From The Turn of the Screw to Bird Box: Six Degrees of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation The Turn of the Screw

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Six Degrees of Separation The Turn of the Screw

Hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best on the first Saturday of every month, this meme asks us to start with one title and create a chain of bookish connections to see where it takes us. I purposefully kept my connections to spooky/horror reads for the Halloween season. My chain goes from The Turn of the Screw to Bird Box by Josh Malerman. (Isn’t that vintage cover for The Turn of the Screw a hoot?)

I haven’t read The Turn of the Screw and honestly don’t recall reading any of Henry James’s work. But the book synopsis on GoodReads ends with this line: “For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.” That almost led me down the zombie road but I wanted this first connection to be from one classic to another. I decided to focus on a character who, wittingly or not, wants the evil that’s about to befall him or her. And that led me to…

Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker from Dracula. Their need for Dracula stems more from the supernatural power he gains over them than from any active desire on their own parts, but it’s still there. As most of us know, there’s a famous monster hunter who is introduced in Dracula: Abraham van Helsing. Another monster hunter I’ve read about is…

Dr. Pellinore Warthrop from The Monstrumologist. This book, while aimed at a young adult audience, scared me to death. I’m normally a pretty calm person in real life but I jumped out of my skin at every little unexpected thing while I was reading this novel! A short story that also scared me to death is…

“The Road Virus Heads North” by Stephen King, which I read in his collection, Everything’s Eventual. King’s short stories have always frightened me more than his novels because my imagination is more than happy to fill any gaps. I read this story shortly after the book was published in 2002 and still find myself timidly peeking out from behind the shower curtain to check on my surroundings on unsettled October evenings. Another story of an inescapable evil is…

“Dark Carousel” from Full Throttle by King’s son, Joe Hill. Hill himself wrote that this story is the most “shamelessly Stephen King thing I’ve ever put down on paper” and then says it’s “practically a cover of ‘Riding the Bullet’ or ‘The Road Virus Heads North.'” Another short-ish story that was horrifying (but more for psychological reasons than violent reasons) is the novella…

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Hill frequently lists Matheson among his influences and contributed to a Matheson-esque story collection (He is Legend), so this is a very strong connection for me. The biggest thing that stands out to me about I Am Legend is Robert Neville’s absolute, complete isolation. As far as he knows, he’s the last living person on Earth. Another character who becomes very isolated is…

Malorie from Bird Box and Malorie. Her level of isolation is nowhere near Neville’s. She finds pockets of people here and there. But walking around with a blindfold, unable to see the creatures that stalk you because to see them is to lose your mind? She has to feel as utterly alone in those moments as Neville ever does, despite caring for two young children. Which ties us neatly back to…

The Turn of the Screw, which is about a young governess caring for two “strangely distant, largely silent children.”

And that’s my spooky chain of logic! Where do your connections take you? Link up at Books Are My Favourite and Best!

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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.

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  1. I have never read Turn of the Screw either but I have watched two different film adaptations. I didn’t really Ike either of them lol

    1. One of my friends was just texting me this morning about a new adaptation coming to Netflix on Friday. The Haunting of Bly Manor, I think? I’m a big wimp about horror movies so I haven’t watched any of them!

  2. oooooh I like this chill down my spine! Loved your links. They all made perfect sense! That vintage cover is awesome. Think I’ve said it already on your Sunday post. Well that’s how nice it is!

    I haven’t read I am legend. Seen the movie and it was so good. Bird Box as well! Clever link there.

    Happy Ghostober and here’s my 6 Degrees of Separation – The Ghost Edition

    1. The movie and the book I Am Legend aren’t all that similar to me. I had seen bits of the movie before reading the book and the monsters are completely different. You should give the book a try! I enjoyed Bird Box a lot but haven’t watched that movie yet either. I should do that this month. “Ghostober”–I love it!

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