Final Book Serendipity Incidents to Close Out 2019

Just a short post this time. I call it serendipitous when two or more books that I’m reading at the same time or in quick succession have something pretty bizarre in common. Because I have so many books on the go at once – usually between 10 and 20 – I guess I’m more prone to such incidents. I post these occasional reading coincidences on Twitter. What’s the weirdest one you’ve had lately? (The following are in rough chronological order.)


[Previous 2019 Book Serendipity posts covered April, July and October.]

 

  • Characters sit for a portrait in The Confession by Jessie Burton and The Hoarder by Jess Kidd.

 

  • An obsession with saints in Fifth Business by Robertson Davies and The Hoarder by Jess Kidd.
  • A mention of the urban myth regarding why our fingertips prune in water (something about an outdated evolutionary strategy for gripping underwater) in The Body by Bill Bryson and Humiliation: Stories by Paulina Flores.

 

  • Memories of childhood trips to Martha’s Vineyard in Chances Are by Richard Russo and The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall.

 

  • The River Thames is the setting for Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem and Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield.
  • Mentions of pelicans being clubbed to death in God Unbound: Theology in the Wild by Brian McLaren and Autumn Across America by Edwin Way Teale.

 

  • A character who speaks and writes backwards words in The Poisonwood Bible and The Robber Bride.

 

  • Epigraphs containing folk names for the hare, and soon enough a dead hare, in Ring the Hill by Tom Cox and Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley.
  • An unexpected THIRD set of conjoined twins encountered this year (after Cutting for Stone and The Girls) in Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie Macdonald.

 

  • The song “Oh My Darling, Clementine” is quoted in The Robber Bride and Fall on Your Knees.

 

  • Warming an orphaned lamb in a low oven in Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood and The Dig by Cynan Jones.

 

  • A character is presumed incapable of laughter in Agatha by Anne Cathrine Bomann and Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken.
  • Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping is mentioned in The River Capture by Mary Costello and Surrender by Joanna Pocock.

11 thoughts on “Final Book Serendipity Incidents to Close Out 2019

  1. the chances of my finding serendipity are significantly reduced because I don’t read as many books simultaneously as you do ! The lamb warming in the oven got me – for a moment I thought it meant the lamb was being cooked…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting (but probably only coincidental and of no import) that both authors to mention My Darling Clementine are Canadian. My siblings and I sang that often, growing up. Of course, so did Huckleberry Hound. 😉

    I love these posts – thanks so much for putting this together for our reading pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve got one at last! and I’ve come and hunted down this post to tell you. I just read Harold Nicholson’s “Journey to Java” (1957) followed by Sarah Henshaw’s “The Bookshop that Floated Away” (2014) and even reviewed them together, and it was only when I went to put them on my 2020 reading spreadsheet that I realised they were published by the same publisher – Constable.

    Liked by 1 person

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