It is claimed that every person on this planet is linked to any other in six or fewer steps.  But what about books?  Can we link them together too? Find out in the 6 Degrees of Separation book meme.

This month’s book is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

The Bell Jar

I haven’t read The Bell Jar – it’s one of those books I’ll get to eventually. However, it’s widely regarded as an American classic, which made me think of …

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, another American classic. I have read this, but it was back when I was a teenager, so I don’t remember it well. I may need to re-read it before I turn to the next book in my chain …

My Salinger Year

I received a proof copy of My Salinger Year from Bloomsbury earlier this week. A memoir, it tells the story of a young woman who finds herself “swept into one of the last great stories and entangled with one of the last great figures of the century” – J.D. Salinger. It looks interesting, but I am wondering whether it will have more impact if I re-read Salinger’s book first. This led me to …

The Devil Wears Prada (The Devil Wears Prada, #1)

Just when you thought I was going down the classics path I’m throwing a curveball in the shape of The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisburger. It popped into my head when I thought of the “girl works in publishing” theme. I enjoyed this book and cringed with Andrea as she faced her Prada-wearing boss every morning (and I thought Meryl Streep was classic in the film version). Thinking of Meryl led me to …

The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Another American novel, I remember being frustrated by this novel when I first read it several years ago because it involves infidelity. How is it the next link in my chain? Meryl Streep played the part of Francesca – her acting earned her a swag of award nominations. This led me to my final book:

The Scarlet Letter

Infidelity is a key theme of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn. The story of an adulterous relationship that results in the birth of a child, it’s one of the classics of American literature (and seems to be well-studied by school students). It’s one of those books I’ve been meaning to read, but haven’t yet. Reviews are mixed, so I’m still weighing up whether I will.

So, The Bell Jar led me down a chain of American classics (it’s not where I thought I’d go initially) and into film territory, with Meryl Streep a strong link. Here’s something I found out that makes my #6Degrees even more interesting … last month Meryl Streep was among several readers at a poetry gala in New York. What did she read? “Streep recited works on parenting by Sylvia Plath”, according to this article.


Want to join in? Everything you need to know to take part in this book is below:



Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

9 Responses

  1. Sadly, I won’t get around to posting on my own blog my book associations this weekend, but I love the concept. If I were to start with The Bell Jar, I would go down the route: Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes; T. S. Eliot: The Waste Land (he was a bit of a mentor to Ted Hughes); The Boy from Reactor 4 by Orest Stelmach (no waste land more deadly than Chernobyl post-meltdown); Louise Penny: Dead Cold (rather tenuous link between ice-hockey and curling and winter landscapes); her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache always reminds me of a chocolate ganache, which in turn leads to the book by Joanne Harris ‘Chocolat’ (which leaves me with the lasting image of Johnny Depp in the film…yum).

    1. The Boy From Reactor 4 sounds really interesting – and I think it’s hilarious that you went from a book about depression to Chocolat – I don’t know about 6 degrees – more like a full 180!

  2. Catcher In The Rye is one of my favourite books and I can quite see why it made your selection as it is one of the first books that comes to my mind whenever American Classics are being discussed.

    Great choices, its amazing the leaps our minds make.

    1. I think The Catcher in the Rye is one of those books you have to read for the first time when you’re around Holden’s age, otherwise you don’t relate to his angst.

  3. It’s amazing how many of these posts are linked via movies. My Salinger Year sounds really interesting; I enjoy behind the scenes books about the publishing industry. I did a couple of fantastic American lit units at uni and The Scarlet Letter was one of the books I studied. I can hardly remember it now though.

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