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It’s time for #6 Degrees. Anyone can play, it’s fun and easy. And fascinating to see how people’s brains work at making connections. No rules, according to Kate at BAMFAB who runs the show.

As well as linking the books to each other by content or theme, I also want to make another connection – they all have a dwelling that is significant to the story.

The starter book this month is Room, the claustrophobic novel from Emma Donoghue. A woman and her son are in peril, and living in a small space, unable to leave. (Garden shed)

This is similar to the protagonist of Robyn Cadwallader’s first novel The Anchoress, except this woman consents to being locked into her small cave-like stone prison. It’s only once she’s there that we – and she – learns of a threat circling. (Cell)

Caves are very important in Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean M. Aul. Stones are also significant – both in slingshots and amulets worn around the neck – and bears are important too, as one of the most powerful totems a clan and individual can have. (Caves)

There is a bear in Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The mother goes to the cow in its pen, to take it inside during a blizzard (my memory is shaky – I haven’t read it for so many years) and maybe it’s also night, but she pushes the cow and then realises it’s a bear. It’s one of the favourite family stories for Laura and her sisters. In a later book one of those sisters goes blind from scarlet fever. (Log cabin)

In Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, one of the sisters dies of scarlet fever. I confess I’ve never read Little Women but have seen the film and remember it as a bit simpering? The story of the March women has never been a reference for me but I like the idea of the father being away at war, and someone writing a novel about his experience (Geraldine Brooks, was it?) (Okay, this one is just a house)

In Cold Mountain (Charles Frazier) someone goes away to war and some of the most touching moments in that sentimental book/film are of Inman, the carpenter-deserter as he tries to make his way back to Ada, his love. (There is a scene of a house being raised, barn-style?)

Another story/film with Mountain in the title is Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. Anyone who does not love this story has a cold stone heart and I cannot be friends with them. I must read the actual short story one day. (Tent)

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