Novel Pairings

By Novel Pairings

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Description

Welcome to Novel Pairings, a podcast dedicated to making the classics readable, relevant, and fun. As two nerdy bookworms, we appreciate the role of classic lit, but we but we won’t get too academic about it. We’ll talk about the books we love and the books we loath, and help stock your TBR pile with old and new reads for every literary taste.

Episode Date
65. Classic novels to read with your book club and tips for getting more out of book club discussions
43:51

Today, Chelsey and Sara discuss: when it comes to the classics,  what makes a great book club pick? They also share a handful of highly discussable classics, plus their top tips for better book club  discussions. Tell us which classics your book club loved (or loathed) on Instagram.

For more bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

 

Books mentioned: 

Thank you for shopping our affiliate links and supporting the podcast!

Passing by Nella Larsen (Amazon) // Episode 16

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Amazon) // Episode 26

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Amazon) // Episode 10

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Amazon

Myths and Retellings // Episode 18

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann (Amazon)

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (Amazon) // Episode 33.5

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Amazon) // Episode 20

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Amazon)

 

Also mentioned:

Literary Theory & Critical Lenses

Episode 5: Feminist Theory

Jun 15, 2021
64. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Part One
01:02:05

Today Chelsey and Sara discuss the first half of The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Chapters 1 through 6. There’s so much to discuss in this jam-packed, sweeping family novel. In this episode, we cover initial impressions and approaches to the book, Allende’s style, and key characters. We’ll share contemporary pairings in Part Two on June 22nd! 

For more bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

 

Pick of the week:

Chelsey: Research the slave trade in Chile and Indigenous Chileans for even more historical context 

Sara: Magical Realism: Embracing the Absurdity of Latin America | Andrés Hermida

Jun 08, 2021
63. Brand new summer books and backlist pairings to topple your TBR
01:08:50

We’re kicking off the summer reading season with a TBR toppler full of highly anticipated summer releases and backlist pairings! This episode is full of books we haven’t read and our best guesses at which books might be readalikes or thematic pairings. With buzzy books and under-the-radar releases from every genre, you’re sure to find at least one book (or maybe ten) for your summer To Be Read list. We can’t wait to hear which books you put on hold at the library or pick up from your local bookstore!

For bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

 

Books mentioned (affiliate links):

 

June:

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Amazon) - 5:35 

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (Amazon)

 

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Amazon) - 8:25 

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (Amazon)

 

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia - 11:26 (Amazon)

Loyalty Bookstore

The Diviners by Libba Bray (Amazon)

The Girls of Murder City by Douglas Perry (Amazon)

 

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford (Amazon) - 15:15

This is My America by Kim Johnson (Amazon)
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Amazon)

Walking on Cowrie Shells by Nana Nkweti (Amazon) - 19:00
How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin (Amazon)
The Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Amazon)

Grown Ups by Marie Aubert - 21:45
Emma Straub — try All Adults Here (Amazon

The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcolm Belc (Amazon) - 25:05
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (Amazon)

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor (Amazon) - 27:40
Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo Anstine (Amazon)
Lot by Bryan Washington (Amazon)


God Spare the Girls by Kelsey McKinney (Amazon) - 31:24
The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir (Amazon)

July:

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy (Amazon) - 35:43
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (Amazon)

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub (Amazon)

We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen (Amazon) 39:38
For All Mankind on Apple TV

All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Amazon)
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Amazon)

 

The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam (Amazon) - 43:08
The Circle by Dave Eggers (Amazon)
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (Amazon)

 

August:

All’s Well by Mona Awad (Amazon) - 47:00
If We Were Villains by M. Rios (Amazon)


The Turnout by Megan Abbott (Amazon) - 50:00
Turning Pointe: How a New Generation of Dancers is Saving Ballet from Itself  by Chloe Angyl (Amazon)

In The Country of Others by Leila Slimani (Amazon) - 54:50
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani (Amazon)
Tangerine by Christine Mangan (Amazon)
This Lovely City by Louise Hare (Amazon)

The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye (Amazon) - 57:17
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Amazon)
The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig (Amazon)

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (Amazon)

The Guide by Peter Heller (Amazon) - 60:01
The River by Peter Heller (Amazon)

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Amazon)

Jun 01, 2021
62. Quarterly Favorites: page-turning reads and reflections on Spring 2021
54:31

Every quarter, we stop to reflect on our reading lives and share a few of our favorite reads. Today, we’re looking back at books from our spring reading season, from palate-cleansing pageturners to nuanced nonfiction. We’d love to hear what you read this spring! Let us know at @novelpairingspod on Instagram

For bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

Books mentioned:

The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan (Amazon)  - 5:00

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (Amazon)  - 8:38 

What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer (Amazon)  - 14:30

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (Amazon)  - 15:09

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton (Amazon)  - 18:25

Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salasses (Amazon)  - 22:10 

Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Amazon)  - 27:10

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann (Amazon)  - 30:45

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (Amazon)  - 34:00

Disfigured on Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space by Amanda Leduc (Amazon)  - 36:00

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth (Amazon)  - 39:55

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Amazon) - 44:50

 

Summer lineup - 49:22

May 25, 2021
61. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, plus books about complicated families, romance, and boundaries
01:03:49

Today Chelsey and Sara discuss The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. This classic Cinderella story follows Valancy Stirling as she receives life-changing news that shakes up her whole world and leads her to happiness. Her coming-of-age story includes a few highly discussable plot points that we couldn’t help but spoil, so if you haven’t read the book, scroll down to get a timestamp to avoid spoilers. As always, we’re recommending contemporary pairings for our classic, including a whip-smart rom-com and a dreamy fantasy novel. 

For more bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

Spoilers start here: [29:15]

And our Pairings start here: [35:52]

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Books mentioned (affiliate links):

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Chelsey

Sara

 

Picks of the week:

Want to buy an island in Canada

The History Chicks: Lucy Maud Montgomery episode

May 18, 2021
60. Backlist coming of age novels for book clubs and beach reads
50:17

Today Chelsey and Sara share a few of their favorite coming of age novels featuring characters past adolescence. If you’re looking for your next book club pick, this TBR toppler is full of highly discussable women’s fiction and literary fiction to choose from. We can’t wait to hear what you pick up after listening!

For more bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

Books mentioned (affiliate links):

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The Mothers by Brit Bennett (Amazon)

Writers & Lovers by Lily King (Amazon)

A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan (Amazon)

The Switch by Beth O’Leary (Amazon)

All My Mother’s Lovers by Ilana Massad (Amazon)

Queenie by Candace Carty-Williams (Amazon)

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat (Amazon)

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Amazon)

All Adults Here by Emma Straub (Amazon)

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (Amazon)

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac (Amazon)

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (Amazon)

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (Amazon)

Circe by Madeline Miller (Amazon)

May 11, 2021
59. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, coming of age stories, and sweeping historical fiction
01:02:39

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. We kept this conversation spoiler-free, so choose your own adventure: listen before, during, or after reading this historical fiction classic. As always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our main classic, including an under-the-radar memoir in translation and an upcoming family story about sisters and secrets.  

For access to our next nerdy class and bonus episodes every Friday,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS to get an audiobook subscription and support independent bookstores.

Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [37:00]

These links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Novel Pairings will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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Chelsey

Sara

Also mentioned:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Amazon)

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (Amazon)

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Amazon)


Pick of the week: Mark your calendars for Elizabeth Acevedo’s next novel.

May 04, 2021
58. Grounded and inventive speculative fiction recommendations for your TBR
47:20

Today Chelsey and Sara explore speculative fiction and sci-fi in anotherTBR toppling episode. We’re not big sci-fi readers, but we have a bunch of grounded, page-turning books to recommend today. Even if you’re not an avid speculative fiction reader, we think you’ll find at least one book to interest you among these titles.

For more bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

Books mentioned:

Apr 27, 2021
57. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and science fiction stories for literary fiction lovers
53:23

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. We take some conversational bunny trails to explore our high school reading experiences, our relationships with science fiction, and our philosophical ponderings inspired by Billy Pilgrim’s story. As usual, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with Vonnegut’s most famous work, including anti-war satire and sci-fi  short stories.

For access to our recent  class on literary theory and bonus episodes every Friday,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS to get an audiobook subscription and support independent bookstores.

Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [28:45]

These links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Novel Pairings will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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Chelsey

Sara

Also mentioned:

Postmodern literature

Arrival

The Writer's Crusade: Kurt Vonnegut and the Many Lives of Slaughterhouse-Five by Tom Roston

The Ezra Klein Show: Why Sci-fi Legend Ted Chiang Fears Capitalism, Not A.I.

Apr 20, 2021
56. Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler, a short story club discussion
48:54

Today in “Short Story Club,” Chelsey and Sara are discussing “Speech Sounds” by Octavia Butler. This post-pandemic story about the importance of language and communication feels incredibly prescient and relevant, like all of Butler’s work. “Speech Sounds” is a highly discussable, quick read. We’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

Join our Patreon community for an extended Short Story Club discussion on Discord. 

