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Six Degrees of Separation: Wild Card Month!

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly book meme hosted by Books Are My Best and Favorite. A chain of 6 books is linked somehow–whether to all books or only to the one before it. A common book is given each month with which to start the chain.

This month is a wild card – start with the book you’ve ended a previous chain with, and continue from there.

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It says a book you’ve ended A previous chain–not THE previous chain! Decisions! I finally settled on Travelers: A Novel by Helon Habila which ended my April 2020 chain. You can read my review here.

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1.One of the main characters in Travelers is Nigerian, that immediately brought to mind the books of Buchi Emacheta an immigrant who wrote about the immigrant experience in London. I read most of her books in 1992–1994 after returning home from Peace Corps. I remember them fondly.

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2. A book that combines the Black London experience with West Africa is Swing Time–my favorite of Zadie Smith’s books. My review is here. Combining the experience of the have nots with that of the 1% this novel gives us a view of the backside of a Princess Di or Madaonna or any other A-list celebrity charity events in an impoverished nation.

3. A big name can do a lot for a small place. The 3rd Baron Glenconner did that for a little island called Mustique, bringing tourists and money to the area–if not to that exact island. Two books (counted as one) tell this story. Sometimes, the islanders have the last laugh–though I am sorry for Anne Glenconner. My review of Lady in Waiting is here. After reading these two books (I have not reviewed Lord of the Isle yet) I understood why Princess Margaret’s son immediately sold the her house and moved to Provence!

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4.  A tiny, tropical nation still requires diplomats to live there and diplomats generally bring their wives. Marriages have their ups and downs. Countries have their ups and downs. Racism and colonialism are like a disease in most places. What happens when the malaise of a long-time marriage meets the discontent of lingering colonialism? White Woman on a Green Bicycle. My review is here.

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5.  The diplomats, even from former colonial powers, sometimes get a little too friendly with the locals. I’m not sure why, but when reading this I kept picturing the younger diplomat as Prince William of Gloucester who served in the British Embassy in Nigeria for a few years!  William Boyd’s A Good Man for Africa-the movie was pretty good, too.

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6. Americans can be so clueless! Reading this story of an American diplomat and his daughter in Nazi Berlin made me cringe at times. In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson. My review is here.

But, we’ve gone full circle–back to Berlin, back to an immigrant experience of sorts. Diplomats are not, of course, immigrants, but they do have to acculturate.

In December we start with

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Prince William of Gloucester at his desk in Lagos.

18 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Wild Card Month!

  1. Huh! I missed that she said A and not THE. I just assumed it was THE last book on the previous meme… no matter. I think I did okay with it anyway. Got me to some books I might not have gotten to otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your immigrant and diplomat themes this month! I haven’t read any of the books or authors in your chain, but I’ve been meaning to read something by Zadie Smith for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an interesting and unusual chain. I am especially keen to read Second Class Citizen – the picture on the front reminds me so much of the houses I could see from the train taking me to and from the suburbs into central London as a child. In those days many immigrants lived in those run down areas – Brixton, New Cross, Camberwell. My father grew up in New Cross and his mother lived on one floor of such a house, with no indoor bathroom, until she died. A few years ago I was in the area, and walked along her very road – of course it had changed quite a bit. Now most of these places have been largely gentrified, like any area within easy reach of the city.

    White Woman on a Green Bicycle also sounds good, and is another title I’d never heard of.

    My husband loves William Boyd’s writing and was just talking about him the other day. I really should read some of his novels, and this one looks interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy them all. Gentrification is the same here. The poor take 2 hours of trains, buses, etc into Chicago or where-ever for a minimum wage job thanks to it. In San Francisco teachers and firemen and the like honestly cannot afford to live there–they have to have help paying to live within the city it’s so bad.

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