As with yesterday’s piece about Earworms I now feel obliged to post a “Coincidence Corner” piece every month. In May’s “Coincidence Corner” I described it as my “light-hearted … monthly look at the themes, stories or references that recur if you keep your eyes and ears open, no matter what you read, watch or listen to.” They’re not really coincidences, though some people might see them that way, and they’re based on what I have read, seen and heard over the last month. There are links to earlier pieces at the end of this one.
Earlier this week, while playing archived episodes of “Desert Island Discs”, I heard JK Rowling from November 2000 and Susan Hill from even earlier (February 1996). I learnt, from those shows, that they both have daughters called Jessica. JK Rowling’s daughter is named after Jessica Mitford and the book that Susan Hill would take to the desert island is by “The Pursuit of Love” by Nancy Mitford. While planning what to read next month I flicked through “Writing on the Road: Campervan of Love and the Joy of Solitude” by Sue Reid Sexton. It looks good. The book was given to me by a kind lady from Waverley Books at the London Book Fair in April. In the opening pages the author thanks her daughter Jessica. That made it three female authors in a little over 24 hours, all of whom chose to name a girl Jessica.
I also heard Spike Milligan’s “Desert Island Discs” appearance, from February 1978. He chose Alvin Tofler’s “Future Shock” as his book. This morning the first headline that I noticed on the Guardian website was about the death of Alvin Tofler. I don’t recall coming across his name for years, and there it was twice, within 24 hours.
In planning my reading for July I have also been flicking through “The 39 Steps”. It mentions “The Arabian Nights”, as do most books that I’ve picked up in the last few months, including “Jane Eyre” which I read during June. There are lots of connections between “Jane Eyre” and two other books that I have read recently (“Vanity Fair”, “I capture the castle”) but it might be a stretch to call them coincidences. As I noted in a piece about “Jane Eyre”, Cassandra (the narrator in Dodie Smith’s “I capture the castle”) is described as being a cross between Becky Sharp (the non-heroine of “Vanity Fair”, the “novel without a hero”) and Jane. That was one of my reasons for reading the book.
Previous “Coincidence Corner” pieces