Welcome to #6Degrees.
Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman began the 6 Degrees of Separation meme in 2014 (and I took over in 2016).
The meme was inspired by Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy. In his 1929 short story, Chains, Karinthy coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. The phrase was popularised by a 1990 play written by John Guare, which was later made into a film starring Stockard Channing. Since then, the idea that everyone in the world is separated from everyone else by just six links has been explored in many ways, from ‘six degress of Kevin Bacon‘ to the science of connections. And now it’s a meme for readers.
So, to the meme. On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.
How the meme works
Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.
The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain (which is why I managed to link Gone Girl with E. M. Forster).
How to Join the Meme
Each person’s chain will look completely different. It doesn’t matter what the connection is or where it takes you – just take us on the journey with you. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book either: you can always find ways to link it based on your expectations/ideas about it.
As a blogger, you can join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the Linky section (or comments) of each month’s post. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your chain in the comments section. You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees
Here’s a list of past #6Degrees chains:
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
1984 by George Orwell
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healy
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Next up (March 4, 2017) is Nick Hornby’s memoir (or love letter to soccer), Fever Pitch.