Some months ago I spoke about changing the directions of this blog. Still focusing on books, but more on the connections between books and the things I learned. This post is about the connections between the books I have recently finished and am currently reading.
I started the year finishing off my re-read of Julia Spencer-Fleming’s books I Shall Not Want and One Was a Soldier. Those books are like a big steaming mug of tea for me…total comfort. I’ve also started a new crime series, the White House Chef series by Julie Hyzy. So far I have managed the first two books (State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef) and I have the third (Eggsecutive Orders) on my Kindle. I’ve also read Mästerdetektiven Blomqvist by Astrid Lindgren which is a cozy mystery for children. In it a character from my final fiction book, Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayer, makes a brief cameo as the young detective ponders what Lord Peter Wimsey would do in the situation.
So far my book choices have been connected by a common genre, mysteries, cozies even. None of the sleuths are professional sleuths. They all rather meddle in things that are none of their business. Or possibly only their business tangentially.
There are however connections to some of the non-fiction books I have read and am currently reading. The first two connections are quite easy to see, I’ve read a biography about Astrid Lindgren by Margareta Strömsted. Lindgren was of course the author of Mästerdetektiven Blomqvist* and the biography showed how Lindgren’s childhood environments influenced her writing, so one could see parts of her childhood in the books.. My second non-fiction book was a book titled Astrid Lindgren and Christianity by Werner Fischer-Nielsen. Again the connection here is obvious. Although I didn’t quite buy the thesis in this book it did give me some interesting thoughts, and I did like that Fischer-Nielsen focused on one of my favourite characters, Madicken. My final non-fiction book is the one I am currently finishing and it a way it has a connection to several of the books mentioned. The book is Hatar Gud bögar? (Does God Hate Gays?) by Lars Gårdfeldt, and is a book highlighting how, primarily, churches have treated the GLBT community, and how this community is trying to find a place within the church. It is a very interesting book and I hope to review it in the next week or so. You can of course see how it is connected to the previous mentioned non-fiction book, however it also has a connection to one of the specific works of fiction as well as the whole series of books. That book is I Shall Not Want. At one point in the book the following exchange takes place:
The boy pushed his overgrown bangs away from his face. “Under protest. Organized religion is a tool of the capitalist machine.”
“He’s taking a summer AP course in Marxism-Leninism,” Dr. Anne said. “God help us all.”
Clare handed the teen her overloaded key ring and Thermos of coffee. “Would you open up for me, Colin? And drop this in my office?”
He took the jangle of keys. “Why not? I’m only a member of the proletariat, crushed by the oppressive boot heels of history. Want me to light the candles, too?”
“Thanks.” Clare turned to his mother. “Remind me to give him some books on liberation theology.” (250-251)
It is the last sentence that connects the two books, as Gårdfeldt bases much of his argument on liberation theology. I had not heard about this movement prior to reading I Shall Not Want and I was geekily excited when I realized how the two were connected. Gårdfeldt’s book is also connected to a previous book in the series in that, as A Fountain Filled with Blood is in a large part about gay bashing and the rights of GLBT individuals to marry and live their life free of fear.
Most of the books also have a common theme of acceptance and helping those less fortunate in them. All the books manage to make this point without banging you over the head with it. Yes some of them are more obvious in this theme but they aren’t annoying about it.
I’m very happy with the books I’ve read so far this year, and I love the fact that there are so many interesting and thought provoking connections. Although I’ve always seen connections between what I am reading and what I have read before, by highlighting the connections through the blog I feel that I am getting deeper into the books. I am seeing them in a new light.