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

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These links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Novel Pairings will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Chelsey’s Pairings:

Speak by Laurie Hals Anderson (Amazon)

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements  (Amazon)

Sara’s Pairings:

Vox by Christina Dalcher  (Amazon)

Severance by Ling Ma  (Amazon)

Picks of the week:

Chelsey: Why Octavia Butler’s novels feel so relevant today

Sara: Blindness by José Saramago

Apr 13, 2021
55. Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin and modern pairings with evocative writing
01:00:12

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. We both loved this evocative, ground-breaking classic and couldn’t wait to dig into its setting, themes, and stunning writing. As usual, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with Baldwin’s classic, including poignant YA novels, memoir, and essays.

For access to our upcoming  class on literary theory and a book club style discussion of Baldwin’s novel later this month,  join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS to get an audiobook subscription and support independent bookstores.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Find trigger warnings for each book mentioned today on our blog: novelpairings.com

Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [31:00]

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Chelsey

Sara

 

Also mentioned:

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (Amazon)

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin (Amazon)

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin (Amazon)

 

Picks of the week:

Chelsey: Paris Blues (1961)

Sara: I Am Not Your Negro

Apr 06, 2021
54. Pride and Prejudice retellings, sequels, and pastiche
50:01

We couldn’t close our immersive Pride and Prejudice experience without sharing a bunch of book recommendations for readers who want to stay with Elizabeth and Darcy awhile longer. Today, Chelsey and Sara share their favorite and least favorite Pride and Prejudice pastiche, sequels, adaptations, and retellings. 

 

For more Austen nerdiness, including a class on Jane Austen and a bonus episode on Regency customs, join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

 

Sequels, Pastiche, and Alternate Perspectives

The Next Great Jane by K.L. Going (Amazon)

Longbourn by Jo Baker (Amazon)

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (Amazon)

The Clergyman’s Wife by Molly Greeley (Amazon)

The Heiress by Molly Greeley (Amazon)

First Impressions by Charlie Lovett (Amazon)

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow (Amazon)

Cozy Classics (Amazon)

Babylit Counting (Amazon)

 

Retellings

Pride by Ibi Zoboi (Amazon)

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (Amazon)

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (Amazon)

Heartstone by Elle K. White (Amazon)

Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (Amazon)

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev (Amazon)

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (Amazon)

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding (Amazon)

Unequal Affections by Laura S. Ormiston (Amazon)

 

Also mentioned

Why are so many romance novels set in the Regency period?

Regency romance recommendations

And a few more Regency romances

Death Comes to Pemberley TV adaptation

Mar 30, 2021
53. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Part Two
01:16:19

In today’s episode, Chelsey and Sara discuss Part Two of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and share their contemporary pairings for romantic and insightful books that feature similar themes. We talk about the sweeping drama, swoony moments, and satisfying ending of the second half of Lizzie and Darcy’s love story, with plenty of nerdy asides. This episode covers Chapters 35-61 or Volume II, Chapter 12 - Volume III. 

For more Austen nerdiness, including a class on Jane Austen and a bonus episode on Regency customs, join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

 

Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [49:35]

 

Shop the pairings with our affiliate links below:

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Chelsey’s Pairings

The Next Great Jane by K.L. Going (Amazon)

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (Amazon)

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (Amazon)

Sara’s Pairings

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (Amazon)

Red , White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (Amazon)

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (Amazon)

 

Sara's pick of the week: Austenland

Chelsey's pick of the week: Austen ASMR room

Mar 23, 2021
52. Backlist pairings for our most anticipated Spring 2021 book releases
01:00:58

We’re back with another TBR toppling episode! Today,  Chelsey and Sara pair brand new and upcoming spring book releases with backlist titles that share similar themes, plotlines, or settings. We haven’t read all of these new releases, so our pairings are based on speculation and best guesses. If you pick up any of the books we mention today, we’d love to hear about it! 

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

Check out our show notes to see every title in this episode on our blog

For more literary content, join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com

Get two audiobooks for the price of one from Libro.fm. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS and support independent bookstores.

Books mentioned:

These links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Novel Pairings will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Out in March

3/2/2021

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (Amazon)

Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopero (Amazon)

 

What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster (Amazon)

Nice White Parents podcast

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet (Amazon)

There is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset (Amazon)

 

3/9/2021

Brood by Jackie Polzin (Amazon)

My Antonia by Willa Cather (Amazon)

Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unswerth (Amazon)

 

The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chonda Prescod-Weinstein (Amazon)

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Amazon)

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Amazon)

 

The Salt Fields by Stacy D. Flood (Amazon)

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Amazon)

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Amazon)

 

3/16/2021

That Way Madness Lies by Dahlia Adler (Amazon)

His Hideous Heart by Dahlia Adler (Amazon)

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust (Amazon)

The Radical Element by Jessica Spotswood (Amazon)

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages by Saundra Mitchell (Amazon)

Because You Love to Hate Me by Amerie (Amazon)

 

Lolita in the Afterlife by Jenny Minton Quigley (Amazon)

Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov (Amazon)

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (Amazon)

Excavation by Wendy C. Oriz (Amazon)

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (Amazon)

Living with Shakespeare by Susannah Carson (Amazon)




3/23/2021

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura (Amazon)

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (Amazon)

 

3/30/2021

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Amazon)

Everything Inside by Edwinge Danticat (Amazon)

 

Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce (Amazon)

Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole (Amazon)

 

Libro.fm Reads

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Culture Warlords by Talia Lavin

Here for It by R. Eric Thomas

 

Out in April

4/6/2021

Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi (Amazon)

Snowpiercer by Jaques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette (Amazon)

Stream Snowpiercer or Parasite

 

Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian (Amazon)

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (Amazon)

 

4/8/2021

Hamlet by Gillian Flynn

Anything in the Hogarth Shakespeare project

 

4/13/2021

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin (Amazon)

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (Amazon)

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (Amazon)

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (Amazon)

 

4/27/2021

Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Salfe (Amazon)

Ellen @reading_theend

Life After Life by Kate Atkinison (Amazon)

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore (Amazon)

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab (Amazon)

 

Out in May

5/4/2021

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel (Amazon)

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Amazon)

Maintenance Phase podcast

 

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead (Amazon)

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead  (Amazon)

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead  (Amazon)

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (Amazon)

Amelia Earhart by Doris Rich (Amazon)

 

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (Amazon)

Beloved by Toni Morrison (Amazon)

Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark (Amazon)

 

5/25/2021

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams (Amazon)

The Coyotes of Carthage by Steven Wright (Amazon)

 

The Guncle by Steven Rawley (Amazon)

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claybourn Johnson (Amazon)

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Amazon)

 

Out in June 

6/1/2021

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Amazon)

Passing by Nella Larsen (Amazon)

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (Amazon)

Luster by Raven Leilani (Amazon)

Mar 16, 2021
51. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Part One
01:18:58

In today’s episode, Chelsey and Sara discuss Part One of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, including fond memories of reading the book and in-depth character analysis. (Plus plenty of gushing about Darcy and Elizabeth and MORE). We’d love for you to read along with us this month! Part One covers Chapters 1-34 or Volume I-Volume II, Chapter 11. You can listen to this episode before reading to guide you through Part One or after reading to feel like you’re in book club!

For more Austen nerdiness, join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com

Connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info.

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, annotated and edited by David Shapard

Teacher Scholarships for Oxford Summer Program: https://www.esuus.org/esu/programs/study_abroad_for_teachers/programs_1/oxforduniv/

Learn a Regency dance:

https://youtu.be/YaHoNnedp1g

Sparknotes Character Analysis:

https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pride/characters/

The Proposal Scenes:

https://youtu.be/h-CJ2CioJVc

https://youtu.be/tWx7AF8B0R8

https://youtu.be/yBqyLoWtYg8

https://youtu.be/IGr8QbWY19s

Picks of the week:

The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor 

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube

Mar 09, 2021
50.5 Five tips for reading Pride and Prejudice (or any Austen novel)
32:18

We’re sharing our top five tips for reading Jane Austen’s novels with you, whether you’re a frequent re-reader or new to her work. Today’s episode is meant to help you get the most out of any Austen novel, but we hope you’ll read Pride and Prejudice with us this month! To celebrate one year of podcasting and the launch of our new Patreon community, we’re enjoying all things Austen for the whole month of March with discussion episodes and a bunch of bonus content (available for our Classics Club members on Patreon). To sign up, go to patreon.com/novelpairings and listen in to hear about our plans for the Classics Club this month. 

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get updates and behind-the-scenes info and connect with us  on Instagram or Twitter. 

Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS to get an audiobook subscription and support independent bookstores.

