6 Degrees of Separation

Book covers: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, The Golden Bowl by Henry James, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon, The Witch Elm by Tana French, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

6 Degrees of Separation: A Convoluted Journey

This month we start with the classic novella Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. 1. I never think of Edith Wharton without also thinking about her friend and correspondent Henry James. A prominent figure in Ethan Frome is a broken pickle dish that symbolizes the broken lives of the characters. Henry James also wrote a novel …

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7 book covers: What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez, How It All Began by Penelope Lively, We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker, The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda, The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, The Last Flight by Julie Clark, A Little Hope by Ethan Joella

6 Degrees of Separation: “Messy, messy lives”

This month we begin with Sigrid Nunez’s What Are You Going Through. Here’s the description from Goodreads: A woman describes a series of encounters she has with various people in the ordinary course of her life: an ex she runs into by chance at a public forum, an Airbnb owner unsure how to interact with …

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book covers: The Lottery, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Haunting of Hill House, Mrs. March, The Yellow Wallpaper, Deep Water, The Butcher Boy

6 Degrees of Separation: Deranged Minds

This month we start with “a (frightening) short story,” “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. This is probably the story Jackson is best known for. It appeared in The New Yorker in 1948. What I love about Shirley Jackson’s work is the way she gradually makes the reader realize that things are not always what they …

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book covers: Second Place, A Crime in the Neighborhood, Atonement, Montana 1948, This Tender Land, Ordinary Grace, God Spare the Girls

6 Degrees of Separation: Prize-Worthy Coming-of-Age Novels

This month we start with 2021 Booker Prize nominee, Second Place by Rachel Cusk. Here’s the book description from Goodreads: A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will penetrate the mystery of her life and landscape. His provocative presence provides the …

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Book Covers: Postcards from the Edge, Edge of Eternity, Woman on the Edge of Time, Gone to Soldiers, Second Generation, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, How It All Began

6 Degrees of Separation

This month we start with a bestselling work of autobiographical fiction, Postcards From the Edge (1987) by Carrie Fisher. Wednesday will be the 30th anniversary of my reading it (August 11, 1991). The novel tells the story of 30-year-old actress Suzanne Vale as she goes through drug rehab and tries to put her life back …

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Book covers: The Bass Rock, Long Division, Three Junes, The Space Between Worlds, ho Will Run the Frog Hospital?, Coma, The Institute

6 Degrees of Separation: From The Rock to the Institute

This month we start with the winner of the 2021 Stella Prize, The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld. I had hoped to finish the book before writing this post, but, you know, life intervenes. However, I’ve read enough to know that the novel presents the stories of three women in three different time periods. The …

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Covers: Beezus and Ramona, The Sisters Chase, The Story Sisters, Hamnet, This Tender Land, The Lost Man, Affliction

6 Degrees of Separation: Hurray for Siblings!

This month we begin with Beezus and Ramona in memory of its author, Beverly Cleary. This 1955 novel introduces one of Cleary’s beloved characters, Ramona Quimby, through the eyes of her five-years-older sister, Beezus. I always find writing about children’s literature difficult, probably because I’m so far removed it. Although I did enjoy reading this …

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Covers: Shuggie Bain, The Long Drop, My Cousin Rachel, The House on the Strand, The Space Between Worlds, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, This Tender Land

6 Degrees of Separation: From “Shuggie Bain” to “This Tender Land”

This month we start with the 2020 Booker Prize winner, Shuggie Bain by the Scottish-American writer Douglas Stuart. The novel was also a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the Kirkus Prize for Fiction. Goodreads describes Shuggie Bain as “an epic portrayal of a working-class …

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Covers: Phosphorescence, Bright Lights Big City, You, Everything I Never Told You, The Center of Everything, The Center Cannot Hold, My Dark Places

6 Degrees of Separation: From Light to Dark

This month we start with Phosphorescence by Julia Baird, an author based in Sydney, Australia. Here’s the description of the book from Goodreads: A beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness – the ‘light within’ that Julia Baird calls ‘phosphorescence’ – which …

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Covers: Redhead by the Side of the Road, Back When We Were Grownups, The Grownup, Home Before Dark, The Shadow Man, The Shadow of the Wind

6 Degrees of Separation: What’s in a Title?

This month we start with Anne Tyler’s latest novel, Redhead By the Side of the Road, which Goodreads describes as the story of Micah Mortimer, “a creature of habit” who lives a “meticulously organized life.” I have not read this novel, but I have read several of Tyler’s earlier books. I always think of her …

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