Books, Current Events, Reviews

Making Connections With Great Reads Across Land Lake and Sea

Today’s post is all about making connections with and through books and reading. One aspect is the usual monthly round of six degrees of connections between books, and it is always fun exploring them. While the other is looking at how books and reading help us with connecting – not only with and within ourselves but with others and the world around us.

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Making Connections Through and With Great Reads

A drawing made by my son at age 5

Reading helps make connections of so many kinds; the ones within ourselves and then those outside of us. Making connections with great reads is like going on a journey where each page reveals a better understanding of the self and of the world. Each book offers a bridge to connect with different perspectives, cultures, and experiences. Through literature, we forge connections not only with the characters and narratives but also with ourselves, as we resonate with themes that echo our own joys, struggles, and aspirations.

For me, this also brings to mind the concept of armchair travel! To paraphrase Dr. Seuss (whose birthday we celebrate on March 2nd), the more we read, the more we’ll know, and thus the more places we will go.

And what about the external connections? Talking about the books we read with others helps us form connections, bridging gaps of understanding and empathy and sometimes (more often than not) surprising discussions too! Whether it’s discussing a beloved classic or recommending a new favorite, the bonds formed through shared reading experiences are invaluable, enriching our lives and fostering a sense of belonging in a larger, interconnected world.

Making Connections: From Great Reads on a Lake (Not) to the Sea

This month’s Six Degrees chain is starting off with Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake (a book I have on my TBR from since when I first heard of it last year!). So here I go making connections between a few great reads today, and exploring other connections as well when I am done here.

Tom Lake —> The Children of Cherry Tree Farm —> The Darling Buds of May —> By the Pricking of My Thumbs —> The Sleeper and the Spindle —> The Emperor of Absurdia —> Haroun and the Sea of Stories —> Tom Lake

The Starter Book

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (Literary Fiction)

Book Description: In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.

My etcs: As I mentioned earlier, I have not read the starter book of this chain still (but it is on the must-read-soon section of my TBR!). Apart from all the 5 star reviews and the fact that I really want to read something by this author, I love the themes of family (mother-daughter especially), of the setting (the pandemic and the cherry orchard as well as the theater), and this dual timeline (delving into memories in flashbacks and back to the present).

The Pairs

Tom Lake —> The Children of Cherry Tree Farm

The link: cherry trees

The Children of Cherry Tree Farm by Enid Blyton (Children’s Fiction)

Book Description: “We’re off to Cherry-Tree Farm! We’re going to go wild!” the children shout as their train pulls out of London. So of course when Uncle Tim tells them about Tammylan, the wild man who lives out of doors and knows all about the animals and birds, they decide to look for him. Once they meet him all sorts of wonderful things start to happen, for Tammylan introduces the children to his animal friends, and soon the ways of badgers and squirrels, rabbits and frogs, moles, otters and snakes are familiar to them, and London seems far away and unreal.

My etcs: Linking Tom Lake to The Children of Cherry Tree Farm with the cherry tree connection, obvi! This was one of my favorite Blyton books as a little girl (maybe i say this about many books, but it is true of and for each one!). You can read my post about it here.

Note: you can read this book online on the Internet Archive

The Children of Cherry Tree Farm —> The Darling Buds of May

The link: Rural England and farms and big families

The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates (Classic British & Irish Fiction)

Book Description: When Cedric Charlton, an unsuspecting tax inspector, arrives at the door of the Pop Larkin farm, he soon forgets the purpose of his visit: The fun-loving Ma and Pop Larkin distract him at every turn with strawberries, cream, alcohol, and their attractive young daughter, Mariette. Well known by the popular TV series starring David Jason and Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Darling Buds of May is the quintessential feel-good country romp. It will have you falling wholeheartedly in love with the Larkin family and their carefree way of life. So grab a bowl of ice cream, pull out a deck chair, and share in the “perficktion” of country life.

My etcs: This is one of those books where I first watched the adaptation and totally loved it. So when I found the book at a used book store, I simply knew I had to have it! And I loved reading it as well! Pop Larkin and Ma Larkin both wound their ways into my heart and hence into my list of favorite fictional dads and moms. This one is truly a hidden gem.

Plus, if you have not watched the show, I highly recommend that you do. Especially if you love British shows with humor. I did not realize it when I was watching it then but it has a young Zeta Jones in it. You can watch it on Prime Video via a free BritBox Trial

The Darling Buds of May —> By the Pricking of My Thumbs

The link: Shakespeare. The Bard came up with the titles of so many books (and films and articles and more) eons before their authors did!

If you are familiar with the Bard, then of course you already know that his famous popular Sonnet #18 (Shall I Compare thee to a Summer’s Day?) contains the first title in this pair. While the second title owes its origin to Macbeth (Act 4. Scene 1).

