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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Literary Connections

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Literary Connections post so I’ve got quite a list for you today.

Literary Connections are those times when something you’ve read in one book comes into play in another book you read shortly after. I love those fortuitous finds – they never fail to make me smile. Here are the links I’ve found lately (the titles take you to my reviews) …
  • While reading Till We Have Faces I found a mention of Alcibiades. If I hadn’t read Tides of War, I’d have had no idea who he was.

  • Ines of My Soul begins during the final days of the reign of Juana la Loca, the Mad Queen of Spain. Juana’s presentation here is in contrast to the new look at her life presented in The Last Queen, I book I really loved.

  • While I was reading The Lightning Thief to Kiddo my in-the-car audio book was The Iliad. It gave me the background I needed (and couldn’t quite recall) to explain Greek mythology to Kiddo.

  • We're now in the middle of the 2nd Percy Jackson book, The Sea of Monsters. I recently finished listening to The Odyssey and this was the PERFECT complement to that book – the monsters in both books are the same!

  • In Cranford one character mentions the work of Ms. Edgeworth. I could be wrong but I think she’s referring to writer Maria Edgeworth, who I know of only because I read Castle Rackrent.

  • My current book club read is The Unlikely Disciple. I found out in the first chapter that the author worked as an intern for AJ Jacobs when he was writing The Year of Living Biblically – that book was already on my TBR list.

  • I'm reading Frankenstein (for the Dueling Monsters read-a-long) and there is a quote on the very first page about being fascinated with the polar regions. That same passage was quoted in the beginning of The Voyage of the Narwhal.

  • Near the end of A Thread of Grace one of the characters describes the disparity in the numbers of soldiers on each side of a skirmish as being "of Agincourt proportions" - and I knew what that meant only because I recently listened to a book called Agincourt.

Phew, that was a long list! It is fascinating to me – and I hope to some of you as well – the way my reading seems to overlap. I’m sure it has to do with the amount of books I’m reading lately because I don’t remember this happening before I started blogging. Or maybe it is that I am spending more time analyzing what I read and therefore it is sticking with me ... I can't say for sure.

Does this happen to anyone else? Does it fascinate you when it does happen, like it fascinates me?

13 comments:

debilyn said...

So interesting!! I'll need to start paying closer attention to the connections I make while reading, now.

Love your blog.

Heather J. said...

debilyn - Thanks for coming to say hi - welcome! I started keeping a little notebook in my purse to jot down this stuff - it's such fun. ;)

Off to check out your blog now ...

Amateur Reader said...

This is a necessary step in the study of literature. This is the study of literature.

Yes, the Ms. Edgeworth in Cranford is Maria Edgeworth. The reference is to Chapter 8 of Patronge (1814): "Lord Oldborough had sent his grace a note, written in his own hand, sealed with a wafer. The clerk, who was present when the note was received, said that the duke's face flushed violently, and that he flung the note immediately to his secretary, exclaiming, 'Open that, if you please, sir--I wonder how any man can have the impertinence to send me his spittle!'"

The joke being that the fashionable Cranford ladies base some of their herd behavior on novels.

Heather J. said...

Amateur Reader - Thanks for pointing out that reference! I have only read one of Edgeworth's works so I wasn't sure I made the correct connection. Much appreciated. :)

Goddess said...

Love finding connections. My book club alwasy looks at me like I have three heads when I point stuff out like that, so it is good to see someone else does it as well!

Britt said...

I love finding connections like that!!

Dreamybee said...

I love when that stuff happens! I always wonder if it's a total coincidence or if I set that stuff up myself by being on a roll with a certain type of book; although, I found a surprising amount of parallel themes in The Sparrow and The Gargoyle, and I don't necessarily think those two books were related in any way in my mind when I decided to read them.

Justin Narin said...

It is certainly fascinating, i think it possible for you to make the connections because you put in so much effort in enjoying the reading experience.


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Rebecca Reid said...

how fun! I love it when books I'm reading start connecting. I'm always reading a ton at once, so it often happens.

I was reading 1984 at the same time as Julius Caesar and the commentary for Julius Caesar referred to Caesar as Big Brother! Kind of fun to see that.

Heather J. said...

*** I'm so glad to know that it isn't just me who finds this stuff fun! ***

Beth F said...

I love this kind of thing! I especially love it when I pick up on subtle literary connections in movies and TV.

J.T. Oldfield said...

what a fun post! I'm always finding these sorts of things (and yet can't think of any offhand).

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I like your list of Literary Connections! To answer your question - yes! When an author (or character) mentions a book, book group, book store, reading habit, etc., it jumps right out at me. I especially like it when they don't seem forced, but are woven into the story naturally.

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