Six Degrees of Separation – The Book of Form and Emptiness to Bridget Jones’s Diary

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 others to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the titles on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

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This month we’re starting with the Women’s Prize for Fiction-winning The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki which I’ve yet to read but I gather it’s about how a teenage son finds ways to deal with the death of his father and much else besides.

Which leads me to Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers in which grief manifests itself as a crow to a father and two young boys stricken by the death of their mother.

Charlie Gilmour’s Featherhood has a more literal version of that theme as Gilmour nurses a young magpie back to health while trying to establish a relationship with his estranged, dying father.

Gilmour’s mother is Polly Samson whose A Theatre for Dreamers took me to the Greek island of Hydra in the middle of lockdown.

Samson’s novel was inspired by Charmain Clift’s Peel Me a Lotus, her account of her time on Hydra when her lodger, a beautiful young man called Leonard Cohen, fell in love with a woman called Marianne.

Louis de Bernières’ bestselling love story Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, of which I sold shedloads as a bookseller, is also set on a Greek island, this time Cephalonia

A copy of De Bernières’ novel appeared at the end of Richard Curtis’ 1999 film Notting Hill in which the bookseller gets his girl, rather implausibly. Curtis went on to adapt another stonking bestseller, Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, in 2001

This month’s Six Degrees has taken me from an award-winning novel in which a boy comes to terms with loss to a comedy about a hapless thirtysomething woman and the two men courting her. 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.

25 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – The Book of Form and Emptiness to Bridget Jones’s Diary”

  1. Featherhood appeared in my own Six Degrees chain a few months ago, so I’m now tempted by Grief is the Thing with Feathers and a Theatre for Dreamers. An interesting chain – thanks!

  2. Well, if you have to start with Bridget Jones next month… I’m sure the obvious link would be Pride & Prejudice, because that’s what she was basing her book on! But you might not decide to be obvious!

  3. There’s a lovely flow to your links. I’ve still never read Captain Corelli… it’ll probably stay that way, but I do want to read Featherhood, A Theatre for Dreamers and Peel me a Lotus, the first two of which are on my shelves.

    1. Thank you. I enjoyed Captain Corelli but not as much as his earlier novel The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts. I remember his biog notes mentioned gaucho as a job he’d done which I loved. Enjoy your visit to Hydra!

  4. Great chain. I’ve never read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin despite all the hype, but I did find a copy in a charity shop a while ago so will give it a try soon!

  5. I’m yet to read Samson’s book but I did read both of Clift’s memoirs last year; Lotus was rather heavier and darker with plenty of frustration but still very enjoyable. I love how all our chains take us in such different directions. Enjoyed yours very much this time.

    1. Thank you. Definitely part of the fun isn’t it. I’m not sure if I’ll read the Clifts. The Samson arrived at just the right time in lockdown for me. A breath of much needed fresh air.

  6. I don’t think I would have known where to go from Ozeki other than just picking the word “book” from the title. Linking it to Grief is the Thing with Feathers is clever

  7. I like the way you moved from darker into lighter reads via some Greek-holiday stuff! Funnily enough, we recently read the most recent Bridget Jones sequel, ‘Mad about the Boy’, for book club. I’m not sure why the library decided to have a book group set of this one as it felt rather inconsequential. We barely talked about the book this time and only a few actually read it, even though it was an easy read.

  8. Very smooth chain and well done for linking Ruth Ozeki with Bridget Jones! I recently heard that the Max Porter book was the inspiration for one of the Booker longlisted books, Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies. I haven’t read any of them, though.

    1. Thank you. It was a bit of a leap! I didn’t know that about Ozeki but it makes sense. It’s an interesting list. I’ve noticed that Maps… has been getting lots of attention. I’ve read the Keegan, Magee and Strout – all excellent.

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