Six Degrees of Separation: Wintering by Katherine May

How the meme works

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain. You can read all the rules at Books Are My Favourite and Best.

About the book

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered. A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat…..

I read, and surprisingly loved, this book. Here is a link to my review.

Follow up on my review. After reading the book, I’ve spent more than a year having an ice-cold smoothie for breakfast. It is almost always chocolate blueberry. (1 cup of Carbmaster vanilla yogurt, 2 teaspoons baking cocoa, 1 cup of water, ice). I’ve always gone for cold drinks in the morning. The smoothie helps as much, or more, than just a cold caffeinated drink (unsweetened iced tea). That could be the vitamins in the unsweetened blueberries, but I think that blast of super-cold also helps. The idea came from one of the stories in the book and how to adapt that story’s “cure” to a landlocked area.

My Chain


I intentionally read this book at the same time as May’s, so it was the first book that came to mind. This time the wintering is about geese. We still learn about coping and adapting though, just like in May’s book, both from the life of the geese and from the life of the author. Wintering: A Season With Geese by Stephen Rutt (the link is to my review).

Another book, and excellent movie, with flying fowl in the winter is The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate. Young Osbert’s duck still haunts me. (I read this not long after it came out so the link is to Amazon–I do not make money off your clicks). 


Another book set on a (likely) one-time sporting estate that would have hosted shooting parties is The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly.


Another kind of estate is the one that conveys money and other “effects” to one’s heirs. Of that estate is put into  a “trust” for tax purposes like in the book Family Trust by Kathy Wang.


A book that includes both types of estates and has a garden-tie in (the Rose Festival) is the wonderful My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich, in which the main character benefits from the legal estate and decides to do something based on something she’s read.



Another book (a lifelong favorite of mine) in which a main character decides to do something based on something they’ve read and involves a (legal) estate is Auntie Mame. (Sorry no geese). Patrick reads in The Digest (ok, it’s a magazine, not a book, but….) about someone’s most unforgettable character and decides to tell about his most unforgettable character–his Auntie Mame who was his only living realitive after his father died and so took him in and raised him.  Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis. (I’ve read Auntie Mame and Dennis’s The Joyous Season more times than I can count.)

So from a nonfiction book on coping to a book of the same title about geese to a book about shooting water fowl for sport to a book about the garden of an estate where birds probably were once shot for sport to the other kind of estate, to a book with both kinds of estates where a character bases a decision on something she read to another book where a character is affected by a legal estate and then acts on something he’s read. Got all that? Whew!



Why not join the fun next month? We’ll start out chains with The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

My review of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, from 2014 on my old blog:

  Odd book that isn’t really about a Buddhist nun like it proports to be. My favorite character was the cat. A little sprinkling of sci-fi and a dump of hard science that I couldn’t begin to fathom, but that didn’t last long. A few “ick” moments (skip the intro if you want to miss the biggest one). Overall, the story was interesting though. Could have done without the mandatory PC-anti war screed, but it was a fleeting second in the story.”

13 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Wintering by Katherine May

Add yours

  1. That you’d read another book with the same title as the starter book made that the obvious first link! Estates… yes, that’s an interesting chain. By the way, while I’ve never read the book Auntie Mame, I’ve always wanted to, because I did see both the movie and the movie musical based on this book.


  2. Intersting links. I thought you were about to go a seasonal route, then you took a turn. Pointless piece of trivia: Isabel Colegate lived for many years at Midford Castle, not far from where I live (not in a castle!)


      1. Thanks for mentioning the Cary Grant film. I haven’t seen that. This Father Goose is a more modern one, nonfic about Lishman who adopted a gaggle of geese and then flew in a glider with them south for winter!

        Liked by 1 person

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