Saturday, 6 November 2021

Six Degrees of Separation ~ From What Are you Going Through to The Inimitable Jeeves

 What Are you Going Through
Nunez, Sigrid "What Are You Going Through" - 2020

#6Degrees of Separation:
from What Are You Going Through (Goodreads) to The Inimitable Jeeves

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I love the idea. See more about this challenge, its history, further books and how I found this here.

This month's prompt starts with What Are You Going Through (Goodreads) by Sigrid Nunez

Named a best book of 2020 by NPR, people, and O, the Oprah Magazine, Kate chose "What Are you Going Through" this month. I was a little stumped to begin with.

The description of the book is as follows:

"A woman describes a series of encounters she has with various people in the ordinary course of her life: an ex she runs into by chance at a public forum, an Airbnb owner unsure how to interact with her guests, a stranger who seeks help comforting his elderly mother, a friend of her youth now hospitalized with terminal cancer. In each of these people the woman finds a common need: the urge to talk about themselves and to have an audience to their experiences. The narrator orchestrates this chorus of voices for the most part as a passive listener, until one of them makes an extraordinary request, drawing her into an intense and transformative experience of her own."

Of course, I could have tried to find a book that goes with the description of this one and I'm sure I would have found a few. It seems a tough topic. We all have a fear that we might want not to live an endlessly long death and I've read similar books, so I might give this one a miss.
The title of the book sounds like a question and that would be a beginning. Or I could have gone with the title, I have books with what, are, you going or through in the title. Or the name. Sigrid Undset comes to mind right away. Or author's names where the first name doesn't really match the last like here, where the first name is Northern and the last one Hispanic. But none of them got me any further in the chain.

But then I had an idea. There is a cat on the cover and in one of my challenges this year (Helmet Reading Challenge 2021), I needed a book with a CAT on the front or back cover description. So that's what I went with, books with cats on the cover.

Bulgakow, Michail "The Master and Margarita" (Russian: Мастер и Маргарита/Master i Margarita) - 1929-39
There isn't just a cat on the cover, the story also contains a cat and that cat is not unimportant to the novel.

Bythell, Shaun "The Diary of a Bookseller" - 2017
This is just a typical bookshelf that you find on the internet with a cat on it. The book itself is hilarious. If you like books about bookshops, you definitely have to try this one.

Camus, Albert "The Plague" (French: La Peste) - 1947
I don't think the cat on the cover has anything to do with the story. We do know nowadys that cats did not cause the plague, they might have helped not spreading it further, who knows.

Grass, Günter "Cat and Mouse" (German: Katz und Maus. Danziger Trilogie 2) - 1961
The second part of the Danzig Trilogy (the others being "The Tin Drum" and "Hundejahre"), that focuses on the interwar years and WWII in Danzig, today called Gdańsk.

Solstad, Lexidh "Catpasity" - 2015
A story by a cat lover about a cat lover.

Wodehouse, P.G. "The World of Jeeves" (Jeeves #2-4: The Inimitable Jeeves #2, Carry On, Jeeves #3, Very Good, Jeeves! #4) - 1923/1925/1930
There is a short story in this where the cat plays an important role, therefore it is quite nice that Wodehouse comes last in the alphabet.

So, of course, the first and the last book have something in common.: A cat. Funnily enough, they are all black.

I am looking forward to seeing what others came up with for this chain. It was a lot of fun, as always.

Look for further monthly separation posts here.


  1. Nice--very different. I want to see those cat books.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. There is a picture at the top with all the covers. And if you click on the links on the titles, you can see each book on its own.

  2. This is an awesome idea, even though I really can't remember indeed why there would be a cat on the cover of La Peste ! But that's great for your chain, lol.
    I really loved The Master and Margarita, and thanks for reminding me I need to go back to Wodehouse!

    1. Thanks, Emma. I think the only reason might be that they just took a picture that could have been the area and the cat is an addition. I can't remember a cat having an important part in the story. Definitely not as in "The Master and Margarita". I'm glad I could give you some good memories, though.

  3. I love it! Well done on taking a lighter route with this chain. I noticed the cat on the cover too, and made reference to it, but didn't think of using cats as a theme. I love felines, so your chain is a delight for me!

    1. I'm glad you like it, Sandra. I just liked that idea once it was in my head. I do plenty of serious posts, so this was a real pleasure.