Six Degrees of Separation: From The Road to News of the World


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.)

71IJ1HC2a3LI 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.9780061124297



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 1271104portrayed 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 9780812998481_custom-59f3262d4695d81fb4c66755e28e1d52b11f3f47-s300-c85hard-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.

27213163New 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 91XW9mj82MLcontemporary 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.

jilesAnother 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?

24 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From The Road to News of the World

  1. I didn’t think I was going to want to read We Have to Talk About Kevin either, Laila, but it was chosen for one of my book group so I didn’t have any option and in the end I was glad I had made it through. I can’t say that I enjoyed it but I did think it was very thought-provoking and very interestingly structured.


  2. Hurrah, you had time to do it! Great chain. 😀 The only one of these I’ve read is The Road and I loved it in the end, but it’s not exactly cheerful. Maybe not the best thing to read during these anxious times! I have We Need to Talk About Kevin on the TBR but maybe it’s another one best left for happier times!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you joined in! I’ve done this meme four times now, I think (I have my May one scheduled for Wednesday), and it is such fun. I like that your #2 pick is also a “Road” book! It is my favorite book by Rose Tremain out of the five I’ve read so far. She also has a new one coming out in the UK in September that I’m going to read soon. Of the other books you feature, I would really like to read Behold the Dreamers, and I have News of the World on the shelf.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I saw the cover of your first link, I thought ‘how did she get to that?!’ Then I read your link – clever!

    Hope you enjoyed #6degrees.


  5. Have you read Sally Rooney’s Normal People? I haven’t, but I feel like I should!

    Also, I’ve never read The Road, and i honestly don’t think I could because it sounds just too disturbing to read, especially right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read Normal People. I haven’t felt the pull to read it, frankly. It’s so popular, though.

      I think it’s fine for you not to read The Road. I feel like sometimes real life is awful enough and it’s perfectly fine not to subject yourself to awfulness in fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I adored The Road, but was haunted by We Need to Talk. It’s the one book I can honestly say I wish I had never read. You were wise to stop.

    I love the connections you made! Did you know Mbue has a new novel out next year? It was originally supposed to be released next month, but my guess is they pushed it because of the pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a fun idea for a meme! I haven’t seen this before, but I’ll keep an eye open for future participation options. With the libraries closed, it’ll be difficult for me to even skim books I am unfamiliar with. And considering all the books in the world, who knows when I’ll be able to participate! XD

    News of the World and Another Brooklyn are both on my TBR. The Road is a hard NO to me. The others I’ve never heard of — but I’ll keep Behold the Dreamers and Piecing Me Together and lose We Need To Talk About Kevin based on your descriptions.

    Heh. This is fun. I hope you do this again in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been meaning to participate in it forever but I always forgot. I made myself a phone reminder at the beginning of April to participate in May! 😂 Technology is good for something!

      The great thing is, you technically don’t have to have read the starting books in the meme. You can just find something about that book that makes a link in your mind to another book, and so on. It could be someone who stared in the movie version who started in another adaptation, or an award it won, or the fact that the writer was from so-and-so country… whatever comes to mind! It was fun. I haven’t read June’s book, Normal People by Salley Rooney. I’ll have to do some thinking to come up with a link.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha– technology *is* good for something. I love it.

        Ohhhhh. I get it. So, it could be the cover art or the author’s name or whatever. Brilliant. I’ll definitely check it out and see what I can come up with. It’s a good mental exercise at minimum. I feel like I’m not challenging my brain enough when it comes to books lately.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. We Need to Talk About Kevin was very disturbing, I agree. I loved it. But I also loved The Road. Such thought provoking books that brought out all my emotions. I haven’t read the other books in your chain, but several are on my wish list. My mom’s been trying to get me to read News of the World since she read it for her book club. One of these days I will. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!


  9. The only two I’ve read are one that you did not love and one that you did love: the Shriver and the Tremain. I loved them both. I still remember finishing the Shriver on the subway, in an evening commute, when it was so incredibly busy, and feeling like I wanted to jump out of my seat and squeal “everyone should read this book, cuz I need to talk to someone about it so badly”. Not that I’m trying to convince you to try it again, because the question of likeability certainly remains throughout. And the Tremain, ahhhh, I absolutely love that story. So quiet, so powerful. I still think back to those characters and hope they’re doing okay.

    Liked by 1 person

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