Six Degrees of Separation – Wild Swans to Dreams of Joy

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Here we are, the start of another month, and another Six Degrees of Separation, a meme hosted by Books Are My Favorite and Best. Last month was the first month I participated in the meme, and I’m back for another go round! This month’s title is Wild Swans by Jung Chang, and looks to be a nonfiction account of one family’s life in Mao’s China. This looks like a compelling read, and I’ve added it to my TBR.

WildSwansCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than ten million copies sold around the world, now with a new introduction from the author. An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.

Let’s see which six books I come up with this month!   The first one’s a doo-sie (ha ha ha…). Since I haven’t read Wild Swans, I’m going to work off the title of the book, and since the title references swans, I’m headed towards a book club read that has a focus on geese.


Deep Doo-Doo by Sheri Graves: You’ve probably never heard of this book, but that’s okay! It’s a mystery, and it’s written by a local (to me) author, and is set in my hometown of Santa Rosa, California. Deep Doo-Doo is a reference to a goose march, with people and geese marching against foie gras, and geese end up loose all over the city. It’s not the greatest book, (it was actually my least favorite read of 2015) but the goose bits were entertaining! It was actually quite hilarious to think of a gaggle of geese being paraded through downtown Santa Rosa. It’s so funny because I could actually see this happening in my city. It’s always fun to read a book that is set in your hometown, which brings me to my next selection.


Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon: This book is set in the Sonoma Valley, which is right near where I live. While I didn’t care for the characters and a lot of the plot which dealt with time shifting between 1906 and 1975 San Francisco, the setting was done very well. The commune where a lot of the book takes place was called Greengage, after the plum, and fruit makes me think of my next selection.


Delta Girls by Gayle Brandeis: The tale of two girls, one a young figure skater, and the other a woman who works on a pear farm in California. I don’t recall much about this book other than that it seems to fit the criteria here and I don’t remember caring too much for it. It was a book I probably never would’ve picked up had it not been a book club read.


Thinking of the land and farming the land naturally leads me to The Grapes of Wrath, which actually ends up being another book club read for me! A beautiful novel, this important work is a favorite of mine, one I’ve re-read several times.


Another book that focuses on the land, and also is about China, is Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. This is on my re-read list, and someday I hope to be able to get to this book again.

And keeping in mind China, and the themes of our initial book Wild Swans, brings me to my next selection, Lisa See’s Dreams of Joy. I have a feeling this book will be on a lot of reader’s memes this month! Dreams of Joy is the sequel to Shanghai Girls (another loop back to Delta Girls due to similar titles, and Shanghai Girls was also a book club read), and it sends the reader to China during Mao’s Great Leap Forward. The series is an excellent, but harrowing read.

So there you have it! We started in China and ended in China, with a side trip to California. Since Wild Swans brought to mind so many book club reads, perhaps my group should read this one at some point!

***all Amazon links are affiliate links which means that if you click on the link and purchase something, then I receive a small commission***

Wild Swans    Amazon  |   Goodreads
Deep Doo-Doo    Amazon   |  Goodreads
Valley of the Moon   Amazon  |   Goodreads   |   my review
Delta Girls     Amazon  |   Goodreads
The Grapes of Wrath   Amazon |   Goodreads
The Good Earth   Amazon   |   Goodreads
Shanghai Girls   Amazon   |   Goodreads
Dreams of Joy   Amazon   |   Goodreads

Where will next month take me? Have you read any of these books? Where does Wild Swans take you?


5 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – Wild Swans to Dreams of Joy

  1. Ah I’ve wanted to read Wild Swans for ages too- a few friends have read it and recommended it to me. I love where you went with this- especially with Grapes of Wrath- which is such an incredible read!! That book truly is very beautiful. I’m really intrigued by the Shanghai Girls series too- especially since I’ve been meaning to read more on the subject. Excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

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