Six Degrees of Separation: From Normal People to Ordinary People – a celebration of BAME female authors #BlackLivesMatter

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.

 

Taking butterflies for my next link, I am going with Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie. This is described in the blurb as ‘a novel of epic proportions’ – just my cup of tea!

 

 

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:

28 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: From Normal People to Ordinary People – a celebration of BAME female authors #BlackLivesMatter

  1. Fantastic post and way to link your books! I’ve read three of Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s books and have throughly enjoyed them. I need to take note of some of the other books you mention. Thank for also bringing up CaribAThon. I just heard about that yesterday so hopefully I’ll find a book to add to my reading mix.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A wonderful collection, Liz. We live in a world that offers so much diversity and joy. Have you ever read Mary Parker Follett, who was an extraordinary woman who understood the power of differences. The 100th anniversary of her book “The New State” was celebrated in 2018, which is one of the reasons we travelled to England in 2018 and visited York University. Here is her brilliant quote which asks all to go beyond the angst and find powerful outcomes for all: “There are three ways of dealing with difference: domination, compromise, and integration. By domination only one side gets what it wants; by compromise neither side gets what it wants; by integration we find a way by which both sides may get what they wish.” Always exciting to read your “Six Degrees of Separation” posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you made this topic so timely. Like you I am guilty of not really thinking about the origins of authors when I pick my reads so I stick to a pretty narrow demographic a lot of the time and I am pretty sure I have never read any Carribean authors (wait I might have read one). While I don’t think I will get to read anything for #caribathon I will definitely be keeping an eye out for suggestions to add to my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m looking forward to reading authors from the Caribbean too. Having started to explore some titles it is clear that there are some exciting and beautiful reads ahead!

      Like

  4. What a powerful chain, Liz, with an important message. I do have my own chain ready, hopefully to be out before too long. My first link is to Ordinary People – the other one! I see one of your earlier commentators has mentioned it too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the way you turned this chain into a circle 🙂
    I’ll keep an eye on your Caribbean reviews – I’ve not read any books by Caribbean authors (I don’t think) but always keen for recommendations to guide my Around the World reading challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An interesting six degrees, Liz and a very thoughtful post it is, too. So many books I would love to read and many more I feel I ought to read. But, can I read for longer than ten minutes? No! Have you been able to get the reading habit back, yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Clare, and sorry to hear that your reading is still disrupted. I am able to do more these days, but it is still a bit up and down. I have found it useful to give myself reading goals as a bit of a focus, which is interesting because in the past the mere whiff of some kind of commitment used to be the kiss of death for any title!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.