6 Degrees from Hamnet to Toil & Trouble

6 Degrees from Hamnet to Toil & Trouble

I have an affiliate relationship with Bookshop.org and Malaprop's Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site. Read more on my affiliate page.
6 Degrees from Hamnet to Toil & Trouble

Hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best on the first Saturday of every month, the 6 Degrees of Separation meme asks us to start with one title and create a chain of bookish connections to see where it takes us. This month I went from Hamnet to Toil & Trouble.

I haven’t read Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell but the synopsis indicates that it’s about a mother, Agnes, mourning the death of her beloved child, named Hamnet. Four years later, Agnes learns that her husband wrote a play called Hamlet. The author apparently never writes Shakespeare’s name in the book; nevertheless, Shakespeare is the easiest way for me to create a bookish connection so he’s my theme.

Hamnet is historical fiction (sort of) about Shakespeare, as is…

Ill Met by Moonlight by Sarah A. Hoyt. I was hoping to continue the trend of Shakespeare as a character but then I realized the book’s title is taken from a line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act II, Scene i, “Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.”) The remaining books in my chain also have Shakespearean titles and they’re ones I’ve personally read.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Timon of Athens, Act III, Scene v, “Who cannot condemn rashness in cold blood?”)

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (The Tempest, Act IV, Scene i, “Our revels now are ended. / These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and / Are melted into air, into thin air.”)

Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (Hamlet Act I, Scene iv, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”)

The Dark Tower by Stephen King. (Stephen King based his epic series on a poem by Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.” But Browning based his poem on King Lear Act III, Scene iv, “Child Roland to the dark tower came, / His word was still ‘Fie, foh, and fum, / I smell the blood of a British man.'”)

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft, edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe (MacBeth Act IV, Scene i, “Double, double; toil and trouble; /
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”)

To loosely loop back to the beginning of my chain, Agnes is a healer in Hamnet, a vocation that has been equated to witchcraft throughout much of history.

I consulted a lot of pages to find these books but Titles from Shakespeare and Wikipedia were most helpful.

Where do your connections take you? Link up at Books Are My Favourite and Best! In February 2021, we’ll start with Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler.

6 Degrees of Separation Button

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. Ooh, what an excellent post! I always love it when the Bard’s verses are used in book titles. If you’re ever interested in reading Urban Fantasy, I recommend Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series — the titles are all Shakespearean – Rosemary and Rue, Artificial Night, These Late Eclipses … Lovely!

  2. Nice chain! I am familiar with these but haven’t read them. I did enjoy the first Jasper Fforde, which I persuaded my book group to read, but haven’t got around to more. Ill Met by Moonlight looks fun!

    Glad you joined us this month. Do you live in Asheville? I went to Duke and regret I never made it to that part of the state. Too busy studying, I guess., or maybe watching hoop.

I love to hear from you! Please contact me (menu bar, above) if you're having trouble commenting.