Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

The 6 Degrees of Separation meme is a monthly meme hosted at booksaremyfavoriteandbest, that explores the ways in which a chosen book can be linked to six other books.

The March 2019 book is: The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire by Chloe Hooper

My chain features: books about mental illness, bright yellow covers, memoirs, debuts, anatomical hearts, and books by Irish women writers.


I hadn’t heard of The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire before, but it does sound interesting. The subtitle “Mind on Fire” immediately reminded me of a nonfiction book I have read…



Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire is the gripping memoir of a young journalist living in NYC, who is struck down by a sudden and mysterious illness that brings on a range of psychological symptoms, including extreme paranoia and psychosis. While these symptoms ultimately disappear upon the correct diagnosis and treatment of a rare autoimmune disorder, Susannah stresses how close she came to being institutionalized for severe mental illness.

Thinking about a young woman and aspiring writer in NYC grappling with mental illness reminded me of…



The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

After all, is there a more famous depiction of a young woman’s “descent into madness” than Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel? I haven’t read The Bell Jar in years, but it’s on my list of classics to re-read soon. When I think about The Bell Jar, I often think about the famous quote: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am.”

Of course, I’m not the only one to find meaning, inspiration, and comfort in that quote, as evidenced by the next book in my chain…



I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

This was one of my absolute favorite books from last year. It’s such a clever concept and Maggie O’Farrell’s prose is flawless. Several of her “brushes with death” continue to stick with me and I imagine they will for a long time to come. I look forward to picking up some of her novels later this year.

Another memoir/collection of essays written by an Irish woman and featuring an anatomical heart on its cover is…



Notes to Self: Essays by Emilie Pine

I can’t wait to read this collection and have high hopes that it will be as memorable and impactful as I Am, I Am, I Am.

While looking up Notes to Self on Goodreads, I decided to flip through the “Readers Also Enjoyed” section, where I spied another book on my TBR list…



Promising Young Women by Caroline O’Donoghue

It sounds like the young protagonist may not be the most likable, but I’m rather enjoying reading about messy, complex, and flawed heroines at the moment. The Goodreads’ synopsis claims this is perfect for fans of the show Fleabag, which is one of my favorites.

The synopsis on Goodreads also claims that Promising Young Women is perfect for readers of another bright yellow debut…



Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Like the previous novel, Conversations with Friends centers around a restless millennial woman living in a city who enters into an affair with an older man. I couldn’t put Rooney’s debut novel down, and can’t wait to read her latest, Normal People. There’s simply something about her writing that feels so fresh and of the moment.


Where did your #6Degrees chain take you this month?


3 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

Add yours

  1. A great list, Jessie, thanks! I too really enjoyed the O’Farrell and am looking forward to reading Normal People when I get to the top of the library reservation queue 🙂


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