Six Degrees of Separation: From Where the Wild Things Are to House of Names

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.

This month we are starting with a children’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

I can’t remember ever reading this book, or having it read to me, as a child. I wondered if I would be the only person to admit that, but having looked at a few other people’s chains today I’m pleased to see that it’s not just me! For my first link, I’m going to choose a children’s picture book that I do remember: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This means I’ll have to break my own rule of only including books in my chain that I’ve already reviewed on my blog.

It’s the very simplest of stories, but the illustrations, the bright colours and the holes in the pages make it very appealing to a child! I can’t think of any other books I’ve read with a caterpillar connection (although I have just started The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley), so I’m going to use the word ‘hungry’ as my next link instead.

Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier tells the story of five generations of the Brodrick family beginning in 1820 with Copper John Brodrick, the owner of a copper mine in Ireland. The book reminded me of Penmarric by Susan Howatch, another family saga in which a mine plays an important part – in this case, a tin mine in Cornwall.

The lives of the fictional characters in Penmarric closely mirror the lives of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and their sons. Elizabeth Chadwick wrote an excellent trilogy of novels about Eleanor, of which the first is The Summer Queen.

‘The Summer Queen’ makes me think of the woman who was known as ‘The Winter Queen’ – Elizabeth Stuart of Bohemia. She was given that name because her husband’s reign in Bohemia only lasted for one winter (1619 to 1620). Elizabeth is one of the characters whose story is told in Nicola Cornick’s House of Shadows, a novel set in multiple time periods.

My final link is to another book with ‘House of’ in the title. I had a few options here, including House of Glass by Susan Fletcher and House of Gold by Natasha Solomons, but the one I’ve chosen to end my chain is House of Names by Colm Tóibín, which retells the tragic story of the House of Atreus from Aeschylus’ trilogy, the Oresteia.

And that’s my chain for this month. My links have included picture books, the word ‘hungry’, mining, Eleanor of Aquitaine, summer and winter, and ‘house of’ books.

In August, instead of Kate giving us the first book in the chain, we will be starting with the book we ended our chain with this month, which for me will be House of Names.

22 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From Where the Wild Things Are to House of Names

  1. Kate W says:

    Nicely done! Particularly liked your jump from picture books to adult books and your last link – I like Tóibín’s writing but haven’t read this one (yet).

  2. Sandra says:

    I’d like to read just about every book in this chain, Helen! The two children’s books were firm favourites in our house so I can skip those but all the rest are either waiting or their turn or are about to be added to the wish list. Oh dear!

  3. Nicole says:

    Neat chain! Mine stayed with children’s books a little longer than yours did, but I really enjoy seeing where other people so with this MEME.

  4. Judy Krueger says:

    I have read Hungry Hill. I want to read House of Names. I read Where the Wild Things Are to my kids when they were little. It was a favorite of theirs. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was one of the bestselling children’s books at the store where I used to work!

  5. piningforthewest says:

    Thanks for reminding me that I want to read The Summer Queen. I’ve only read Penmarric and of course The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I’ve tried Hungry Hill a few times but have given up quickly, I usually love du Maurier books too so I should try again.

    • Helen says:

      Hungry Hill is a very bleak and depressing book and not one of the easiest to get into, but I did like it. I only have one du Maurier novel left to read now – Castle Dor, which I have put on my Classics Club list.

    • Helen says:

      I would love to see some historical fiction links in your next chain. 🙂 I’m looking forward to next month’s chain – I think starting with House of Names will give me plenty of options.

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