Six Degrees of Separation – from Reasons to Stay Alive to The Secret Son


It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month the chain begins with Matt Haig’s memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive. I haven’t read this book (and it sounds like tough reading) but I have read dozens of other memoirs. One of my favourites is Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies – a truly original book about one of my favourite things, swimming!

Swimming brings me to Christos Tsiolkas’s controversial novel, Barracuda. The story is set in a privileged independent school, as is Rebecca Starford’s Bad Behaviour.

Bad Behaviour takes place in a boarding school. I love books set in boarding schools – no idea why. Another terrific story about ‘bad behaviour’ in a boarding school is Amber Dermont’s The Starboard Sea.

The seaside setting plays a role in Dermont’s story, as it does in Elena Ferrante’s unnerving tale, The Lost Daughter.

From The Lost Daughter I immediately jump to The Secret Son by Jenny Ackland. The link? Well they sound the same but different. And Ackland launched her book last week and I spotted it in my favourite book shop alongside Ferrante’s latest release (The Story of the Lost Child).

Memoirs, swimming, boarding schools and offspring, all in six moves.


4 responses

  1. The wonderful thing about Haig’s book is it is not heavy going at all. Even though you might expect so, given the theme. If you like books about swimming, I highly recommend Yannick Murphy’s This is the Water.

  2. I’m going to read the Haig, definitely (I don’t know how easily he follows back on twitter, but he followed me and I’m a bit happy about that). And I’m already on board the Ferrante train. And thanks for the mention of mine, Kate.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.