6 Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation: From ‘Beach Read’ to ‘The Second Son’

Six degrees of separation logo for memeHappy New Year all, and welcome to my first post of 2023.

I have had a refreshing “digital detox” over the festive season (my favourite books of 2022 post was scheduled in advance) and stayed off the Internet for almost two weeks. I took an (excruciatingly expensive) air flight to Melbourne to catch up with family I hadn’t seen in three years (because of covid border restrictions) and had a lovely time doing as little as possible for about 9 days. But now it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

What better way to kick-start my blogging mojo than by participating in Six Degrees of Separation, a meme that runs the first Saturday of every month and is hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest. It works like this: Kate suggests a starter book and the idea is to then create a chain of six more books, linking each one as you see fit.

Here are the six books I have chosen for my chain. Click the title to read my full review of each book.

This month the starting book is…

‘Beach Read’ by Emily Henry (2022)

I haven’t read this book, which I believe is a romantic comedy starring two writers who are polar opposites. The description on Amazon sounds rather fun, although the reviews are mixed. I’m linking this one to…

‘A Ladder to the Sky’ by John Boyne (2019)

In this hugely fun novel with a dastardly twist, a narcissistic writer does everything he can to become rich and famous despite having little to no creative ability. He uses people, steals their intellectual copyright, purloins their personal stories and passes off others’ work as his own — regardless of the consequences!

‘Vladimir’ by Julia May Jonas (2022)

Another rip-roaring tale about someone behaving badly and ignoring the consequences is Vladimir, a campus novel starring a popular English professor who pursues a man much younger than herself while her husband stands accused of inappropriate relationships with former students decades earlier.

‘A Separate Peace’ by John Knowles (1959)

I’m not really into campus novels, but this American classic, largely set in a boarding school, is a compelling story about a fraught friendship between two completely different teenage boys growing up in the shadow of the Second World War.

‘Peace’ by Richard Bausch (2009)

I’m linking to this because it has the word “peace” in the title, but it also shares the Second World War setting. In this gripping novella, a group of American soldiers on foot patrol are trying to locate the enemy in difficult terrain and weather conditions when their sergeant commits a war crime — he deliberately shoots an unarmed woman — which poses complex issues for all who witness it.

‘Girl at War’ by Sara Nović (2015)

War crimes feature in this deeply affecting story about a 10-year-old Croatian girl who becomes a child soldier in the Yugoslavian civil war of the early 1990s. When she is smuggled out of the country to begin a new life in the USA, her past continues to haunt her well into adulthood.

‘The Second Son’ by Loraine Peck (2021)

 In this gangland crime novel set in Sydney’s western suburbs,.a Croatian immigrant heads up an organised crime family which runs a string of fish’n chip shops as a front for nefarious activities including money laundering and drug trafficking.  

So that’s this month’s #6Degrees: from a romantic comedy to a gangland crime novel, via stories about narcissistic people, the Second World War and the Yugoslavian civil war.

Have you read any of these books? 

Please note that you can see all my other Six Degrees of Separation contributions here.

16 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From ‘Beach Read’ to ‘The Second Son’”

  1. I haven’t read any of yours either but Boyne and Knowles have been on my radar for some time. You haven’t turned me off!

    I wondered if you’d gone to Melbourne but had seen nothing in Instagram or anywhere so didn’t know … now I know why!!! Good for you. Do you feel better for having been off line for a while?


    1. Definitely feel relaxed… my stress and anxiety levels were pretty high all year, for various reasons, so it was lovely to disengage from social media, leave the work phone at home and not do much except spend time with loved ones. I didn’t even do much reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bother! Every one of these sounds a winner. It was good to see the lighter -hearted selections you begin with, but then you drew me in with the darker ones too. I wish you wouldn’t go on reviewing books I have to read!


  3. Congratulations on your digital detox! I’ve read and enjoyed several of these. Ladder to the Sky was a brilliant piece of holiday reading for me. I’d forgotten all about A Seperate Peace although the Bausch has stayed with me.


    1. Thanks, Susan. Not sure congratulations are in order; I just decided to leave my laptop and my work phone at home when I flew to Melbourne, so it was a kind of an enforced detox. I didn’t miss either of them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Quite envious of your trip to Melbourne, I also have family there. Also interested in your digital detox – I’m about to read ‘stolen focus’ by Johann Hari so hoping to do something similar. I haven’t read any of your list, but have read John Boyne before – most recently ‘the hearts invisible furies.’


    1. Melbourne is amazing… but I would say that, wouldn’t I? Have you ever been? To be honest, the flight would probably be cheaper from Ireland to Melbourne. Domestic airfares here are ludicrously expensive. When I repatriated I had this naive idea that I’d fly to visit family regularly and I’d explore old haunts on the east coast (I live on the west).


      1. Yes, three times altogether, twice in the last five years and most recently in 2019. Usually go at Christmas, always have a good time in Melbourne. Haven’t visited West coast yet, have been to Adelaide and Sydney. Aye, was a bit surprised at the price of domestic flights in Oz. Hoping to return soon, international flights still a bit pricey.


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