Six Degrees of Separation – from The End of the Affair to Wellville

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 End of the Affair by Graham Greene. I read this book decades ago, after hearing one of my favourite authors, John Irving, say it was one of his favourite books.

The obvious link is to Irving, but instead I’m jumping to The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje, which Irving also recommeneded. I haven’t read it yet, but it sits in my stack with another book with ‘cat’ in the title, Herding Hemingway’s Cats by Kat Arney.

Arney’s book is about genetics. I have loads of popular science books about genetics on my shelves, but instead I’ll switch genres to memoir, with Dani Shapiro’s  Inheritance. Shapiro’s memoir explores her experience with genealogy, and accidentally discovering that her father was not her biological father.

A novel that focuses on inheritance of the material kind is The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. The Nest centres around four siblings, and the events triggered after one of the siblings leaves rehab and returns to his reckless habits.

Families and drugs? Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe describes the dynasty of the Sackler family, responsible for making OxyContin, the painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis.

Another notable US family dynasty is that of the Kelloggs. They feature in T. C. Boyle’s novel, The Road to Wellville, which describes Harvey Kellogg’s controversial Battle Creek Spa.

My chain has darted all over the place this month, but one thing unites – apart from the starter, all of the books are in my TBR stack. Where will other chains go? Link up below or post your link in the comments section.

Next month (April 2, 2022), we’ll start with a hot favourite to make the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist, Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield.

40 responses

  1. Oh dear, that might be the hot favourite for the Women’s Prize for Fiction but I’ve not even heard of it – in that I may have seen it on a list but it hasn’t stuck.

    I love that of all the End of the Affair covers we chose the same one for our posts. I’m afraid I’ve not heard of many of the books in your chain but I enjoyed your linking. I have heard of the TC Boyle. I have read a couple of novels by him and a short story or two, and would like to read this one.

    Anyhow, here is my chain:

  2. I got The Nest from the library when it was new but didn’t get to it before it was due. I will be interested to see what you think if you get to it. I got interrupted mid-chain but will get back to it now. Not a fan of TC Boyle!


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  4. Interesting that you too have chosen from the TBR, a degree of connection not separation perhaps!
    I haven’t read Inheritance but did read another of her memoirs, Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage – one of those books that someone lends you and you know it’s not really your style but you read it anyway. Wasn’t for me.

  5. Okay, so… I think you’d love The Cat’s Table, and just so you know… the book isn’t about a cat. I’ve read everything by Ondaatje and although I still love The English Patient the best, this and Anil’s Ghost are extremely close seconds.

  6. I loved Inheritance, and enjoyed The Nest, too. Great to see T. C. Boyle on here. I’ve gotten on well with his historical fiction based on real people, so I’ll have to get hold of that one (but not until I clear my backlog of 7 unread books by him!)

    Hurrah for Our Wives Under the Sea! It’s got a huge publicity juggernaut going for it, it seems.

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  8. I have ’empire of pain’ on my TBR list after reading ‘Say Nothing’ which was one of my favourite works of non fiction in recent years.

    My chain got a bit dark but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Thanks for hosting this, I always find it interesting to see how my brain makes connections and see how others do the same. Always discover new titles for the TBR pile.

  9. I really liked The Cat’s Table — Ondaatje’s writing is spare and lovely. I almost bought The Road to Wellville in a used bookstore this week — it definitely looks interesting and I really liked Boyle’s book about Frank Lloyd Wright’s women.

  10. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation: From The End of the Affair to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – What I Think About When I Think About Reading

  11. I haven’t read a single book in your chain, Kate, but all of them interest me. I saw the film version of The Road to Wellville and didn’t know it was based on a T C Boyle book.

    My chain is all about love affairs and betrayal this month

    I have heard of next month’s starting book, and I’m going to a literary event with the author in a couple of weeks. I can’t promise I’ll have read it by the time April comes around, though!

  12. Pingback: #6Degrees of Separation: From Graham Greene to… – findingtimetowrite

  13. Joining in late as usual, because I don’t post anything at the weekend (trying to wean myself a bit off the internet, as I was blogging far too much and doing nothing else). I haven’t heard of any of the books in your link, so lots to explore there!

  14. Pingback: Six Degrees of Separation – from ‘The End of the Affair’ to ‘Catch the Rabbit’ – A Bag Full Of Stories

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