Stuff On Sunday: Six Degrees of Separation


Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman were inspired to create this meme by a short story titled ‘Chains’ in which Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy first coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. Based on the idea in Karinthy’s story, Emma and Annabel will choose a book each month, and link it to five other books in a chain, inviting their readers and other bloggers to join them by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain.


This month, Annabelle and Emma have chosen The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to start the chain.

The semi autobiographical novel was first published in 1960 under a pseudonym, Victoria Lucas. It is touted as an extraordinary work chronicles the crackup of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful–but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time.’

Also  written under a pseudonym is The Cuckoo’s Calling, attributed to the fictional identity of Robert Galbraith but authored by J.K. Rowling, featuring private investigator,  Cormoran Strike, an amputee Afghanistan War vet.

Flashes of War, a collection of short stories and flash fiction by Katey Shultz,  is a look at the experiences of  civilians and military personnel in the Afghanistan war which captures personal moments of fear, introspection, confusion, and valor in one collection spanning nations and perspectives’

The Lottery is Shirley Jackson’s most well known short story,  part of a collection from The Lottery and Other Stories. This collection includes 24 stories that demonstrate Jack son’s remarkable range–from the hilarious to the truly horrible–and power as a storyteller’.

It is a  lottery that sparks rebellion in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, of which Mockingjay is the final installment.  This award winning young adult dystopian series features teenage heroine Katniss Everdeen who incites a revolution against the oppression of the Capitol.

Adult readers of dystopian fiction may prefer, The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood. Shortlisted for the ManBooker in 1986 and  winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel in 1987 this literary novel explores a frightening future with commentary on politics, feminism, religion.


So that’s it, six books linked by six degrees of separation linked variously by author, character, setting, theme and genre.

They also share another common denominator, I haven’t read a single one, (though I have read The Lottery as a stand alone as well as Hunger Games and Catching Fire) though they are all on my TBR list.


Visit Emma‘s or Annabel’s blogs if you would like to join in with this meme or to browse the intriguing connections from bloggers who are participating.




13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. booksaremyfavouriteandbest
    May 04, 2014 @ 09:17:01

    Love your links – and the ‘common denominator’! I would never have guessed when I was reading through your selections. You really MUST read The Handmaid’s Tale – one of Atwood’s best (and you can see her influence in so much of the current dystopian fiction).



  2. Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews
    May 04, 2014 @ 09:20:16

    I love the lottery connection Shelleyrae, and some titles I haven’t seen before too.



  3. laurelrainsnow
    May 04, 2014 @ 11:58:40

    What fun! And I enjoyed The Bell Jar and The Handmaid’s Tale.



  4. writenote1
    May 04, 2014 @ 14:51:17

    Giggled at your common denominator because that’s where I thought my chain would end up … it didn’t, though I can see ours would have been completely different. Here’s mine:



  5. kathrynsinbox
    May 04, 2014 @ 17:40:16

    The Bell Jar is a beautiful (though sad) book. I love that you found a way to link it to The Handmaid’s Tale.



  6. Rory
    May 05, 2014 @ 03:13:10

    I love how all of these chains are so, so different from each other. Your common denominator is such a brilliant way to participate.



  7. Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination
    May 05, 2014 @ 20:27:43

    I love these piccks! Thanks for dropping by and commenting on my list 🙂 The link via use of a pseudonym was clever and I love that you linked Mockingjay to The Handmaid’s Tale!



  8. Kristen Levitzke
    May 09, 2014 @ 09:03:05

    My to-read-list is ever expanding because of this meme! I really don’t read enough short stories. Great post. 🙂



  9. Emma Chapman, author of How To Be A Good Wife
    May 13, 2014 @ 16:58:34

    Hi Shellyrae,

    Thanks for taking part! My website went down in the middle of the posting day (typical), but it’s up again now: here’s my post: Flashes of war looks really good: I’ll have to look that one up.




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