Lori's Book Nook

“Literary Soup” Literature

Posted on: October 27, 2008

I’m in the middle of two books, and suddenly I feel like I’m reading one of those artsy-fartsy double features at your local, non-mainstream movie house. You know the ones, where there is a connection between the films, and it is your job as the audience to find it.

The most obscure one I ever came across was where the only link was an ice cream cone in each film. The most delightful was Robert LePage’s Le Confessional (1995) shown with Hitchcock’s I Confess (1953).

So, back to books.

I’m reading two books right now:

While both books are utterly different in plot, character, setting, and genre they have in common a wonderful bookyness to them…they are both a literary soup of references that verge on the border of being overwhelming, but instead are almost inspiring in their bibliophilia.

Two different books, two utterly different characters, but both texts are littered with pop culture:

Eco, being a semiologist, does not really surprise us in this. His other books have been thick with historical references, illuminating his amazing well-readness. This time however, it is a plot point, as our protagonist is an older man suffering from amnesia who uses the books of his lifetime to rebuild his lifeline. The references this time are both classical and current, albeit the focus of the current is on Italian modern history and corresponding pop culture.

Pessl, a young woman writing her first novel, holds her own in general bookyness in comparison to the towering Eco. The character, Blue van der Meer, is not quite 18 but is an astoundingly well-read genius, being the daughter of a rather eccentric, nomadic, genius professor father. As she navigates the teen hell of a yet another new school, her every thought is a literary or pop culture reference, at times against her will. Despite how ponderous that sounds, it is a delightful read, and un-put-down-able once you really get rolling.

I need more books of this genre (is it a meta- or sub-genre?). Any suggestions?

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2 Responses to "“Literary Soup” Literature"

Having read both books, I too would read with pleasure more booky-books. They are about people who read, and it’s so nice to have references that make sense to me, that have observations that I might make in the same place. Books are such a big part of my life that characters who read are immediately interesting and telling when we’re given what they read.
I hadn’t thought of this being a genre of any sort, but indeed it might be. There are other books with this quality and while I can’t quickly come up with any of them, when I do I will send them on, and in return will look for any comments with suggestions.

Silly question for you, Jo…have you read the Jasper Fforde books yet? If you haven’t, you need to. Booky in a different way, but oh-so-booky! 🙂

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