Six Degrees of Separation – from Civility to Sleep

Happy New Year!

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 Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

My first link is to another book by Amor Towles which appeared on multiple ‘Best of 2021’ lists – The Lincoln Highway. I’ve only read four books on the Best of 2021 list, including Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout.

I’m not usually one for reading series, but I have enjoyed Strout’s loosely linked stories, which began with My Name is Lucy Barton.

In 2018, I went to a special Melbourne Writers Festival book group event to discuss Lucy Barton. It was hosted by Sarah Krasnostein and Angela Savage. At the time, Angela had just finished her novel, Mother of Pearl.

Mother of Pearl drew on issues raised in the real-life surrogacy case of Baby Gammy. Another novel that drew on a real-life Australian story that made international headlines is The Truth About Her by Jacqueline Maley (it’s based on the crimes of Belle Gibson).

The Truth About Her was what I class as ‘light suspense’. I’m difficult to please when it comes to suspense, but one of the more memorable ones that I’ve read is Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson.

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

Next month (February 5, 2022), we’ll start with a book that topped Best of 2021 lists, No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood.

26 responses

    • Strout is reliably good and I very much enjoyed Oh William.

      Thanks again for all of your #6degrees posts (and as I frequently say to regular participants, if you have an idea for a starting book, please let me know in the comments).

  1. I’ve really enjoyed Strout since I first saw the mini series of Olive Kitteridge. I vaguely remember listening to Lucy Barton, the mother daughter thing in hospital sounded familiar. I picked up Oh William when I was Christmas buying and then put it down again. I probably wish I hadn’t now.

    • The Olive miniseries was very well done and I think a rare example of getting it all right (always a risk with a much-loved book!). I’m sure Oh William will turn up on your BorrowBox list at some stage (it might already be there?). I enjoyed it, although not quite as much as Lucy Barton. Oddly, when doing my Best of 2021 post yesterday, I realised that the three ‘blockbusters’ I read last year – Strout, Rooney and Taddeo – were all terrific as I was reading them but, when looking back over the whole reading year, hadn’t resonated compared to some others. I wondered if it was because I was familiar with the style.

  2. Oh yeah, suspense doesn’t get any more suspenseful than Before I Go to Sleep. And I need to revisit My Name is Lucy Barton, then read the sequels. Thanks for hosting this exercise. It’s one of the things I most look forward to every month.

  3. Happy New Year! So glad we can start the new year with six degrees.

    I have only read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, but I loved it and definitely plan to read more by him.

    Before I go to sleep has been on my TBR for ages!

    Not quite sure what my reading challenge for 2022 will be yet, but I suspect it wil involve reading books that have been waiting on the shelf for ages.

    Hope you will have a good new year!

    Elza Reads

  4. One of the things I love about doing the Six Degrees posts is that it introduces me to so many books I’ve haven’t read. In your chain the only ones I’ve heard of are the Strout books and Before I Go to Sleep, none of which I’ve read!

  5. Thanks so much for suggesting ‘Rules of Civility’ which I read as I knew it was the first book in #6degrees – such strong writing and storytelling, loved it. I have read the Olive books but not Lucy Barton – however my sister received Oh William as a present, which she had already read, so now I have it. I think I should probably read Lucy Barton first.

    Mine takes in Christmas, families, mental illness and Irish Musicians. Coincidence? Sure it’s the time of year for it

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  7. I’ve actually read the starting book! I’m a fan of Amor Towles, but somehow had missed that he had a new one out this year. I’ll have to check the library for that one.

    I don’t know why, but I’m oddly resistant to Elizabeth Strout. I think My Name is Lucy Barton might have come out at a time when its subject matter felt a little too close to home, so I’ve filed her away under No Thank You.

    I’ve taken the theme of women using their talents to forge a different life for themselves, aided or otherwise by men.

  8. It’s always so hard to think of something, when you are unfamiliar with the starting book and author, so I’ve shilly-shallied around, but should have something ready to go up tomorrow.

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