6 Degrees of Separation: This Book will Save Your Life
Welcome back to Six Degrees of Separation, in which authors Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman provide a book title, and we link it to six other books in any way we like. I was AWOL for January’s edition, but with good excuses – I mean reasons – including a sojourn to Chile, where I visited the home of poet Pablo Neruda, signing a publishing contract and meeting an editing deadline – but more of that in a future post!
For now, let’s find out where Six Degrees will lead us, beginning with This Book will Save Your Life by A. M. Homes.
Home’s novel, about a man experiencing a mid-life crisis, immediately reminded me of a book about a completely different subject matter. Reading by Moonlight: How Books Saved a Life is written by Brenda Walker, a novelist and literary professor, who turned to books to help her through her treatment and recovery from breast cancer.
Another book about cancer, and which was on my summer reading list, is Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts. This novel, aimed at young people, is written from both Zac and Mia’s viewpoints.
The first book I ever read with alternate or multiple points of view is The Pigman by Paul Zindel, which I read as a teenager in the late 1980s – although I was recently surprised to discover that it was first published in 1968.
Another teenage novel I consider a ‘classic’ is The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. However, it’s now been some years since I read it, so perhaps I need to check it out again to see whether it’s stood the test of time.
I taught The Outsiders to year 10 students in my first year of teaching, and it was possibly the only book on the curriculum that was accessible to that class. In contrast, they really struggled with The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. The Day of the Triffids imagines a post-apocalyptic world which has been overtaken by seven foot tall, walking, strangling plants and many people have been affected by blindness. It might be considered a science fiction classic, but it proved difficult to encourage my non-reading charges to engage with it.
A novel about a re-imagined reality that I did enjoy is The Fur by Nathan Hobby, which won the TAG Hungerford award for an unpublished manuscript in 2002 and was later published by Fremantle Press. In this case, the ‘Western Third’ of Australia is infested by ‘the fur’, an infectious and lethal fungus.
I’ve gone from a man with a mid-life crisis to a coming of age story about a teenager trying to survive a fungal plague. Make sure you check out where 6 Degrees took Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. Where might it lead you?