6 Degrees of Separation: From Fight Club to Earthly Joys #6Degrees  2nd February 2019

It’s the first Saturday of the month so it’s time for 6 Degrees of Separation!

Here’s how it works: a book is chosen as a starting point by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best 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.

Kate says: 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. Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the comments section of each month’s post.   You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees

This month’s starting book is Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Click on the title to read the book description on Goodreads or my review.

Fight Club is a story of anarchy played out every weekend through bare-knuckle fights between young men.  As an antidote to that violent view of contemporary society, my first link is to The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers for a good old-fashioned detective mystery.  Lord Peter Wimsey is called in to determine the time of death of a 90-year-old General in order to decide a half-million-pound inheritance.

Staying with clubs, my next link is to The Runagates Club by John Buchan.  It’s a collection of twelve stories told around the dinner table by members of the eponymous club.  One of the stories recounted is ‘The Loathly Opposite’ which involves the breaking of a German code.  The source of the story’s title is referenced in the introductory quotation from Shakespeare’s King Lear:

How loathly opposite I stood
To his unnatural purpose

Edward St. Aubyn’s Dunbar is a retelling of King Lear, part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series.  Henry Dunbar, the once all-powerful head of a global corporation, has handed over the family firm to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan, but is now regretting his decision.

Also in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, is Tracy Chevalier’s New Boy, a retelling of Othello transposed to an urban schoolyard.

Sticking with books by Tracy Chevalier, At the Edge of the Orchard tells the dramatic story of a 19th century pioneer family trying to eke out a living on the American frontier.  While parents, James and Sadie, attempt to cultivate apple trees, their son, Robert, is caught up in the California Gold Rush.  Eventually, he starts collecting seeds of plants to be sold to the gardeners of England.

Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory also concerns a man who finds fame and fortune as a gardener – John Tradescant – but this time in seventeenth century England.  However, he finds himself drawn into more dangerous exploits when his talents come to the notice of a powerful individual in the court of King Charles I.


This month we’ve travelled from ‘a dark anarchic genius’ to ‘a flamboyant, outrageously charming, and utterly reckless’ individual by way of gentleman’s clubs, urban schoolyards and the wilds of America.

Next month’s starting book is The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper.

10 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: From Fight Club to Earthly Joys #6Degrees  2nd February 2019

  1. Very nice! Another chain where I’ve read none of the books, but added to my ‘must research’ list. And yours included a detective story – that’s perfect for me…

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  2. I love your choices and the direction you took this. Especially the Shakespeare tie-ins. I have only read one Sayers book, and really need to read more of her work. Have a great weekend!

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