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. Continue reading

Book Review: Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald – “hugely readable, yet endlessly thought-provoking”


Reading Helen Macdonald’s 2014 book H is for Hawk was highly memorable for me. As I wrote in my review, “this is a book which makes one look afresh at man’s links with nature. In a time when we are rightly focused on global, big-picture problems, it nevertheless reminds us of the values we derive from being individually and inextricably bound to our own heritage and community”.

Macdonald’s latest work, Vesper Flights continues on the same theme, this time expanding on the glory and importance of our differences in a collection of vivid and powerful essays:

“I hope that this book works a little like a ‘Wunderkammer’ [a cabinet of curiosities]. It is full of strange things and it is concerned with the quality of wonder…..Most of all I hope my work is about a thing that seems to me of the deepest possible importance in our present-day historical moment: finding ways to recognise and love difference. The attempt to see through eyes that are not your own. To understand that your way of looking at the world is not the only one. To think what it might mean to love those that are not like you. To rejoice in the complexity of things.”

Continue reading