April 24, 2008

When Books Collide

In addition to having far too many projects on the needles right now, I also have far too many books on my bedside table, where all BIPs (books in progress) hang out. Recently though, in addition to my two classics (The Count of Monte Cristo and Kristin Lavransdattar), my trashy mystery (an interior decorator solves crime), and my spiritual tome (God in the Flesh), I have three non-fiction books a-going. In these three, a weird, cosmic book coincidence has decreed that all my books are dealing with the same idea. And, in an even more prescient coincidence, an idea that resonates with the current election climate.

I've been reading Land of Lincoln, by Andrew Ferguson, a book that deals with just how Americans feel about Abraham Lincoln. Then, I started A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans by Michael Farquhar, whose previous treasuries I've loved, and mid-way through I run into a stack of characters related to the Civil War. Last night, I started Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz, a funny and disturbing portrait of those still fighting the "War Between the States." I didn't try to hone in on a single topic in my reading, but somehow, in the midst of the Obama campaign, I found myself immersed in what Americans have felt, and still feel, about the Civil War and the Great Emancipator.

Honestly, I'm glad I stumbled into this reading collision--I'm planning to keep alternating my way through the books, and hopefully I'll gain perspective and insight. One thing I've learned already is just how isolated I am (we are?) out here in the west from this issue. I've also learned just how much fun it is when you read about someone you just read about in another book an hour ago. Have you ever had a book collision?

1 comment:

Dear Ol' Dad said...

Well I am not sure my books are colliding but I do have several going at one time. Maybe you picked up a genetic trait. Let's see, on the fiction side there is the interior designer mystery (second in series-your welcome), the plucky 1910 Irish immigrant girl solving a murder at Ellis Island, C. J. Box's new non Joe Pickett novel. Then we have the spiritual tome--Water From A Deep Well--basically devotional stuff over the centuries. And for non-fiction, The Last Hard Time about the dust bowl in southern Great Plains of the 1930's and finally the long term read thru Ulysses Grant's Memoirs (your 1st cousin, 6times removed)--long considered the best first hand account of the Civil War. Some might say "why not read one book at a time", to which I reply "what's the fun in that" and there would be no book collisions.