Six Degrees of Separation: from The Taming of the Shrew to Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow

It’s the first Saturday of October, so that makes it time for another Six Degrees of Separation post. Everyone starts with the same book and adds six more titles, each of which links to the previous one in some way. You can read more about this meme over at host Kate’s blog, BooksAreMyFavouriteAndBest.

It turns out that I have not posted anything since my last Six Degrees post, which is both a sign of these turbulent times, and an indication of my devotion to this particular meme, which I love. One of the reasons why I enjoy these posts so much is because it reminds me of much-loved titles, as well as rekindling thoughts of planned reads. October’s chain is made up entirely of titles which fall in to the latter category.

This month we start with The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.

When this book is mentioned, the words that appear in my mind are The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare. In fact when I was typing the previous paragraph, I realised that I had quite naturally typed this title and had to go back and amend it to the correct one. I’m not sure where this connection comes from – I guess the most obvious is the alliteration. Anyway, this is my first link, for better or for worse!

And here’s another odd connection: I think of The Taming of the Shrew as being the inspiration for the film The Philadelphia Story. I gather that this is misguided because of the different positions in which the main female characters find themselves at the end of each story. Nevertheless, it give me an opportunity to pick as my second link Me: Stories of My Life by Katherine Hepburn. I have always been intrigued by Hepburn (who memorably stars in The Philadelphia Story as well as many other incredible films) and have had this book on my to read list for years.

My third link is to the autobiography of another Kate whose acting I very much admire. As a firm Trekkie, my favourite series has always been Voyager, mainly because of the brilliant Captain Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew. Her book Born With Teeth: A Memoir is another title which I have long intended to read. (Side note: I noticed when looking her up that Mulgrew is in the TV series Orange Is The New Black which I have never watched but will now have to!).

On to my fourth link, which is another memoir with ‘born’ in the title. Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood has had amazing reviews and looks to be a very powerful and enlightening read.

Sticking with Africa for my fifth link, and also continuing the memoir theme, I am picking Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (the pen name of Isak Dinesen). Who can forget the amazing film with those haunting opening words narrated by Meryl Streep – “I had a farm in Africa…”. This is another book which I have long meant to read.

And so to my final link in this month’s chain. Dinesen was Danish and the only other title by a Danish author which comes to mind is Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow by Peter Høeg – yet another title which I own but haven’t read. I always enjoy reading wintry books as we approach the end of the year, so this is the perfect time to remind myself of this one!

Given that The Turn of the Screw opens at a Christmas Eve gathering, I don’t think it is too contrived to claim that I have managed to make a seasonal link from my last title back to the beginning. It is always satisfying when the chain unexpectedly closes itself in some way.

Next month (November 7, 2020) is a wild card – we’ll be starting with a book which has ended a previous chain. So even more choosing fun to be had. See you then! 🙂

*Featured Image: Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash


35 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: from The Taming of the Shrew to Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow

  1. Oh Liz, I look forward to your wonderful posts, the Six Degrees of Separation. I feel like I am on a roller coaster 🎢 of an exciting adventure. It is like I’m attending an incredible social event on the Orient Express with the authors you bring to life. I’m reading Henry James right now and travelling to Venice with him through The Aspern Papers. I especially enjoy when he takes me along the waterways in his Gondola to have coffee at Florians.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You read ME? Wasn’t it lovely! I bought it when it came out, even reviewed it on my blog. You can practically hear her voice when you read it. (And when the movie The Aviator came out, I got truly pissed off because the way that Kate Blanchett and the writers portrayed her was HORRIBLE.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m dyslexic so I sometimes do the same thing – see something else than what is written! Oh YES! Me is a lovely book. You can hear her voice when you read it. I have my copy on my “favorite books” shelf! I even reviewed it on my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your first link is so original – I love it – leading to such an interesting chain, or rather circle. So satisfying when that happens. Out of Africa has also been sitting on my TBR shelves for years waiting to be read! And Katharine Hepburn is a favourite of mine too – did you see her in On Golden Pond, a lovely film? I’m adding Me to my wishlist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Margaret! I have not watched On Golden Pond for years – will dig it out again for a lovely comfort viewing 😀


  4. Another interesting and clever chain of books, Liz. Having read your blog and the other comments I will add ‘Me’ to my lovely new Kindle – is that contraversial given the nature of the blog? I hope not. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mum, and absolutely no worries about the Kindle. Reading is reading and I am sure everyone would say that it is purely a matter of choice as to medium. Really glad you like the sound of Me – you will have seen other commentators enthusing about it too. I’m really looking forward to it! X


  5. When I saw you started with Taming of the Shrew I knew I had to check your chain! Love that first link. And love that you ended with Miss Smilla. That’s a blast from the past. (I nearly did an author nationality link in my chain, but then went a different route – mine was Scottish authors.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As usual none of these books have come before my eyes, other than the covers, however the Netflix show, The Hauntng of Bly Manor is based on ‘Henry James’ work’ and I expect a large proportion of the show is based on The Turn of the Screw. I wish I would have read the book before watching the show but such is life.

    Liked by 1 person

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