March 9th Episode: Part One (we’ll discuss Chapter 1-34 or Volume I-Volume II, Chapter 11)

March 23rd Episode: Part Two (we’ll discuss the rest of the book and share our pairings)

 

1. Listen to the audiobook

Amazon: Rosamund Pike

Libro.fm: Kate Redding, Emilia Fox, Elizabeth Klett and Karen Savage

 

2. Research some Regency customs

Sparknotes context

Historical context

The Georgian Era

(and more in our upcoming Patreon class!)

 

3. Investigate Jane Austen’s writing style

Free indirect discourse

Austen’s voice

Austen Said

Irony and Elizabeth Bennett

 

4. Use Sparknotes, LitCharts, or Schmoop

 

5. Watch a film adaptation

Our favorite: 1995 BBC series on Hulu

Most popular: 2005 film on Peacock or Amazon Prime

Throwback: 1980 film on Amazon Prime

 

Mar 02, 2021
50. Quarterly Favorites: the stand-out books we read in Winter 2020-2021
41:06

Today, Chelsey and Sara share some stand-out titles they read over the winter season, including amazing audiobooks, short story collections, and page-turning romance. These quarterly wrap-ups include reflections on our winter season, previews of what’s coming up, and a bunch of book recommendations. We can’t wait to hear what you think of our favorites from the quarter.

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Books mentioned:

 

Chelsey:

Whiteout by Adriana Anders (Amazon)

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (Amazon)

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (Amazon)

The Toni Morrison Book Club (Amazon)

Wintering by Katherine May (Amazon)

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger (Amazon)

 

Sara:

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland (Amazon)

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee (Amazon)

Anna K by Jenny Lee (Amazon)

Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha Blain (Amazon)

Disability Visibility, edited by Alice Wong (Amazon)

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Amazon)

 

Also mentioned:

The Head on HBO Max

Deesha Philyaw on The Stacks Podcast

 

Spring lineup:

March 9th & 23rd: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

April 6th: Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

April 20th: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

May 4th: In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

May 18th: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Feb 23, 2021
49. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter and twisted Gothic fairytales to read in one sitting
01:00:33

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. This collection of twisted, Gothic fairytales is perfect for fans of Rebecca, Jane Eyre, or Edgar Allan Poe. We’re keeping this episode spoiler-free, though we do discuss specific aspects of several stories. We loved connecting this collection across literary movements, explaining the heroine’s journey, and (as always) recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic, including short story and poetry collections.

 

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Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [35:15]

 

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Books mentioned:

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (Amazon)

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier (Amazon)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (Amazon)

Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories (Amazon)

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Amazon)

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Amazon)

The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairytales by Sheldon Cashdan (Amazon)

 

Chelsey’s Pairings

Burning Girls and Other Stories by Victoria Schanoes (Amazon)

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (Amazon)

A Universe of Wishes, ed. by Dhonielle Clayton (Amazon)

 

Sara’s Pairings

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link (Amazon)

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Amazon)

The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy (Amazon)

 

Picks of the week:

Chelsey: Promising Young Woman (19.99 on Amazon Prime) & Wolfwalkers (Apple TV)

Sara: The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairytales & Singing Bones Podcast

 

Also mentioned:

Gail Carriger’s Heroine’s Journey 

Maureen Murdock’s Heroine’s Journey

More heroine’s journey resources

Feb 16, 2021
48. Fairytale retellings for readers of all ages
45:44

Today, Sara and Chelsey topple your TBR lists with fairytale retellings for every type of reader. They reminisce about the book that sparked their love of retellings and discuss why fairytales are still so appealing to adult readers.

 

You can find titles and links for every book mentioned in this episode at novelpairings.com.

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Books mentioned:

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (Amazon)

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine (Amazon)

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (Amazon)

The Princess Test by Gail Carson Levine (Amazon)

Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (Amazon)

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Amazon)

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (Amazon)

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Amazon)

Austenland by Shannon Hale (Amazon)

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)  by Marissa Meyer (Amazon)

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust (Amazon)

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (Amazon)

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (Amazon)

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (Amazon)

Thorn by Intisar Khanani (Amazon)

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (Amazon)

The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (Amazon)

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory McGuire (Amazon)

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Amazon)

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi (Amazon)

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia (Amazon)

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg (Amazon)

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me by Kate Bernheimer  (Amazon)

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn (Amazon)

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare (Amazon)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (Amazon)

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (Amazon)

 

Also mentioned:

SSR Podcast Episode 12: Ella Enchanted

Gail Carriger’s Heroine’s Journey 

Maureen Murdock’s Heroine’s Journey

More heroine’s journey resources

 

Up next:

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Feb 09, 2021
47. There is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset and ambitious family stories that span generations
55:59

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing There is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset. We loved this Austen-like Harlem Renaissance novel, and we kept this episode spoiler free in the hopes that it’ll encourage you to pick it up! Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic, with a mix of historical fiction and satire.

 

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Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [33:15]

 

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Books mentioned:

There is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset (Amazon)

Passing by Nella Larsen (Amazon) [30:39]

 

Chelsey’s Pairings

 

Pride by Ibi Zoboi (Amazon) [36:06]

This Lovely City by Louise Hare (Amazon) [42:23]

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Amazon) [49:18]

 

Sara’s Pairings

 

On Beauty by Zadie Smith (Amazon) [33:33]

No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts (Amazon) [39:35]

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour (Amazon) [45:52]



Picks of the week:

Chelsey: How WWI Sparked and Artistic Movement that Transformed Black America [53:30]

Sara: New Yorker article on Fauset (by Morgan Jerkins) [52:09] and Women of the Harlem Renaissance by Cheryl A. Wall [52:40]

Feb 02, 2021
46. Love letters to books: nonfiction books about the reading life
42:19

Readers, today’s episode is inspired by Helene Hanff’s love of books, nonfiction, and observation. We’re sharing a bunch of nonfiction books about books, reading, and readers. Some of these are longtime favorites and others are on our endless TBR lists. This episode is extra nerdy, a little nostalgic, and supremely bookish. We hope you find a title to add to your TBR today. 

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Nonfiction loveletters to books

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (Amazon)

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (Amazon)

Ex Libris by Michiko Kakutani (Amazon)

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (Amazon)

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel (Amazon)

The Possessed by Elif Batuman (Amazon)

Well Read Black Girl edited by Glory Edim (Amazon

The Dark Fantastic by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (Amazon)

Bezi @beingabookwyrm

The Library Book by Susan Orlean (Amazon)

Susan Orlean on Twitter

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (Amazon)

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman (Amazon)

Bibliophile by Jane Mount (Amazon)

Diverse Spines by Jamise Harper and Jane Mount (forthcoming)

The Toni Morrison Book Club by Juda Bennett,  Winnifred Brown-Glaude,  Cassandra Jackson,  Piper Kendrix Williams (Amazon)

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux (Amazon)

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland (Amazon)

Books Promiscuously Read: Reading as a Way of Life  by Heather Cass White (Amazon)

 

Jan 26, 2021
45. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and charming books for devoted bibliophiles
56:42

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff, the ultimate comfort read for bibliophiles. Chelsey can’t believe she hadn’t read it sooner, and Sara revels in her rereading experience. We cover everything from the epistolary form to Helene’s unique reading habits to the satisfaction of a bittersweet ending. Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic, with a mix of charming memoir and plucky historical fiction.

 

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Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [30:05]

 

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Chelsey’s Pairings:

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence (Amazon)

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce (Amazon)

Dinner with Edward: An Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent (Amazon)



Sara’s Pairings:

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Amazon)

Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread by Michiko Kakutani (Amazon)

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland (Amazon)

 

Picks of the week:

The Repair Shop (Netflix)

The Crown (Netflix)

 

Jan 19, 2021
44.5 Anticipated book releases for winter 2021 and backlist books to read while you wait
53:14

Today Chelsey and Sara are ready to topple your TBRs with highly anticipated winter releases and backlist books. Our goal is to hype up the buzzy new books and under-the-radar releases while offering pairings that are easier to get at the library (or more affordable in paperback). There are a TON of titles  mentioned in today’s episode, so be sure to visit our show notes at novelpairings.com to find full lists of every book we talked about. 

Find show notes HERE.

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Books mentioned (affiliate links):

January 5

The Push by Ashley Audrain (Amazon)

Long Bright River by Liz Moore (Amazon)

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour (Amazon)

Members Only by Sameer Pandya (Amazon)

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant (Amazon)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (Amazon)

Outlawed by Anna North (Amazon)

True Grit by Charles Portis (Amazon)

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Amazon)

 

January 12

 

The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell (Amazon)

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (Amazon)

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Amazon)

The Captive by Fiona King Foster (Amazon)

Scribe by Alyson Hagy (Amazon)

 

January 19

 

The Divines by Ellie Eaton (Amazon)

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams (Amazon)

The Girls by Emma Cline (Amazon)

 

January 26

 

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes (Amazon)

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (Amazon)

Troy by Adele Geras (Amazon)

 

February 2

 

The Removed by Brandon Hobson (Amazon)

Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson (Amazon)

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (Amazon)

My Year Abroad by Chang Rae-Lee (Amazon)

The Idiot by Elif Batuman (Amazon)

 

February 9

 

A Lady’s Formula for Love by Elizabeth Everett (Amazon)

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (Amazon)

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite (Amazon)

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh (Amazon)

 

February 16

 

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey (Amazon)

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Amazon)

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Amazon)

 

March 2

 

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Amazon)

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan (Amazon)

 

March 9

 

Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology by Jess Zimmerman (Amazon)

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (Amazon)

 

There is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset (Amazon)

Anna K by Jenny Lee (Amazon)

Jan 15, 2021
44. Short Story Club: The Hunter's Wife by Anthony Doerr and wintry books to cozy up with this season
52:06

Today in Short Story Club, Chelsey and Sara are discussing “The Hunter’s Wife”  by Anthony Doerr. This wintry, atmospheric story is absolutely absorbing and highly discussable. We talk about the beautiful writing, the unique structure, and some problematic aspects of the characters and plot. We do discuss spoilers in our Short Story Club episodes; you can find a copy of the story to read online from The Atlantic to join in and read before listening. Plus, as always, we’re recommending a few pairings that fit the atmosphere, themes, and setting of today’s short story.

 

The short story: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/05/the-hunters-wife/302198/

 

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Books Mentioned:

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Amazon)

How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams (Amazon)

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne (Amazon)

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May (Amazon)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Amazon)

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr (Amazon)

My Antonia by Willa Cather (Amazon)

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (Amazon)

 

Shop the pairings with our affiliate links below:

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter (Amazon)

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (Amazon)

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Amazon)

 

Sara’s Pairings:

Devotions by Mary Oliver (Amazon)

The Bear by Andrew Krivak (Amazon)

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich (Amazon)






Jan 12, 2021
43. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde and books that center intersectional feminism
56:17

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. This collection of essays, speeches, and other writings is highly discussable and totally re-readable. We loved diving into this seminal Black Feminist text, though our conversation today barely scratches the surface of all there is to learn from Lorde’s ideas, language, and poetry. 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic, including a beautiful novel in verse and one of Chelsey’s recent favorite YA reads.

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Books Mentioned:

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall (Amazon)

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Amazon)

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Amazon)

Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [32:42]

 

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Chelsey’s Pairings:

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Amazon)

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson (Amazon)

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown (Amazon)

 

Sara’s Pairings:

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Amazon)

A Girl is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Amazon)

Make Me Rain by Nikki Giovanni (Amazon)

 

Picks of the week:

Episode 359: The Lady Gang & Traci Thomas discuss White Fragility Part 1

Episode 116: Part 2 on The Stacks

Anti-racism Daily

#DisruptTexts

Jan 05, 2021
42. Superlatives for underrated, surprising, and well-loved books we read in 2020
01:00:24

Instead of the “best books of the year” or our “favorite reads from 2020,” we’re sharing 12 bookish superlatives to highlight some underrated gems, popular favorites, academic reads, and more. Whether you love dark and moody literary fiction or genre-bending contemporary stories, we hope you find a new title to add to your TBR list today. 

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Books mentioned (affiliate links):

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry (Amazon)

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn (Amazon)

Beach Read by Emily Henry (Amazon)

Enter the Aardvark by Jessica Anthony (Amazon)

Unscripted by Nicole Kronzer (Amazon)

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat (Amazon)

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert (Amazon)

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Amazon)

Little Weirds by Jenny Slate (Amazon)

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London (Amazon)

Beloved by Toni Morrison (Amazon)

On Beauty by Zadie Smith (Amazon)

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (Amazon)

The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans (Amazon)

Lovely War by Julie Berry (Amazon)

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Amazon)

A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier (Amazon)

The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda (Amazon)

Writers & Lovers by Lily King (Amazon)

Sisters by Daisy Johnson (Amazon)

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (Amazon)

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (Amazon)

Emma by Jane Austen (Amazon)

Dec 29, 2020
41. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and contemporary book recs inspired by the March sisters
01:00:58

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. We share what we admire about Alcott and her iconic children’s classic, as well as the reasons why it doesn’t hold a fond place in our readerly hearts. We know that many readers adore this sisterly, warm-hearted book, so we’ve backed up our opinions with extra-nerdy analysis. 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic, including books about the writing life and one of Sara’s favorite moody books from this year.

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Books Mentioned:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Amazon)

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (Amazon)

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Amy Boyd Rioux (Amazon)

So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures by Maureen Corrigan (Amazon)

March by Geraldine Brooks (Amazon)

Also mentioned:

Episode 40 with Annie B. Jones



Skip to the pairings with this timestamp: [36:14]

 

Shop the pairings with our affiliate links below:

Chelsey’s Pairings:

Sara’s Pairings:

Extra Picks:

Home Cooking Podcast

Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories

Dec 22, 2020
40. The joy of nostalgic reads and books that Jo March would love with Annie B. Jones, owner of The Bookshelf
01:08:10

Today, Chelsey and Sara talk about their favorite books from childhood, Little Women fashion, and family stories to read this winter with Annie B. Jones, owner of The Bookshelf in Thomasville and host of the bookish podcast From The Front Porch. There’s lots of nostalgia, laughter, and book talk in this episode, plus tips for helping your favorite local bookstores thrive during trying times. Note: this episode includes some spoilers for Little Women

A special treat: Right now, listeners of Novel Pairings can get 10% off their purchase of a shelf subscription with the code NOVELIDEA2020. This 10% off code applies to shelf subscriptions only, and it lasts through January 31, 2021. 

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Find show notes on our blog

Follow Annie on Instagram, follow The Bookshelf on Instagram, and find From the Front Porch wherever you download your podcasts. 

 

Books mentioned:

 

Our book list includes a mix of affiliate links and links to The Bookshelf inventory. If you want to own one of the books we talked about today, we hope you consider supporting The Bookshelf with your purchase. 

 

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

The Baby-Sitters Club Box

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Franny & Zoey by J.D. Salinger

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konig

Bloomability by Sharon Creech

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Amy Boyd Rioux

Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz

What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer

Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

House Lessons by Erica Bauermeister

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Ex Libris by Michiko Kakutani 

HRH by Elizabeth Holmes

Passing by Nella Larsen

Emma by Jane Austen

 

Also mentioned:

The Baby-Sitters Club Taught Me Everything I Needed to Know About Literary Fiction



Dec 15, 2020
39. My Antonia by Willa Cather, plus books about community and survival to read this winter
58:07

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing My Antonia by Willa Cather with a special guest: Michelle Timmins, English literature student and Novel Pairings assistant extraordinaire. There’s plenty to discuss in this wintry classic, including stunning imagery, surprising connections to an American Girl Doll, and where Cather’s novel fits into the American literary canon.  Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a Western, an arctic memoir,  and a nonfiction book about grief.

 

Books Mentioned:

 

My Antonia by Willa Cather (Amazon)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (Amazon)

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (Amazon)

 

Also mentioned: Deconstruction Theory

 

Shop the pairings with our affiliate links below:

 

Michelle’s Pairings:

 

Sara’s Pairings:

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:




Dec 08, 2020
38. The Best Audiobooks We Read in 2020
53:17

Have we mentioned how much we love audiobooks? We’ve both been avid listeners for a long time, but between pandemic life and Sara’s Aspen Words reading,  this has been a banner year for audiobooks. Today, we’re each sharing twelve of our favorite listening experiences. With a mix of literary fiction, romance, nonfiction, and YA, today’s episode has an audiobook recommendation for every reader. 

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View all of our recs  and shop our links on the blog. 

Chelsey's Favorites:

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

The Switch by Beth O’Leary // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Here for It: Or How to Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas. // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Sara's Favorites:

The City We Became by NK Jemison // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Members Only by Sameer Pandya // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Stamped The Remix by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Intimations by Zadie Smith // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit // Amazon // Bookshop

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Annaparra // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm

The Remains of the Day // Amazon // Bookshop // Libro.fm



Dec 01, 2020
37. Quarterly Favorites: the best books we read in Fall 2020
01:01:19

Today, we reflect on our favorite reads from the last three months. These quarterly reflections might be our favorite episodes to record. It’s lovely to take time to consider our favorite episodes, our favorite reads, and what we’ve learned over the course of the season. We’re sharing a bunch of book recommendations in this episode; shop our recs here

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Books mentioned:

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia

Luster by Raven Leilani

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Like Lovers Do by Tracey Livesay

On Beauty by Zadie Smith 

Intimations by Zadie Smith

Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

The Next Great Jane by K.L Going

The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

She Come by It Natural by Sarah Smarsh

All My Mother’s Lovers by Ilana Masad

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafa

 

Winter lineup:

 

December

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

 

January

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

 

February

There is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Nov 24, 2020
36. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told by Alex Haley, with Traci Thomas of The Stacks
01:13:27

Today, Traci Thomas of The Stacks podcast joins Chelsey and Sara to discuss The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm, X, as told by Alex Haley. We loved diving into this iconic nonfiction classic with our favorite nonfiction expert, and we’re so excited to share this conversation with you. 

