Tag Archives: Six degrees challenge

Six Degrees: From “The Turn of the Screw” to “Anne of Green Gables”

It’s time again for the monthly “Six Degrees” challenge.

This month we are starting with “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James.

From Goodreads:

“A very young woman’s first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate…An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.”

Even reading what this book is about left me shivering. I don’t read books like this (anymore) because the older I get the less I like to be freaked out by books. I guess the events of real life freak me out so much that I prefer to read something more soothing. This book though did immediately remind me of one book I read a couple of years back that also made me shiver and that is:

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs

I regretted beginning this book, but I so wanted to find out what happened—it’s really well written—that I persisted despite shivering a lot. When I was near the end of the book I realized that it was setting up to be a sequel. Well anyway suffice to say the words that came out of my mouth I will not repeat here. And no I have never read the sequels or seen the movie.

From Goodreads:

“A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience.”

“Cujo” by Stephen King

This is another book that made me shiver and that I read a long time ago before I gave up reading books that freak me out. I made the mistake of reading this late at night in a hotel room while by myself. After I turned the lights out…Well anyway, don’t make that mistake.

From Goodreads:

“Cujo is a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, the best friend Brett Camber has ever had. One day Cujo chases a rabbit into a bolt-hole—a cave inhabited by sick bats. What happens to Cujo, how he becomes a horrifying vortex inexorably drawing in all the people around him makes for one of the most heart-stopping novels Stephen King has written.”

“On Writing” by Stephen King

Let’s get a less shivery now and link with the writer of Cujo and his memoir and craft book, which I really enjoyed, especially as a lot of his advice is similar to what I believe. Huh. Who knew?

One of my favourite quotes:

“Your schedule—in at about the same time every day, out when your thousand words are on paper or disk—exists in order to habituate yourself, to make yourself ready to dream just as you make yourself ready to sleep by going to bed at roughly the same time each night and following the same ritual as you go. In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”

“The Art of Memoir” by Mary Karr

I have been studying memoir and personal essay writing, and this is one book that is said to be a “must read”. I do highly recommend it.

Karr writes “hearing each other’s stories actually raises our levels of the feel-good oxytocin”. No wonder memoirs are so popular. She also writes “Each great memoir lives or dies based 100 percent on voice”. Not sure how to tackle that often elusive voice issue? Karr does a good job of it in this book.

“Smitten by Giraffe: My Life as a Citizen Scientist” by Anne Innis Dagg

Speaking of memoir, I didn’t manage to mention one zoologist whom I admire in last month’s list and whom is worth mentioning, a Canadian zoologist called Anne Innis Dagg who studied giraffes. I have actually met and interviewed Anne Innis Dagg, as she is a former professor at University of Waterloo. So glad that she is finally getting her due after the documentary about her life called “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes” debuted.

From Goodreads:

“When Anne Innis saw her first giraffe at the age of three, she was smitten. She knew she had to learn more about this marvelous animal. Twenty years later, now a trained zoologist, she set off alone to Africa to study the behaviour of giraffe in the wild…Dagg was continually frustrated in her efforts to secure a position as a tenured professor despite her many publications and exemplary teaching record. Finally she opted instead to pursue her research as an independent “citizen scientist,” while working part-time as an academic advisor.”

“Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery

My much read copy

I’m linking the author’s first name to the first name of one of my favourite characters from one of my favourite childhood books. I love this book so much that I actually did the Anne of Green Gables tour on PEI with my bestie for my 50th birthday.

I always assume everyone knows and loves this book as much as I do, but for those who don’t here’s an introduction from Goodreads:

“As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to to the orphanage?”

So what’s the connection with the first and last book? The last book isn’t really shivery—not like the first book shivery—except maybe for Anne when she lets her imagination run away from her during her walk in the “haunted wood”. We walked through the inspiration for the haunted wood on our tour, but it wasn’t at all scary—actually really pleasant—but perhaps that would be a different case at night.

My critique partner Bev pointed out that the first and last books are both classics. Thanks Bev! Don’t know how I let that slip by.

So there you have it, my rather eclectic list for this month’s Six Degrees challenge.

Do you want to participate? Click here for the specifics. Next month is wild card month!

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler


Six Degrees: from “Rodham” to “To Speak for the Trees”

Last month was my first month participating in the very fun “Six Degrees Challenge”.

The challenge is hosted monthly by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest.

The rules summarized from the website:

“On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point 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.”

“Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the Linky section (or comments) of each month’s post. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your chain in the comments section. You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees.”

This week the starting point is “Rodham: A Novel” by Curtis Sittenfield

So what would have happened had Hillary Rodham not married Bill Clinton? I haven’t read this novel, but the premise is intriguing. 

From Amazon:

“In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.

But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.”

I don’t tend to read books that challenge you to think about “what ifs” of past events. Perhaps this is because when I think about the own “what ifs” of my life, it brings about a lot of regrets.

Anyway, I decided that I would instead connect books written about and by women whom I admire, more specifically women scientists, those who did end up following one of the paths that I could have taken, had I studied biology in university as I originally had intended. I can live vicariously through them.

My copies

Here’s my list:

“Jane Goodall: The Woman who Redefined Man” by Dale Peterson

Growing up, there were few people I admired. I wasn’t the typical teen who went gaga over the latest movie stars or rock groups. When I discovered Jane Goodall though, well here was someone I could look up to. She was doing something I had always wanted to do, going to Africa to study wild animals, in her case chimpanzees.

This award winning 685 page (plus back matter) biography is written by longtime Goodall collaborator Peterson, and it took him 10 years to write as he had so much material on the scientist. The comprehensive biography deals with Goodall’s life up until 2004.

“Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey” by Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman

Going from a book written about her to one written by her, this is one of my favourites, as it describes much of her spirituality and also her reasons for hope for the future. It is an older book, and there’s even an addendum written after 9/11. I’d love to see a reprint of what she would add after the pandemic.

“An African Love Story: Love, Life, and Elephants” by Daphne Sheldrick

I continue with an African connection. Conservationist Sheldrick writes about her love for Africa, her love for her husband, and her love for the orphaned elephants that she has raised and reintegrated into the wild.

“The Whale by Moonlight: And Other Adventures Among Bats, Penguins, Crocodilians, and Whales” by Diane Ackerman

Elephants connect to other animals. I started to read this when I was on my last trip overseas, as lacking a good connection to the internet, I could really immerse myself in the book. Naturalist Ackerman is better known for some of her other books (“The Zookeepers Wife”, for example), but it is her nonfiction writing that draws me more. This book is from 1992, but her poetic descriptions of her scientific adventures among these four animals still capture the imagination.

“Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Now on to someone who champions the wisdom of both animals and plants. This is a book I am currently slowly savouring in bite sized pieces. Wall Kimmerer is an indigenous botanist, and in this book she shares how other living beings—the plants and animals—have much to teach us, although we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.

“To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest” by Diana Beresford-Kroeger

From one botanist to another. An Irish born and now Canadian botanist and biochemist, Beresford-Kroeger has a unique perspective on trees and forests, as she studied not only the ancient Celtic ways, but also modern scientific ways. I have admired her since I saw the movie “Call of the Forest”, and this book is an autobiography of her life. This is the only book on my list I don’t own—I borrowed it from the library—but I do own some of her other books.

So there’s my journey from “Rodham” to “To Speak for the Trees”. Thanks for joining me. I hope you are able to go to the original blog post and check out some of the other entries.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler