#6Degrees of Separation: 1984 by George Orwell

It’s the first Saturday of the month, and that means only one thing: a new #6Degrees of Separation PostHere’s a recap of the rules:

#6degrees rules

This isn’t just any #6Degrees post: it’s the first one since my partner-in-crime Annabel Smith‘s incredibly exciting new novel was published two weeks ago!  The Ark is an innovative novel set in the year 2041, exploring current environmental and societal concerns.  But what really makes this book exciting is the interactive app Annabel has created to go alongside it, where readers can access more content and really get under the skin of the book.  You can read more about the novel on its website here and buy it on ebook here.  Congrats Annabel!


For this special #6Degrees post, we have chosen 1984 by George Orwell, also a dystopian novel by a writer ahead of his time. 

Here’s my chain:

ImageHandler.ashx1984/George Orwell
Reading dystopian novels years after their original publication is always fascinating, and on this count, 1984 blew me away.  Not only for its unique content and neat writing style, but also for its incredible foresight.  This is a novel which was published in 1949, and in many ways it’s accurately predicted many aspects of our surveillance society.  For this reason, it’s a discomforting read, which reinvigorates my belief that writers can sometimes be fortune tellers.

when-nights-were-coldThe Handmaid’s Tale/Margaret Atwood

I’m pretty sure I’ve used this Atwood book in a chain before, which I suppose is unsurprising considering it’s one of my favourite books.  The link here is dystopian fiction, which is one of Magaret Atwood’s fortes.  The Handmaid’s Tale rang particularly true with me in terms of a woman’s biological role and what a commodity that could become if current fertility trends continue.  Atwood based all the past threads of the story (which ultimately lead to the dystopian society of the book) on real life occurences in the modern world at the time of writing.

the little friendDominion/C. J. Sanson
A bit of a leap here in terms of genre, but this book also uses the basis of historical fact to underpin a story which considers a widely different historical outcome.  The caveat for this story is what would have happened if Winston Churchill was not chosen as Chamberlain’s replacement in 1940, a considers a world where the UK become allied with Germany, curtailing the length and involvement of the Second World War.  As Samson states as a caveat at the beginning of the book: All events after 5 pm on 9th May 1940 are fictional.  I’ve just started reading this book, and I love the concept already.

To_Kill_a_MockingbirdBirdsong/Sebastian Faulks

The Second World War is the link here.  I read Birdsong at school, and absolutely loved the characters and the place.  It’s one of my favourite novels, and a masterful achievement in terms of not only recreating that time in history, but also charting the pscychological devastation of war.

uncle_toms_cabin.largeBig Brother/Lionel Shriver
At the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival last year, Sebastian Faulks and Lionel Shriver were the big draws for me, and I hopped on a plane to spend five wonderful days listening to them and many other interesting writers talk.  This was the book that Lionel Shriver had just released at the time: and it’s one that I loved.  I also enjoyed watching Shriver talk – she’s every bit as witty, intelligent and quick-thinking as her characters.

the_awakeningShe’s Come Undone/Wally Lamb
This book deals also deals with obesity.  It was recommended to me by a friend in Perth, and I’m so grateful to her as it’s an extraordinary novel.  One of the most admirable things about it is the fact that the neurotic, anxious female protagonist is so realistically crafted by the male author.  It took him ten years to write and he’d nailed it on all counts.  I’ve been meaning to dig out some of his other books.

the_yellow_wallpaperMemoirs of a Geisha/Arthur Golden

This book also left me awestruck by its convincing portrayal of a female protagonist by its male author.  While I was at school, this book was my favourite ever, and led to a whole slew of Japanese-related reading.  I still have a minor obsession with Geisha and Japanese history, and it’s high up on my places to visit list.


This chain is full of my favourite books and – once again – it’s making me want to add lots of new ones to my to-be-read pile.  I might have to stop reading other people’s chains too as I’m on a strict ban on buying books until I’ve read all the ones I have – which could take a million years.  Who am I kidding??

Annabel Smith ended up at Matt Haig’s The Humans – a book I’ve wanted to read for ages. Let’s have a look at where it went on the way…

What does your chain look like? Please post it or a link to your blog post in the comments below.

Our next #6Degrees post will be up on Saturday 1st November and we’ll be starting with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. See you soon folks!

13 Comments on “#6Degrees of Separation: 1984 by George Orwell

  1. I was tempted to begin my chain with The Handmaid’s Tale – a great choice. In fact, your chain is filled with some of the best books I’ve read. Oddly, I thoroughly enjoyed She’s Come Undone but have not read anything else by Lamb since. I did buy his latest release, We Are Water, but haven’t got to it as yet.
    Agree that Shriver is fantastic to hear speak – she’s an odd one though. She comes across initially as intensely private and yet her books are almost always based on very real, personal experiences. I’ve managed to see her each time she’s been in Melbourne and each event has left a lasting impression.
    Here’s my chain: http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/six-degrees-of-separation-from-1984-to-delicacy/

    P.S. What book is next? 🙂

    1. Hi Kate! I’m exactly the same about Wally Lamb – despite loving She’s Come Undone and reading it quite some time ago, I’m still to read anything else by him. And Shriver is a unique sort indeed. I admire her so being so resolutely herself and not taking any prisoners though, and for her incredible writing and success of course. Em

  2. I love these chains for finding or considering new books/authors. Dominion sounds like one I would love & Shriver has been recommended to me do many times, I really should try one.

    I hope to have time this month to join in again 🙂

  3. I NEED to have an “Atwood Month” where I read nothing but her books! I’ve been meaning to read The Handmaid’s Tale forever!

    I haven’t read 1984 yet so I went with starting my chain with Feed by Mira Grant since I love reading dark creepy books at this time of year.

    1. Hi, You should definitely have an ‘Atwood Month’. I read most of her earlier novels in the space of a few months (not just one) and loved them all. I haven’t been able to read any of her books since Oryx and Crake unfortunately…

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