6 Degrees of Separation: The French Lieutenant’s Woman to The Grapes of Wrath


Happy New Year to you all! We start 2019 with my second 6 Degrees post, as I enjoyed it so much last month. 6 Degrees is hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest and you can find all the rules of joining in here. Everyone starts with the same book, but ends up in different places…

This month we begin with The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the worst books I was ever stupid enough to finish. I can’t remember much about it, as I have blocked the misery from memory, but I do remember fervently telling all and sundry never ever to read it for a long time afterwards.

Another book I was also crazy enough to finish was Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland. Awful. I had no idea what was going on throughout most of it, but trust me, it is time you are not getting back. One thing I will say for it was that I think this was the book which finally convinced me that life is too short for bad books. Now if I reach a quarter through and still think it’s pants, I give up.

Girlfriend in a Coma takes its title from The Smiths’ song of the same name (and which is now unfortunately stuck in my head). The Smiths may have influenced writing on this occasion, but in another of their incredibly dreary songs, Cemetery Gates, they took inspiration from literature, as they mention Keats, Yeats and Wilde. So the next book has to be Wildes’ The Picture of Dorian Gray. I’m sorry to say I didn’t enjoy this one much either, but it’s actually the only Wilde I’ve read.

Another book featuring the name Gray is Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks. This one I haven’t read. I did see the movie (yawn) and have read Birdsong, which I didn’t hate, but didn’t love. So probably won’t be bothering with Charlotte Gray any time soon. Unless someone convinces me otherwise?!

Naturally Charlotte Gray leads me to Charlotte’s Web, which is, obviously, one of the greatest books of all time. About time this list featured a book I actually enjoyed 🙂 Charlotte’s Web, in my humble opinion, was made even greater by the amazing illustrations drawn by Garth Williams. Williams also illustrated another absolute classic and favourite of mine, The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved each and every one of the books in the series, and it’s high time I read them again. As a child, I cried when Laura left home, not because I was emotional that she was leaving her family, but because I knew there soon wouldn’t be anymore of her adventures to read.

Finally, another famous book set in the Great Plains, though of a much less optimistic bent is The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I love Steinbeck, and this is one of his best. For such depressing subject matter, he sure does a good job of keeping you reading well past the first quarter.

So there you have it. Three books I will never read again. One I can’t be bothered with, and three I would read again in a heartbeat.

Where did your 6 degrees take you?

13 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: The French Lieutenant’s Woman to The Grapes of Wrath

  1. I love this post – very entertaining! I used to force myself to finish every book I started, but have come to learn over the years that this is simply a waste of good reading time – so liberating! And how lovely to be reminded of Garth Williams’ beautiful illustrations. 🙂

    1. Yep, totally! Life is far to short for books you’re not enjoying. For some unknown reason I recently stuggled through Cloud Atlas, hating almost every page. So, clearly I never learn!!

  2. Great chain! I loved Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie as a child too. I’m hoping to read The Grapes of Wrath this year – I’m looking forward to it as I enjoyed East of Eden.

    1. How funny, I have had East of Eden on my TBR for ages! I think you’ll enjoy The Grapes of Wrath, as I said, it’s oddly beautiful for the subject.

    1. Yes, it’s interesting to see where t takes you! I enjoyed your list but couldn’t comment on there I’m afraid. Really enjoyed the Jane Smiley too! And well done for getting back to the beginning!

  3. Hmmm, glad to hear that I wasn’t the only one not bowled over by Fowles! He was so popular with my classmates at the time. And I love your refreshing honesty about some of the other books.

    1. Thanks! I barely remember it at all now, but I do remember being very annoyed by it. I quite often find myself going against the tide and wondering what it is I’m missing that others love so much…

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