Book covers: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen; Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet; A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris; The Banana King by Rich Cohen; The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings; To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara; Hawaii by James Michener

6 Degrees of Separation

It’s time for another adventure in Kate’s 6 Degrees of Separation Meme from her blog, Books Are My Favourite and Best. We are given a book to start with, and from there we free associate six books.

This month’s starting point is Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run.

first degree

Another autobiographical work with a title that begins with the word born is Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet.

second degree

Another book with the word blue in the title is Michael Dorris’s novel A Yellow Raft in Blue Water

third degree

When you think about the color yellow, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it’s bananas. Rich Cohen’s book The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King tells the story of a man who got rich by harnessing the market on bananas:

[Samuel] Zemurray lived one of the great untold stories of the last hundred years. Starting with nothing but a cart of freckled bananas, he built a sprawling empire of banana cowboys, mercenary soldiers, Honduran peasants, CIA agents, and American statesmen. From hustling on the docks of New Orleans to overthrowing Central American governments and precipitating the bloody thirty-six-year Guatemalan civil war, the Banana Man lived a monumental and sometimes dastardly life.


fourth degree

Bananas are a fruit that’s yellow on the outside. Pineapples are a fruit that’s yellow on the inside. Pineapples were introduced to Hawaii in the 18th century and became a big cash crop when James Dole started a pineapple plantation there in 1900. The novel The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings is set in Hawaii:

Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors who came to the islands were financially and culturally progressive—one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners. But now his luck has changed.


fifth degree

Hanya Yanagihara’s 2022 novel To Paradise also features the history of Hawaii. The middle section of this three-part novel is set in 1993 and presents David, a young Hawaiian man living in Manhattan with his wealthy partner. Much of the content of this section involves a letter to David from his dying father, a descendant of Hawaiian royalty who believed that the kingdom of Hawaii would be restored.

sixth degree

My favorite book featuring Hawaii is James Michener’s 1959 novel titled, simply enough, Hawaii

After creating a thematic chain last month, I wanted to venture farther and wider with this month’s connections. This exercise has reminded me that I still hope to visit Hawaii sometime before I get too old to travel.

© 2023 by Mary Daniels Brown

9 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation”

  1. ooh, I love how you got yourself to Hawaii – intellectually if not physically, Mary.

    I have been to Hawaii but only a few days on Oahu en route to the USA from Australia in 1983. Would love to explore the other islands one day but whether I will is another thing.

  2. We are planning to visit Hawaii later this year! It has been on my must visit list for years! I did love reading the book Hawaii back in the day too!
    Enjoyed your chain.

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      Thanks, Marg. We really have no excuse for not visiting Hawaii, since we retired to the West Coast of the U.S. Maybe next fall . . .

    1. Mary Daniels Brown

      I agree about Michener, Mallika. When I was younger, I didn’t really appreciate the sections on what the place was like in prehistoric times. Now I relish them. I like to think that my world outlook has matured as I’ve gotten older! Thanks for your comment.

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