I’ve seen the Six Degrees of Separation meme every month from a few bloggers I follow and I’ve always meant to participate. Finally I have the time to join in! Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best hosts, and please check out her blog and the links to other participating bloggers. We all start with the same book and then build our own chains with six different books of our choosing. This month’s starting place is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006.)
I skimmed The Road and was so horrified by what I read that I knew I couldn’t read the entire book. It’s just not for me.
Another book too disturbing for me to finish is Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. This was a choice in my former book group. I made it about 120 pages. What I remember is just being miserable reading about miserable, horrible people.
We Need to Talk About Kevin won the Orange Prize in 2005 (now called the Women’s Prize.) Another Orange Prize winner, one that I absolutely LOVED, is Rose Tremain’s novel The Road Home. I read it in 2010 and remember being pleasantly surprised by how realistic and sensitively portrayed the main character, Lev, was. This is an immigration story and it’s tone is much lighter than the description might suggest, yet full of heart. I still haven’t read anything else by Tremain for some reason.
Another moving immigrant story is Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. It’s about a hard-working immigrant couple from Cameroon trying to earn a piece of the American Dream in pre-Great Recession New York City. It’s beautifully written and also a realistic portrayal of a complicated marriage.
New York City is also the setting for another good book I recently read, by Jacqueline Woodson – Another Brooklyn. A lyrical coming of age story set in the 1970s, about the intense friendships born of adolescent emotions, this short novel is one you could read in an afternoon.
A young friendship is central to Piecing Me Together by Reneé Watson. This contemporary YA novel focuses on Jade, an African American teenage girl from a poor part of Portland, Oregon, who attends a wealthy, mostly white private school on scholarship. Jade is a multifaceted character, with a passion for art and a drive to want to serve others instead of being the one who is always “helped.” I read this one at the beginning of this year and it’s still one of my favorite reads of 2020.
Another book that was better than I expected was Paulette Jiles’s News of the World. A poignant historical fiction novel set in post-Civil War Texas, I was greatly moved and entertained by the journey of Captain Kidd and his young charge, Johanna, a girl who had been kidnapped by a band of Kiowa raiders four years earlier.
So there’s my chain, from the very disturbing journey in The Road to the still dangerous but more hopeful journey in News of the World. Next month the starting point is Sally Rooney’s Normal People. Where did your Six Degrees take you? Have you read any of my picks?