6 Degrees of Separation: From “Where the Wild Things Are” to “Under the Lake”

Here’s my entry in Kate’s 6 Degrees of Separation Meme from her blog, Books Are My Favourite and Best. Here’s how it works:

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain. . .

This month we begin with the children’s classic Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. 

1. Word association leads me immediately to Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Just let me say that I was not wild about this book. I thought it was way over-hyped and wasn’t even fully satisfying as a memoir (and I’ve studied a lot of memoirs, having written my dissertation on life stories just before this book came out). 

2. So let me stretch the word association a bit to arrive at the novel Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman. To tell the truth, I wasn’t particularly wild about this one, either. It’s Lippman’s homage to Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird, but it doesn’t work as well as its model.

3. But I have high hopes for Laura Lippman’s latest novel, Lady in the Lake,  scheduled for publication by William Morrow on July 23, 2019. The description on Goodreads promises a book “that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir.” This book shares with the previous one not only an author but also the word lake in the title.

4. Another novel with the word lake in the title is In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien. I read it back in 1996 and certainly should reread it. It’s haunting in the way that only the best literature is, giving readers much to ponder.

5. By the Lake by Irish writer John McGahern is a quiet yet deep novel set in a rural village in Ireland. Over the course of a year the novel explores the inner and outer lives of the villagers: their relationships with each other, with the land, and with the encroachment of the modern world on their way of life.

6. Having been in the lake and by the lake, we finally arrive Under the Lake in a novel by Stuart Woods. I remember it as the spookiest book I’d ever read when I discovered it back in 1996. But I’ve read a lot of other spooky books since then, and I don’t know whether I’d be as wild about it now as I was back then if I reread it.

That’s the end of this month’s journey, a wild trek near, into, and under several literary lakes.

© 2019 by Mary Daniels Brown

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