Six degrees of separation – from Beezus and Ramona to…

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but once I saw the starting point I really wanted to join in. I used to get Beverly Cleary books from the library when I was about 7 or 8 – I remember choosing the first one because I was so excited to see that a real life author had my name! Obviously being British mine is spelled Beverley, like the town in Yorkshire.

So, the idea of this game is that everyone starts with the same book – in this case Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Clearly – then adds six more books, each of which links in some way to the one before it, and we see where we end up. The host is Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best and the link up takes place on the first Saturday of the month (yes, I’m a day late linking up).

So, as I have said, Kate’s chosen starting point this month was Beezus and Ramona – very fitting giving Beverly Clearly died not long ago. This is about two sisters – Beezus (real name Beatrice) is the older sister and she often finds it hard to deal with having a little sister like four-year-old Ramona, who usually means well but is quite a handful!

For my first link, I have chosen another story about a mischievous younger sibling. My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards. This one is a little old-fashioned now (it was first published in 1962) but still great fun to read, featuring such stories as the time the narrator’s naughty little sister fell in the stream and got all wet or ate all the trifle at her friend’s birthday party.

From one naughty girl to another… my next link in the chain is The Naughtiest Girl in the School by Enid Blyton. I loved Enid Blyton as a child and I found her Naughtiest Girl books fascinating – a school where the children mostly govern themselves with the teachers only stepping in occasionally? So interesting (to seven-year-old me).

Sticking with the boarding school theme, my next choice is The Chalet School series by ELino M. Brent Dyer… the first of which is The School at the Chalet. I first discovered a few of these books at my grandma’s house (they originally belonged to one of my aunts) and since I loved them so much she let me keep them. I then went on to collect as many as I could, mostly from second-hand book shops (although books 1 and 2 were published as a collection under the title “School Stories” so I got that one new for one of my birthdays). To this day, I absolutely adore this series about an English woman who sets up a school in the Austrian Tirol. It later moves to Guernsey and then a Welsh island because of the Second World War and eventually ends up in Switzerland.

I feel like I should add another book with a Swiss connection since I live there, so up next is Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Do I need to tell you what this book is about? Heid is an orphan who’s aunt sends her to live with her gruff old grandfather in the Swiss mountains. Just as she’s got settled in and come to love the place, her aunt turns up again and forces her to move to Frankfurt to act as a companion to a sickly girl named Klara. Will Heidi ever see her beloved mountains again?

Next, another book about an orphan who is sent to live with relatives – Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery. Emily is slightly less famous than Montogomery’s other orphan, Anne (of Green Gables), but after reading this book for the first time last year I discovered I actually prefer Emily to Anne!

My final link is a little tenuous… but the title of the last book made me think of Emlyn’s Moon by Jenny Nimmo. This is the second book in the Snow Spider trilogy, another series I loved and adored when I was around 7. The Snow Spider was always my favourite of the three books, but I loved the main character in this one – Nia, the middle child in a large family who has always been led to believe that she’s the dull one who can’t do anything but proves she’s really quite special in this book.

So, that’s my chain. All children’s books, all quite different, and all but one very much loved by tiny me.

If you want to see everyone else’s links, see Kate’s post here. And if you want to join in please do – I would love to see what you come up with (obviously don’t forget to link to Kate and also add the link to your chain on her post).

That’s all for today. I hope everyone is well and happy.

Six degrees of separation: From Fleischman is in Trouble to…

This was fun last time, so I thought I’d do it again. This link up is hosted by Kate from Books Are My Favourite and Best. The idea is that everyone starts with the same book and then adds six more to the chain, each one somehow relating to the one before. Then we see where everyone’s chain took them.

This time around, the starting book is Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

Fleishman

I had never heard of this book before, but the synopsis tells me it’s about a man who has recently separated from his wife. One day, she drops their kids off at his place and disappears. This tells the story of him searching for her while juggling his job and parenting their two children. I feel like it’s quite unusual to read about divorce and relationship breakdowns from the man’s perspective, but here’s another book that does that…

Man and Boy by Tony Parsons. This is about a man who, on the eve of his 30th birthday, makes a stupid mistake, which results in his wife moving to Japan, leaving him to raise his son alone.

My next link is a little tentative as it’s based solely on a word in the title…

Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan. I haven’t actually read this yet, but it’s about a boy called Johnny who has recently moved house, and therefore schools, and has to deal with a bully. Then a chance encounter with a swan sparks a series of events that result in Johnny playing the lead in a school ballet. There seems to be a magical element to it as well. It sounds like it’s going to be a fun read!

