Sunday, July 9, 2017

Six Degrees of Separation: Picnic at Hanging Rock

I've seen this on Wilde on My Side, and she pointed me to Books Are My Favorite and Best as the originator.  Basically, everyone starts with the same title each month, and then using your own personal trains of thought, lead your readers through six books, one to the next to the next.  It could be authors, covers, time of life when you read the book, or any other connection that comes up in your min

I pretty much forgot about this meme last month, but I'm back on board.

1. Our starting point is a book I've never heard of before, Picnic at Hanging Rock. It is, I understand, a story set in 1900, about a group of girls who head off to Australia's Hanging Rock in their long white dresses.  Three girls disappear.

2. This basic outline reminded me of a Margaret Atwood short story that's lingered with me for decades.  Part of her collection called Wilderness Tips, "Death by Landscape" looks back on a girls' summer camp outing in which the narrator's friend disappears.

Ooooh, I could go so many ways from here...Canadians, camps, wilderness, books I read in my late teens and early twenties, Margarets...

3. Fine, I'll be unsubtle and go with A Walk in the Woods.  Bill Bryson at his funniest is very funny, indeed.  This book is not his funniest (that would be either The Lost Continent or Neither Here Nor There), but it's still pretty dang funny.

4. There's a bear's head on the cover of A Walk in the Woods. There's a bear in Gentle Ben, a classic from my childhood.  The author, Walt Morey, was a patient of my mom's (she was a nurse) for a few days once, and she brought him my copy of the book and asked him to sign it.  I still have it.

5. The absolute loveliest autographs I have are from Patrick Ness, who kindly signed all three of his Chaos Walking books for me when I met him at a teaching conference.  "To Wendy, who said lovely things" is what he said on The Knife of Never Letting Go, referring, no doubt, to my incoherent but very sincere gushing about how much I love his work.

6. Speaking of knives "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife" is one of the world's great opening lines.  We owe our thanks to Neil Gaiman for starting The Graveyard Book with it.

I've been feeling somewhat meme-y (meme-ish?) lately.  Bear with me.  I still want to do the mid-year freak-out tag too.  Until then, don't lose any of your hiking buddies to mysterious forces if you're out in the woods!


  1. I’ve read Wilderness Tips and The Graveyard Book. I’ve thought about reading the Chaos Walking books, but I’ve heard that they’re big. I’m slightly afraid of big books.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I really think that this meme is so much fun---something about this stream of consciousness appeals to me. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  3. Wow this meme is quite interesting. It is a great way to get to know more books. I love memes in general but haven't had the courage to start them in my blog. Should I jump in already?

    1. I find them a good way to get the wheels turning in my mind.


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