Six Degrees of Separation – Romantic Comedy to Anatomy of a Soldier

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 Curtis Sittenfeld’s Romantic Comedy which pleasingly subverts the romcom rules by pairing a beautiful, if fading rock god with a merely attractive TV writer. I enjoyed it very much.

Loosely based on Laura Bush, American Wife is still my favourite Sittenfeld leading me to Amy Bloom’s White Houses which fictionalises the life of another president’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Bloom’s latest book, In Love, is a memoir of her husband’s dementia bringing to mind another book written by a woman whose husband was struck with a devastating illness, Sheila Hale’s The Man Who Lost His Language.

Eva Hoffman’s Lost in Translation is about the loss of nuance and meaning its author suffered when she moved from her native Poland to America as a young girl and had to learn a new language.

Nothing whatsoever to do with the book, the film of the same name stars Scarlett Johansson who pops up in Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See.

Delacourt’s the author of The List of My Desires which reminded me of Livia Franchini’s Shelf Life, a novel based around a supermarket list which you might think wouldn’t work, but it does.

Another book with an unusual structure which works is Harry Parker’s Anatomy of a Soldier which tells the story of a life in forty-five objects from the titular soldier’s boot to the detonator of the IED which took his leg.

This month’s Six Degrees has taken me from a satirical take on romcoms to a novel based on its author’s experience of war. 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.

26 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – Romantic Comedy to Anatomy of a Soldier”

  1. An intriguing list as ever, from which my immediate take-out is Lost in Translation, as my father was Polish – he was one of those who came over in the war, and his English was soon so good nobody knew he wasn’t English. What was interesting to me as a child was listening to him losing his Polish, and interspersing English words as he talked to Polish friends. From living in France for a while, I know how quickly this happens!

    1. Hoffman sounds like essential reading for you! She describes that loss of nuance when there simply isn’t an equivalent for a Polish phrase so well, and of course, so articulately which chimes with your father’s experience. I hope you can track down a copy.

  2. From the White House to a supermarket – that’s quite a leap of settings in your chain!
    I’m intrigued by Sheila Hale’s book – will have to look it up further though it doesn’t sound as if it will be cheery reading matter

  3. All new to me books, but you’ve definitely intrigued me with Shelf Life; I’d also like to look up White Houses (I did want to read of Elinor Roosevelt’s work with the UDHR) and Lost in Translation. 3/6 on to the list–not terrible 😀

  4. Romance to war! Other lists I’ve read have had romance to revenge, romance to insanity and romance to murder. I think I’ll steer clear of romance for a while… 😉

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