Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Coincidences


A quick post today, because inspiration is not hitting... on the topic of reading coincidences (with a completely unrelated picture of a pretty building I saw in Paris). I've just started a novel where a woman lives in a hut in the wood. And I've also lent my housemate a different novel where a woman lives in a hut in the wood. It's probably not the most important aspect of either novel, but it comes to the fore because of this coincidence.

Do you find this? Something in a novel will call out, because it also happened in another novel? Small details cross over... I remember reading Late and Soon by EM Delafield quite soon after Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton - both of them feature a woman whose Chinese shawl is repeatedly caught in her chair. I thought perhaps this nuisance plagued the first half of the twentieth century, but I haven't come across it again... More bizarrely, a couple of years ago I read two books close to each other where women killed themselves by deliberately driving their cars into trees. Shan't tell you which ones, as it would rather spoil them...

Has this happened to you? Details please! Or am I alone in these strange criss-crossings and overlappings between books? Surely not...

13 comments:

  1. I sometimes have to flip back to look at the front of the book I'm reading, thinking I've mistakenly picked up the book I've just finished because of strange coincidences like this. Of course, right now I can't for the life of me remember any but I can see myself checking the title of the book as clear as a bell.

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  2. This has happened to me quite a lot. The one that sticks in my mind is reading in Tom Wolfe's enormous and enormously popular I am Charlotte Simmons about a "Kaypro" computer only to have the very next book I read If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now by Sandra Tsing Loh mention the same darn brand of computer.

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  3. A very simple instance of this happened to me last year. I read Memento Mori (Muriel Spark) last year and picked up my next book, Creepers (Joanne Dahme), only to find a hand-drawn map inside the cover that shows the new home a family has just moved in to -- next door to a cemetery. The name of the cemetery? Memento Mori. It was really strange.

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  4. Recently I ordered 'The Rapture' by Liz Jensen, which is all about climate change. About 2 days later, I read a review on a book blog, which was also about climate change. Not exactly a weird coincidence, but a coincidence nonetheless.

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  5. One year (a few years ago) I somehow read THREE books that featured fraternal twins having sex with each other. I had no idea at all going into the books. Very very weird.

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  6. Oh Marieke - how did I not mention that - somehow I keep reading twincest books, without meaning to. I think I'm on four or five now...

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  7. I'm drawing a blank at the moment but Kristen M's reading coincidence is really spooky!

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  8. Oo, I bet I know at least one of the woman-driving-car-into-tree books. Or, well, anyway, I can think of a book that ends with a woman driving her car into a tree, and it's one that book bloggers seem to like. :)

    What I always notice is that when I learn about something new, I suddenly encounter it everywhere. I started reading a nonfiction book about Germans trying to win the Muslim world to their side in the lead-up to World War I; and straightaway it was mentioned in one book I was reading, and formed a major plot point in another. Weird.

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  9. I've just read a book ..'A Long, Long Time Ago & Essentially True' by Brigid Pasulka where the main characters nickname was 'Baba Yaga'. I'd not heard of this name before (a witch in Slavic folklore apparently). The next book I read was Angela Carter's Fairytales .. one of the short stories in that was called 'Baba Yaga' and I've since followed it with David Benioff's 'City of Thieves' .. where the name was mentioned again. I'm a bit scared to open my next book incase she's there!

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  10. I'm like Kristen, I know this has happened to me more than once, but can't think of too many off the top of my head. Oh! Having recently watched Julie and Julia and picked up Julia Child's My Life in France, I'm actually reading The Debt to Pleasure for the Cornflower group, and came across this quote in the preface that made me laugh out loud, "One could name here any of the works of which my Provencal (English) neighbor (now dead) used to say: 'I love cookbooks - d'you know, I read them like novels!'"
    So, I guess I'm getting inundated with Julia Child everywhere I turn at the moment.

    Isn't this sort of like learning a new word? Once you learn it, you start seeing it/hearing it everywhere.

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  11. Sorry to lower the tone, but you only have to look at the black covers to know that once you've read say Twilight, that the others will all seem strangely familiar!

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  12. On a similar theme, I once chose two library books at random with totally different plots, and it was only after reading them that I realised one was called 'A Day to Remember' and the other 'A Night to Remember'. Spooky!

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  13. This does happen to me, but I can't think of an example off hand. I loved Family Roundabout and had a great laugh at exactly that scene!

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