Six Degrees of Separation: from Fever Pitch to Life After Life

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.

Fever Pitch

This month’s chain begins with Nick Hornby’s memoir (or love letter to soccer), Fever Pitch, which I haven’t read. I know it’s about football and wondered whether my first link would be to one of the other books my husband has about football and footballers, or to another book of memoirs.

A Death in the Dales (Kate Shackleton #7)But in the end I went for a link to the word fever. So my first link is to A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody, book 7 in her Kate Shackleton series, in which one of the characters, 14 year old Harriet has been in a fever hospital recovering from diphtheria. It’s a murder mystery set in Derbyshire.

A Place of ExecutionDerbyshire is the setting for my second link in the chain – A Place of Execution by Val McDermid. It’s a freezing day in December 1963, when 13-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from the isolated Derbyshire village of Scardale. This is another book I haven’t read -yet. Unlike Fever Pitch it’s on my TBR list.

Winter in MadridThe third link is also a book set in winter – Winter in Madrid by C J Sansom, an action packed thrilling war/spy story set just after the Spanish Civil War. It’s also a moving love story and historical drama all rolled into this tense and gripping novel.

Gone with the WindAn obvious civil war link takes me to Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell about the American Civil War and its aftermath. I loved this book so much more than I ever thought I would.  It is, of course, a book that was made into a film, which leads me to my fifth link …

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas by David Mitchell (I have two links here – film and author’s surname). I tried to read the book first and failed, several times. It was watching the film that brought it to life. I then read and enjoyed the book. Cloud Atlas covers a time period from the 19th century to a post apocalyptic future using six loosely linked narratives. There are differences between the book and the film – they are are two different creations that complement each other.

Life After Life

My last book in the chain is also one I have started to read several times – it’s Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, but so far I haven’t finished it. I’ve read several of Kate Atkinson’s books and enjoyed them, but somehow the first few chapters of Life After Life about Ursula Todd just didn’t appeal. But at the end of last year I read A God in Ruins about Ursula’s brother Teddy, and loved it. So I will get round to reading Life After Life sooner or later.

I never know where my chain will go when I start it. This one begins and ends with books I haven’t read and it moves in place and time from England to Spain, America and back to England, linked by words, settings, genre, film adaptations and books I’ve found it hard to get into for one reason or another.

If you’ve also made a chain, or have read any of the books I’ve mentioned, especially the ones I haven’t read, please let me know in the comments.

Next month (April 1, 2017), the chain will begin with Emma Donoghue’s bestseller, Room – another book I haven’t read.

18 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from Fever Pitch to Life After Life

    1. Annabel, I’ve had another look at Life After Life and I’m wondering what my problem with it was – it looks very readable! I mustn’t have been in the right mood to read it before.


  1. You’re the first to use the title as the starting point (it’s now making me think of different ways my chain could have gone, particularly in relation to fever and disease!).

    Interesting you mention your struggle with Cloud Atlas. I’ve wanted to read War and Peace for many years but it was only after watching the superb BBC series last year that I’ve been able to make inroads – I guess watching it gave me enough of an overview to know where it was all heading. I think on rare occasions (very, very rare) film before book can be a good thing.


    1. Kate, I’m glad you’re making inroads into War and Peace – I enjoyed it. And I agree – on very rare occasions the film does help with a book – but more often than not I think a book is far better than a film.


  2. I like this chain event. Always very interesting to see where it goes. I’ve read GONE WITH THE WIND – many years ago and, of course, watched the movie more than once. I’ve also read A PLACE OF EXECUTION and watched the TV adaptation of it. Loved the book and also liked the TV movie very much. I’ve yet to find a Val McDermid book that I don’t like. And this one is nice because it’s a standalone. I’ve also read several books by Kate Atkinson, but haven’t attempted LIFE AFTER LIFE yet, though I do own it.


    1. Thanks! I wasn’t sure what to put as my first link and it was as I was reading A Death in the Dales that ‘fever’ jumped out at me.


  3. Great chain! I love the covers of these Frances Brody books – must read one sometime. One of my links this month is civil war too – though I arrived and left from it in different directions… 🙂


  4. Loved your links Margaret, and enjoyed your write up. I’ve only read one of them, but do have Life after life on my Kindle. the one I’ve read was Cloud atlas. I enjoyed it, but missed the movie.


  5. The only one of these that I’ve read is Gone With the Wind, but several look intesting, especially Winter in Madrid.The cover is intriguing.


  6. A really well put together and fun post, Margaret. I read Gone with the Wind years and years ago… I may even have been in my late teens. Was bowled over by it and am wondering if I should reread it at some stage as I’ve changed in the intervening years and know I would get something different from it now I’m older. I do remember being absolutely horrified at the descriptions of the aftermath of the battles and it taught me a lot about the horrors and futility of war.


    1. Thanks, Cath. Gone With the Wind surprised me in many ways. I’d seen the film many years ago and only had a vague impression of what it was like. I learnt so much from the book, especially about Reconstruction after the War – I’d never heard of it before. If you do read it again I’d love to know what you think of it now. There is so much in it!


  7. I too hope you find a way into Life After Life, Margaret; as well as the unusual perspective it includes a brutally-written account of life in London in the blitz. I’ve yet to read God in Ruins and I really must get around to it!


    1. Sandra – I’ve started reading Life After Life and can’t think what my problem with it was. So, I do plan to read it soon. I really enjoyed A God in Ruins – do get round to it soon!


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