Connect Five Friday. A Friday link up that can be joined in on any day and begins again the next Friday. Post about a list of five bookish related topics/lists of your choice. Be creative and enjoy the process. If you want to know a little more read the introduction to it here.
When I was teaching one of this ways we helped young readers comprehend was to make connections to our own lives from the books we were reading. When I came across the first book in this list of five I realised how my own experience was helping me understand Anthony so I decided to look for some more connections to self in the books I read.
In this novel we meet a writer hiding ashamed from one big mistake he made – he plagiarised from a little known author and he was dobbed* in by an “unknown source”. I know, immediately we judge him as a reader, we don’t like plagiarising, we see how it affects authors. But… suddenly I found myself remembering a little plagiarising I did myself as a thirteen year old. We had to write a description, I was under pressure just like Anthony, and I picked up a description of a cowboy from Zane Grey. Thank you Zane! Anyway of course the teacher didn’t buy it, I mean I am and was no Zane Grey. But I do remember the shame and I was cured of plagiarising! Of course as a teacher many years later I’d come to realise the value of mentor texts and how we can learn and model our writing on those writers who write wonderful sentences and descriptions! Anyway my small life experience brought to me some sympathy for this character Anthony and it turns out it wasn’t misplaced.
*British informal. [dob someone in] to tell someone in authority about something bad that another person has done.
This is the first book written by British author Lucilla Andrews – written in 1954. It is less a romance and rather a fascinating look at hospital nursing life in this era. It will be interesting to see how her writing develops as I read through her books in the order they were written. Who knew that prem babies were fed breast milk with a little brandy! Very realistic and worth reading although a little too much description. I connected to it because way back in the ’60’s I spent a year as a nurse aide in a maternity hospital. It was fascinating to see how things had moved on since 1954. For example after giving birth the women were carried down stairs on a stretcher to the ward after giving birth. At great cost to those carrying. In my day of course they were wheeled back in a bed. Nowadays if they are at a hospital they are often on their way home a few hours later!
Rival’s Break is a suspenseful cozy mystery sort of book, but what I connected to were the characters and the fact that some of them had quite Catholic connections and some Irish. Emma Sharpe one of the main characters – an FBI member and art expert once belonged to an order of nuns, and there is a Father Finian who became a priest after losing his wife and daughters in an accident. So with my own Catholic upbringing and a good dose of Irish in me I felt very at home in the book!
As soon as I started The Country Guesthouse I was making connections. I was thinking of all those times we did things as a staff to build rapport and trust etc. The fall back the heroine had to make to someone who couldn’t be trusted at work ( and she wasn’t caught!) I hated those team build times as much as Hannah. And then 5 year old Noah has lost his mother and doesn’t want to forget her. It reminded my of my nephew Max and the hard time he had and still does at the loss of his great grandpa when he was 5. And I loved and could identify with Owen’s love of a quiet life in a less populated area. Already I’ve stopped in the early parts of the book to reflect. So much so, my Kindle has turned off a few times while waiting for me to go on!
Many readers I follow enjoyed this author and book so I wanted to try it out. I am growing in years and the characters in this book are experiencing many of the things I know about. They are a bit older than me, but not much and so their thoughts and feelings I can really identify with and it makes me stop and think, and admire their struggles and kindnesses, and their knowing that life is still for living and the great choices they make. I really admired Frank and Lucille’s honesty with each other in this story and their acceptance of each other and the love and friendship they had for each other. Never too old! And I totally identify.