Saturday, 5 April 2014

Six Degrees of Separation ~ Meme

It is claimed that every person on this planet is linked to any other in six or fewer steps.

But what about books?

Can we link them together too?

In 1929, Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story called 'Chains' in which he coined the phrase 'six degrees of separation'.
Authors Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith have launched a new meme, based on the idea in Karinthy's story.  

On the first Saturday of every month they will choose a book and then link it to five other books to form a chain.
They have invited their readers and other bloggers to join them by creating their own chain leading from the selected book.

The 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 they can be linked in more personal or esoteric ways; books that were read on the same holiday, or given by a particular person, or that are a reminder of a particular time or event.

The great thing about the meme is that each participant can make their own rules and 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.

The book chosen for the first post of the meme is Hannah Kent's thrilling debut, Burial Rites, which has been shortlisted for the Stella Prize and longlisted for the Bailey's Prize.

My Six Degrees of Separation Book Chain

First up is Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, a historical novel set in Iceland.

I'm linking this to Frozen Out by Quentin Bates - a modern-day Icelandic police thriller.

Bates' lead character is  female detective Gunnhildur Gisladottir and she leads me to one of the most famous female sleuths in literary history; Agatha Christie's Miss Marple - solving yet another mystery in The Body In The Library.

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 10 days - she was eventually found in a hotel in Harrogate. I met author Jodi Picoult in Harrogate, her last novel was The Storyteller which features the story of a survivor of the Holocaust.

This leads me to The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, a young adult novel that is set in Auschwitz concentration camp.   I will be handing out copies of this one on World Book Night which leads me to my final book; Toast by Nigel Slater - the book that I handed out during the first World Book Night a couple of years ago.

Thus we have moved six degrees of separation from Burial Rites to Toast.

This was fun!  Please check out the other bloggers who have contributed at Emma Chapman's blog page and to find out how to take part, and the rules, check out the relevant page 

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  1. This is awesome Anne! Thanks so much for joining in: looking forward to next month's already! Em

  2. What an interesting chain. I love the very personal leap you made from Agatha Christie to Jodi Picoult. I very much enjoyed Toast - and what a hilariously simple title for a memoir of a food writer. Thanks so much for joining in.