others on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The links can be a tenuous and tangential as you like!

And as a bonus this month, I have created a playlist to accompany my book links on my LeapingTracks music blog.

This month’s starting point is Malcolm Gladwell’s non-fiction book The Tipping Point. I have this on my shelf and read it ages ago when it first came out in paperback. It is an excellent read, with many fascinating insights.

On the back cover, it says that the book is about “that magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviour cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire”. So taking magic as my link to the first book in this sequence, my next choice is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I adore this book and flick through it regularly. It is full of wisdom about the importance and joys of maximising creativity in our lives. I wrote about this in more detail here.

There’s another form of magic for my second link: my first encounter with magic as a child was reading Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. How marvellous it seemed to find oneself in an enchanted wood, with a tree which provides a gateway to mystical lands. I loved reading about Moonface and all the other inhabitants of the faraway tree, although I must admit to having a few nightmares about being left forever in one of the lands when it turned away from the tree’s portal. No wonder the memory of this book has stayed with me for more than 40 years!

Mention of Moonface gives me my next link to Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. This is one of my current reads – I want to read, or re-read all five books on the Golden Booker Prize shortlist before I vote.

One of Lively’s main characters in this book is called Jasper and the title makes me think of Tiger’s Eye. So my mind is very firmly on gemstones taking me to my next link, The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor – an incredible true story about a Viennese Jewish society lady and her relationship with a now-famous painting and the Nazis.

Vienna is the setting of, and therefore the link to, my next book, which is The Third Man by Graham Greene, a brilliant thriller based around the murder of Harry Lime. Some herald the film of this book as one of the greatest of all time. Certainly it must have one of the most memorable theme tunes. So, for my final leap, I lean on another soundtrack-related link. Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago is one of my favourite books, and perhaps my favourite ever film, not least because of its musical themes.

And there you have it. A book about human relationships and behaviours in non-fiction form eventually leads us rather nicely to a novel about the same thing. Nice! 🙂