Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 4, 2014

Six degrees of Separation, a meme

I am not very good at memes, but when one of my favourite authors Annabel Smith asked me to participate in this one, I decided to give it a try…

This meme is based on the ‘six degrees of separation’ theme. You begin with the book they nominate, and then link it to five others in a chain.  This month’s book is Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

1369882I read this so long ago it’s not even listed in my Reading Journal, and I’ve been keeping journals since 1997.  Still, I remember it well, and I remember the abundant criticism of her husband, Ted Hughes.  I can’t think of Ted Hughes without thinking of one of my favourite books to read to 8-9 year old children, The Iron Man

32816That reminds me that The Iron Man was one of many great books that was made into a really woeful film, and that reminds me of that recent awful BBC adaptation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which I’ve just  read, in its entirety, in Middle English.

Easy French ReaderReading books in another language brings me to the first story that I’ve ever read in French: Le grand Michu by Émile Zola, a story that I summarised for the Reading Zola blog.

My struggle to make sense of it with my inadequate French made me feel grateful to the vast army of translators who make it possible for me to read all kinds of interesting books in English.  It’s hard to pick a favourite but I’m very fond of The Siege by Ismail Kadare, an Albanian author who came to world attention when he won the Man International Prize.  He also wrote the wickedly complex The Accident, which puts me in mind of …

Gerald Murnane, who writes delicious fictions to mess with your mind, the first of which that I read was Inland, but the most recent one I’ve read is Tamarisk Row, his debut novel.

8 States of CatastropheAnd that brings me to the debut authors that I read, each one penned by an author hopeful of starting a career in letters.  But who to choose?  If you click on my tag for Debut Australian Fiction you can see my dilemma, there are so many fine writers emerging into the Australian literary scene, I am spoiled for choice.  But if you read my review of Karenlee Thompson’s 8 States of Catastrophe, you can see exactly why it is so appropriate for this particular meme!

If you’d like to participate too, here are the rules:







  1. A great idea Lisa and wonderful selection of books to get from one to six


  2. Oh what fun! Especially when I discover my book at the end. It does fit the theme, as you say.
    Of course, now I’m thinking I’ll have a go at this myself but I suspect it is a lot harder than it looks. Thinking cap is firmly in place.


  3. […] I saw my book mentioned in a ‘six degrees of separation’ post at ANZ Litlovers, I was rather chuffed, so I’ve decided to have a go myself.  Run by Annabel Smith and Emma […]


  4. Thanks for taking part Lisa! Though I’m very dark on ted Hughes, The Iron Man is a book I love to read with my son. I still haven’t got around to Gerald Murnane; i will have to scratch that itch one of these days!


    • Thanks for inviting me to join in, Annabel:)


  5. Hi Lisa,

    Thanks so much for joining in the meme! It’s wonderful to read everyone’s chains, though my website decided to break in the middle of the posting day, so that was fun. It’s all up and running again now, and you can read my post here: Look forward to reading yours next month too!



    • Hello Emma, and thank you for your kind words:) Fascinating to see the way the mind leaps from one thing to another, eh?


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