Here’s how it works: on the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.
Kate says: 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 or esoteric 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. Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the comments section of each month’s post. You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees
This month’s starting book is The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton . Click on the title to read the book description on Goodreads or my review, as appropriate.
The Outsiders tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is also about two young people – Jess Aarons and his friend Leslie Burke – who, for different reasons, feel as if they are outsiders. Together they create an imagined world where they reign as king and queen.
Bridge to Terabithia is one of the books mentioned in Lucy Mangan’s Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading in which she describes how the books she read as a child inspired a lifelong love of reading. As she says: ‘I have lived so many lives through books, gone to so many places, so many eras, looked through so many different eyes, considered so many different points of view.’
However, one of the authors Lucy confesses she has never got to grips with is Charles Dickens. Unfortunately for her, this means she has yet to experience the joy of reading a book like Great Expectations, (If you’ve never read it and feel, like Lucy, disinclined to do so why not watch the brilliant 1946 film version starring John Mills and directed by David Lean instead?)
Great Expectations opens with a scene involving an escaped convict and this also forms part of the story line of one of the most famous of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes long stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles, set on Dartmoor.
Dartmoor is also the location for Karen Maitland’s latest medieval thriller, A Gathering of Ghosts. The book is set in 1316 in the isolated Priory of St Mary, owned by the Sisters of the Knights of St John. In my review of the book I commented on the claustrophobic atmosphere created by the author that seems to affect some of the Sisters more than others. At the time, it made me think of Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden so no surprise that this book is my final link in the chain.
Black Narcissus is set in a remote convent in the Himalayas, a former palace that was home to the harem of the local overlord. The nuns come into conflict with the natives and with one another as they try to adapt to their exotic surroundings. Again, there’s a terrific 1947 Technicolor film version directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction and, if you watch it, it’s easy to see why.
So this month we’ve made a journey from teenage angst to grown-up madness and hysteria.
Next month’s starting book is Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray.