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  • A mention of the urban myth regarding why our fingertips prune in water (something about an outdated evolutionary strategy for gripping underwater) in The Body by Bill Bryson and Humiliation: Stories by Paulina Flores.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.

12 responses

  1. I love these posts and am pleased to be warned of pelican bludgeoning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Both were asides and not described in detail. Still, a bizarre thing to find one right after the other.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 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

    1. Ha! Well, there is always that danger unless you keep the Aga on low and remember to go back and check. The Cynan Jones was so dark that I wouldn’t have been surprised if that happened.


  3. 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

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy them! Sometimes I think I’m spouting off and no one is listening.


  4. Huckleberry Hound was American. 😉


  5. Dammit, I had one of these the other day and now I’ve forgotten what it was! Grrrr.


    1. Tell me what it was when you remember 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 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

  7. […] included some of the landmarks, including Three Cranes, that were in “Mudlarking” (Bookish Beck collects synchronicity in the books she reads and I’ve been happy to notice some this month […]


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