TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for November 6, 2021.

From “What Are You Going Through” by Sigrid Nunez to “Blueeyedboy” by Joanne Harris.

This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. 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 other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share you post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.


This month we start with What Are You Going Through” by Sigrid Nunez!

what are you going throughThis month (November 6, 2021), the chain begins with What Are You Going Through” by Sigrid Nunez. Well, unlike last month, I won’t have the time to read our starting novel before writing this, but I may put it on my TBR list. On various sites, it says that in this book “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 her guests, a stranger who seeks help comforting his elderly mother, a friend of her youth now hospitalized with terminal cancer. In each of these people the woman finds a common need: the urge to talk about themselves and to have an audience to their experiences. The narrator orchestrates this chorus of voices for the most part as a passive listener, until one of them makes an extraordinary request, drawing her into an intense and transformative experience of her own.”

First Degree. 

distance between usThe phrase “a series of encounters” made me immediately think of the memoir by Maggie O’Farrell “I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes with Death,” but I used that in April 2020. So, in my efforts to not double up on books I’ve used in previous chains anymore, while still using only books I’ve reviewed, I thought, why not use a different O’Farrell? (After all, I’ve read them all.) The one I found which also has a few series of different types of encounters is “The Distance Between Us.” In this book, the death of a woman during a Chinese New Year’s celebration in Hong Kong sends a young man running back to his mother’s birthplace in Scotland. There he meets a young woman at a fancy B&B near Inverness, who is also running away from troubles of her own, back in London.

Second Degree.

yom killer1Making this next link made me laugh. The Chinese New Year, made me think of the Jewish New Year. That reminded me that immediately following the latter is the holiest of all Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur. That brought me to the novel “Yom Killer” by Ilene Schneider, which is the last (so far) of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mystery books (#3). While this book is more of an investigation into a conspiracy, there’s still a good deal of dirty goings on within her little community, mostly regarding an “accident” that happens to her mother in an assisted living facility. I do hope that Ilene writes more of these novels, they’re really quite fun!

Third Degree.

d7c1f-runyoudown_fcThe Jewish connection and conspiracies reminded me of the second novel by Julia Dahl in her Rebekah Roberts books, “Run You Down,” although the protagonist investigates within the ultra-orthodox (aka Haredi) community, and Rabbi Aviva leads a more liberal congregation. Despite this, it also occurred to me that the other thing that connects these two books is mothers. Rabbi Aviva’s mother has a (suspicious) fall; Rebekah Roberts finally comes in contact with her estranged mother while investigating the (suspicious) death of a young Haredi woman. I’m sorry I never got around to reading the third book in Dahl’s series, and now I hear she’s published (or is about to publish) another book, which I understand isn’t a Rebekah Roberts mystery.

Fourth Degree.

anything is possible1This link comes from the estranged mother bit in Dahl’s book. But since I already used “My Name is Lucy Barton” for a previous #6Degrees, I’ll go with the sequel to that one by Elizabeth Strout, “Anything is Possible.” This still works because the stories here go into Lucy’s attempts to end her estrangements with her brother and sister after her mother’s death. Like with Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, this book is actually a collection of interconnected short stories. While I really loved the first book, this second one didn’t work quite as well for me, even though I really enjoyed getting to know Lucy better, as well as getting to understand her problematic connections to her siblings. Obviously, since I read and reviewed the latest book in this series, “Oh William” I didn’t give up on Strout (I haven’t yet read “Olive Again” but it is on my wish list).

Fifth Degree.

Moon Sisters1The link to this next book is a sibling one, in particular, sisters, and that’s how I got to “The Moon Sisters” by Therese Walsh. However, these two sisters – Olivia and Jazz – aren’t estranged at all. In fact, despite their differences, they’re very connected, with Jazz being very protective of Olivia. So, when Olivia runs off after their mother’s death (yet another link to the previous book) to find the best place to spread their mother’s ashes, Jazz finds she must go with her because Olivia is almost blind. This is a type of coming-of-age, road trip novel, which is particularly interesting because Olivia has Synesthesia – a condition where the senses get mixed up and people can smell colors or taste words. I knew about this condition before I read this book, but I think it was the first time I read it used in a novel (although I am sure there are other, older novels have characters with this condition).

