6 Degrees of Separation: From Fever Pitch to My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You

It’s time for another round of 6 Degrees, hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. A very complicated spider chart was scrawled in my notebook in the planning stages of this post. I’m not going to lie: it was the most fun I’ve had in ages.

This month, we start with Nick Hornby’s memoir of supporting Arsenal, Fever Pitch, which also happens to be one of my favourite books. If you’re interested in knowing why, I wrote this post about it last year. For my first link, I’m heading to another of Hornby’s books – and, in fact, another favourite of mine – High Fidelity, which shares lots of Fever Pitch’s concerns with masculinity and obsession, but transfers these ideas to music, with Rob, its protagonist, owning a record shop.

Another book in which record shops play an important part is Nikesh Shukla’s Coconut Unlimited, which I read earlier this year and loved. It’s about three Asian teenage boys who start their own reasonably terrible hip-hop collective; it’s a very warm and funny book and I recommend it. The boys spend much of their time browsing the latest rap releases in London’s record shops, and there’s my link.

Nikesh Shukla also edited the recent anthology, The Good Immigrant, which features essays from BAME writers on the immigrant experience, race and prejudice. It’s a brilliant book and one that’s so timely right now. A memorable piece from the collection is by Riz Ahmed, who you might know from the TV show The Night Of as well as his roles in Rogue One and Four Lions; he recounts the experiences of traveling to the USA as an Asian actor with stamps from Iran and Afghanistan on his passport. It’s a terrible injustice but one which he handles with humour and grace.

Another book which is concerned with prejudice is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, which I assume every sensible person on the planet has read. Her main character begins the book as the author of a blog that’s essentially about the stupid things white people say. I love Adichie; she is my literary hero.

Blogging takes me to my next link: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. This YA novel, which came out in 2016, is about friendship, religion and grief, but also features a character with a fashion blog; it’s one of those fictional blogs with about a gazillion readers which I read about and feel inadequate, but the character has great taste in music so I’m prepared to admit her blog is probably good too.

The Serpent King is set in Nashville, which leads me to my final link. My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You by Kathi Kamen Goldmark is an obscure novel I picked up in 2010, when I was looking forward to a trip to Nashville as part of my honeymoon; I like to read books set in the places I visit, and it was quite tricky to find any for the home of country. Luckily, this one covers both the city and the music. I don’t remember it that well but I do remember that it was fun and an easy read, as well as featuring some brilliant pretend song titles, like My Baby Used to Hold Me (Now He’s Putting Me On Hold).

As always, this was fun; thanks to Kate for hosting. If you’ve joined in this month, or have read any of the books I’ve linked to, please let me know in the comments.

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8 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: From Fever Pitch to My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You

  1. Margaret @ BooksPlease says:

    I wondered about linking to High Fidelity (which I have) but as I haven’t read it, I didn’t. I haven’t read Fever Pitch either, so it’s good to know you enjoyed them both. Oh dear, I haven’t read Americanah, although I have read Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun – loved both of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate W says:

    A complicated spider chart and the most fun you’ve had in ages makes me very, very happy indeed.

    To be honest, I love High Fidelity the most of all of his books, simply for the music element (can’t help loving records more than soccer balls…). Have you read Hornby’s 31 Songs? It’s kind of a memoir with songs. The year it was released I gave a copy to my brother (who is a keen song writer) along with a blank journal, and suggested he write his own stories about influential songs. It turned out to be quite a project and although he kept the results to himself, my brother and I had lots of discussions about our “Top 5/ 10 Songs” for various occasions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Katy Goodwin-Bates says:

      Both Fever Pitch and High Fidelity are hugely formative books for me: I fell in love with both music and football at the age of 13 and Hornby always seemed able to write exactly what I felt. I have read 31 Songs, as it happens; I’ve given the essay on Ben Folds Five’s Smoke to my students before and forced them to write about the songs they love. Sadly, it mainly produced essays about Justin Bieber. Hornby and Ben Folds collaborated on an album too – I think Hornby wrote the lyrics. I am a bit obsessed with him, I think it’s time to admit!

      Like

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