Books, Lists, Memes

What Remains is Beautiful Always

I know it is the end of October but here is my better late than never entry to this month’s Six Degrees. This month, the first book seemed like one of those coincidences that is a sign from elsewhere. The #6Degrees post is on the first Saturday of each month, which was on the 7th, and my mom passed away that day. I had been thinking of burial rites and of what next, as well as going from calling her / talking to her everyday to now not having her to pick up the phone on the other end any longer!

And when I noticed the book (over a week later), noticed that coincidence of the title and my thoughts. These in addition, influenced a couple other books on my list and each one is a wonderful, heartwarming, also uplifting read.

Addendum/correction: I just noticed that Burial Rites is not the book for this month after all but was the first book in this meme. I was confused and maybe too focused on the coincidence to notice that the date was completely off (Nov 2014 in fact!). Anyways, I will keep this chain for its emotional connections with me, and do a quick chain for the actual starter book for this month’s Six Degrees after the old one that I ended up doing.

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What Remains?? Beautiful Memories..

Or Blasts from the Past! (Like this chain turned out to be!!)

Burial Rites – The Beauty of What Remains – Black Beauty – Midnight: A True Story of Loyalty in World War I —-  Number the Stars – Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs – Dancing at the Pity Party – Burial Rites

Burial Rites –> The Beauty of What Remains

The link: Both books are connected by the end of life.

Once again, the starter book – Burial Rites – is one I am yet to read. But the story is so very intriguing that it is now on my TBR. The connecting book – The Beauty of What Remains – is one of my current reads, and it is certainly a beautiful read so far.

Burial Rites: Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. (Amazon descriptionexcerpt)

The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift: Enriched by Rabbi Leder’s irreverence, vulnerability, and wicked sense of humor, this heartfelt narrative is filled with laughter and tears, the wisdom of millennia and modernity, and, most of all, an unfolding of the profound and simple truth that in loss we gain more than we ever imagined. (Amazon descriptionexcerpt)

The Beauty of What Remains –> Black Beauty

The link: “beauty”

Black Beauty: Black Beauty is a perennial children’s favourite, one which has never been out of print since its publication in 1877. It is a moralistic tale of the life of the horse related in the form of an autobiography, describing the world through the eyes of the creature. In taking this anthropomorphic approach, the author Anna Sewell broke new literary ground and her effective storytelling ability makes it very easy for the reader to accept the premise that a horse is recounting the exploits in the narrative. (Amazon description)

One of my favorite childhood (and for all-time too) reads. My review of the book (plus more) is here.

Black Beauty –> Midnight

The link: Both stories feature a horse as the titular character

Midnight: A True Story of Loyalty in World War I: At once sobering and inspiring, here is the true tale of a World War I cavalry soldier and his heroic horse, Midnight.(from Amazon description)

Check out my thoughts on this book here, along with other war related books for children.

Midnight –> Number the Stars

The link: World war related stories: from WWI in Midnight to WWII in Number the Stars

Number the Stars: The unforgettable Newbery Medal–winning novel from Lois Lowry. As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family. (Amazon description)

I loved this book when I read it because my kids were reading it for school. And I loved it for so many reasons – WWII, my introduction to Lois Lowry, and the depiction of strong and sweet childhood friendships (among many other reasons). You can read my review of the book here.

Number the Stars –> Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs

The link: Celestial bodies + themes of love and resilience

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs: Whenever a child is in need of reassurance that they are loved, now and forever, this book will show them signs of love that exist all around them – from snowflakes to rainbows, tree hugs and whispering breezes, to each grain of sand on the beach…we can always feel the love shining at us from the people in our hearts. (Amazon description)

Check out my thoughts on the book here.

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs –> Dancing at the Pity Party

The link: the theme of coping with the loss of loved ones

Dancing at the Pity Party: Part poignant cancer memoir and part humorous reflection on a motherless life, this debut graphic novel is extraordinarily comforting and engaging.

