#6Degrees of Separation: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

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

#6degrees rules

This month is the first time we’re starting with a book I haven’t read, though I’ve heard lots about it.  It’s We’re All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Here’s my chain:

ImageHandler.ashxWe’re All Completely Beside Ourselves/ Karen Joy Fowler
This book has garnered a lot of buzz this year, winning the PEN Faulkner Award and making the shortlist for the Booker Prize.  Having just had a sneaky peek at who else is on the list this year, I’ve realised I haven’t read any of them yet, so that’s something fun to do over the coming weeks.  I’ve been so immersed in reading for my new novel I haven’t looked up.  Perhaps I’ll start with this one.


when-nights-were-coldWhat I Loved/Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt is on the Booker longlist this year alongside We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, though it’s for her new novel The Blazing World, and not What I Loved, which remains one of my favorite books of all time.  I remember reading it in the last year of school and though I don’t remember much about the plot, several of the images of art and setting have really stayed with me through the years.  As have a vague sense of the characters: flawed, creative types who I longed to believe existed in real life.


the little friendNotes On A Scandal/Zoe Heller
Speaking of books I read in my final year of school, this was another that sticks in my mind.  It’s the plot I remember about this one, and the sense of ominous inevitability that all will not end well.  The unreliable narrator is one of the most chilling characters I’ve ever read in fiction, and was brilliantly played by Judi Dench in the film. 




The Great Gatsby/ F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The link here is unreliable narrators: Nick in the Great Gatsby is the quintessential definition of the trope.  He’s an outsider, who observers the action of the novel from a position where he can’t be truly accurate in his telling.  The world of Gatsby is therefore always viewed from outside, as a whirling ball of glamour, which makes its breaking apart even more shocking and heartbreaking when it happens.



uncle_toms_cabin.largeThe Bonfire of the Vanities/Tom Wolfe
Both The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the Vanities are set in New York City.  They also both deal with the upper echelons of New York society, and how their interactions with the lower classes can prove tragic.  I loved the writing style and scope of Bonfire of the Vanities: a book that can only be admired for what it achieves.



the_awakeningTo Kill A Mockingbird/Harper Lee
This book deals with race, though in the South of America rather than in New York, and at a different time in history.  In 2000, this book was voted the greatest book of all time, and I understand why it ranks so highly with so many.  The universal themes of a good man triumphing against evil foes, as well as the fact that many people read it when they are in their formative teenage years, makes it one that’s likely to stick in people’s minds.



the_yellow_wallpaperHarry Potter/ J. K. Rowling

This series is another one that often ranks highly in polls of readers’ favorite books.  This book has been called ‘more influential than the bible’ according to a Facebook Poll, which is a pretty incredible claim.  It’s read all over the world.  I absolutely loved the series.



So, from a book I’ve never read to a series I devoured.  Let’s check in with Annabel Smith and see what she came up with!

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 6th December and we’ll be starting with Richard Flanagan’s Booker winner Narrow Road to the Deep North. See you soon folks!

14 Comments on “#6Degrees of Separation: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

  1. Great picks (including one of my favourites, Gatsby). Have you read Hustvedt’s latest? It’s one of the very few books that I didn’t finish (same as you, What I Loved sticks in my mind years after reading it). Could not get into The Blazing World even though I really, really tried.

    Here’s my chain: http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/six-degrees-of-separation-from-we-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves-to-the-crucible/

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