Let’s move on to another book featuring ballet…

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. I adored this book as a child and read it over and over (seriously, you should see the state of my copy!). This is the story of three sdopted sisters, Pauline, Petrova and Posy, who ended up taking ballet lessons and, later, performing to help earn money for the family.

My link between this one and the next book is adoption.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford. This is a fun children’s mystery set at a smuggler’s inn during the winter. The main character, Milo, is adopted and while the story is not about that, his being adopted does play on his mind a lot (although he clearly loves his adopted family and wouldn’t change his life for anything).

Another book featuring a hotel and a mystery is Winterhouse by Ben Guterson. Interestingly, the main character in this one is an orphan, so there’s another connection! Although according to the synopsis, Elizabeth Somers sadly didn’t end up in a loving family. I haven’t read this one but I really want to!

For my final link, I am going to go with a character name. As I’ve mentioned, Winterhouse features a girl named Elizabeth, which brings me to…

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. Elizabeth is not the main character in this Instead it’s the story of Maud – her best friend – who is suffering from dementia and has a few things muddled up but is determined to find out what’s happened to Elizabeth. The lengths Maud goes to to try and find her friend are really touching and I found this a really good depiction of dementia. I recommend this book.

And that’s six, which wraps up this chain. Go here to find out where everyone else’s journey took them (you can find all the links in the comments on the host’s post).

If you were to make a chain, what links would you use?

Six degrees of separation: From Daisy Jones & the Six to…

I came across this link up on stargazer’s blog and thought it was so fun! Basically the host – Kate – assigns a starting book from which all participants build a chain, adding six books, one at a time, with each having something in common with the one before it to see where they end up.

This month, the starting book is Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Daisy Jones

I haven’t actually read Daisy Jones yet (or The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo… I know, I know. Am I even a reader?) but from what I am aware it’s about a singer called Daisy Jones and a famous rock band in the 70s. I’ve seen it compared to the actual story of Fleetwood Mac, which intrigues me. And now for my chain:

1. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett features a character whose father is a formerly famous punk rocker, so that’s a connection with musicians. Tentative? Maybe, but I’ll take it.

A major component of this book involves camping in the wilderness and stargazing, which brings me to…

2. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass. Three teens are brought together at Moon Shadow, an isolated campground where thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. Two of the three teens in the story find out that they’re going to be moving, one to Moon Shadow and one away from it, into the city, where she’s terrified that she won’t fit in.

3. Ella on the Outside by Cathy Howe is another book involving a move. Ella is new in town and is trying her best to fit in at her new school. When a popular girl befriends her, Ella finds herself dealing with blackmail and lies, and has to figure out the right thing to do.

4. What Lexie Did by Emma Shevah also has a main character who is struggling to work out the right thing to do, and the difference between being honest and telling tales. When one spontaneous, jealous lie ends up tearing her family apart poor Lexie is more confused than ever. Lexie is part of a Greek-Cypriot family and there are many descriptions of food in the book that made my mouth water, which brings me to…

5. Born Confused by Tanuja Desei Hidier. This book is about a teenager in the US, Dimple Lala, who has spent her whole life rejecting her Indian parent’s culture. But now she’s in high school and suddenly everything Indian is trendy. Like with What Lexie Did, there’s a lot of food in this book and every time Dimple’s mum started cooking I honestly started craving curries and samosas!

6. The Girl in the Broken Mirror by Savita Kalhan. Finally, I come to another book about the daughter of Indian parents who is caught between two cultures, in this case in the UK. When Jay and her mother are forced to move in with Jay’s aunt and uncle, life becomes very difficult for Jay. Her aunt is very strict about what a good Indian girl should and should not do and would absolutely not approve of Jay having non-Indian friends. But as it turns out, that’s only the beginning of Jay’s nightmare. This is a hard hitting book that absolutely broke me when I read it last year. Without meaning to spoil anything, I feel like I have to inform you that this book involves a sexual assault.

So, there’s my chain. I hope I’ve done it right! I had fun doing it anyway. Somehow all of these books are children’s and young adult fiction, which is interesting (and unintentional)!

You can see the original post (and chain) here and also find other people’s chains in the comments, where you can also add your link if you decide to join in too.