Sixth Degree. 

blueeyedboySynesthesia is therefore my connection to my last novel, which is “Blueeyedboy” by Joanne Harris. Although I forgot to mention this in my review, one of the characters in this book has Synesthesia while another one pretends to have it, and there’s a man (professor) who has been studying youngsters with this condition, and he ends up making the imposter famous. This sparks jealousy in the character that really does have Synesthesia, which comes to light through a type of online and real-life stalking happens as the book progresses. I don’t want to describe more, because… spoilers… but the whole thing gets very intense, and well… if you like a good psychological thriller, I can highly recommend it, along with her three other books that take place in the fictional town of Malbry! (By the way, Harris herself has Synesthesia!)

There you have it – my chain of books for this month. So… the question is, does this last book connect in any way back to our starting point story?

The only thing I can think is if I go back to that “series of encounters” and I figure, well, the last book describes a series of VIRTUAL encounters on the Internet. How is that for a connection?

If you don’t know any of these books, I hope you’ll click on the links to my reviews and check them out!

If you decide to join in on this meme, I hope you’ll give me the link to your post in the comments below, and/or put your link on the linky page that Kate has on her blog for this meme.

Next month (December 3, 2021), we will start with Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (well, how about that. I just downloaded this novella so I can read it for #NovNov)!

23 thoughts on “TCL’s #6Degrees of Separation for November 6, 2021.

  1. I do like the sound of Rabbi Ilene Schneider’s books, though unfortunately my library system doesn’t seem to have any of them. I’ll root around on ebay.

    I’ve got two of Elizabeth Strout’s books – Olive Kitteridge and Olive Again – but haven’t started either – they do look appealing though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to stop duplications… the same books pop up over and over again in my 6 Degrees posts but probably because they are memorable and I loved them!

    I’ve not read any in your chain but do have the Joanne Harris in my TBR

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aha, another mention of I am, I am, I am… You are definitely making it more difficult for yourself, if you can only use books, which you have reviewed and haven’t used before in a chain. I doubt if I would get far, using these criteria.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done for avoiding duplications! I used to try to do that but have given up now – too lazy…;) I haven’t read any of your books this month, but several of them sound intriguing, especially Yom Killer which is such a great title!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to be very strict with myself and not re-use books for my Six Degrees. But now I try not to, I do do it! And I would only use books I’d read or were books in my TBRs – now I allow myself to use any book whether or not I’ve read it etc.

    I thought of using I Am,I Am, I Am for my first link but went with The Spare Room. I haven’t read The Distance Between Us – I’d like to.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m most impressed that you avoid duplicating links from previous chains. I’m going to try to follow your example! I remember synesthesia being a recurring theme in fiction a little while back. It’s a fascinating condition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Chocolat had a bit of magical realism, and while she’s developed whole series of those books, she also did a bunch of straight fantasy books, and then she has these psychological books. A very versatile author.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your first degree made me laugh because I reused two links in mine this month, with the same link, ie one linked to the other in the same order, but I linked them on a different linking idea! I didn’t notice it until I was about to schedule my post, but decided life’s too short to redo that when I could be doing something else, like actually reading, and, anyhow, I really wanted to keep the ideas I was exploring, and, particularly, the link following these two.

    I have still to read Strout … I really, really, must.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know I’m being a bit silly about not reusing books, and eventually, I’ll have no choice, but that’s just me! And you’re right… once you’ve decided on a link, go for it and don’t rewrite! As for Strout… I do think you’ll like her books, so yeah…


      1. Not silly at all. We all like to set challenges for myself. My only advice is, rules are made to be broken, so when the time comes hold your head up high and march forth into a new way of doing the challenge!

        Liked by 1 person

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