Sunday, 4 December 2016

Six Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Kate @Books Are My Favourite and Best.


This month the starting book is Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.
Are you game?


Revolutionary Road is one of those books that has been residing on my TBR pile for too long now.
I enjoy Yates' writing style but his tales of disappointing marriages and discontent can make me feel impatient rather than sympathetic. I have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle one.

Another book that has resided for far too long on my TBR pile is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.


Satire is another genre that I have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle.
So despite my love of Russian literature, M&M has languished waiting for that illusive right frame of mind.

It's only natural that a satire based on the Stalin era should bring to mind George Orwell's famous satire on the Russian Revolution and the cult of personality that developed during the time of Stalin, Animal Farm.


Animal Farm was one of those school texts that I probably would never have read if it hadn't been a prescribed text. I'm so glad our English teachers challenged us with books like this. My love of Russian history and literature stems from this moment.

Which leads me nicely to my favourite Russian novel (so far) Boris Pasternak's, Doctor Zhivago.



Doctor Zhivago is one of my mother's favourite movies, and although there are points of difference between the movie and the book, they are both equally good. The snowy, icy images from the movie only helped to enhance my reading experience.

Another book with some amazing snow references is Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow by Peter Hoeg.


Scandi crime is not my usual genre, but I've read this book a couple of times now with more pleasure than seems right some how!

Reading outside my favourite genre's often yields unexpected pleasures - I probably should do it more often!
A recent unexpected gem, outside my usual genres, was His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnett.


A psychological thriller, disguised as true crime, disguised as historical fiction, disguised as a psychological study of small town life and what makes a murderer, His Bloody Project proved to be thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, and is one of my favourite reads of 2016.

However, my number #1 favourite read of 2016 is Madeleine Thien's Do Not Say We Have Nothing.


There are still four more weeks left in 2016, so another book may come along a topple Do Not Say We Have Nothing from it's perch, but given that this is my busiest work month of the year, I doubt that I will have time to read more than a few easy comfort reads and junior fiction titles.

If you love historical fiction, or enjoy books set in China (& Canada) that encompass multi-generational storylines, classical music, etymology, mathematics, translation, calligraphy, the nature of free-will versus fate and memory, then this could be the book for you!

My #6degrees feels very well travelled this month - from North America, to Russia, Denmark, Scotland and China. 

Our January starting book takes us to Sweden, with Stieg Larsson's, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Where did you end up?

16 comments:

  1. I have been coming across these posts and am completely taken with the idea. It is just the thing for this mind of mine that naturally wanders from one thing to the next. I will have to give it a try.

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    1. I hope you do - it's a of of fun :-)

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  2. I like the way you've travelled the world with your chain. I loved the Doctor Zhivago movie, but haven't read the book - I thought I had a copy but if I did once I haven't got it now! I'm keen to read His Bloody Project - glad you liked it so much.

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    1. I love how this chain progresses - I had no idea when I started that I would end up travelling so much with my books this time.

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  3. You definitely need to read the Master and Margarita, BUT to really enjoy it, you need a solid translation WITH great notes. I encourage you to read my post on it with references to Matt's posts, you will see. If you read the book without any notes, unless you are extremely familiar with Russian history you will miss what the book is really about. you can find the references here: https://wordsandpeace.com/2012/11/10/201257-review-the-master-and-margarita/

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    1. Thanks for that Emma. I'll check it out - sounds like a good resource you've created :-)

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  4. I think it is so funny to see the connections that develop between the books on this list. I used to participate and then lost the thread of who was hosting. Let me see if I can come up with a list of connections.

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    1. I hope you can join in again. Kate has been hosting for a year or so now - so this should be the #6degrees home now :-)

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  5. Great list - several on there that I've already loved or hope to love soon! Good to hear you recommend Miss Smilla since that's on my TBR, and I'd really like to get around to His Bloody Project soon. Despite not winning the Booker it seems to be the one that's getting most good reviews...

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it - as I was reading it, I kept waiting for it to fall off - it never did!

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  6. Great list! I haven't read Revolutionary Road, I would like to...someday. The movie was pretty heavy and I think I'll have to be in just the right headspace to read it. M&M, Animal Farm, and Do Not Say We Have Nothing are all on my TBR list.

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    1. I agree Kate, although I'm not quite sure what head space I will need to be in to enjoy RR !

      Somehow it seems like a winter read to me - maybe because it feels like it will be melancholy and blue.

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  7. I have a soft spot for Animal Farm, mostly because my dad read it to me when I was little, as a fairytale rather than for its political message - it was funny to return to it at school years later!

    Miss Smilla is one that I must read (but keep forgetting about - once they're off peple's best-of lists, you forget...).

    Do Not Say We Have Nothing looks fantastic (it made the top 35 books on my list of lists today).

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    1. I'm trying to imagine AF as a fairytale - what a fascinating childhood you must have had!

      On my way to check out your list now....

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  8. Loved your connections! I own but haven't yet read Revolutionary Road and have yet to read anything by this author, tbh. I tend to stay away from snowy books but you have me interested in that crime book. and isn't Bloody Project on the Rooster Long List? uh oh. I keep adding must-reads to my Rooster tbr and am probably not realistic at this point. I already know I want to read the Thien.

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    1. I have never heard of the Rooster long list before - I'm curious now. His Bloody Project is worth exploring with or without a longlist nomination though. Although the benefit of it being shortlisted for the Booker means it has got so much more exposure than it might have otherwise.

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