This book – Dancing at the Pity Party – is another current read and strikes way too many emotional chords for me.

Dancing at the Pity Party –> Burial Rites

The link: death once again closing out this circle. Both of these books deal with themes of death and the emotions surrounding it, but they do so from different perspectives – one through personal memoirs and the other through historical fiction.

From Capturing Castles to…

Now for the original #6degrees chain for the month.. of October…

I Capture the Castle –> Dragons at Crumbling Castle –> Dragon Dancer –> Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp –> Dinosaur Lady –> Tomas and the Library Lady –> Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

I Capture the Castle –> Dragons at Crumbling Castle

The link:“castle”

I am yet to read the starter book (as always) but will get to it sometime soon most likely, before i see the movie.

I Capture the Castle: Adapted to a feature film in 2003, I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle’s walls, and her own first descent into love.(Amazon descriptionexcerpt)

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: This never-before-published collection of fourteen funny and inventive tales by acclaimed author Sir Terry Pratchett, creator of the beloved and bestselling Discworld fantasy series, features a memorable cast of inept wizards, sensible heroes, and unusually adventuresome tortoises. (Amazon descriptionexcerpt)

My first Pratchett read (and while I am yet to read another one, I will be – soon…) Check out my review of this totally punny book here

Dragons at Crumbling Castle –> Dragon Dancer

The Link: “dragon”

Dragon Dancer: A beautiful story of a Chinese festival and its symbolism for Chinese communities everywhere, told from the perspective of Yao, the dragon dancer. (Amazon descriptionexcerpt)

A book that stuns and transports the reader with its artwork and its narrative to a whole different world – that of the dragon dancer! Read my thoughts on the book here.

Dragon Dancer –> Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp

The link: dance! and ‘d’azzlingly cool creatures – dragons and dinosaurs..

Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp: When it is rock ‘n’ roll time during the prehistoric era, many different kinds of dinosaurs gather to twist, twirl, and tromp at a Saturday night party. (Amazon descriptionexcerpt)

One of my favorite read-alouds to my kids when they were younger! Check out our thoughts here.

Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp –> Dinosaur Lady

The link: duh-nousaur!!

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist: A beautifully illustrated picture book biography of Mary Anning that will enlighten children about the discovery of the dinosaurs and the importance of female scientists, perfect for fans of The Girl Who Thought in Pictures. (Amazon descriptionexcerpt)

A book I loved.. a lot.. see what I mean in this post here.

Dinosaur Lady –> Tomas and the Library Lady 

The Link: dinosaurs and ladies!

Tomas and the Library Lady: Based on the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, a child of migrant workers who went on to become the first minority Chancellor in the University of California system, this inspirational story suggests what libraries–and education–can make possible. (Amazon descriptionexcerpt)

I read this book a while ago but somehow never wrote about it here. So this post reminded me by way of trying to find links for this chain! So much to love about this book: the power of librarians and libraries, and also of reading and books; family and traditions; and so very inspirational indeed!

Tomas and the Library Lady –> Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

The Link: ladies once again!

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle: The real-life inspiration and setting for the Emmy Award-winning Downton AbbeyLady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon.

A book I added to my TBR recently. Being a Downton Abbey fan as well as a fan of historicals and non-fiction, this book is one i am sure to love!

And Now, the End of this Post

Dear reader, the usual list of questions for you on my #sixdegreesofseparation post – have you read or heard about any of these books? Your thoughts on those you have read? Also, any recommendations for similar reads? And what do you think of this chain/six degrees of separation? What would be on such a list/chain for you? Do let me know and do join in the fun as well once a month (the first Saturday) at booksaremyfavouriteandbest.

2 thoughts on “What Remains is Beautiful Always

  1. I was just thinking about you the other day! So glad you popped in before the month is over. How I loved the Black Beauty books and Burial Rites sounds very interesting!

  2. Several of the books you highlighted really spoke to me. The Beauty of What Remains sounds like a profound and comforting read, offering wisdom and gentle humor to find light in the darkness of grief.

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