It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang, about an Australian bushranger/outlaw.
I have not read this, which may be why the words “Kelly Gang” made me think of the real Kelly family – Tacy Kelly and her 10 siblings, first introduced in Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace (1940). The Kelly family lives across the street from the Rays. All roads lead to Betsy-Tacy, so if you don’t know, now you know!Second Degree
The quintessential large family is Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth (1948). I found this in my elementary school library and read it and its sequel numerous times. I loved the antics of the father and all the siblings. When I was in Montclair, NJ for a funeral right before the pandemic, I had the brilliant idea of looking up the address of the Gilbreths’ house so we could go check it out. Alas, I learned at the library it had been torn down!Third Degree
Beneath a floorboard in the old farmhouse into which his family has just moved, eight-year-old Max Morley discovers twelve time-worn wooden soldiers in The Return of the Twelves by Pauline Clarke (1962). This book is a treat for Bronte fans but I read it slightly before I enjoyed Jane Eyre and tried to enjoy Wuthering Heights. My elementary school library had everything! I get upset when I read that of the 125 Boston Public School buildings, 58% lack their own full-time libraries with staff. Only 52 schools have a library. Although there are neighborhood public library branches, children are much more likely to use a school library if one is available and those librarians teach students how to use and enjoy a library.Fourth Degree
Another use of the number 12: Patricia Wentworth’s The Clock Strikes Twelve. This is a Miss Silver mystery I reread recently:
New Year's Eve, 1940, is unusual for the Paradine family. Departing from tradition, James Paradine makes a speech that changes the course of many lives. Valuable documents have disappeared. A member of the family has taken them. The culprit has until midnight to confess and return the papers.
Clocks are my link here. Peter Swanson has become a New York Times bestselling suspense author since this noir-ish book, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart (2014), about a man whose mysterious first love reappears after 20 years. George knows she is bad news and will betray him again but he is powerless to say no . . . It’s the kind of book where you would scream at the protagonist not to behave so stupidly but then realize you don’t like him enough about him to care about his downward spiral!Sixth Degree
Both the fifth and sixth books involve crooked hearts. So does Ned Kelly, I assume! Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (2014) is an unusual evacuation story, which I highly recommend about a ten-year-old orphan who is evacuated during WWII and ends up with a scam artist as his temporary guardian. This begins a dark, crazy and very funny partnership. Plus, there’s a prequel, Old Baggage, which I have not yet had time for!