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.