 

Follow The Stacks on Instagram

Join The Stacks Book Club on Patreon

Shop The Stacks merch

Shop Traci’s book recs 

 

Follow Novel Pairings on Instagram or Twitter. Subscribe to our newsletter. Use our Libro.fm affiliate code NOVELPAIRINGS to get an audiobook subscription for yourself or purchase a gift

Our discussion includes:

  • What makes this a “life-changing” book?
  • Does The Autobiography of Malcolm X belong in the classroom?
  • Which parts of the book ring especially true today
  • Brilliant storytelling and an incredible use of rhetoric

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending a bunch of contemporary pairings to read along with this classic.

 

Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-the-autobiography-of-malcolm-x

 

Traci’s Pairings:

 

Sara’s Pairings:

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

 

Also mentioned:

 

The Stacks Ep. 60 Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Stacks Ep. 135 The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Nov 17, 2020
35. A 2020 Gift Guide for every literary taste
46:12

It's holiday shopping season! Today we're pairing giftable books with fun items for readers with varied tastes. Build your holiday shopping list or your personal TBR with gift ideas for Austenites, fantasy readers, history buffs, and more. 

Find every title and gift item we mentioned on our gift guide blog post.

 

 

Nov 10, 2020
34. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and twisty, atmospheric mystery novels
01:10:43

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. We’re sipping some red wine while we talk about this classic locked-room mystery and pair it with some atmospheric, page-turning reads. We discuss Christie’s legacy in the mystery world (and her impact on literature in general), what we look for in the mystery genre, and that wild ending.

 

Our discussion includes:

  • How Christie’s novels have shaped today’s literary landscape, perhaps more than any other classics [17:18]
  • The appeal of locked room mysteries [23:00]
  • Spoiler alert: the twisty ending [26:42]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a Japanese mystery in translation and a Christie-inspired campus novel.

 

We do discuss some spoilers in this episode, but we’ll give you fair warning. 

 

Books Mentioned:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-and-then-there-were-none

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

 

Sara’s Pairings:

 

Picks of the Week:

Chelsey: The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jane Ashford

Sara: Clue

Nov 03, 2020
33.5 Discussing the new Netflix adaptation of Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, starring Lily James and Armie Hammer
43:06

Readers, today we have a special treat, a bonus episode! We watched the new Rebecca adaptation on Netflix, and we have OPINIONS. We’re talking about how we feel about DuMaurier’s original, what we loved about the movie, what we hated, which spooky and suspenseful movies we’re excited to watch this Halloween weekend, and what we’re currently reading. Did you watch the new movie? What did you think?

 

P.S. We discuss the movie in depth, so spoilers abound! 

 

Tell us on Instagram or Twitter.

 

Be the first to know about future bonus episodes. Subscribe to our newsletter.

 

Support our show AND independent bookstores. Use our Libro.fm affiliate link to get an audiobook subscription for yourself or as a gift

 

Watch Hitchcock’s Academy Award winning adaptation here

 

“Lily James Looks Like an American Girl Doll in Rebecca

 

Lily James stars in The Pursuit of Love

 

Books mentioned:

 

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

The Winters by Lisa Gabriele

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Oct 30, 2020
33. Reading challenges and books for every fall reading mood with Courtney Wallace, The Incessant Bookworm
59:36

Today we are thrilled to welcome Courtney Wallace, also known as The Incessant Bookworm on her blog, Youtube, and Instagram account where she shares what she’s reading, tips for the reading life, and reading challenges. We’re chatting with Courtney about her back to school reading challenge, how reading challenges influence her reading life, AND we’re pairing our favorite fall activities with a bunch of book recommendations. 

 

Courtney’s back to school reading challenge // Anne of Green Gables read-a-long // and read around the world challenge.

 

Connect with Courtney:



The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

 Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Ulysses by James Joyce

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Waiting for a Scot Like You by Eva Leigh

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout 

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

A Brush with Death by Ali Carter 

Harlem Shadows by Claude McKay 

We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax 

Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia 

Jackaby by William Ritter 

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Inferno by Dan Brown 

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos 

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel 

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi 

October Sky by Homer Hickam 

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 

How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The River by Peter Heller  

An Elderly Lady is Up To No Good by Helene Tursten 

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall 

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

 

Fall-themed ASMR Channels

Autumn Cozy 

Autumn Ambiance Playlist 

Calmed By Nature 

Cafe Ambiance  

Fall Ambiance

Oct 27, 2020
32. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and eerie books to read with the lights on
01:08:47

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. We admit to some bad English major habits in this episode, and we get super nerdy with a discussion on Gothic novels and the Romantic literary movement, modern horror, and the history behind Mary Shelley’s iconic monster. We also make some surprising modern connections across science, ethics, and social media. If you’re in the mood for eerie, spooky, and not-too-scary reads this month, get ready to take note of our pairings in this episode. 

 

Our discussion includes:

  • Sara’s experience with teaching Frankenstein in the high school classroom [8:20]
  • The stranger-than-fiction true story behind the novel [10:30]
  • Defining “Gothic novels,” historical and contemporary [20:05]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including graphic novels and absorbing nonfiction.

 

Shop our pairings: https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-frankenstein

 

Sign up for Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/redeem/novelpairings

 

What to read or skip in Frankenstein:

 

  • Victor thinking about creating his creature
  • Creating the monster
  • Monster talking to Victor
  • Skip all of the wandering around the countryside

 

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Shop the pairings:  

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

 

Sara’s Pairings:

Picks of the Week:

Chelsey: Penny Dreadful on Showtime/Netflix

Sara: Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge

 Illustrations: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626725003

Oct 20, 2020
31. Short Story Club: Horror Story by Carmen Maria Machado and spooky book recommendations
50:32

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing “Horror Story” by Carmen Maria Machado for this season’s installment of Short Story Club. Each quarter, we choose a short story that’s widely available and discuss its genre, themes, and important moments before recommending books to pair with it. For spooky season, we decided to go with a fresh, new voice we both love. This super short “micro story” felt like the right balance of spookiness for two readers who don’t love horror. Of course, we end up taking a bit of a deep dive into the horror genre anyway. If you read the story and join us for this mini book club, please let us know what you think of the story!

 

Our discussion includes:

  • Machado’s striking imagery and sparse prose
  • What does the horror genre do? Why is it popular?
  • Gaslighting in horror stories
  • Deeper themes and metaphors

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six pairings,  including a modern gothic novel and a few scary short story collections. 

 

Shop the pairings: https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-horror-story



Books mentioned:

In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

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Shop the pairings: 

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

 

 

 

Sara’s Pairings:

 

Also mentioned:

Gaslight (1944)

 

Oct 13, 2020
30. The Crucible by Arthur Miller and witchy books to read this fall
59:30

Today Chelsey and Sara are kicking off the spooky season by discussing The Crucible by Arthur Miller—a play about the infamous Salem witch trials. We get pretty nerdy in this episode. Full of drama, history, and high school English class nostalgia, this play was so much fun to talk about! Chelsey shares details from her immersive high school reading experience, Sara shares memories of teaching the book (and the movie), and we share absorbing reads to pair with the themes, history, and tone of the play. Plus, we discuss implications and complexities for discussing and teaching this play during the Me Too era. 

 

Our discussion includes:

  • How the play conveys (or villainizes) feminine power and gender roles [9:20]
  • Complicated feelings about Abigail Williams & John Proctor [14:00]
  • What IS a crucible? [20:21]
  • Speculating why there are lots of witchy books on the publishing calendar right now [29:45]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a comedic novel set in the 1980’s and a murder mystery set on the Plymouth Plantation.

 

Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/witchy-novel-pairings-for-the-crucible

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Chelsey’s Pairings:

 

Sara’s Pairings:

 

Picks of the Week:

Chelsey: You Must Remember This  Episode 14 Arthur Miller, “After the Fall” 

Sara: The Unobscured Podcast

 

Oct 06, 2020
29. Campus novels to read in the fall and why we love books about school
54:36

Today Chelsey and Sara are  toppling your TBRs with campus novels. We know this back to school season is weird for students, teachers, parents, and the rest of us as we navigate new seasons during a pandemic. So let’s go back to school safely with books that take place at school, that revolve around learning or academia, and that give us the new school supplies, crisp fall leaves, sharpened pencils feeling. 

