#6Degrees of Separation: From Redhead By the Side of the Road to Anxious People

February 6, 2021

#6Degrees of Separation: From Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler to Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

#6Degrees of Separation From Redhead By the Side of the Road to Anxious People (a collage of covers listed in post)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Quirky Characters!

#6Degrees of Separation: from Redhead By the Side of the Road to Anxious People.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and Davida’s posts at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hashtag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler (cover) Image: a man runs on the street with a cityscape in the backgroundThis month’s prompt starts with Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler, and I’m thrilled because the story features a quirky character.

If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know how I absolutely adore an endearing quirky character! I cannot help myself in creating this chain with a theme of quirky characters! Because our chain begins with a male quirky character, I have attempted to use male characters in the chain with the exception of the last book in the chain which includes a cast of quirky characters.

Amazon Summary: “Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech experts and superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, Micah seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life. But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend tells him she’s facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah’s door claiming to be his son. These surprises, and the way they throw Micah’s meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever.”

The Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (cover)First Degree. From Redhead, I think of my next quirky male character, Harold Fry in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

My Summary: “Harold Fry is recently retired and lives in a small English village with his wife. After a long marriage, they have their differences but have settled into an amicable, predictable, and manageable daily routine. One day, a letter arrives for Harold from a woman (former co worker) that he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie is writing from a hospice to say goodbye. In the process of mailing his reply, Harold decides that he must deliver his message in person and decides to walk. As Harold impulsively sets out on his quest, he figures out the logistics of the six hundred mile journey as he goes. On the way he meets interesting people, finds plenty of time to reflect back on his life, and confronts some unsettling thoughts and feelings that he has buried.” My review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry here.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (cover) Image: a man with a cat brushing against his legs stands in an open field with his back to the cameraSecond Degree: Another story with an older quirky character is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Goodreads Summary: “A grumpy yet lovable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moved in next door. Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (cover) Image: a woman with short brown hair and wearing a green coat stands with her back to the camera against an orange backgroundThird Degree: The next book with a quirky character is Frank in The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce.

My Summary: “Set in the 1980s on a run-down street in a forgotten suburb of London, there is a small indie music shop that is jam-packed with vinyl records of every kind. Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with the exact piece of music they never knew they needed, he welcomes the lonely, and he goes out of his way to help others. One ordinary day, a beautiful young woman in a green coat, Ilse Brauchmann, comes into his music shop and changes his life. Frank feels an attraction to her and yet he fears developing any closeness; in spite of his reservations, he begins to teach her about music and they develop a close friendship based on their common musical interests. Frank is terrified of his feelings for Ilse, yet he’s drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. It’s complicated because Ilse has secrets and Frank has a past that haunts him. Readers find out about Frank’s life with his eccentric mother through flashbacks; however, Ilse remains mysterious. While Frank and Ilse contemplate the risks of a relationship, there are events in the community that threaten the livelihood of all the small, independent shops including Frank’s music shop. A further complication for Frank is the growing popularity of cassette tapes and CDs while Frank cherishes the world of vinyl.My review of The Music Shop here.

The Story of Authur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg (cover) Image: a man holds a yellow umbrella over a young womanFourth Degree: Connecting to the strong theme of a quirky character is Arthur in The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg.

My Summary: “At first glance, Arthur shares certain things in common with Ove (A Man Called Ove): each is an older, mature character, each is a widower grieving the loss of a beloved wife, and each finds “family” in unexpected ways.

On one of Arthur’s routine trips to the cemetery to have lunch and conversation with his wife, he meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who hides in the cemetery to avoid school. She discovers that Arthur is a friendly, understanding, trustworthy, and positive person and gives dear Arthur the nickname “Truluv.” Arthur and Maddy develop a friendship and when Arthur’s nosy neighbor, Lucille, becomes involved, they discover the joys of ‘found family’.” My review of Arthur Truluv here.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick (cover) Image: an older man sits on the edge of a blue sofa, framed pictures hang on a blue wallFifth Degree: Continuing the theme of a quirky character with another Arthur in The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick.

 Goodreads Summary: “In this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure. Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7/30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places. Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.”

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (cover) Image: a man and woman stand against a railing with backs to the cameraSixth Degree: The final link in the chain is one more story of several quirky characters in Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

My Summary: Anxious People is the story of a bank robber and a group of hostages at an open house…a bunch of idiots, really (in the most endearing sense of the word). But the real story behind the circumstances is about a bridge and so much more.” My review of Anxious People here.



I hope you enjoyed this #6Degrees of Separation chain from Redhead By the Side of the Road  to Anxious People!

The most striking thread that connects the stories in this chain is quirky characters (mostly male). I have read all these books can highly recommend them all!

I need to note that these are the first six books I thought to connect. Many stories are out there that could also fit this chain. Can you think of another title that features quirky characters?


January #6Degrees of Separation post here.

If you have a February #6Degrees of Separation post, please leave a link in the comments!


Do you have ideas for creating your own chain?
What book would you add to this chain?
Have you read one of these stories?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

The book cover and the author’s photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com


  1. I’m sitting here nodding at your chain… yeah… mind you, I don’t know the Arthur Pepper book, but it sounds lovely! Good for you for doing this. Hope you continue doing it!

  2. I guessed it was a quirky theme although Ove is the only one I have read! I did have a nice lunch with Elizabeth Berg once soon after Range of Motion came out, when I was working for her publisher. Nice chain!

    • I’m not a fan of using suicide in this story either and I wish Backman had worked harder to find another way to show Ove’s despondency. It’s not funny or quirky.

      • Ehh I think every person has something that is just not a joking or light matter to them, and mine is self harm / suicide / life dissatisfaction to that extreme. That’s where I chucked a few VE Schwab books, a lot of people like her but the characters kept wanting to die despite their miraculous second chances and I was like OMG I can’t with you morons

      • I agree! It reminds me of I Was Told it Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman and her hyperbolic expressions that included jumping out of windows, killing myself, etc for expressing aggravation. Just no! Watch your words! I didn’t find it funny or amusing.

  3. Anne Tyler sure knows how to create quirky characters right? Really enjoyed the connections you made and can’t wait to check out some of these!

    • You are so right! When I taught 5th I often encouraged the students to discuss similarities in books (especially themes because that was a standard). It was always a fun discussion!

  4. What a lovely list. I have read two of your books (Harold Fry and Ove) and they are indeed very quirky.

    I loved this idea so much that I couldn’t help joining in. My Six Degrees of Separation end at “Palace Walk” by Naguib Mahfouz. Such a great way of remembering some good reads. Thanks, Carol.

    P.S. I love your collage. What programme do you use, if I may ask?

    • Thanks Marianne! To make a collage, I use an app called PhotoGrid but there are other popular ones too like Pic Collage. I’m hopping over now to read your post! #6Degrees is a fun meme!

      • Thank you. I will see what I can do with that. Looks interesting.

        Looking forward to your visit. Yes, I thought it was fun to do, I’m sure next to Top Ten Tuesday, that’s going to be one of my most favourite challenges.

      • I can understand that. I have no connection to next month’s book but I have already had an idea where to begin. It’s the same with TTT, sometimes nothing springs to mind.

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