Six Degrees of Separation: from The Tipping Point to The Heart Goes Boom

 

The Tipping Point is the lead book for June’s Six Degrees, hosted at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It’s not a book that I’ve heard of, let alone read. So which way will my book chain go?

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I stared at the picture of the book cover for ages, waiting for a spark of inspiration. Should I go with books I’ve read blind, only picking them up for a reading challenge? Or choose a word from the title to inspire each successive book? What about the author’s name? What might that suggest to me?

I decided that, since I’d stared at the cover for so long, I’d go with another book with a predominantly white ground and a tiny splash of red.

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The cover for Milan Kundera’s Immortality sprang to mind. I read this book in the early 1990s. It’s part of a trilogy of books, beginning with The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It’s a book within a book with a fictional event witnessed by a man with the same name as the author, or perhaps actually the author, and a blurring of the bounds of fact and fiction.

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An author who shares some characteristics with Kundera’s, in the blurring of bounds, is Haruki Murakami. Dance, Dance, Dance is first book of his that I read, I chose because of its cover. Turns out that I should have read A Wild Sheep Chase first, but it also turns out that it didn’t really matter. The nature of Murakami’s writing means that these two intricately connected books are also loosely connected enough to read in any order.

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A book with blue as its splash of colour on its white ground is The Tax Inspector. Peter Carey is another writer with a particular style, and The Tax Inspector is the most disturbing of his books that I’ve read. Set in the grimness of suburbia, it centres around a family with a secret, and it’s not the kind you expect a tax inspector to uncover.

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A book that I read recently that also has a splash of blue is A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind. At the time I read it, I found it irritating, but in the months that have passed I’ve found myself thinking about its core principles of your house being an extension of your body and not putting off until tomorrow what you can do today. For me, that means making sure I do the dishes before bed. It has the dual effect of breaking my absorption in handheld devices before I head to bed, and making breakfast preparation a calmer affair than working around last night’s dirty dishes.

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My final book choice for this chain is one that I haven’t read yet. It’s published by the cracking indie publisher Wrecking Ball Press. The Heart Goes Boom is about a fading TV star who is told by a fortune teller that he needs to find true love or he will die. It’s a comedy. I’m looking forward to it.

Where’s your chain going to take you? Is there a particular type of book cover that often draws your eye?

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6 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from The Tipping Point to The Heart Goes Boom

    1. The author is very particular. I think that’s what irritated me while I was reading it, because I felt like I was being told off. I enjoyed finding out about why the Japanese do certain things that seem strange to Westerners, though.

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  1. I had book covers as part of my theme too – but for the opposite reasons: mine because they were ornate and lavish; yours for their clean lines and simplicity. And these covers certainly have appeal. I haven’t read any Kundera or Murakami – both authors I want to sample yet never quite get started.

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    1. I read your chain on Monday but haven’t commented yet. I was thrilled to see The Essex Serpent on your list. I love both Kundera and Murakami, but Murakami is my favourite. If I might offer advice, don’t start with Norwegian Wood. It’s a great book, but not representative of his style. My favourite is The Wind Up Bird Chronicles, but I also love Kafka on the Shore and Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

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    1. I sleep so much better these days, and I’m convinced that my monkish inspiration has played a role in that. I didn’t even realise I’d managed a double chain – I’d thought I was going to struggle to create one at all this month!

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