Ask a silly question

What do the following books have in common?

  • Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins It’s not about the Bike
  • Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
  • Enid Blyton The Magic Faraway Tree
  • His Holiness The Dalai Lama & Howard C Cutler The Art of Happiness
  • Joanne Harris Chocolat
  • Terry Jones Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book
  • Milan Kundera The Unbearable Likeness of Being
  • Milan Kundera The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
  • Louise Lawrence Children of the Dust

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    18 years ago

    No idea really Nicholas.

    But here’s a starter. I hope I don’t appear foolish by answering what you intended to be merely a rhetorical question.

    I’ve only read the two Kunderas on the list and seen the film of Chocolat. So, on the basis of this limited sample and thinking of your post of the Cavafy poem, is it something to do with books about life’s journey, its unexpected delights and trials and finding happiness and fufilment?

    Sort of “It’s not about the bike”…but “the ride”. [This formulation would also allude to the erotic dimension in Kundera’s work.]

    Btw, I think Kundera is a superb writer. For me, a truly great novelist. The two on your list are his best. “Immortatlity” is up there.

    “The Art of the Novel” and “Testaments Betrayed” are scintillating and fascinating works of literary criticism.

    Ken Parish
    18 years ago

    OK. I give up. I’ve even read a few of these and I don’t get a connection (not for all of them anyway). I even tried comparing the entries to see if they shared a “statistically improbable phrase” (a feature Amazon now seems to use for books where there are no reader reviews), but that wasn’t the answer either.

    Surely there must be some bibliophile readers who could have a stab at it (although they’d be unlikely to have read the Lance Armstrong book). I felt sure Gummo would give it a try, what with his trivia quiz prowess and all.