Welcome back to the bookish version of Six Degrees of Separation. I’m a little late to the party this month, but late is better than never! Here’s how it works: Start with the book suggested by Kate over at booksaremyfavouriteandbest, and see where you end up by linking it to six other titles. It’s easy and it’s fun, and no two chains are the same!
This month’s starting point is What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt – I’ve never heard of this book, so when I looked up the synopsis on Goodreads, it says, “This is the story of two men who first become friends in 1970s New York“, and I literally stopped there and made the g i a n t leap to the first book that came to mind after reading that…
A Century Divided by Silvia Hildebrandt is a book I absolutely loved and has never gained widespread attention. Also set in NYC, this is the story of a forbidden love between Caleb and Tristan during the Roaring Twenties. Clearly this was a time where homosexual love was difficult, but Hildebrandt wrote such a beautiful story that I had tears in my eyes many times.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne is also a story that brought me to tears. A much more widely known story, THIF is one of my all-time favorite books. After finishing it, I was naturally led to…
… A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. For a long time, I was intimidated by the size of this book, but once I started I could not put it down. I remember finishing it in the parking lot between my son’s basketball games. I had to pull myself together to head back into the gym because it was a story that ripped my heart into pieces and then carefully stitched it back together.
Another story I totally fell head over heels for was The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. Set in the 1980’s in Chicago during the hieght of the AIDS epidemic, I was so completely invested in the lives of Yale and Nico. (The AIDS epidemic is a storyline that I would love to read more about so if you have some great fictional recommendations, please drop me a comment!)
Just last month, I finished Real Life by Brandon Taylor. It is a meditation on what it means to be a Black, gay man surrounded by well-intentioned, but mean-spirited white friends that don’t recognize the racist thoughts and words that come out of their mouths. It was the perfect book to read given our current societal situation.
Lastly, How We Fight For Our Lives by Saaed Jones was a book I listened to on audiobook and I was enraptured by the way Jones’ vulnerability and honesty impacted his message and cut straight to my heart. It’s one of my top memoir recommendations!
Next month (August 1, 2020), the chain will begin with How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, a non-fiction book that has a COVID-timely title. 😬