Every book has something in common with every other book, or does it? When I recap my reading for the month, I try to find connections between what I’ve read so I challenge myself to find a link to the book I read before and the book I’ll read next. Below are the 11 books I read in March and the segues I found:
Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Both of these books have a mother who isn’t being truthful about the identity of her child’s father.
Winter by Ali Smith
Both books feature women telling stories in short bursts. In Winter, Charlotte hacks into Art’s Twitter account and sends fake messages to the world and in this collection of flash fiction, the character Lydia Davis is also sharing her thoughts in snippets.
Can’t and Won’t: Stories by Lydia Davis
Some of these stories show how the fictional Lydia Davis rejects the perspective or the reality that the world projects – like when she writes letters to companies challenging their claims, and showing how she can prove what she thinks instead, it’s like her saying I’m not blind. Which contrasts with these characters who have been blinded and so have to accept whatever society says “…blindness is to live in a world where all hope is gone” p.209 whereas Lydia always has hope.
Both of these are translated works of fiction – Blindness from Portuguese and Lost Child from Italian.
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
Both of these have a political revolution brewing in the background of personal relationships. Ferrante writes about the Italian experience of fascism during the early 1980s and Roy writes about Marxism and a workers’ protest in 1969.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Both of these plots are based on a child character dying and how the death impacts the other people around them.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Both of these include a fictional depiction of a real president – one of President Lincoln in the US and one of President Indira Gandhi in India
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Both of these are about children examining their parents choices and while they are intent on repeating their parents’ mistakes, finding themselves unable to escape some of the generational curses.
Surrender My Heart by L G O’Connor
Both of these have main characters that are functional alcoholics. In Surrender, it’s John the police officer who goes right up to the legal limit before he drives. In LaRose, it’s Landreaux and Romeo and many other Indians who use alcohol and drugs to deal with their problems but whose abuse often causes more problems than it helps.
LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Both of these novels are written to encompass the local language – LaRose has the Ojibwe language and Brief History includes lots of Jamaican dialect.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
And of course Brief History and Stay With Me are both set in third world countries around the time of government elections and discuss some of the corruption that exists in that political world.
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Click to watch my March recap on Youtube