Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Book Thoughts: Book Connections
Do you ever read a book and are amazed at how it connects to another totally unrelated book you've read?
This happened to me while I was reading The Gene. There is a section in the book discussing sexuality and the search for the "gay gene." The author, in explaining outdated ideas about homosexuality, references a book written by a psychiatrist in the 1960s in which that author "proposed that male homosexuality was caused by the distorted dynamics of the family" in particular a smothering mother* and distant father. This antiquated idea immediately made me think of Strangers on a Train which I read earlier this year.
In Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith, a man decides to murder the wife of a stranger he just met on the train. This man becomes obsessed with the other passenger. He dreams of them being together. He hates women, all except his mother who he is creepily attached to. And he wants to have his father killed. I wondered why Highsmith kept harping on this mother/father dynamic. I vaguely recalled that this was a thing during that era but had no idea why people believed it. I don't think Strangers could be written this way today. At least I hope not. I think readers would find this trope old fashioned and outdated. I did anyway.
Of course that made me think of all the beliefs discussed throughout The Gene. At one point, people thought that men's sperm contained a tiny man and that women just grew them in the womb, like geraniums. (I have so many questions for these people.) They were positive this was how it was done. That made me remember a book I haven't finished yet: But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman proposes that every single scientific idea we have today could be completely wrong- even gravity! In a few hundred years people will be laughing at the beliefs we have today. Maybe even sooner.
So, two unrelated books jumped to mind while reading The Gene. I'm sure for someone else, it would be different books. The more you read the more connections you can make to just about every new book you come across. What's interesting is how those connections are made without even trying to make them.
Has this happened to you recently?
*The 20th Century was definitely the "Blame Your Mom for Everything" era.