It’s the first Saturday of the month, so time once again for a Six Degrees post – hooray! Find out more about this meme over at host Kate’s blog.
This month we are starting with Sally Rooney’s Normal People. I have not read this book, but was glued to the TV series.
So what is normal? For my first link, I have chosen Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. I really enjoyed reading this powerful book and learned so much from it too. This particular quote really struck home:
“The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; I did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America.”
I can’t imagine what it must be like just to bowl along being one’s normal self, only to find out that there is a whole different ‘you’ when you travel to a another community. As a white person, I am grateful to be able to read and learn about experiences such as these which, with my white privilege, I will never suffer myself.
From a well-established Nigerian author, I am linking to another Nigerian author who is right at the start of her career. Abi Daré has just been shortlisted for the 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize with her debut novel The Girl With The Louding Voice. This story centres around the lives of young girls in Nigeria and sounds absolutely excellent. I am looking forward to reading it.
Sticking with prize nominees for my next link, I have chosen Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. This was longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction and explores the relationship between two families from different social backgrounds in Brooklyn. This sounds like a fantastic read.
A book which was longlisted for last year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction is Praise Song For The Butterflies by Bernice L McFadden. I have had this on my To Be Read pile for far too long, so I am looking forward to promoting it to the top with all the other books in this chain.
Butterfly Fish is also described as ‘unique and imaginative’ by Diana Evans. This allows me to choose for my final link her book Ordinary People – another book I have had on my To Be Read list for a while.
So my chain this month goes from normal people to ordinary people. But of course, these are not normal or ordinary times. I offer this post as a small and humble contribution to the importance of promoting the work of BAME female authors.
I realised, in preparing for this post, that I don’t really think about the ethnicity of an author when selecting a book. I enjoy reading widely and like to pick up titles by authors from all around the world. Prior to this past week I would have said that this is good because it is a ‘colour-blind’ approach. But I have come to understand that this passivity is totally insufficient. I need to be actively seeking out works by BAME authors to read, learn from and showcase. So this post is a start on that renewed journey. I’ll be reading all the books on this list in the coming weeks. I also plan to participate in the forthcoming #CaribAThon from June 11-20. This video by @cozycomfyup is a great place to start if you feel like joining in too: