Six Degrees of Separation: Hydra

First Saturday of the month, time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books chosen.

This month our starting book is…

Hydra by Adriane Howell

This book won the Stella Prize recently, but as I know nothing about it I will go straight to Ancient Greek mythology and the Hydra – the nine-headed beast – chop one head off and it instantly grows back. Another character with more than one head appears in my next book…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

It’s Zaphod Beeblebrox that has more than one head of course, but my next link from Adams’ comic SF classic is via Arthur Dent – the main protagonist. Played by Simon Jones in the original radio and TV series. Simon Jones also acted in my next link…

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Jones was ‘Bridey’ the Earl of Brideshead in the iconic TV series from 1981. Subtitled The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder, the novel has strong themes of Catholicism and a rather rose-tinted view of the aristocracy as seen through the eyes of Ryder, an ordinary young man, undergrad befriended by the toff Sebastian Brideshead at Oxford, and thence taken into their family. This novel was published in 1945, as was…

Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

I had to do a double-take on this one. Having devoured all the Poldark books in the 1970s after the original BBC TV series, it didn’t feel like a book of the 1940s. In that series, and on the cover of my original copy was the actor Robin Ellis as Ross, and Ellis leads me to…

How It Was by Janet Ellis

The title for Ellis’s second novel comes from a Philip Larkin poem ‘Home is so sad’, a novel about a dysfunctional family set primarily in the 1970s seen through the diaries of the daughter from back then, and her mum now. I can heartily recommend it. I will link with a book about Larkin, which is…

Somewhere Becoming Rain by Clive James

James was a life-long fan of Larkin, and this slim volume collects all his writing on him into one place, together with some previously unpublished material. I must admit, I have not read much of Larkin’s work, barring those few oft-quoted poems, and his collection High Windows, but I did love reading about the poet and his work through James’ voice, and of course, (still) want to read more Larkin now. I will finish with a different Larkin.

The Darling Buds of May by H E Bates

It’s not often that you can successfully combine a phrase and idea from a Shakespeare sonnet – number 18 as it happens, with the sort of family that TV’s Del and Rodney Trotter from Only Fools and Horses would be proud to be descended from – and make a big-hearted comedic story that really works! Well, that’s what H.E.Bates did in his 1958 novel The Darling Buds of May, the first of several volumes following the Larkin family. Set in Kent, during the fruit-picking season, the Larkins have five girls and one boy. Pop is an opportunist jobs-wise, always out to make a quick buck (surely Eddie Grundy in The Archers was modelled on him?). Their oldest daughter thinks she’s pregnant, and the taxman comes to call… All set for a ‘perfick’ comedy as Pop Larkin would say.

All my choice this month, at least begin in, or are linked to the UK – from the Home Counties to Hull, from Cornwall to a Yorkshire country pile. Where will your six degrees take you?

15 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Hydra

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thank you. At first I was thinking of hydra amoeba with their many arms, which led to the multiple heads idea!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      It was the biz, wasn’t it. As much as I’ve loved the new versions, my heart belongs to Robin Ellis who was more subtly broody IMHO!

  1. margaret21 says:

    There are several Golden Oldies in this interesting chain, and none the worse for that! I haven’t read the Clive James, and it looks appetising in being (a) by James, and (b) about Larkin.

  2. conmartin13 says:

    Well, I read all of Graham’s book after I finished all the Poldark books and some seem very dated. One of my favorites is The Walking Stick about a woman who falls for a thief.

    I am Catholic but never understood what made Ryder convert. All his experience of Catholics was negative. This somewhat spoils the book for me.

    I haven’t read any Bates but maybe I should!


    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Ah! I’m not a Catholic, so find it equally perplexing the other way around.
      Can I recommend Bates’ Fair Stood the wind for France – just superb!

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