One thing I always hated about English class was how the teacher or professor would over-analyze everything and make the tiniest details into an Important Symbol or Metaphor. I always doubted whether the author was intending or even thinking about that particular association when they were writing the book. I still doubt that, but now my own brain has played a trick on me. Having devoured a good number of books in my lifetime thus far, I’ve noticed that there are certain symbols or things that immediately make me think of a certain book or series. This is never to the depth of meaning that the English types espoused, and isn’t even always the most obvious symbol from a story, or vice versa. But my brain does it nonetheless.
Here are a few of my bookish associations:
- A wolf = the Farseer trilogy
- A spool of thread = the Pern series
- Leather jackets = the Dresden Files
- Costume parties = the Kushiel series
- A handkerchief, or lace = Pride & Prejudice
- An empty beach = the Earthsea series
- A dragon = Dealing with Dragons, the first book that made me fall in love with dragons
- A knife = the Vlad Taltos series
- Coins = the Mistborn series
- An ink pot = the Myst series (yes, they are books, too)
- A gorgeous library = Beauty & the Beast (ok, this one’s a movie, but I’m still counting it)
People who have read those books/series will get the connections for the most part. But if you look at just the left side of that list (the symbols) you probably have a whole different set of books come to mind. Ain’t subjectivity fun? For whatever reasons, these are the symbol-story combos that resonated with me, and my brain latched on.
I’m sure I’m not the only one this happens to.
Do you have any bookish associations that might not be the immediate choice for others?