Six Degrees of Separation – from What Are You Going Through to Crossroads

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 What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez. The novel focuses on a woman spending time with her dying friend, as does The Spare Room by Helen Garner.

I recently saw Garner interview Charlotte Wood about her new book, The Luminous Solution.

I haven’t read The Luminous Solution yet, but it immediately reminded me of Phosphorescence by Julia Baird, if only for the focus on our inner life and how that links to the world around us.

My favourite bits of Phosphorescence focused on nature, however, a couple of the essays are about the meaning that religion provides, which links to Lapsed by Monica Dux.

Lapsed examines the extent of ‘belief’, as does The Believer by Sarah Krasnostein.

Krasnostein focuses on a case study in The Believer about Mennonites. In Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Crossroads, the main character is a pastor in a church which is not specified in the blurb, however, at a recent author talk, Franzen identified the Mennonites – I will confirm when I tackle this chunkster over summer!

I didn’t stray too far this month, sticking with the themes of spirituality and belief. Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (December 4, 2021), we’ll start with the classic novella, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.

36 responses

    • I’m looking forward to the new Wood but probably won’t pick it up until December, with November being a crazy reading month (Nonfiction; Novellas; German Lit; Aus Reading….).

      Ethan Frome felt like a good way to sign-off Novella November.

    • Have read your chain now, and can understand why you weren’t a fan of the Nunez. It’s the first of hers I’ve read but I have another couple – the topics really appeal to me.

  1. I had a stroke of luck at the library the day before yesterday. I went to return some books when they were still only open for Click and Collect, and they had a display of new books… including The Luminous Solution. 7 day loan only which means I’ll have to get cracking…

  2. Such an interesting link. I remember “Phosphorence” was one of the first chains I participated in. Same as my pre-writer, I am not a Franzen fan at all but I am very interested in “Lapsed” (having grown up Catholic myself) and “The Believer”, so a great chain for me.

    My Six Degrees of Separation is a lot lighter. It led me to The Inimitable Jeeves through a few other books with cats on their cover.

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  4. Well, Ethan Frome is an old friend as Wharton is practically a neighbor! I know Phosphorescence had not come out in the US when you first mentioned it but it must be in the library by now. Not a big Franzen fan – he is just too arrogant. The others I don’t know.

    I think I mentioned last month that my “Former Judge’s Clerks Book Group” has been reading lots of Hemingway and the Lottery. On Wednesday, it was unexpectedly my turn to pick the next reading but I was asked to select something short. Figuring it was important to educate these men I chose The Yellow Wallpaper, so we shall see.

    Re 6 Degrees, for once I didn’t look up the starting book – perhaps just as well or I might have gone in a very depressing direction instead of to uplifting (or not) historical fiction and then abusive spouses… here is my chain:


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