Saturday 4 August 2018

#6degrees August

#6degrees is a monthly meme hosted by Kate @Books Are My Favourite and Best.

Oftentimes I haven't read the starting book for this meme, but I can assure you that I only play the next 6 books with ones I have actually read. 
If I've read the book during this blogging life, then I include my review, otherwise, you just have to take my word for it!

This month the starting book is Atonement by Ian McEwan.
Are you game?

Old image alert - Kate @Books Are My Favourite & Best now hosts #6Degrees but this is a good refresh of the rules.

I've been a somewhat sporadic player of #6degrees lately for which I apologise.
I keep waiting for life to settle down and not be so busy, but I'm waiting in vain.
So I'm just going to go on squeezing as much as I can into each day; the quiet life can wait!

Every now and again, though, something falls off the radar.
Memes and visiting & commenting on other blogs is usually the first thing to go, followed quickly by mopping the floor!
However, the floor is now mopped, so I guess it must be time to play.

Back when I read Atonement, I thought Ian McEwan could do no wrong.
But my opinion of him has become more complicated since then.
So it was with some reluctance that I picked up his 70th birthday short story, My Purple Scented Novel

Fortunately, it turned out to be a right little treat, full of all the moral ambiguity and literary mocking that one has come to expect and enjoy from McEwan. 
If I was clever (which I feel very far from this morning!) I would link to another book full of moral ambiguity or literary mocking, but I'm going with purple instead.

The Color Purple was one of those books that I came to thanks to the movie. 
I was stunned by the emotional journey the movie took me on, and was curious to see if the book could do the same.

And of course it did, and then some.
I don't cry out loud very often in books, but The Color Purple is one that had me sobbing tears of joy and relief at the end.
In fact, I can only think of two other books that have me cry out loud (tearing up is another category altogether). 
One is the Aussie childhood classic, Seven Little Australians.

This is another book that I came to thanks to the ABC TV series from the 70's.
And again it's not the scenes of death and dying that make me cry, it's the end scenes of the family coping with their grief and loss that undo me completely.

Seven is a lot of kids, which reminds me of my recent foray into David Sedaris' world in Calypso.

He is one of six kids himself, so he had much to say about growing up in a large family.
I found the experience to be rather like reading a McEwan - hit and miss.
Except I will always give McEwan another chance because of Atonement; Sedaris, was more miss than hit, though, so he is off my schedule for good.

Also off my schedule is my next book club read.
Despite the lovely purple cover, Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao is a tough read according to all the reviews (on Goodreads) that I've read.

Everyone mentioned how horrific and unrelenting the domestic violence was and how little hope there was for either of the friends by the end of the book.

I choose not to watch violent movies and I don't read violent books.
The few that have snuck past my radar have haunted me ever since.
 I do not want to become habitualised to them either.

One that did sneak under the radar was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

I can't believe it's three years since I read this.
Jude's story still lives large in my memory and some of the things that happened to him will be seared into my brain forever.

A rather difficult journey this month through some tough emotional terrain!
How did you fair?

The September starter book is Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson.
In case you were wondering who? what? like I was, Mara was the gorgeous young child actor from the movie Mrs Doubtfire.



  1. Tears were shed in my chain, too, but in my case it was over sheep! Seven Little Australians sounds much more wracking than that.

  2. I loved Atonement too, book and film. But I've had mixed reactions to his later books so haven't read My Purple Scented Novel. I'm encouraged that you found it a treat - maybe I will try it. I've seen the film Color Purple (yes I had tears in my eyes too) but still haven't read the book.

  3. I certainly love doing this meme, but I also love seeing where each person's chain takes them. I have read exactly zero of the books you listed, but am so glad to know about them. Very nice!

  4. I enjoyed McEwan's short story very much too. I was underwhelmed by A Little Life and felt there was just too much misery she piled on Jude for me, but great links! :)

    1. Yes I struggled to finish A Little Life & skim read the last third just to be done with it. But by then I’d read about Jude’s childhood & his abusive adult relationship. As I said, those images are now seared on my brain.

  5. Intriguing list! I've only read the first, Atonement, and like you my feelings about McEwan have changed over the years. In fact, The Children Act was the final straw for me - I decided after that that he had to come off my automatic must-read list and haven't been tempted to go back since. However I'd like to re-read Atonement one day...

    1. Bitter Sweet was my last straw, but I still have a couple of his older books I might try one day.

  6. Ooof, some quite grim books in this month's choices. A Little Life was almost unbearable, I have to admit, although I kept reading because of the friendship element. And I am also less and less keen on McEwan in recent years - I much prefer his earlier stuff.

  7. Okay, many thoughts and comments:
    1. I agree about McEwan - I have loved some of his books and been underwhelmed by others. His stories with a moral twist always work best and most recently, I thought Nutshell and The Children Act were excellent.
    2. I read The Color Purple so long ago that I probably should reread. Unrelated, I loathe the colour purple - I don't own a single thing that is purple...
    3. If you avoid violence in books, give Tara Westover's memoir, Educated, a very wide berth - for a book that is promoted as a memoir about religion and education, there's not much about either (Westover grew up in an extremely violent home and it's this that dominates the story). I am okay with reading about violence to a certain extent but this book pushed the limit for me.
    4. I still think about Jude as well.
    5. And Mara Wilson also starred in the movie version of Matilda - that provides readers with a very easy starting point!

    1. 1. Glad to hear about Nutshell - it’s on my TBR pile. Actually The Children Act may be lurking somewhere too & might be a good follow up to my book clubs recent read of A Child in Time.
      2. You just cringe every time I pop by your blog with my purple dragonfly !! By the by my favourite & best colour & favourite creature.
      3. Noted.
      4. Jude *sigh*
      5. I’ve never seen Matilda, so didn’t make that connection. Fortunately Mrs Doubtfire was also based on a book šŸ˜

  8. Let me see if I can respond! I enjoyed your links. You made me laugh about finding about book with "moral ambiguity and literary mocking". I find that in these 6 degrees that sort of link is the hardest to retrieve from my memory.

    I also completely understand your busy-ness and that "Memes and visiting & commenting on other blogs is usually the first thing to go, followed quickly by mopping the floor!" That's where I've been at lately too.

    Anyhow, I'm with you about McEwan. A couple of misses, but I've really liked most of what he's written.

  9. I loved Atonement, too. It really was one of those books I wished/wanted to talk to someone about but none of my friends had read it at the time. I'll think about it and may put together a 6 degrees post, too.

  10. I need to reread Atonement. I liked it enough at the time to read many more McEwan novels and mostly love his style. The Color Purple was so moving on audio, and Sedaris tends to be an audio author for me. Don't care for his humor in print format. I also avoid abuse in my reading, but Educated: A Memoir recently slipped past me.... it was a harrowing read! Well done, but I wish I'd skipped it.

    1. You're the second person to comment on how harrowing Educated is, so will definitely stay away from that.
      Turns out I'm not a big fan of Sedaris in print form either (but I've never heard him live or on audio either, so cannot compare. Not that keen to do anymore with him after Calypso though).

  11. Well you've read all my 6 degrees chain, but I've read none of yours...except Atonement. My Purple Scented Novel sounds intriguing though.


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