Six Degrees of Separation – from Ethan Frome to The Heart’s Invisible Furies

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 the classic novella, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton – picked because I figured many would have read it as part of Novella November (#NovNov)

Ethan Frome links to Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, my first book for this year’s #NovNov. It was a re-read for me, and I chose it because I’m engrossed in the Once Upon a Time at Bennington College podcast, which explores Ellis’s time at university with fellow student, Donna Tartt.

Tartt’s inspiration for The Secret History was drawn from her time at Bennington. I’m rereading it now and it’s as good as I remember.

So, two rereads in 2021… Rereads are rare for me – my last was way back in 2014, and it was Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews. In the eighties, I read everything that Andrews wrote, and each book passed around at school. I lent My Sweet Audrina to a friend and it was never returned. Grrr. I guess I won’t be re-reading that one!

Another book I lent to someone that never found its way back was The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne – disappointing because the first edition of that book had no blurb, so you really didn’t have any hint of what was ahead.

I’ll finish on a less-grumpy note – Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies was one of my favourite books of 2018 – absolutely everything I want in a novel.

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

Next month (January 1, 2022), we’ll start with a story that begins on New Year’s Eve – Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

33 responses

  1. A suitably bleak chain given the starter! When I was teaching middle school in the early 1980s so many girls were avid “Flowers in the Attic” fans so I gave it a read. What interested me was that all these kids with truly lovely mothers ate that book up. Even if we have the best possible of mothers, maybe we also need to see them as monsters.

  2. Great chain, Kate. I have at least heard of all the authors. A few comments. I remember special never-returned books, especially those that were special in some way (the cover/edition, who gave it to me.)

    I also remember books being passed around at school but for some reason my fascinations tended not to align. For example they loved Georgette Heyerdahl while I preferred more recent historical fiction like Nevil Shute.

    And I don’t reread much either, but it’s such a pleasure when I do.

    Anyhow, here’s my link: https://whisperinggums.com/2021/12/04/six-degrees-of-separation-from-ethan-frome-to/

    Thanks for running this meme again.

  3. There must have been girls at my school who loved reading as much as I did, but they kept it dark, just as I did!
    Mine is scheduled for tomorrow because I’ve already published today, a review for Brona’s #RumerGoddenReadingWeek.

  4. LOL. We did the VC Andrews thing at my school too. My best friend’s mother used to buy the books and then they got passed around our friendship group. They felt so risque back then. I’m sure if I read them now I would think the stories ludicrous.

    And have noted your response to the Boyne. It’s been sitting on my Kindle unread for a year or two so must hunt it out.

    My chain is here: https://readingmattersblog.com/2021/12/04/six-degrees-of-separation-december-2021/

  5. Pingback: Six Degrees: Ethan Frome to A Mother’s Reckoning | Bookish Beck

  6. Your chains always have great new suggestions for me. I have read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (and totally understand your anger, annoyance, frustration with losing it) and another one by Donna Tartt, but hadn’t even heard of V.C. Andrews. Might be because it*s not my genre. But some other promising titles there. So, thanks.

    And thanks again for organizing this. My Six Degrees of Separation led me to books about houses, ending with the fantastic German novel This House is Mine.

  7. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton – Hopewell's Public Library of Life

  8. I don’t think I could cope with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and I haven’t read any of your other books – I did try to read The Secret History but it annoyed me so much I gave it to a charity shop! I probably just wasn’t in the right mood – the characters seemed so self-obsessed (but maybe they were supposed to?). I know it’s very popular.

    I don’t remember Virginia Andrews’ books doing the rounds at my school, though a few girls were very keen on Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances, an enthusiasm I did not (and still don’t) share – but I’m told that her detective stories are good too and I’d be keener to try those.

    Lending books is a tricky one – I too feel a bit riled if someone doesn’t return something, but I have to hold my hand up and admit that I know I done it myself from time to time. These days I’m trying to have a more relaxed attitude, though there are some books I just would not lend – my Persephones, my (few) Folio editions, and many of my very old children’s books. I recently saw a kind of embossing tool that you can use to imprint your name onto the title page or wherever. Would that make sure books came back though? I’m not convinced.

    My chain veered off into wartime evacuees – it is here: https://sconesandchaiseslongues.blogspot.com/2021/12/six-degrees-of-separation-december-2021.html

  9. Kate, you’ve just pushed Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies higher up on my TBR list. And I’ve read The Secret History twice and also found it stood up the second time around. I especially like it because I was a classics (Latin) major.

  10. Flowers in the Attic creeped me out in junior high or whenever I read it. I think I returned it to whomever had lent it to me clutching it with a kleenex to protect myself! I have probably read so many worse things since!

    I did enjoy The Secret History. There was an interesting article recently puzzling over why it has not been made into a movie, despite much discussion/effort.

    Here is my chain – I had a lot of difficulty loading the images and almost had to give up:

    https://perfectretort.blogspot.com/2021/12/six-degrees-of-separation-from-ethan.html

  11. Pingback: #6Degrees of Separation December 2021 – findingtimetowrite

  12. I like the Donna Tartt connection and also both the John Boyne’s. As always, a very clever chain!

    Sorry I am a day or two late with my link-up, but I’ve added it now.

    Elza Reads

  13. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation – From Wharton to… – FictionFan's Book Reviews

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