#6Degrees of Separation: From How To Do Nothing to The Illumination of Ursula Flight

It’s the first Saturday of a new month which means 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 How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. I certainly can’t have been paying attention because I confess I’d never heard of this book before it was mentioned by Kate. From the blurb, I gather it’s a critique of the forces vying for our attention in the modern world of social media. Unfortunately, I can’t say it’s likely to draw my attention away from the books I already have on my shelves waiting to be read.

Taking a rather literal approach, my first link is to The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard, a thriller with a book-within-a-book structure.

A numerical train of thought took me from ‘nothing’ to Towards Zero by Agatha Christie in which connections must be discovered between a seemingly random series of events.

Also by Agatha Christie, The ABC Murders concerns a series of murders that seem to have no connection besides the alphabetical sequence of their location. Hercule Poirot must put his “little grey cells” to work.

Back to my literal approach and The Alphabet of Heart’s Desire by Brian Keaney. It involves the meeting of three people from very disparate backgrounds, one of whom is Thomas de Quincey.

Another writer, diarist Samuel Pepys, is the main character in Entertaining Mr Pepys by Deborah Swift. Set in 1666, the book features the dazzling world of Restoration theatre.

Another book set in the 17th century and involving the theatre is The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst. The titular heroine of the book harbours an ambition to become a playwright.

So this month we’ve travelled from our always on, 24/7 world via numbers and letters to the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd. Although in the 17th century, perhaps it was likely to be less the smell of the greasepaint and more the smell of the crowd… mitigated a little, perhaps, by the scent of Nell Gwynne’s oranges.

Where did your chain take you this month?

The Alphabet of Heart's DesireEntertaining Mr PepysThe Illumination of Ursula Flight

14 thoughts on “#6Degrees of Separation: From How To Do Nothing to The Illumination of Ursula Flight

  1. From what I can see, Kate’s first choice this month hasn’t been easy to connect to. Mind you, next month also sounds hard to connect to – at least for me it does. Not into alternative history myself, and Rodham sounds like alternative contemporary fiction!

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  2. Interesting chain! I haven’t read Towards Zero by Agatha Christie and I’m a huge fan! Going to check it out right now.

    I’m a bit late with my link, I only saw this meme last week Sunday. Won’t be late again! Here’s my link: 6 Degrees of separation

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