 

We have so many books on this list...all sorts of tones and types! Don’t worry about writing everything down; we have links to all of the books mentioned in our show notes. It’s very possible we won’t get through all of the books we want to on this episode, but we’ll have an even more complete list of campus novels on our new blog: novelpairings.com.

 

Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/novelpairingspod/

 

Shop our Campus Novels list on Bookshop:  https://bookshop.org/lists/campus-novels-83ca9b6c-710c-436f-a0cb-af159a5ac6b7

 

Use our referral code to get TWO  audiobooks for the price of one through Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/redeem/novelpairings

 

Classics

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Possession by AS Byatt

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Mysteries

If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Likeness by Tana French

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Young Adult

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart (@allisonreadsdc)

We Are Okay by Nina Lacour

Bloomability by Sharon Creech (@anniebjones05, The Bookshelf)

Dear Martin & Dear Justyce by Nic Stone 

Magic Campuses

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Campus Romances

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Normal People by Sally Rooney

My Education by Susan Choi

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Miscellaneous

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Sep 29, 2020
28. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, books by Indigenous authors, and intergenerational family stories
01:03:16

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, which we selected for our back-to-school season as “a book we wish we read in high school.” Love Medicine is a novel made up of  interconnected stories that span generations of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. The stories deal with small family dramas, and huge ones, depicting characters’ past romances and relationships as these families interact over decades. There’s drama, humor, spirituality, and history in between the pages, and we have six incredible books to pair with Erdich’s masterpiece. 



Shop our Backlist Recs on Bookshop:  https://bookshop.org/lists/anticipated-fall-reads-2020-backlist-pairings

Use our referral code to get TWO  audiobooks for the price of one through Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/redeem/novelpairings

(We’re currently listening to: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi and The Pull of the Stars, Barn 8, and Migrations).



Our discussion includes:

  • Floating on the beauty of Edrich’s language and enjoying a little bit of disorientation [13:40]
  • Erdrich’s dark, sarcastic humor [18:03]
  • The biggest thematic question in Love Medicine and other important themes [23:25]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a brand new YA release and a well-loved favorite. 

 

This episode is spoiler free and well-suited to listening before, during, or after you read Love Medicine

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Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-love-medicine



Chelsey’s Pairings:

 

Sara’s Pairings:



Other books mentioned:

LaRose by Louise Erdrich

The Nightwatchman by Louise Erdrich

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

 

Picks of the Week:

Chelsey: Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga

Sara: This Land Podcast

 

Sep 22, 2020
27. Anticipated Fall 2020 Reads and backlist books to pair with them
57:12

Today Chelsey and Sara are back to  topple your TBRs with highly anticipated fall releases and backlist books. We know hardback books are pricey and library waitlists for the hottest new releases are long, so we’re going to be pairing the books we’re most excited to read this fall with older books that are easier to get your hands on. There are about 60 titles mentioned in today’s episode, so be sure to visit our show notes at novelpairings.com or our shop at Bookshop.org to find full lists of every book we talked about. 

Shop our Backlist Recs on Bookshop:  https://bookshop.org/lists/anticipated-fall-reads-2020-backlist-pairings

Use our referral code to get TWO  audiobooks for the price of one through Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/redeem/novelpairings

Books mentioned:

Luster by Raven Leilani (9/1)

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (9/1)

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Daddy by Emma Cline (9/1)

The Girls by Emma Cline

Florida by Lauren Groff

Sabrina & Corina by Kali Farjado-Anstine

Lot by Bryan Washington

Recommended for You by Laura Silverman (9/1)

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

By the Book by Amanda Sellet

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (9/1)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie (9/1)

Queenie by Candace Carty-Williams

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivers (9/1)

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (9/1)

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Jack by Marilynne Robinson (9/15)

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson (9/15)

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (9/29)

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo (9/29)

The Best Worst Man by Mia Sosa

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman (10/6)

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem by Stacy Schiff

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab (10/6)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

She Come by It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh (10/13)

Natural Acts: Gender, Race, and Rusticity in Country Music by Pamela Fox

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth (10/20)

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Jane in Love by Rachel Givney (10/27)

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Cobble Hill by Cecily Von Ziegesar (10/20)

Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger 

I Wanna Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom (11/17)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby




Sep 15, 2020
26. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and books about The American Dream
01:14:05

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. We both read this in high school, had mixed feelings, came back to the text later, and still have mixed feelings! Plus some pretty strong opinions about Gatsby himself, Fitzgerald’s writing style, the prominence of this text in pop culture and in the classroom, and the narratives we repeat in American history class. We had a lot of fun recording this episode, and we can’t wait to hear all of your thoughts on Gatsby. 

 

Our discussion includes:

  • What we thought of this book in high school versus what we think now
  • Whether or not Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship is romantic
  • Why this is such an enduring classic text
  • Why Sara hates the Baz Luhrman film version with the fire of a thousand suns
  • And...is this the Great American Novel?

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a Jazz Age novella and plenty of literary fiction.

 

We do discuss some spoilers in this episode, but as with all of our episodes, we still think that readers can enhance their experience by listening before, during, or after the reading experience. 

 

Books Mentioned:

So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures by Maureen Corrigan

Passing by Nella Larsen

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Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-the-great-gatsby

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

 

Sara’s Pairings:

 

Picks of the Week:

Chelsey: The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

Sara: Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, Ep. 245 of What Should I Read Next

Sep 08, 2020
25. Quarterly Favorites: The Best Books We Read in Summer 2020
01:03:20

We love to take time to reflect here at Novel Pairings. Each season, we stop and consider our favorite episodes, our favorite reads, and what we’ve learned. Today we’re sharing some personal updates, gushing about our favorite reads of the summer, and giving listeners a peek at what’s to come in the fall. 

Shop our Quarterly Favorites on Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/lists/quarterly-favorites-spring-2020/

Use our referral code to get two audiobooks for the price of one through Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/redeem/novelpairings

 

Books we both read:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo [14:03]

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett [16:45]

The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham [18:24]

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavincencio [21:27]

 

Chelsey:

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert [29:17]

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin [36:15]

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry [40:52]

The Duke Effect by Sophie Jordan [47:10]

Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh [55:25]

 

Sara:

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell [25:50]

Heavy by Kiese Laymon [32:45]

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan [38:13]

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner [44:52]

One to Watch by Kate Staymon-London [50:34]

Aug 25, 2020
24. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien and fantasy novels for readers who love strong characters and complex worlds
01:13:02

Today Chelsey and Sara are discussing The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. We’re not shy about sharing our lack of experience with the fantasy genre. It’s not the go-to genre for either of us, but we love to branch out and try new literary things. This book delighted us in some surprising ways and helped us figure out what exactly we love—or could do without—in fantasy novels. 

 

Our discussion includes:

  • What surprised Sara about reading this book, what she loved and what she didn’t [14:03]
  • Fantasy elements we love and gravitate towards [20:45]
  • Gender roles and stereotypes in LOTR and high fantasy in general [24:54]
  • A few favorite moments that warmed our hearts and pleased our literary minds [30:00]
  • Connecting to LOTR in the middle of a global pandemic [35:28]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a fast-paced fantasy set in NYC and a beautiful book for map-lovers.

 

We avoided major spoilers in this episode, so feel free to listen before or after reading in order to enhance your reading experience. 

 

Books Mentioned:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

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Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-the-fellowship-of-the-ring-by-j-r-r-tolkien



Chelsey’s Pairings:

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin [40:57]

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan [51:11]

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss [59:18]

 

Sara’s Pairings:

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike [45:40]

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James [54:00]

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places by Alberto Maguel, Gianni Guadalupi, and Graham Greenfield [1:01:48]



Picks of the Week:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin

Aug 18, 2020
23. On Campus with Novel Pairings, a preview of our back to school fall season and books that feel like Autumn
30:17

Today Chelsey and Sara are sharing the lineup for Novel Pairings’ fall season. We share our plans for an extra nerdy back-to-school-inspired season and which books we selected to feature. The books include a book seemingly everyone read in high school, a spooky listener’s choice, and a classic mystery novel. All of the books were chosen to fit with different fall reading moods and learning opportunities in mind.

 

To shop all of the books in the fall lineup,  and more, visit our Bookshop storefront: https://bookshop.org/shop/novelpairings

 

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Scroll down for links to our six fall classics:

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Beowulf or Frankenstein (Listeners’ Choice)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

 

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

 

In the Woods by Tana French

The Likeness by Tana French

 

Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

 

Coming up: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Aug 11, 2020
22. Like Water for Chocolate and mouth-watering fiction books about food, cooking, and romance
58:59

Today Chelsey and Sara are kicking off Women in Translation Month by discussing Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. This romantic, sensuous novel was so much fun to discuss, and our pairings include some of our absolute favorite books! We can’t wait to hear what you think of these pairings. 

