#6Degrees of Separation: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Happy new year everyone!  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, Annabel Smith and I are starting with Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin.  I absolutely love this book: it’s one of the best unreliable narrator-based novels ever!  Shriver does a brilliant job of leaving questions about what happened hanging for the reader, and she also pulls off an excellent twist which I didn’t see coming.

Here’s my chain:

ImageHandler.ashxWe Need To Talk About Kevin/Lionel Shriver

This book was published in 2003 to great acclaim, winning the Orange Prize in 2005 (now the Baileys Prize).  Not only is it a wonderful novel, it also has an interesting publication history.  It was Shriver’s fifth novel and she struggled for years to get a publisher for it, finally being picked up by small indie Serpent’s Tail.  It’s a book that gives many hope.


 when-nights-were-coldSalmon Fishing In The Yemen/Paul Torday

Like We Need To Talk About Kevin, this book is also written in the form of letters.  This is a tricky thing to pull off, and both books do it really well.  They’ve also both been made into successful movies.



the little friendLegend Of A Suicide/David Vann

The covers of these two books link them in my mind: fishy!  I remember reading Vann’s book by the fire a few Christmases ago and greatly enjoying it.  I saw him talk at the Ubud Writers Festival in 2013.  He shocked me by claiming he only writes for an hour each morning: I’ve since adopted his strategy and found it to be very effective.


To_Kill_a_MockingbirdBird by Bird: Instructions On Writing And Life/Anne Lamott

Speaking of writing advice, I’ve just started reading this wonderful book.  I’ve heard so many people recommend it, so I decided to give it a go and I’m loving it so far.  It’s an enjoyable read and laugh-out-loud funny, as well as proving very inspiring.




The Narrow Road To The Deep North/Richard Flanagan

As well as reading Bird by Bird, I’m just coming to the end of our book from last month’s Six Degrees and the winner of the Booker 2014.  I must confess that this wonderful novel has rather taken precedence, leaving Bird by Bird a bit neglected.  It’s a book of such gravity and really feels like the pinnacle of a career.  I’m savouring every moment.


 the_awakeningThe Railway Man/Eric Lomax

As well as being on the same subject as The Narrow Road To The Deep North, these two books were given to my Dad as a Christmas present this year.  He left them behind at our house and I’ve comandeered them for reading before returning them to him.  Luckily, he’s a bookworm too and totally understands.


the_yellow_wallpaperBrick Lane/Monica Ali

My husband and I recently watched the film of both The Railway Man and Brick Lane and greatly enjoyed both!  I still haven’t read the book of Brick Lane and though I have it it’s lost in the move somewhere.  Yet another book to be read when rediscovered.

Both Brick Lane and We Need To Talk About Kevin were published in 2003 (what a great year for books!) and so I’ve come full circle.  In that year, I was in my penultimate year of high school and longing to be a writer myself.  Let’s see where Annabel Smith ended up…

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 7th February and we’ll be starting with A M Home’s This Book Will Save Your Life. See you soon folks and a very happy 2015!

2 Comments on “#6Degrees of Separation: We Need To Talk About Kevin

  1. I like that you’ve pulled in a few movies – I really enjoyed Salmon Fishing (the movie) but haven’t read the book. Likewise, loved the book Brick Lane, but didn’t even know there was a movie version!

    Have you ever been to see Shriver speak? I have a couple of times – thrilling stuff – she’s an incredibly interesting person.

    Here’s my chain: https://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/six-degrees-of-separation-from-we-need-to-talk-about-kevin-to-little-known-facts/

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