I picked up Laurence Yep’s Newbery Honor book, Dragonwings, and the first few pages made me think of Frank Chin’s Donald Duk, which in turn made me think of Maxine Hong Kingston’s China Men. All three are about the lives of Chinese men who came to the US between the early 1800s and the late 1960s. All three mix mythology with history, fiction with fact. All three use San Francisco as a locus for key events. I know that once I finish the first in this triptych, I’ll turn immediately to the second and then straight on to the third.
Then I remembered another trio of books that go together: Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran, and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. And then another: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter, Ann Weisbarger’s Personal History of Rachel Dupree, and O E Rølvaag’s Giants in the Earth. And another: L M Boston’s The Children of Green Knowe, Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead.
There must be hundreds more of these linked books — including quartets, quintets, and on up the cardinal ladder. If you can think of any, please list them in a comment.
And now for my apology: William Tenn’s short story “Time in Advance” is about a future world where, if you’re willing to serve prison time BEFORE you commit the crime (on a hellish planet, but with a 50% pre-crime discount!), you can come back and do the evil deed with no fear of punishment. The story’s hero arrives on earth after doing pre-crime time for murder, but no one knows who his intended victim is. Watch everyone scramble whenever he enters a room. As Montgomery Burns likes to say, “Excellent.”
So I’m apologizing in advance for an as-yet uncommitted offense: This blog will be going silent, mostly, for the next few weeks. I’ll do what I can to keep it relatively active, but don’t expect more than a post every week or so. I’ve put too much on my plate and need to clear some space, which could take a month, perhaps even more. And then there’s NaNoWriMo to prep for.