Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by Books Are My Best and Favorite. A chain of 6 books is linked somehow–whether to all books or only to the one before it. A common book is given each month with which to start the chain.
This month’s starting book is Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
I have not read this one–though I’ve owned a Scholastic copy since the 1970s–it was published with Daisy Miller, which I have read. Here is part of the Amazon blurb:
[O]ne of Henry James’s most unusual novellas. In The Turn of the Screw, a governess is haunted by ghosts from her young charges past; Virginia Woolf said of this masterpiece of psychological ambiguity and suggestion, We are afraid of something unnamed, of something, perhaps, in ourselves…Henry James…can still make us afraid of the dark.
While not a governess, and no ghosts are involved, the first book that sprang to mind was The Prime of Miss Jane Brodie by the marvelous Muriel Spark. I love this book!
An eccentric teacher in Edinburgh brought to mind Monarch of the Glen–about the eccentric household at Glenbogle Castle (not to be confused with the TV version–which was wonderful, but different) has not only eccentrics but also probably ghosts. I admit I haven’t read it yet. It’s been on my TBR since the 1990s. Monarch of the Glen by Compton McKenzie.
Another castle with eccentrics and very, very likely ghosts, is that of Count Dracula in Transylvania. Amazing how like the cartoon versions this book was! Dracula by Bram Stoker.
Transylvania always makes me think of “Transy” –Transylvania University in Kentucky. There are some spooky places back in hollers of Eastern Kentucky. While they certainly didn’t live in castles, the “Blues” of the region could have been mistaken for ghosts. This book, from which is was alleged that JoJo Moyes plagiarized, tells their story. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson. (She should have got the movie deal.)
Another scary place that featured an eccentric but gifted teacher was Yamacraw Island, South Carolina. No castles here, but lots of local folklore that probably included ghosts. Author Pat Conroy taught at a one-room school on the island after attending the Citadel—the Military College of South Carolina. The movie version, Conrack, starred Angelina Joile’s Dad Jon Voight. I love this book–I love most of Pat Conroy’s books, but this one is really special because it is true. The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy. [FYI-–The Story of English talks about the language of the coastal islands–very interesting,]
Another creepy place, with a ghost-like girl and probably an older English dialect, are the swamps and marshlands of the North Carolina coast. Kya Clark’s ethereal world of silent water and creepy trees is perfect for anyone missing a haunted castle but does not want to freeze to death. At least Kay’s world is warm and humid–not cold and damp. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
So we’ve gone from a creepy governess on a creepy country estate with creepy kids haunted by a former governess to a creepy marshland in 1950’s North Carolina all in 6 books.
November 7, 2020, is a wild card – start with the book you’ve ended a previous chain with, and continue from there (for those playing for the first time, start with the last book you finished reading).