 

Our discussion includes:

  • Esquivel’s stunning use of food as a conduit for emotion, passion, and tension [11:10]
  • Celebrating passion and different types of love [15:30]
  • Rooting for Tita! [19:03]
  • Structure and expanding the coming of age category [23:54]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a novel in verse and another classic in translation.

 

We avoided spoilers in this episode, so feel free to listen before or after reading in order to enhance your reading experience. 

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Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-like-water-for-chocolate

 

A Burning by Mehga Majumdar

Beheld by Tarashea Nesbitt

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera [39:00]

The Virgin and the Rogue by Sophie Jordan [45:10]

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo [52:13]



Sara’s Pairings:

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez [34:12]

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev [42:13]

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende [48:26]

 

Picks of the Week:

@thedefineddish “Pass the Dish” series

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

Aug 04, 2020
21. Book & Wine Pairings with Jamise Harper and book recommendations from our recent reads
44:13

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting with Jamise Harper of @spinesvines and @diversespines. Jamise is a champion for independent bookstores, for authors, and for the books she loves. We’re delighted to have her on the podcast today to share more about her Literary Wine Down interviews on Instagram live, her favorite books, and the perfect wine pairings to match summertime reads. We had so much fun gushing about our favorite books and authors with Jamise and hope you enjoy listening to our conversation.

 

Follow Jamise: @spinesvines and @diversespines

To shop all of the books in the summer lineup visit our Bookshop storefront or shop the individual links below: https://bookshop.org/shop/novelpairings

Support Jamise’s favorite D.C. bookstores: 

Mahogany Books

Politics and Prose

Kramer Books

Solid State Books

Loyalty Bookstore

East City Books

 

Purchase a #diversespines mug: https://www.idealbookshelf.com/products/mug-spines-vines-diversespines

 

Books mentioned:

Native Son by Richard Wright

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Jazz by Toni Morrison

Sula by Toni Morrison

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

 

Book & Wine Pairings:

 

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson + Cabernet

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo + Rosé

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory + Rosé

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Where to Begin by Cleo Wade + Malbec

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi + Merlot

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

 

Recent recommendations:

 

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

The City We Became by N.K Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N.K Jemisin

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Passing by Nella Larsen

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid



Jul 28, 2020
20. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and romantic Black feminist heroines
01:03:37

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, the perfect book to discuss on a sweltering summer day. Sara read and did not finish this classic in high school. We talk about where she stopped and why, and how we both have a greater appreciation for this work as adults. We gush about Hurston’s writing, bond over our love of Janie the dreamer, and share some tips for approaching this seminal work of southern literature. 

 

Our discussion includes:

  • Hurston’s use of dialect [8:08]
  • Our fondness and love for Janie Crawford [12:06]
  • Seamless symbolism: silencing, oppression, and Janie’s relationships [23:20]
  • Reading Tea Cake’s fate symbolically [20:05]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a celebrity memoir and narrative nonfiction.

 

We will get into some spoilers in this episode, but we must say, we both read summaries prior to reading and think it benefited our reading to know more information going in. Having a prior awareness of plot helped us take in the dialect and rhythm of the story and allowed us to admire Hurston’s writing all the more. 

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Shop the pairings:  https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-their-eyes-were-watching-god

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

Indigo by Beverly Jenkins [43:03]

Rebel by Beverly Jenkins

We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories that are Funny, Complicated, and True by Gabrielle Union [48:13]

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall [55:30]

Jaime’s review

 

Sara’s Pairings:

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward [38:20]

 Jaime’s review

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson [45:30]

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde [51:07]

Jul 21, 2020
19. Short Story Club: All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury and descriptive dystopian novels
43:57

Today, in “Short Story Club,” Chelsey and Sara are chatting about “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Brudbury. This short story is about a group of young schoolchildren living on Venus, who have never seen the sun in their lifetime. It’s about sacrifice, the pain of nostalgia, bullying. It’s super short but packed with stunning detail and emotion. Our discussion includes:

  • Bradbury’s descriptive language [11:07]
  • That ending! We love an ambiguous ending. [15:34]
  • Themes of sustainability and climate change [18:40]
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Plus, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with this story, including an award-winning fantasy and a dystopian YA novel.

 

Past short story episodes:

“Roman Fever” by Edith Wharton

 

Mentions:

Fahrenheit 451 film

Fahrenheit 451

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life

The Hunger Games

The October Country by Ray Bradbury



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Pairing spoilers ahead!

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Chelsey’s Pairings:

The Martian by Andy Weir [30:12] & Artemis by Andy Weir [30:50]

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin [33:39]

The Dry by Jane Harper [37:30]

 

Sara’s Pairings:

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah [31:42]

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman [35:22]

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson [38:58]

 

Jul 14, 2020
18. The Odyssey by Homer and mythology retellings for adventurous readers
01:02:28

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about Homer’s The Odyssey. Sara reveals her nerdy middle school obsession, Chelsey has strong opinions on defining “the classics,” and we have a LOT of fun discussing the complicated character of Odysseus. You don’t need to have any knowledge of mythology or The Odyssey in order to enjoy this episode. 

 

Our discussion includes:

  •  What is a “mythology girl?” [11:38]
  •  Analyzing Odysseus: a larger-than-life character [18:40]
  •  More on Odysseus as a complex, flawed and nuanced hero [28:00]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a business book and a book in translation.

Show Notes:

Edith Hamilton’s Mythology

“Siren Song” by Margaret Atwood

“ Penelope” by Carol Ann Duffy

The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy

Madeline Miller: Circe and The Song of Achilles

Gareth Hinds graphic novel The Odyssey

Bull by David Elliot

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Pairings spoilers below!

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Chelsey’s Pairings:

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger [39:05]

The Martian by Andy Weir [44:36]

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown [51:35]



Sara’s Pairings:

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood [35:40]

The Songs of the Kings by Barry Unsworth [41:15]

Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera [47:05]



Pick of the Week:

Chelsey: A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow recommended by Bezi @beingabookwyrm

Sara: Rick Riordan Presents

Jul 07, 2020
17. Buzzy Summer Books and backlist titles to read while you wait on your library holds
56:14

Today Chelsey and Sara are  toppling your TBRs with backlist books to enjoy this summer. We know hardback books are pricey and library waitlists for the hottest new releases are long, so we’re going to be pairing some of 2020’s most exciting books of summer with older books that are easier to get your hands on. 

Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/novelpairingspod/

Shop our Backlist Recs on Bookshop:  https://bookshop.org/lists/buzzy-summer-books-and-backlist-favorites

Use our referral code to get TWO  audiobooks for the price of one through Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/redeem/novelpairings

Books mentioned:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld 

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Abigail Adams: A Life by Woody Holton

Beach Read by Emily Henry 

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

A Burning by Megha Majumdar 

There There by Tommy Orange

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner 

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

All Adults Here by Emma Straub 

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett 

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory 

Dreamers series by Adrianna Herrera (American Fairytale #2)

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Friends and Strangers by J Courtney Sullivan 

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan 

A Room with a View by EM Forrester

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Beloved by Toni Morrison  

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson 

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

Other mentions:

Kazuo Ishiguro’s new book

The Stacks Podcast

Attica and Tembi Locke

Jun 30, 2020
16. Passing by Nella Larsen and books about complicated sisterhood
01:01:22

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about Passing by Nella Larsen. Published in 1929, Passing is a book about two women: Clare and Irene, who grew up in the same middle class Black community in Chicago and come back into each other's lives as adults. Irene is living in Harlem with her husband, a successful doctor, while Clare has left the family and friends of her youth behind to marry a white man and pass as white. Clare and Irene’s bond is built on a shared past and a deep mutual affection, but also curiosity and jealousy over the lives each of them might have had. As their lives become more and more intertwined the tension builds, and a sense of impending doom makes this book impossible to put down.

 

Our discussion includes:

  •  Gatsby connections galore, and an argument for replacing Gatsby with Passing [16:35]
  •  Intersectionality and Irene’s struggle with loyalty across race, gender, and class lines [27:56]
  •  Who should pick this up? [32:15]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic,  including a literary thriller and one of this summer’s buzziest books.

 

This episode will be mostly spoiler-free, except for a brief discussion of the ending. We’ll warn you in advance before we get into it, and timestamps are listed below. 

 

Show Notes:

Emily Bernard’s intro

Excerpt from Vanishing Half

@reggiereads review

Pairings listed below!

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Chelsey’s Pairings:

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite [40:48]

Black is the Body by Emily Bernard [47:05]

The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert [53:17]

 

Sara’s Pairings:

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson [37:50]

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah [43:14]

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett [50:00]

 

Pick of the Week:

You Must Remember This podcast “Passing for White, Merle Oberon”

13th the Ava DuVerny documentary

Jun 23, 2020
15. Literary Throwbacks and reading YA for fun: a chat with Alli Hoff Kosik of The SSR Podcast
48:05

We’re excited to welcome our first guest on the podcast today! Alli Hoff Kosik is the host of the SSR Podcast, where she breaks down an old school read from her tween and teen years with a special guest every Tuesday. Today, we’re chatting about classic and contemporary YA lit, the magic of middle grade, how childhood books stick with us into adulthood, and more. As always, we’re offering some novel pairings—this time with classic kid lit or YA books and contemporary adult reads. 

