Six Degrees of Separation – from The Goldfinch to Playing Beatie Bow


It’s time again for my favourite meme! Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith have created #6DEGREES, where bloggers share links between books in six moves. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month’s starting point is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I only have good things to say about this book and at the end of the year it will, without doubt, be on my list of the best books I read in 2014.


One of the outstanding elements of The Goldfinch is the sense of place, particularly the way in which Tartt depicts New York and Las Vegas. I love stories set in New York, so my first link is to Amy Waldman’s The Submission, a thought-provoking fictional account about the design of the 9/11 memorial.

My last visit to New York was in August 2011, a month before the actual 9/11 Memorial opened. Oddly, I remember the book that I was reading at the time (perhaps because I read it in virtually one sitting on my flight to New York) – Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson. I don’t read a lot of psychological thrillers but I do recall thinking that it would make a great movie.

Which brings me to my third link – The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell – another psychological thriller just begging to be made into a film.


The Other Typist is set in New York during the 1920s, which immediately brings to mind The Great Gatsby. Gatsby is one of my favourite books and although I’m usually nervous when a favourite book is made into a film, I loved Baz Lurhmann’s take on it.

Baz is the basis of my fifth link, to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  Again, you either loved or hated his interpretation of the play – I think the scene where DiCaprio’s Romeo spies Dane’s Juliet through the fish-tank for the first time is magical.

I studied Romeo and Juliet in high school. Of all the novels I read for school, my very favourite was Ruth Park’s Playing Beatie Bow  (fairly sure it qualifies as an Australian classic by now).

From modern-day New York to the roaring twenties to Baz Lurhmann’s razzle-dazzle and Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, finishing in 19th century Sydney, all in six moves.

8 responses

  1. Ooh great links. Keen to read The Submission – it’s such a touchy topic. I love Baz but I found his version of Gatsby unwatchable. On the flipside, I don’t much care for Shakespeare (outrageous, I know) but I loved Baz’s take on R&J. Swoon! The fish tank scene was just so romantic I could hardly breathe. I also adore Playing Beatie Bow. Thanks for playing!

  2. The Other Typist is on my TBR list. It’s good to hear that you liked it as I think we share the same taste in books. I wonder if we’ll have some overlap in future lists 🙂
    I must confess that I haven’t read Playing Beatie Bow, despite so many of my school friends loving it. We were often shown the mini-series (?) as an end of term ‘treat’ and I never particularly enjoyed it so I think that has always put me off the book.

    • The Other Typist might infuriate you! (I wrote a whole spoiler/discussion post about the ending for people to vent… I think there are nearly 100 comments on it now! Of course, read the book before you search for that post!).

      When it comes to Ruth Park, I actually think A Harp in the South is better than Playing Beatie Bow – another to add to the re-read list!

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