Six Degrees of Separation: From Beach Read to Mandy

I’m getting back into my favourite regular meme after a couple of months off. This time we begin with Beach Read by Emily Henry – though it’s midwinter here in the UK, it’s beach season for Kate in Australia! (See her opening post.)

#1 I’m no beach bunny; we prefer to explore rocky seabird coasts. The last time I remember sitting under an umbrella on a sandy beach, my choice of reading material was When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (reread when it was on the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist).


#2 Kalanithi was a neurosurgery resident who was unexpectedly diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at age 36. My latest cancer-themed read was the excellent autobiographical novel Body Kintsugi by Senka Marić.


#3 I first learned about the Japanese practice of kintsugi – filling cracks, such as in pottery, with liquid gold to accentuate rather than hide the imperfections – from A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink (you can see it in the cover design), a slim and reassuring self-help book that’s shelved under YA at my library.


#4 Cathy Rentzenbrink blurbs nearly every new release out there, but rather than a recommendation for a shiny book I got from her I have in mind that she’s a fellow evangelist for a favourite older novel of mine, Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively.


#5 Thinking of other Penelopes I’ve read, I learned about an appealing upcoming reissue, The Home by Penelope Mortimer (1971), thanks to British Library Women Writers series consultant and classics champion Simon Thomas of Stuck in a Book (his review is here). It sounds like a sort-of sequel to The Pumpkin Eater, which I loved.


#6 I looked through a Goodreads list of other 1971 releases to inspire this final link. A number of them are on my TBR, but there are only a few that I’ve read. One of those is a children’s book I had completely forgotten about until now, though I owned a copy way back when: Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards, about an orphan who finds an abandoned cottage in the woods and makes it her own. YES, it’s by that Julie Andrews, and it sounds like a perfect follow-up for anyone who’s read The Secret Garden.


Where will your chain take you? Join us for #6Degrees of Separation! (Hosted on the first Saturday of each month by Kate W. of Books Are My Favourite and Best.) Next month’s starting book is Trust by Hernan Diaz.

Have you read any of my selections? Tempted by any you didn’t know before?

10 responses

  1. I’d love to read a book by Julie Andrews. The kintsugi book sounds fascinating, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A near chain with a lovely sideways first link. Loved Kalanithi, and Body Kintsugi is in my TBR piles. I loved Julie Andrews’ two volumes of memoir, especially the first about her early years. She’s written other children’s books to (with her daughter I think).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh neat, I’d be interested to read more of her work.


  3. No beach bunnies in this house, either. The Kalanithi was so beautifully written and heartrending as was Kintsugi, a concept which has popped up a lot in the literary world over the past few years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Japan is ever trendy, but kintsugi and forest bathing have been particularly prominent in recent years.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely chain… both sad and uplifting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I hadn’t thought of it that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good job! I’d forgotten Julie Andrews was an author! Hmmmm, might look that one up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A fascinating chain as ever. Not sure to what extent any will make my TBR list. though the kintsugi references sound fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I listened to the audiobook of Beach Read and it was a pleasant experience. I tend to listen to audiobooks while running and it was a great book for that — not too involving where I might miss a critical detail that informs the rest of the story and diverting enough that I’m talking myself out of the run. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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