Six Degrees of Separation – from It to L.A. Candy

It’s time for #6degrees. Join in and see where your book chain takes you.

This month we begin with Stephen King’s It.

Much to the horror of Rory, I haven’t read any King (not in the last twenty years, anyway). However, I do have On Writing in my TBR tack (because: not a scary one).

Although most of his publications are novels, On Writing is King’s reflections on his creative process. Likewise, Bill Bryson, who specialises in the travel memoir, has published Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors. It’s a surprisingly useful reference book that covers alternative spellings; commonly used foreign words; and various other language oddities.

I have quite a few dictionaries and writing reference books but my favourite is one that I regularly foist on my kids – The Greatest Gatsby: A Visual Book of Grammar by Tohby Riddle.

It would have been too obvious to link to The Great Gatsby, so instead I’m jumping to Sara Benincasa’s retelling, Great.

Retellings are generally either atrocious or fabulous. One that I thoroughly enjoyed was Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible.

Eligible revolves around a Bachelor-style reality-tv show, which links neatly to a novel written by a reality-tv star – Lauren Conrad’s L.A. Candy.

I began with scary clowns, zipped by reference books and retellings, and finished with the girl-next-door (if you live in the OC), Lauren Conrad. I wonder if other chains will get away from horror as quickly as I did?

Next month (January 6, 2018), we’ll begin with an international bestseller (that I haven’t read!) – Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.

39 responses

  1. I do like your links, and I too did enjoy Eligible. I have read some of Stephen King Books and his characters always get me in. I was going to keep my connections to him but only to Salem’s Lot. Followed by People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, The childhood of Jesus by J M Coetzee, Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, The Boy Behind the Curtain by Tim Winton and finishing on Snake by Kate Jennings.

  2. My daughter persuaded me to read (listen to) some Stephen King, I was pretty underwhelmed. My favourite ‘reference’ is David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction. Looking forward to next month, have strong opinions about a pompous old white guy writing from the pov of an African woman.

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  4. I love how both of us read King’s memoir first. It was a mandate read when I was in journalism and it was fairly useful. Along with that, I was asked to read EB White and Strunk’s ‘The Element of Style’, which I found a bit dated. I tried reading ‘IT” a couple of months ago, around the movie’s release, but it scared me out of my wits. I don’t think I would go back to King’s books again. I so want to participate in this activity. Since we have a month’s time, I hope to work on it sometime soon. Thank you! 🙂

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  6. I almost included On Writing, too, because it’s the ONLY Stephen King book I could bring myself to read; however I ended up heading down a different path (although it still gets a passing mention).

  7. I haven’t read It of King’s On Writing, although I have read some of his other books.I think books on writing are fascinating – I read them and then never carryout their advice! My chain didn’t move very far from horror!

    • Agree. I also love hearing writers talk about their creative process. Some stand out in my memory, notably John Irving who writes his last sentence first and then works backwards; and an Australian author, Carrie Tiffany, who writes paragraphs and sentences on cards and then puts them in order!

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