File This Under: Weird Book Moment - I Bet Others Will Recognize This

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her - Melanie Rehak

The Weird Book Moment: when two very different books you're reading suddenly deal with the same example or topic. This doesn't count books on the same subject or set in the same time period - because you'd expect the same references in those. (This will probably happen more often to people who have a habit of reading multiple books at the same time. Once I thought this was a bad habit of mine, but then I decided it was something fun, and I'd just accept and go with it.)


This will make more sense once I give you today's example.


  I finally picked up Quiet, yet another book on my ereader that's been tapping it's metaphorical foot, annoyed that it's taken me so long to get around to reading it. And there I was, barely into the first chapter when I read (8% in)


"...The Chautauqua movement, born in 1873 and based in upstate New York, sends gifted speakers across the country to lecture on literature, science, and religion. Rural Americans prize these presenters for the whiff of glamour they bring from the outside world - and their power to mesmerize an audience."


Which is this Chautauqua on wikipedia:


"an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Named after Chautauqua Lake where the first was held, Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. Former US President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America.""


  And I had that link all ready because I was just reading it a few days ago when Chautauqua came up in (one of) the other book I'm reading, Girl Sleuth, which is about the women behind the Nancy Drew books and their biographies. From page 35ish/10 to 11% in:


"...Originally a kind of weeklong summer camp for families that specialized in education for Sunday school teachers, reflecting the nation's growing interest in the professionalism of teaching, the nondenominational, through very vaguely Protestant, Chautauqua assemblies soon grew into gatherings that welcomed anyone interested in "education and uplift" in the form of lectures, plays, music, and readings. By the turn of the century, Chautauqua was known as "a center for rather earnest, but high-minded, activities, that aimed at intellectual and moral self-improvement and civic involvement." ...Its adult education courses of study could be followed in one's living room as easily in Iowa as they could in New York, and as graduates of the program went out into the world, spreading the movement's gospel, independent Chautauquas sprung up all over the country. ..."Chautauqua functioned for many lower- and middle-class women much as the elite women's colleges did for upper class women. ...They were training grounds from which women could launch 'real' careers." "


That's an example of The Weird Book Moment. There was no way to predict that a book about introverts was suddenly going to cite the same educational movement I'd just read about in a book on Nancy Drew. And now these two books are always going to be inter-connected in my mind, just because of that reference and the fact that I happened to be reading both of them at the same time.


Meanwhile the Chautauqua movement is interesting, especially looking back to a time when education was highly valued and there were all sorts of attempts at providing more access to it. As opposed to now when we simultaneously have some folks scoffing at the concept of intellectualism (as a bad thing), many cities/states decreasing funding for public schools even at the elementary level, and the prices of post high school education increasing to ridiculous levels.