Six Degrees of Separation – from Atonement to Bitter Orange

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

Atonement by Ian McEwan is the starting point this month. Atonement was my introduction to McEwan and I loved it. The first book you read from an author creates an impression and after reading Atonement, I went out of my way to read McEwan’s back-catalogue. Likewise with Sonya Hartnett – I started with Butterfly and have since read nearly all of her work.

Butterfly focuses on eating disorders, as does Portia de Rossi’s memoir, Unbearable Lightness.

I read Unbearable Lightness with morbid curiosity – some of de Rossi’s admissions were so startling and horrifying, I couldn’t help but read bits out to other people (particularly the sobbing and lunges bit). It was the same with the sections on childbirth on the Ballarat goldfields in Clare Wright’s The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka – truly traumatic (the bits about babies that get ‘stuck’ will never leave my mind).

The Forgotten Rebels tells the history of the Victorian gold rush through the stories of particular women. I like reading history when it’s written in such a personal way. Similar is Rory MacLean’s Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries. MacLean’s book of essays tells the story of Berlin over five centuries, through a series of portraits of two dozen key residents.

Berlin is the setting of John Boyne’s latest novel, A Ladder to the Sky. I was very excited to receive an ARC of Ladder, having loved The Heart’s Invisible Furies earlier this year.

Another ARC that I was thrilled to receive is Claire Fuller’s latest, Bitter Orange. I loved her first two books, so my final link turns this chain into a circle (which I’m feeling quite pleased about!). Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (September 1, 2018), we’ll begin with a book by an author that I’ll be seeing at the 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival – Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson.

42 responses

  1. Hi Kate, I went off onto a different track to yours. Though I do love Ian McEwan’s and Sonya Hartnett novels. I finished with A Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes, and then I realized next month’s Six Degrees begins with ‘Where am I Now’?

    • I have sometimes toyed with the idea of starting chains with the book that I finished a chain with… I think I’ll add A Sense of an Ending to the list of starter books – don’t think we’ve had any Barnes.

    • I’m not sure that many will have read next month’s book but as you would know, even reading the blurb or knowing a little bit about Wilson gives you lots of hints about where to start.

    • The Wilson seems tricky at face value but when you know what movie she starred in, there’s a very easy first link 🙂 I’m hoping to take my inspiration from her talk at the Melbourne Writers Festival!

      I’ve just finished the Wright – loved it. I have read nearly all of the Stella shortlisted books but hadn’t read the Wright or this year’s winner (both because they were such long books and during my shortlist reading, I simply didn’t have time). Honestly don’t know when I’ll get to Tracker – want to read it to complete my Stella Prize reading but on the other hand, not encouraged by the lukewarm reviews by my favourite bloggers…

  2. This one ranges far and wide! I’m adding Berlin to my list – not sure how I managed to miss than one given my obsession with the city. Delighted that you ended on Bitter Orange in the week that it was published here in the UK.

    • I’ve dipped in and out of Berlin – it’s a very interesting way to write about the history of a city. I probably should pick it up and read it cover-to-cover (I’m going to Berlin next year).
      As soon as my Melbourne Writers Festival reading is finished, Bitter Orange is first on my list to read – the reviews have been terrific so far.

  3. I haven’t read any of your links! Atonement, though, is one of my favourite novels and as usual my chain is so different from yours – one of the reasons I love this meme.

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  5. This is always such a fun event to do. As usual, I was familiar with some of the books you listed and not with others. Which is part of why this is such a fun event. Mine takes us through Gothic crime novel land – another usual thing for me – the crime novel part. What can I say – it’s how I read. I’ll be on a break next month, but hope to be back in October. Thanks for hosting this!

    • I often discover books in genres I don’t normally read through these chains – if someone links to a book I like, in a genre I normally read, I’m more likely to give it a go.

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  8. A very interesting set of links, incredibly varied. I had no idea Portia de Rossi had been struggling with her weight or had eating disorders – clearly, the pressures of Hollywood are relentless. I really look forward to reading Bitter Orange too!

    • de Rossi’s struggles were during her Ally McBeal days, so quite a long time ago (and she dropped out of the spotlight for much her recovery). She also attributes much of her recovery to coming out and her happy relationship with Ellen.

  9. Loved your chain. That book about Berlin sounds incredibly interesting and I had never heard of it. I have done my Six Degrees and added my link.

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  12. I put The Heart’s Invisible Furies on my TBR after you recommended it (haven’t read it yet) but A Ladder to the Sky also went on my TBR. That one sounds incredible, I can’t wait to see what you think of it. I so do love this post type, I really need to remember to join in more often. I joined in this time though and my post will go up tomorrow. 🙂

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