Six Degrees of Separation: from No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood to …

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.

The chain this month begins with  No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, a book I haven’t read.Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.‘ Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021 and the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021. I don’t think I’ll read it.

As usual I spent some time thinking about where to start my chain – and came up with several options. Maybe another novel shortlisted for the Book Prize of the Women’s Prize for fiction, but instead I came up with another book about talking –

Daniel Isn’t Talking by Marti Leimbach, a novel. Daniel is autistic, but at first Stephen his British father refuses to accept that there is anything wrong with him, whilst his American mother, Melanie, struggles to find out what is wrong with him and the best way of looking after him and helping him to talk, play and become as ‘normal’ as possible.

My second link is to another character called Daniel – Daniel Hawthorne in The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz. ex-policeman, Daniel Hawthorne, who had been an adviser for Horowitz’s Foyle’s War series. The police call on Hawthorne as a consultant on out-of-the ordinary cases and he is working on the Diana Cowper murder. He proposes that Horowitz writes a book about him and his investigations into the case.

Magpie Murders also by Anthony Horowitz is my third link. This s a brilliant book by a master story-teller, with a wonderfully intricate plot. It’s a prime example of a puzzle-type of crime fiction combining elements of the vintage-style golden age crime novel with word-play and cryptic clues and allusions to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s also a novel within a novel, with mystery piled upon mystery.

My fourth link is to another book that contains a story within a story – Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Beginning with Iris’s account of her sister’s tragic death, Atwood then introduces a novel-within-a-novel, entitled The Blind Assassin. It is a science fiction story, a pulp fantasy set on Planet Zycron.

My fifth link is to a novel also set on a planet – a real one, Mars, in The Martian by Andy Weir. I haven’t read this but I have watched the film , which I read is a faithful adaptation. An astronaut is stranded on Mars with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Being a botanist, he creates a garden inside the ‘Hab’ using Martian soil fertilized with the crew’s bio-waste and manufactures water from leftover rocket fuel.

My sixth link: is to Stowaway to Mars by John Wyndham writing as John Beynon, was first published in 1936 as Planet Plane They claim Mars to be part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, a claim later disputed by the Russians when a second rocket lands.

My chain started with a book about living a life on social media to living a life on Mars, taking in books about autism, crime fiction and a novel within a novel.

Next month (March 5, 2022), we’ll start with a modern classic and a book that I have read, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.

23 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood to …

    1. I enjoyed it! There’s a TV series coming on Britbox, starting 10 February. I’m not sure I’ll watch it as I’m often disappointed with TV adaptations of novels I’ve enjoyed reading.


  1. An interesting chain, from which I won’t be choosing any SF examples. But I haven’t tried any Horowitz, and you’ve convinced me that I should. The Magpie Murders would have linked nicely with Featherhood in my own chain!.

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  2. I have yet to read anything by Anthony Horowitz. Magpie Murders sounds like a good place to start. I didn’t know John Wyndham sometimes wrote as John Beynon. Do you know why?

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    1. The Magpie Murders sounds is a good place to start reading his books. John Wyndham was born John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris. John Beynon. He used the pen names John Wyndham, John Beynon and Lucas Parkes – all different combinations of his name. I don’t know why.

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  3. Wow, Margaret! Talking to Horowitz to story-within-a-story to Mars! I’m impressed – that’s so clever of you! If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’ll read the Lockwood, but your chain is great.

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  4. Hi Margaret! I am currently listening to Magpie Murders and I LOVE IT!! Will definitely check out more books by Anthony Horowitz. I have The Blind Assassin on my TBR and really need to get to it soon.

    You had a great chain of books today!

    Elza Reads


  5. I used ‘not talking’ for my first link too, but stayed with that theme for the rest of the chain. I loved The Word is Murder and Magpie Murders and have The Blind Assassin on the TBR. Great chain this month!


  6. Nice chain 🙂 I have read The Martian, and actually preferred the film (shhhh!) I found the book weirdly peppy for someone who was stranded on Mars. Plus it was all a bit too sciencey. You’re probably not missing much.


  7. Ha, I love the idea of us claiming Mars for the Commonwealth – we should do that! 😉 Some excellent books here, especially Magpie Murders and The Martian.


  8. I’m definitely interested in The Magpie Murders and will look for that in my library catalogue.

    I don’t have too many reservations about watching a TV adaptation, though some are indeed better than others. I love the Cormoran Strike series, but I haven’t read the books so I don’t know how faithful they are. Some of the PD James ones were good.

    The Magpie Murders is, as you say, going to be on Britbox, which we don’t have, and I don’t think I want to pay for yet another TV subscription, so I’ll have to wait for that one.


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