Six Degrees of Separation – from The Tipping Point to Killing Me Softly #6Degrees

Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It works like this: each month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the others on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

This month we’re starting with Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point which I’ve never read but I do know that he’s also the author of Blink.

Which leads me to Jean-Dominque Bauby’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Bauby was struck down by a massive stroke which left him able to communicate only by blinking. His book is a testament to his absolute determination.

It took me a long time to get around to reading Lucy Wood’s beautifully crafted collection Diving Belles despite having enjoyed Weathering so much. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes unsettling these stories are all about the sea in one way or another.

Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies was a favourite book when I was a child. I’m sure I had no idea at the time that Kingsley had intended it to be a satire on Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

The same can be said of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times which turned out to be a dig at James Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism in its depiction of a schoolmaster with no time for anything but drumming facts into his pupils’ heads. Way beyond my eleven-year-old grasp, although I remember not enjoying it one bit.

James Stuart Mill wrote The Subjection of Women which put forward ideas developed with his wife Harriet Taylor Mill and was published after her death. It argued the case for equality between the sexes, a controversial idea midway through the nineteenth century.

Killing Me Softly is by another husband and wife team but of a very different kind. Nicci French is the name under which Nicci Gerrard and Sean French publish their very successful series of thrillers. I read this when it came out for work but can remember nothing about it. A quick shufti at the publisher’s blurb tells me that ‘it’s a terrifying journey into the heart of obsession’. I’ll have to take their word for that.

This month’s Six Degrees of Separation has taken me from the small change in circumstance that can precipitate our decisions to a thriller about obsession. Part of the fun of this meme is comparing the very different routes other bloggers take from each month’s starting point. If you’re interested, you can follow it on Twitter with the hashtag #6Degrees, check out the links over at Kate’s blog or perhaps even join in.

24 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – from The Tipping Point to Killing Me Softly #6Degrees

  1. Kate W

    Brilliant first link.

    The Water Babies was a favourite of mine when I was a child and oddly, I remember very little about the story. And I have never heard that about the book and Origin of Species! *races to google*

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thanks, Kate. I remember chimney sweeps and their miserable lives in The Water Babies but not an awful lot else. I stumbled across that little factoid while looking Kinglsey up which made my next link easier!

      Reply
  2. Kay

    Good job! I, too, love seeing where the chains and links take us. I’ve not read that Nicci French book, but I have read the authors’ recent series (and loved it!). I’ll have to look for their earlier books.

    Reply
  3. Margaret

    Love your chain – especially the first link – I had to resort to using the word ‘point’ in the title. I loved The Water Babies as a child but when I read the adult version I was surprised at how ‘preachy’ it is.

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thank you, Margaret. I very nearly used point, too, then the Bauby popped into my head. I know what you mean about those childhood favourites. I was shocked when I heard that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardronbe was a Christian allegory.

      Reply
  4. Melinda Tognini

    Great chain. I clearly need to learn more fascinating facts about literature – I had no idea about Hard Times and Water Babies being a dig at others’ work. I was fascinated to learn about The Subjection of Women, especially given the period in which it was written – have you read it and is it worth doing so?

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thanks, Melinda. I read John Stuart Mill as a student but not The Subjection of Women, I’m ashamed to say. I really ought to rememdy that.

      Reply
  5. Poppy Peacock

    Marvellous effort Susan… Such seamless links! I’ve Diving Belles on the TBR & nice to nudge it back into my attention and I too studied John Stuart Mills covering excerpts from The Subjection of Women (but never read the whole book) … certainly not a light read!

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thanks, Poppy. Diving Belles squatted on my shelves for ages but I loved it when I finally got around to reading it. I’ve always liked the fact that they worked together on The Subjection of Women, and that he picked up her ideas after her death.

      Reply
  6. madamebibilophile

    Good to see from other comments that I’m not alone in being completely oblivious about The Water Babies! It was one of my favourites as a child – I’m astonished!

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      I would love to tell you that I wisely nodded my precocious eight-year-old head in recognition but I only found out when I looked it up which gave me my next link.

      Reply
  7. Sandra

    What a brilliant first link! It leads straight into 2 books I’ve wanted to read for ages. Diving Bell and Diving Belles are both on my tbr and I’m likely to read the latter first I think. Coincidentally I’ve always veered away from The Water Babies. But I was required to read Hard Times – and it put me off Dickens for decades. I’ve got back to him in later life – love his works now!

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thank you, Sandra! I’d definitely read Diving Belles first. All the fun of Dickens’ writing seemed to have been wrung out of Hard Times. Glad to hear you’ve come back to him.

      Reply

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