Monday, June 23, 2014

My Infinite Book Loop

At any given time I have a book (or four) that I'm reading. I'm an author, so there are the books for research, and I'm a librarian, so books for book clubs, and I just like to read. However, this month I had a rare occurrence where the messages in my books all reinforced one another. When I realized it was happening, I got so excited that I gave it a name: The Infinite Book Loop

First, the books:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratley

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

And now the awesomeness of the Infinite Book Loop:

Quiet is a book about the importance of valuing introverts and making space for them in a place like the United States, which rewards extroverts. Cain doesn't make the case that introverts are better, but that introverts are better at some things, things the United States needs as a country to thrive, things like perseverance, long-term thinking, and creativity. One of the examples Cain uses is the TIMSS (Trends in International Math and Science Study) test. Countries that place a higher value on introverted traits (concentration, individual study, quiet) do better on the TIMSS test than countries that place a higher value on extroverted traits (quick decision making, teamwork, group projects).

Obviously this is not all there is to doing well on the TIMSS test as I'm learning in Spark. The authors of Spark write a lot about Naperville, Illinois where a new way of teaching physical education prepares students to better learn and those Naperville kids do as well or better on the TIMSS test than kids from countries like Singapore. Physical fitness, they argue, prepares our mind to learn and process what we are learning. It helps us control our body chemistry, staving off depression, helping to control ADHD, and calming anxiety. As running is the best thing I can do for my writing, I believe this wholeheartedly.

So, we have Spark and Quiet circling the lessons of the other book. What about Fangirl? Well, Fangirl is the story of Cath, an introvert starting her first year of college. It's hard for Cath and that's a bit of an understatement. Cath is a perfect case study of the introverts Susan Cain writes about in Quiet. Cath writes fan-fiction and while she's not good at making friends, she's incredibly popular online. To close the Infinite Book Loop, Cath's dad is manic-depressive. He self-medicates by running. Bam! Fangirl loops back to Spark.

Thinking I'm reading (hah!) too much into this? Maybe. Probably. But it was a fun connection to make between books on seemingly different subjects and in different genres. If you've not read the books, I recommend them all.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been reading a bunch of books and had the themes in them all point to one another? If so, what were the books?


Mary Preston said...

I can't say that I have noticed this with my reading. Not unintentionally at least. I will often seek out books from a certain period in history.

Unknown said...

Mary, I do that sometimes. I've gone through some fun time periods that way.

Unknown said...

Mary, I do that sometimes. I've gone through some fun time periods that way.

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