By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie (Mystery/Thriller Fiction)

Book Description: While visiting Tommy’s Aunt Ada at Sunny Ridge Nursing Home, Tuppence encounters some odd residents including Mrs. Lancaster who mystifies her with talk about “your poor child” and “something behind the fireplace”. When Aunt Ada dies a few weeks later, she leaves Tommy and Tuppence a painting featuring a house, which Tuppence is sure she has seen before. This realization leads her on a dangerous adventure involving a missing tombstone, diamond smuggling and a horrible discovery of what Mrs. Lancaster was talking about.

My etcs: I chanced upon this book during my last accidental visit to our local used bookstore. And while I am yet to read it, the synopsis intrigued me as did the

By the Pricking of My Thumbs —> The Sleeper and the Spindle

The link: pricking of fingers!!

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell (Teen and YA Adaptations)

Book Description: A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

My etcs: I read this one a few years ago but read it again so I can put my thoughts down here with a fresh mind. And I have to say that this duo is amazing! This retelling, or rather reimagining, is dark and full of twists and turns.

I love Gaiman’s writing and this book did not fail me in that aspect. Though I would have loved it to be a little longer. The length in this case was both good and bad. Good because it makes it a quick read; bad because I truly wanted it to be fleshed out a bit more. And Riddell’s illustrations don’t fail to wow!

The Sleeper and the Spindle —> The Emperor of Absurdia

The link: Riddell

The Emperor of Absurdia by Chris Riddell (Children’s Fiction | 3 – 7 years, and up)

Book Description: Welcome to a strange and wonderful land where nothing is quite what it seems. Trees are birds, umbrellas are trees, and the sky is thick with snoring fish. Join one small boy as he tumbles out of bed into a crazy dreamland of wardrobe monsters, dragons, and amazing adventure.

My etcs: A sweet, delightful, and imaginative read with a fun narrative and equally charming adorable artwork (it is Riddell after all!)

The Emperor of Absurdia —> Haroun and the Sea of Stories

The link: dreams…

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (Children’s Fiction | 7 – 10 years, and up)

Book Description: Set in an exotic Eastern landscape peopled by magicians and fantastic talking animals, Haroun and the Sea of Stories inhabits the same imaginative space as The Lord of the RingsThe Alchemist, The Arabian Nights, and The Wizard of Oz. Twelve-year-oldHaroun sets out on an adventure to restore his father’s gift of storytelling by reviving the poisoned Sea of Stories. On the way, he encounters many foes, all intent on draining the sea of all its storytelling powers.

My etcs: This is a book I often recommend to people, and the first Salman Rushdie book I read. Check out my review here and another post where you can journey with me to the sea of stories. You will find many other mentions of the book on my blog.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories —> Tom Lake

Closing the circle once again.

The link: water bodies in the titles. And if I extend it a bit, then Haroun and the Sea of Stories was adapted into a play. Connect plays to theater –> Tom Lake was a theater too!

Related Reads and More (Making Connections Yet Again)

Read Across America

It is Read Across America Week from March 2 to 6, and in fact, March is National Reading Month.

Other Connections

March 2nd is also International Rescue Cat Day and World Teen Mental Health Day. So check out these resources and books:

The Connections Games

Speaking of Connections, have you played the NYT Connections game yet? It is fun, addicting, and I make sure to play it each day! You can also check out these:

  • The Connections archive
  • I am enjoying this game as well, some days it is easy, other days not. But it was developed by an acquaintance made on a Facebook group and I definitely want to share it with you all – the lmnop game
  • 7 Little Words

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, as always, ending this post with questions for you:

  • the bookish ones:
    • have you read any of these books? if so, your thoughts on the book(s)? if not, which one would you pick first?
    • which of these (or other) books would be on your #6degrees chain?
    • how do you plan to celebrate National Reading Month?
  • and then the non-bookish ones:
    • what is your number one tip to handle mental stresses of everyday?

And of course, as always, I welcome any and all thoughts and comments on the post.

6 thoughts on “Making Connections With Great Reads Across Land Lake and Sea

  1. Thank you for curating this diverse collection of books that explore the theme of making connections through reading. Your recommendations have inspired me to pick up some of the books mentioned, especially “Haroun and the Sea of Stories.”

  2. What a great selection of books. I think my first pick would be The Sleeper and the Spindle, sounds like my kind of book.

  3. I have been telling my students how much I used to love to read. They seemed interested, which surprised me and started telling me about their experiences with reading, to which a few minutes prior they’d said they had none. 😉

  4. As always lots of great book suggestions here and I for sure will be checking out a few of them to add to my collection. I love to read and am always looking for the latest in suggestions and you aalways have the best!

  5. I used to read books when I was in grade school up until my college days. I stopped due to my busy schedule but tried to read during my spare time to rest and relax my mind. You have a great selection of books!

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