Six Degrees of Separation – from The Poisonwood Bible to The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

This month we begin with Barbara Kingsolver’s bestselling novel, The Poisonwood Bible. The story is about a missionary family living in the Congo jungle.

The book I’m reading at the moment, Lily King’s Euphoria, is also about foreigners living in a jungle, although this story is set in New Guinea.

In Euphoria, mention is made of the rainbow eucalypt, Eucalyptus deglupta (and its bark is featured on the cover). Have you ever seen a rainbow eucalypt? I haven’t but it’s on my tree bucket-list. Anyway, for quite different reasons, a tree is at the centre of Dimitri Verhulst’s Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill.

Madame Verona examines themes of isolation, loneliness and choosing life – it reminded me of another novella, The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am by Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold.

I happen to be reading another book about a lonely woman, Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

Eleanor Oliphant has been described as ‘up-lit’ (books that have a theme of empathy and kindness), as has Joanna Cannon’s novel, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep.

I’ve had Goats and Sheep on my NetGalley list for far too long. It sits alongside The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North, and completes my chain for this month.

Where will other chains lead? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (June 2, 2018), we’ll begin with Malcolm Gladwell’s debut (and best seller), The Tipping Point.

52 responses

  1. The cover of Euphoria is stunning isn’t it? I like the idea of tree bucket-list. I’ve just ticked off a ginkgo tree & a cherry blossom tree in Japan 😊 good luck finding your rainbow eucalypt (by the by a eucalyptus tree was one of the few trees that survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima. It’s still standing in the grounds of the castle).

    • Cherry blossom in Japan is certainly on my list. I’ve ticked off a few but in addition to the rainbow eucalypt, I’m busting to see a Douglas Fir forest on the Pacific north coast in the US; some giant Redwoods in the US; pine trees on Lord Howe Island…

  2. Up-Lit? I haven’t heard that one before though of course I’ve read some. It’s not my favourite style of reading though I can take small doses!

    Meanwhile, I’ve never heard of rainbow eucalyptus – though Snow Gums when wet become very colourful.

    I haven’t read any of your books but I’ve heard of some. I haven’t read Gladwell but I’m sure I’ll be able to make a chain!

    Here’s my May chain:

  3. I have heard wonderful things about Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, had it recommended to me this week and saw it in a bookshop a couple of days. A sign that it should be high on my to-read list perhaps?

    • I’m reading it for book group and I must say it’s a great book group pick. I’m not 100% sure about the character of Eleanor but I probably read too critically! The general thrust of the plot is most enjoyable.

    • The element of Poisonwood that I really wanted to use was the fact that one of the girls had to ‘relearn’ how to crawl – I can’t remember the exact reason why but I think it was something to do with overcoming a childhood trauma. Anyway, I couldn’t think of a link to another book about crawling so went with the jungle theme!

  4. What a great list! I have had my first go at this fun project this month and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Tipping Point will be a super start for next month’s chain. 🙂

  5. I loved both The Poisonwood Bible and Euphoria and definitely think they share many of the same themes. Would love to see a rainbow eucalypt in person as well. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Eleanor Oliphant and The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, and look forward to picking them up soon. Very interesting chain!

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  8. Enjoyed your chain as always! I fell in love with the cover of Euphoria when it came out but had no idea it was the bark of a tree. I never got around to reading it and it fell off my radar, so thanks for the reminder… 🙂

  9. My chain, as usual, is heavier in the mystery genre than yours and I covered a little alternative history fiction too. Thanks so much for hosting this. It is fun and educational.

  10. I’m a newbie here. I’ve enjoyed putting together my list from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell. Coincidentally, I came up with A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle which also features in the Muse and News Book Club blog at:

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  13. I’m another Fan Girl for Eleanor Oliphant. I think she’s a brilliant creation, and I loved the way the story unfolds. Up-Lit sounds like a meaningless marketing ruse to me. There is kindness and empathy in the book but none of it is artificial. You might already know by now, but I think Eleanor’s inconsistency makes sense by the end.

    Anyway, here’s my chain – enjoy!

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