Idea Chain

May 7, 2009 at 10:11 am | Posted in Book Blather | 6 Comments

Have you ever noticed that you’ll read something in one book that instantly reminds you of something you read in a different book shortly before?  For instance, a word you see only rarely stands out in your mind, but then it mysteriously pops up again in the next thing you pick up?  I know there is a name for this principle, whereby the more you notice things, the more you notice them.  (I just can’t think what it is).  Still, I think it’s interesting when it happens.

For instance, this week I read I Don’t Believe in Atheists, and then I started The Crow Road, which involves a long-standing argument between characters about… atheism!  I had no idea what the novel was about when I picked it up, because I avoid reading reviews or book jackets.

My man Rocket Scientist and I were sitting side by side on the couch reading a few months ago.  He asked me what a particular word meant.  I told him, and we went back to reading.  Three pages later, I encountered the same word in a different tense in my own book!  I showed it to him without comment, and he said, “No way!”

During the Read-a-Thon a few weeks ago, I found myself reading the phrase “He mustered relish” while eating a veggie hot dog with mustard and relish.

So I have two questions.  One, what is the best way to keep track of these funny reading coincidences?  And two, are they more likely or less likely to happen the more one reads?

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