Six Degrees of Separation – From All the Light We Cannot See to Canada.


It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month’s chain begins with Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See – it has lots of great themes that could be used as a starting point but I’m linking it to Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears. Both were books that I read in the last few weeks of the year (2014 and 2012 respectively) – too late for me to push them on others as ‘my best book of the year’.

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‘Canada’ by Richard Ford

What’s worse than a mediocre book? A book that starts out really, really well and then loses you.

I began Canada by Richard Ford with great anticipation. How’s this for an opening –

“First I’ll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later. The robbery is the more important part, since it served to set my and my sister’s lives on the courses they eventually followed. Nothing would make complete sense without that being told first.”

Kapow! Opening lines don’t much better than that, do they? I imagine for authors it’s always a risk to reveal the ending, or the climax of the story on the first page and then slowly reveal how the characters got there. It may be difficult to pull off, but when this kind of ‘reverse story-telling’ (I’m sure there is a technical name) is executed well, it makes for compelling reading. Interestingly, for a book that starts out with a punch, Canada unfolds in a measured, languorous way, perfectly matched to the hot, lazy summer that the first scenes are set in. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List. So although it’s not very summery in Melbourne at present (in fact, it’s darn cold), I still have a staggeringly long TBR list. Picking just ten will barely scrap the surface, but here it is: Continue reading