It’s time for another adventure in Kate’s 6 Degrees of Separation Meme from her blog, Books Are My Favourite and Best. We are given a book to start with, and from there we free associate six books.
This month we begin with a book that is celebrating its 50th birthday this year – Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume. Since this book was published the year I graduated from college, I missed it when I was in its targeted age group (about 12), although I did read it 21 years ago.
1. “Didn’t you just love Rascal when you were a kid?” an acquaintance once asked me. Love it? I had never even heard of it. When I looked it up, I found out why: It was originally published in 1963, when I was already in high school. Since its target age is about 10-12, Rascal by Sterling North is another book I missed because I was already past its target age when it was published.
2. And now it’s confession time: I have never read the almost universally beloved children’s classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Since it was originally published in 1910, I can’t offer the excuse that I was already too old for it when it came out. Perhaps I did read it as a young child, but I have very few memories from my childhood. If I did read The Secret Garden, I have no memory of it.
3. Memory can be a funny thing. When I was reading Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my young daughter, I suddenly had the experience of once before seeing the words printed on the page exactly as I was seeing them at that time. The picture from an earlier reading telescoped in my vision and laid itself perfectly over the page I was reading. It was as if the memory and the current page were two prints developed from the same negative so that they perfectly merged into one. It was a strange experience, one that I’ve never had again in any context.
4. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink is another children’s book that features a family living on the American frontier during the U.S.’s expansion westward. The author based the book on the life and memories of her grandmother.
5. From Caddie Woodlawn we move to Emma Woodhouse, the title character of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. It’s not a children’s book, but it’s memorable to me because of it lilting opening: “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich . . . .”
6. The Book of Ruth is by another author named Jane, Jane Hamilton. It’s Hamilton’s first novel and winner of the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Fiction in 1989.
I hope you have enjoyed this journey from childhood to adult memorable books through 6 Degrees of Separation.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown