Six degrees of separation: The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency to The Time Machine

This is the first time I have participated in Six Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Every month we are given the title of a book as a starting point and the idea is to link it to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t have to be connected to all of the others on the list – only to the one next to it in the chain.

I’ve seen other bloggers taking part in this every month and it always looks fun, so I thought I would try it myself. I picked a good month for my first attempt, as the opening book in the chain is one that I read and enjoyed just last year: The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.

This is the first in a series of novels about Mma Precious Ramotswe, a woman who runs a detective agency in Botswana. Another book I remember enjoying which is also set in an African country is Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

Cutting for Stone tells the story of a surgeon’s twin sons who grow up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and are raised by two doctors from the local hospital. This brings to mind another book about a doctor: A Country Doctor’s Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov.

This is a fascinating and surprisingly funny book about a young, newly qualified doctor working at a small hospital in a remote Russian village. It’s the second book I’ve read by Mikhail Bulgakov; I also loved The Master and Margarita.

I remember feeling intimidated at the thought of tackling The Master and Margarita…until I picked it up and started to read. What a wonderful, original, unusual novel it is!

My next link is to another book with the word Master in the title. Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver.

Set during the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Master of Shadows is the first novel by historian and TV presenter Neil Oliver. Another historian who has recently started to write fiction is Ian Mortimer, so the next book on my list is one that I read a few months ago – The Outcasts of Time.

The Outcasts of Time is the story of two brothers who travel forward in time from 1348 to 1942, stopping in each century to see how things have changed. I have read a lot of books which feature time travel, but the obvious choice to finish my chain is H.G. Wells’ classic The Time Machine.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first Six Degrees of Separation! It has taken me from a detective agency in Botswana to a futuristic world, visiting Ethiopia, Russia and the Byzantine Empire along the way. I wonder where the chain will lead me next month, when we’ll be starting with Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.

Have you read any of the books in my chain? What did you think of them?

25 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation: The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency to The Time Machine

  1. whatmeread says:

    Did you pick the books at both ends and figure out how to link them, or just pick the first and take it from there? I have read The #1 Ladie’s Detective Agency, Cutting for Stone, and The Master and Margarita. I’m not big on magical realism and #1 was too sweet for my tastes, so I liked Cutting for Stone best.

  2. FictionFan says:

    Great list! I love seeing where all the different chains lead – everyone always heads off in such different directions. I’ve read your first and last books, but none of the ones in the middle. The Master and Margarita is on my wishlist though after loving his The White Guard last year.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, it’s interesting to see how completely different all the chains are! I hope you enjoy The Master and Margarita; I put The White Guard on my Classics Club list after reading your review last year. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Thank you! I really enjoyed putting my first chain together and will probably do it again next month. I can’t remember very much about Cutting for Stone now except that I loved it at the time.

  3. Kay says:

    Good job! My first time trying this too, but I posted mine pretty late in the day. Haven’t read any of yours except CUTTING FOR STONE. What a good book that was! Really liked it. Good luck next month!

  4. Margaret says:

    I’m glad you’ve joined in! I always enjoy doing this and seeing where other chains lead. I’ve read the last book in your chain – and am interested in reading Neil Oliver’s book and the Ian Mortimer book too.

    • Helen says:

      I’ve been meaning to join in for a long time but never got round to it until now. The Neil Oliver and Ian Mortimer books were both interesting reads.

  5. cirtnecce says:

    What an awesome trail. I love The #1 Ladies Detective Series and they have been my favorite for many years now! I also really really loved The Master and Margarita; I too began by being intimidated and ended finding it wonderful.

    • Helen says:

      I have only read the first #1 Ladies Detective book, but I liked it and will probably try some of the others. The Master and Margarita is great! I want to read it again one day as I think there were a lot of things I didn’t fully understand the first time.

  6. MarinaSofia says:

    Such interesting and diverse connections, well done. The Master and Margarita is one of my favourite books – I actually went dressed up as Behemoth to the fancy dress party at our office this Christmas!

    • Helen says:

      Yes, it was fun putting this chain together, especially as there were so many different ways I could have linked the books. I’m planning to take part again in February.

  7. Laurie @ RelevantObscurity says:

    I am a big HG Wells fan and I hope you like The Time Machine. Wells is different parts philosopher/sociologist/historian/adventurer and brings a lot of surprises to books you think you know by either having heard about them from others or seeing the film adaptations. Reading the books yourself is so much better!

    • Helen says:

      I read The Time Machine a few years ago and yes, I liked it. I found his vision of the future fascinating, though very bleak. The other Wells books I’ve read are The Island of Doctor Moreau and Ann Veronica. I’m looking forward to reading more. 🙂

Please leave a comment. Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.