Saturday 5 April 2014

Six Degrees Of Separation (Burial Rites; Hannah Kent)

Well it's fairly late in the evening now but I fancied doing another blog post today, other than my Daily one. Earlier on Twitter, Jim from YA Yeah Yeah pointed me in the direction of a new meme that he was taking part in. I have heard of 'Six Degrees Of Separation' before and I was intrigued to see what was involved in this particular book-themed version of it. If you are interested, it is run by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith and looks to be a monthly challenge they will run!
Up until this evening, I didn't really have much time to think it through and actually write it out. This week's book is Hannah Kent's 'Burial Rites', one that is on my TBR list but I haven't actually read! Not to worry though, you can still take part, even if you haven't read the book in question!

So 'The Woman In Black' by Susan Hill is my first chosen book to link from 'Burial Rites'. They both have historical elements and tell a very tragic story of a woman's life. But the main thing I had to go on here (having not read 'Burial Rites') is the very similar cover art! A tenuous connection, but a connection nonetheless. The first thing I thought of when I saw this cover was 'The Woman In Black'.

So leading on from 'The Woman In Black', a ghost story about effectively the loss of a child and the ever-lasting consequences that can have on people, I chose Siobhan Dowd's 'A Swift Pure Cry', a heart-wrenching tale on a very similar note. I loved that book for it's beautiful and honest writing on such a sensitive topic. Though there are technically no ghosts in the supernatural sense in Dowd's book, there certainly are in a far less literal sense, and the message of this book is a haunting one.

The enemy found within 'A Swift Pure Cry' is the judgmental, tight-knit community where Shell resides. This is also very much the case in 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee, a favourite of mine! The amount of prejudice found in this book, particularly in the form of racism, is disturbing and hard-hitting. If you haven't read it yet, I thoroughly recommend it! 

On the topic of racism, one of the most emotionally hard-hitting books I have read is Malorie Blackman's 'Noughts And Crosses', where the roles are switched unexpectedly in order to highlight the fruitlessness and frankly, stupidity of such prejudice. It is the first in a wonderful series of books detailing the horrors that hatred between races, and indeed people, can bring about.

Frances Hodgson Burnett's 'The Secret Garden' is a book about the power of Friendship and Love, and how it can overcome any obstacles presented. This is a prevalent theme in 'Nought And Crosses' too, as the two leads are friends from Childhood. 'The Secret Garden' is also a lovely story about the innocence of children, a true coming-of-age classic if ever there was one. 

This last book is a little bit of a leap, but Libba Bray's 'A Great And Terrible Beauty' has one definite similarity to 'The Secret Garden'. Both main characters start as British girls living in India, until an unexpected and horrible circumstance forces them back to England, somewhere they are  not keen to go. Once there, both characters are met with secrecy and intrigue, hiding mysteries that they are determined to uncover. Though these books are worlds apart in a lot of ways, they are also surprisingly similar too.

And there we have my six chosen books for the challenge! I had a lot of fun writing this post and would love to take part in the next one, when it comes around!

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