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Friday, August 30, 2019

Bookonnection

bookonnection: a phenomenon frequently occurring for avid readers when they discover a passage that connects them back to an earlier beloved book. The new passage can be of any length and often assists the receptive reader to re-experience anew the magic of the earlier book. 

Although my experience with bookonnection pre-dates the book club of two that a reading soulmate and I began in 2015, while recently discussing the Sebastian Faulks novel Birdsong (1993) with her, I decided a neologism was now necessary. Each time the two of us meet to discuss a book, the air gets charged with these reading-induced synaptic sparks. The bookonnections this time included ...

* When Faulks recounts the claustrophobic work done by English soldiers/miners in World War I - digging tunnels beneath the German trenches - I was transported back to the first half of Emma Donoghue's harrowing and brilliant 2010 novel Room. Each book so masterfully depicts a closed-in world that my breath grew a little shallow as I read.

* In one excruciating passage, a secondary character in Birdsong tries in vain to convey to his father the horrors he has endured on the front; his father changes the subject. That scene connected me to a single three page sentence from the stunning Yellow Birds (2012) by Kevin Powers. Different wars but a striking similarity in how the authors relate the inadequacy of words to describe combat as well as the cluelessness of non-combatants.

* Near the end of Anthony Marra's masterpiece A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena (2014), a doomed character rejoices in the knowledge that his daughter is alive. His life is about to end but he joyously screams his daughter's name to his captors. Near the end of Birdsong, a similarly doomed man speaks movingly of his love for his son. Uncovering this bookonnection during that recent book discussion - and re-experiencing the intense pleasure of Marra's book - was restorative.

I would love to hear about your most recent bookonnection. Please?

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