#6Degrees Of Separation Book Challenge From How To Be Both to Miss Emily

My April #6Degrees challenge

Hosted by Kate from Books Are My Favourite And Best The idea is to start at the same book as other readers, then find themes that link six books, and see where you end up!

The starting point this month is How To Be Both by Ali Smith


How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real—and all life’s givens get given a second chance. Have you read this book?

Art can take many forms and my first link is to the art of film.


Cinema Lumiere by Hattie Holden. This book is about Hannah’s journey through life and how she learns to forgive, trust and let go of her past. We meet Victor an older Frenchman who introduces Hannah to the world of French films and the Lumière brothers. Her own fascination with films culminates in the Cinema Lumière with just one plush red seat for private viewings.

My second link used the artist’s ‘journey‘, this time that of a budding author.


Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack by Phil Conquest. It’s a short story full of dark humour. The protagonist is an obsessive depressive wannabe author and the tale is the first book in a series. One day he will write the masterpiece that renders critics speechless and seats him on the throne of literary infamy.
It’s inside him…somewhere.

My next link is to a book with a poet.


Gind by Edward Vukovic. It is a contemporary piece of literature set in Melbourne, and follows five different characters towards an end when it is revealed how they are all connected. Throughout the story coffee is a common thread linking them all. One owns a bar, he mourns the loss of his wife who died several years ago, he owns a dog he names Dante and he writes poetry. Danielle is a schoolgirl who brushes the lives of all the other characters as they meet her one by one at a traffic light crossing.

For my fourth link I’ve chosen the art of music.


The Secret Piano by Zhu Ziao-Mei. It is an autobiography or true-life memoir of a talented Chinese pianist. It deals in detail with the Cultural Revolution in China which took place between 1966 and 1971 and how extreme it was. From Mao’s Labor Camps to Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

My next link was ‘creation’. I leapt to engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Here, set in a #steampunk tale.


The Sunken by S.C. Green. The setting is Industrial London in the 1800s, but set in an alternative reality. King George III is on the throne, but dubbed a mad man and “The Vampire King”. There is great steam invention rivalry between Robert Stephenson and Isambard Brunel. In the heart of London lies the Engine Ward, a district forged in coal and steam, where the great Engineering Sects vie for ultimate control of the country. For many, the Ward is a forbidding, desolate place, but for Nicholas Thorne, the Ward is a refuge.

My sixth book is also linked to the 1800s and turns back to poetry.


Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor. Emily Dickinson’s life is reimagined in her own voice and through eyes of a young Irish maid.

If you’d like to join in with this challenge the next one is May 4th with The Dry by Jane Harper