Book Connections ...

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So the "Burke" (by Vachss) novels inspired me to buy a Judy Henske CD, which led to me buying a Mickey Newbury CD (even though I didn't like most of the Burke books) and I am happy about those connections.

And when I read The Natural I was led to Sometimes You See It Coming (Baker) because both were about baseball. And then I read Dreamland because it was by Baker, which talked about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which led me to read Triangle: The Fire That Changed America (David Von Drehle). And there was a reference to the sinking of the General Slocum, which has led to Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamship General Slocum (Edward T. O'Donnell). (And The Natural also led to You Gotta Have Wa and Squeeze Play, both of which dealt with baseball.)

Likewise, The Devil in the White City (Erik Larson) led to City of Light (Lauren Belfer) because they dealt with expositions/world fairs, which somehow led to The Alienist (Caleb Carr), though I can't remember why, except maybe the time periods and mystery-aspects of both.

I'm Passing Open Windows (Ms Laura), Saturday, 20 March 2004 08:59 (seventeen years ago) link

What's also cool is when you start to investigate a whole constellation of writers all at once, only to find that they're all fans of each other or related in some way. For example, I started to read Guy Davenport at around the same time I started to read Wendell Berry, and there they were in each other's books, quoting each other. Or a philosophy-of-rhetoric book I had to read for a paper in college ended up citing all sorts of writers I had just begun to investigate: Kenneth Burke, Alastair Macyntire (sp?), John Gardner, R.G. Collingwood ... I started looking into Neil Postman at the same time I first read Jacques Ellul, and found that Postman'd been strongly influenced by Ellul. None of this was planned.

This has happened for me several times. It gives you a nice, the-universe-is-connected effect.

Phil Christman, Saturday, 20 March 2004 17:38 (seventeen years ago) link

One of the great joys of reading non-fiction, I find, is the bibliography, or the chapter end-notes. I will often go there first to look for references from other author's I've enjoyed, and will often pick my next thread from the bibliography of a book I've really gotten into. recent faves include 'the Metaphysical Club', by Louis Menand; 'Imagining Numbers', by Barry Mazur; and my all time favorite 'Kant and the Platypus', by Umberto Eco. many strings to follow.

Docpacey (docpacey), Wednesday, 24 March 2004 00:17 (seventeen years ago) link

Out in orbit (on potent psychotropic substances) years ago, I had an epiphany that went a little something like this:

"Dudes... listen to this. I just... I just realized that, like, all books are connected. One book mentions something that happened in another book or... [scratching head] You'll see a coincidence. Like... Like you're reading something and suddenly say to yourself 'Whoa. I already read something like this somewhere in another book I read.' Because [meshing fingers together] it's all connected... [Gesturing towards heaven] Like the stars, man. Yeaaahhh... It's all one."

Unfortunately, I forgot what the hell I was talking about the next day. I had that feeling like when an angel tells you the meaning of life and then you forget it. Like you might have been onto something huge but your tiny brain can't really process/posess it.

Vermont Girl (Vermont Girl), Wednesday, 24 March 2004 14:01 (seventeen years ago) link

I think it's a great way to form a literary trail. The more abstract the reference, the better.

I read a lot of travel books and I love to read accounts of the same region / country from the perspective of 19th century imperial explorers and their modern equivalents. That's an example, obviously, not an absolute.

Mikey G (Mikey G), Wednesday, 24 March 2004 14:10 (seventeen years ago) link

I read Simon Winchester's The Map That Changed the World while on holidays in New Zealand. Joseph Banks was mentioned as a prominent figure in the book. After visiting Banks' Peninsula, I wondered if it was the same guy and decided to get a biography of him. I found one by Patrick O'Brian. And it's been high jinks on the high seas from there on out. Bless you, Joseph Banks, you gout-ridden old dog.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Wednesday, 24 March 2004 14:57 (seventeen years ago) link

seventeen years pass...

(i think we've discussed the homogenisation of book covers somewhere and someone on twitter recently said it might be because covers are usually now seen an inch high on amazon.com and have to be obvious at that size but this feels different. even the way that some of the white text occluded by the picture is the same)

koogs, Friday, 1 October 2021 16:47 (two weeks ago) link

I picked up Ringolevio by Emmett Grogan because it had a similar cover to Henri Charriere's Banco and Papillon so it seems that some publishing houses at least had some design themes for genres. I think both were classed under crime at the time, this being like a late 60s or early 70s release of both.
Think it may have just been chance what I was seeing at the time since both turned up in charity or cheap bookshops in Dublin in the early 90s. But I think both were same publishing house releases at roughly the same time.
Good find anyway since i don't think I'd heard of the book before. Not sure how much it turns up in histories of teh San Francisco music scene . A lot of his ideas got nicked for Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book though which he talks about in the book.

Stevolende, Friday, 1 October 2021 17:27 (two weeks ago) link


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