Six Degrees of Separation: From The Tipping Point to The Silvered Heart

It’s the first Saturday of the month which means it’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate of Books are my Favourite and Best. The idea is that Kate chooses a book to use as a starting point and then we have to link it to six other books of our choice 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.

The first book this month is The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and, as usual, I haven’t read it! It’s a non-fiction book about “that magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviour cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire”. It sounds interesting, but is probably not something I will ever read.

It can be difficult to think of that all-important first link when you’re not familiar with the starting book. All I could come up with was another book with the word ‘Tipping’ in the title: Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters! I have read and enjoyed all of Sarah Waters’ novels, although this one, about two music hall stars in 19th century London, is not a favourite.

There was a BBC adaptation of Tipping the Velvet in 2002, which starred Rachael Stirling and Keeley Hawes as the two main characters, Nan and Kitty. Keeley Hawes also starred as Rachel Verinder in the BBC’s 1996 adaptation of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I usually stick to books I’ve actually reviewed on my blog when I’m choosing links for my chain, but although Wilkie Collins is one of my favourite Victorian authors and The Moonstone is one of his best books, I don’t seem to have re-read it since I started blogging. How can that be? I must read it again soon!

The Moonstone, like some of Collins’ others, has multiple narrators who take turns to tell their part of the story. I think Collins is the master of the ‘multiple narrator novel’, but another book written in the same format which really impressed me was Lament for a Maker by Michael Innes.

The title of this novel was inspired by the William Dunbar poem Lament For The Makers. A lot of books have titles taken from the world of poetry, but one of the first that came to mind when thinking of them was Alan Bradley’s I am Half-Sick of Shadows, which is a line from The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson.

I am Half-Sick of Shadows is the fourth book in Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mystery series. There are now nine books in the series, but I haven’t read all of them yet. For my next link in the chain, I’ve chosen another book which is the fourth in a mystery series I haven’t finished reading: Ten-Second Staircase, a Bryant and May novel by Christopher Fowler. Unlike the Flavia books, which feature a ten-year-old detective, the Bryant and May mysteries have a detective duo who are in their eighties!

It’s been a few years since I read Ten-Second Staircase, so I had to look at my review to remind myself that it was about a killer known as The Highwayman. This leads me to my final book for this month – a novel about not a highwayman but a highwaywoman. Her name is Katherine Ferrers, or ‘the Wicked Lady’, and she is the heroine of The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements, set in 17th century England.

I nearly didn’t take part in this month’s Six Degrees of Separation because I just couldn’t see how to get started with the first link, so I’m pleased that I did manage to put a chain together after all! In July, the starting point will be Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin – I haven’t read that book either, but I can already see several possible directions I could go in with that one!

27 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From The Tipping Point to The Silvered Heart

  1. margaretskea Author of prize winning historical novel Turn of the Tide says:

    You have definitely intrigued me with the Alan Bradbury Flavia series – off to find the first one of those. Closely followed by the Christopher Fowler. I don’t generally read mystery but realising that I do enjoy watching them I thought it was about time I started.

    • Helen says:

      I have always enjoyed reading mysteries, although I don’t read them as often as I used to. I love the Alan Bradley series – I think Flavia is a wonderful character.

  2. Margaret says:

    I found it a bit difficult to get started with this chain too. Lament for a Maker interests me and also the Bryant and May novel – I hadn’t realise the detective duo were in the eighties!

    • Helen says:

      Lament for a Maker is my favourite Michael Innes book so far and completely different from his others. The Bryant and May series is great too, especially as the two detectives are so unusual!

  3. Jo says:

    Lots of different books. I haven’t even read Tipping The Velvet. I have tended to read Sarah Waters later novels. I have to get back to reading Bryant and May as I have lots on my shelf to get through..

    • Helen says:

      The later Sarah Waters novels are better, in my opinion, although I still think Tipping the Velvet is worth reading. I still have lots of Bryant and May mysteries to read too – I have been reading them in order and am only up to book five!

  4. cirtnecce says:

    Wonderful post! I loved The Moonstone as well and like you must revisit it soon! I have heard some very good things about Lament for the Maker and must read that as well!

    • Helen says:

      I love Wilkie Collins, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read any of his books. I have one of his less well known books, Jezebel’s Daughter, on my Classics Club list so I should probably read that one first.

  5. A Life in Books says:

    Tipping the Velvet came to mind for me, too, then I was stuck. Now I know about Keeley Hawes’ role in The Moonstone I’m eager to get my hands on a DVD if there is one.

    • Helen says:

      When I’m struggling to find a link, I usually try to look for a common word in the title or author’s name. Keeley Hawes seems to have appeared in a lot of adaptations, although I haven’t seen many of them!

  6. Carmen says:

    I look forward to this feature every month now. You always come up with clever twists and I find new interesting books that pique my interest. It seems that this one gave you a bit of trouble. You did wonderful anyhow. I hope your next chain is easier to connect. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Carmen. I usually feel that other people have come up with much better links than mine, so it’s good to hear that you enjoy seeing my chains! I think I will find next month’s easier.

  7. Sandra says:

    I love the links you’ve found here, Helen, especially the series where the protagonists are in their eighties! We all fly off in so many varied directions with our chains 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Yes, it’s fascinating to see how different all the chains are! I love the Bryant and May books and have the next one in the series lined up to read soon.

  8. Kate W says:

    Aha! Tipping the Velvet crossed my mind (although I haven’t read it) – I think you’re the only person to make the first link with a word this month.

    • Helen says:

      Looking for a shared word in the title was all I could think of this month. I think next month’s book, Tales of the City, will be an easier starting point for me!

  9. FictionFan says:

    Love your chain! I struggled with that first link too, and then got diverted by tennis watching so it all kind of went wrong this month… 😉 So, as a Wilkie Collins fan, how do you rate No Name? I stuck it on my Classics Club list but really don’t know much about it. I’m scared to admit I wasn’t a huge admirer of The Moonstone, so I’m hoping my next read of him will make me more enthusiastic…

    • Helen says:

      I preferred No Name to The Moonstone, actually. I remember it took a few chapters to get into, but as soon as a certain Captain Wragge appeared I was hooked! My favourite Wilkie Collins books are The Woman in White and Armadale, though.

      • FictionFan says:

        Ah. now you mention it, I’m sure I read The Woman in White hundreds of years ago – don’t remember it well, but I think I also enjoyed it more than The Moonstone. I’ll take a look at Armadale – thank you!

  10. Jessie @ Dwell in Possibility says:

    Excellent links, Helen! I think it was a great idea to start things off with Tipping the Velvet. I haven’t yet read it, but I don’t think it will be a favorite Sarah Waters novel for me either. I’m way overdue on a re-read of The Moonstone, and have been interested in trying the Flavia de Luce series too.

    • Helen says:

      Thanks! I did like Tipping the Velvet, but I prefer Sarah Waters’ later books – The Night Watch and The Little Stranger are probably my two favourites. I think you might enjoy the Flavia de Luce series. 🙂

  11. Yvonne says:

    I enjoyed your links. Every time I see this meme come up I think I’ll have a go. Unfortunately, I can never get off the starting block with the first link. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      The first link is always the most difficult, especially when you haven’t read the book! I find that it’s sometimes easiest to think of another book which shares a word in the title or part of the author’s name – or even a similar image on the cover. It’s fun once you manage to get started!

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