Book covers: Wintering by Katherine May, Winter by Ali Smith, Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell, In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane, I'll Be You by Janelle Brown

6 Degrees of Separation: Of Winters and Motherhood

It’s time for another adventure in Kate’s 6 Degrees of Separation Meme from her blog, Books Are My Favourite and Best. We are given a book to start with, and from there we free associate six books.

This month’s starting point is Wintering by Katherine May:

Wintering is a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves. Katherine May thoughtfully shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers are the ebb and flow of life.


For two reasons (the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the Constitutional right to abortion, and the fact that, here in the northern hemisphere, we’re moving on into summer) I’m not up for reading anything at all philosophical or metaphysical about winter. 

first degree

For my first degree I’m going with a title linkage: Winter by Ali Smith. I discovered this novel through a recent Top Ten Tuesday post. I fully intended to read this novel in preparation for writing this post, but, as often happens with reading plans, I didn’t get to it.

second degree

I’ll continue the chain with a title link to another novel, one that I have read: Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Set in the Missouri Ozarks, this novel tells the story of teenager Ree Dolly, who sets out on a mission to find her father, accused of running a meth lab, before he loses the family home by missing an upcoming court date. If you’ve seen the Netflix series Ozark, think of Ree Dolly as a slightly younger version of Ruth Langmore, the Ozark character played by Julia Garner.

third degree

In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming is yet another novel set during the year’s coldest season. This one opens with the discovery of a newborn left at a church door and the search for the baby’s parents.

fourth degree

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng contains a subplot that involves questions about a baby and who is best equipped to be the baby’s mother. 

fifth degree

Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane is a compelling, suspenseful thriller that also deals with complex moral and legal questions about babies and their mothers and about how society can and should protect its most vulnerable members.  

sixth degree

In I’ll Be You by Janelle Brown, a woman searches for her missing identical twin sister and wonders why she can’t find any documentation for the two-year-old daughter the sister claims to have adopted recently. 

Well, I was hoping to avoid winter but instead ended up with a lot of it. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about motherhood, and about how fiction can stimulate thought of complex moral and social issues we face as humans living in the world, and in a particular society, today.

Where did your 6 Degrees of Separation chain take you this month?

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

3 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: Of Winters and Motherhood”

  1. Actually, apart from the Ali Smith which I’ve read, I know none of these. I’ll have to look up a few reviews to decid whether they’re for me or not. I’m not surprised that recent news from the States has distracted you – and not in a good way.

  2. Some of these sound very depressing (but the world is depressing these days so…)! I saw the TV series made from the Ng book, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it.

  3. I enjoyed Smith’s Seasonal Quartet, Mary. The first one to be published, Autumn, was my favourite. Winter is clever, satirising British society and its response to the decision to leave the EU, and also linking to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

    Winter’s Bone and Little Fires Everywhere are two books that I think about reading every time I see them mentioned somewhere, but I somehow never get round to it. I think because I know I’ll find them bleak.

    As ever from you, a thoughtful chain with plenty of interesting titles that I haven’t encountered before.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from Notes in the Margin

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top