You can find the SSR Podcast wherever you download your podcast episodes. Follow Alli on Instagram and Twitter and say hello! 

PS: Congratulations on 100 episodes, Alli!

Listen to Chelsey and Alli talk about Tuck Everlasting on Ep. 34

Listen to Sara and Alli talk about Jacob Have I Loved on Ep. 87

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Books mentioned:

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

Speak by Laurie Hals Anderson

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

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Pairings:

Little Women & The Most Fun We Ever Had

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks & Fleishman is in Trouble

The Baby-Sitters Club & Most Likely

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Guest Rec:

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

Jun 16, 2020
14. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and light summer reads with literary nostalgia
51:48

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, one of the first novels categorized as Young Adult fiction. We discuss the nostalgia associated with our favorite children’s books. Today’s discussion includes:

 

  • Formative experiences with books from our childhoods [8:40]
  • Which couples we ship and which handsome actor captured our hearts in the movie version [15:00]
  • Who should read this book? Downton Abbey fans, we’re looking at you...[20:17]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic including a YA novel in verse and a Regency-era romance novel.

 

Shop the pairings: https://bookshop.org/shop/novelpairings

Resources mentioned:

I Capture the Castle film 

Comforting Classics episode

 

For more links: Subscribe to our Substack newsletter

 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Bookshelf Tees, a small female-owned business we love. We each own several comfy t-shirts from Bookshelf Tees and always look forward to Lauren’s new designs. You can get 20% off your next order by using code NOVELPAIRINGS at checkout.

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Pairing spoilers ahead!

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Chelsey’s Pairings:

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest [28:05]

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare [35:56]

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert [43:22]

 

Sara’s Pairings:

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo [25:03]

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell [32:10]

By the Book by Amanda Sellet [39:36]

 

Chelsey’s Pick of the Week: Never Have I Ever on Netflix

Sara’s Pick of the Week: Harry Potter vs. Huckleberry Finn

Jun 09, 2020
13. Quarterly Favorites: The Best Books We Read in Spring 2020
52:33

As we wind down our spring season,  Chelsey and Sara are talking about our favorite Novel Pairings episodes and the best books we read over the last three months. We also discuss some of the books we’ve both read recently including a celebrity memoir and a delightful book about the writing life. 



Books mentioned in this episode: Open Book by Jessica Simpson [8:37], The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel [12:02], The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare [15:50], Beach Read by Emily Henry [19:29], The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende [24:43], Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo [27:19], Pride by Ibi Zoboi [28:38], The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams [29:25], Most Likely by Sarah Watson [31:24], We Wish You Luck by Caroline Zancan [34:24], Here for It: Or How to Save Your Soul in America by R. Eric Thomas [36:40], Wow No Thank You by Samantha Irby [37:46]  Severance by Ling Ma [38:13], The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham [41:51], Young Jane Young by Gabrille Zevin [44:42], Unscripted by Nicole Kronzer [47:26]

 

Shop our Quarterly Favorites on Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/lists/quarterly-favorites-spring-2020/

 

Listen to He Read She Read Episode 50 on The Duchess Deal

 

Use our referral code to get THREE audiobooks for the price of one through Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/redeem/novelpairings


Next Episode: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

May 26, 2020
12. Beloved by Toni Morrison and books inspired by Morrison's Great American Novel
01:02:34

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about Beloved by Toni Morrison. This American masterpiece and 1988 Pulitzer winner tells the story of Sethe, a woman who escaped from slavery to find freedom for herself and her children, only to be haunted by the traumas of her past. It’s a story of motherhood, womanhood, freedom, and redemption, and Morrison’s genius and language are incomparable. Today’s discussion includes:

 

  • Sara sharing her experience with teaching this book and why it’s the perfect book to bring into the classroom [4:10]
  • Reading Beloved symbolically and being okay with not understanding everything [10:30]
  • Each of us sharing why we love Toni Morrison and why this book might just be THE Great American Novel [36:03]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic including a heartbreaking work of middle grade fiction and a debut novel from an award-winning nonfiction writer.

 

Shop the pairings: https://bookshop.org/shop/novelpairings

 

Resources mentioned:

 

The Stacks Episode 60 [27:27]

BBC World Books Toni Morrison Interview [30:28]

Subscribe to our Substack newsletter

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Pairing spoilers ahead!

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Chelsey’s Pairings:

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward [46:18]

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes [52:39]

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora [57:53]

 

Sara’s Pairings:

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates [42:48]

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson [48:59]

The Mothers by Brit Bennett [55:29]

 

Chelsey’s Pick of the Week: Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am 

Sara’s Pick of the Week: The 1619 Project

May 19, 2020
11. Summer Reading Preview including fast-paced classics, classic YA, and epic adventures for every staycation mood
24:15

Today Chelsey and Sara are sharing the lineup for Novel Pairings’ summer season. We discuss what makes a great summer read, different readerly tastes in summer books, and then reveal the six classics we’ll be reading and discussing in June, July, and August. The books include a southern literature classic, a class work of young adult fiction, and several epic adventures. All of the books were chosen to suit a variety summer reading moods and to be perfect pairings for the contemporary books we love to read in the summer.

 

To shop all of the books in the summer lineup visit our Bookshop storefront: https://bookshop.org/shop/novelpairings

 

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Scroll down for time stamps and links to our six summer classics:

 

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith [6:21]

Passing by Nella Larsen [8:06]

The Odyssey by Homer [9:51]

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston [11:24]

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel [13:17]

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein [14:50]

May 12, 2020
10. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan and books that feature female friendships and motherhood
01:05:49

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. We’re discussing iconic literary mothers and the depiction of motherhood in Amy Tan’s debut novel. Plus, we talk about the blurred lines between Tan’s fiction and her real life and which characters really captured our attention. Our discussion includes:

 

  •  Our love for novels told in short stories that all tie together [9:50]
  •  Approaching texts from cultures different from our own, as teachers and readers [11:42]
  •  The beautiful theme of female friendship depicted along with complex mother-daughter relationships [27:42]

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic include a and a YA graphic novel and a 2019 Booker Prize winner.

 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Libro.fm, the only audiobook company that allows you to purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite indie bookstore. You can get THREE audiobooks for $15 by clicking this link or by using code NOVELPAIRINGS at checkout.

 

Books Mentioned:

 

The Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

 

Chelsey’s Pairings:

 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan [42:38]

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang [49:20]

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee [56:06]

 

Sara’s Pairings:

 

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi [39:16]

Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo [45:19]

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu [52:51]

 

Shop all the books from this week's episode: https://bookshop.org/shop/novelpairings

 

Picks of the Week:

Ugly Delicious on Netflix

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong

May 05, 2020
9. Roman Fever by Edith Wharton and book recommendations for fans of Gossip Girl and Gilmore Girls
44:07

Today Chelsey and Sara are trying something a little different and discussing a short story. First, we’ll deep dive into the dishy, gossipy, and glitzy world of Edith Wharton’s Roman Fever (this conversation sounds more like a discussion of The Bachelor than a work of classic lit!) and then we’ll share some contemporary authors who remind us of Wharton and short story collections we’re eager to read. Today’s discussion includes:

 

  • Our relationships with short stories and why this one in particular made our jaws drop.
  • Why Edith Wharton is the perfect classic author for lovers of Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, and anyone who loves reading about “rich people problems.”
  • The contemporary author Chelsey realized was the perfect pairing for Wharton’s sassy and drama-filled books.

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending lots of contemporary books along the way, including short story collections we love and our favorite rich people problems books.

 

Read Roman Fever online for free: https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/pleasureofthetext/files/2016/10/Roman-Fever.pdf

 

Books discussed in today’s episode: 

Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (29:03)

The Garden Party and Other Stories Katherine Mansfield (30:08)

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (31:10)

The Six Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (31:40)

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (32:22)

All this Could be Yours by Jami Attenberg (32:24)

Succession (32:30)

How Long til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemison (33:20)

Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times in Today’s New York (35:13)

Florida by Lauren Groff (37:03)

Laugable Loves by Milan Kundera (38:22)

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld (39:22)

Heads of the Colored People  by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (40:06)

Lot by Bryan Washington (40:49)

Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (41:20)

Cowboys are My Weakness by Pam Houston (41:43)

 

Shop all of the books we mentioned today through our Bookshop storefront: https://bookshop.org/shop/novelpairings


Follow us on Instagram at @novelpairingspod or get in touch with us at novelpairingspod@gmail.com

Apr 28, 2020
8. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare and the magic of Young Adult romance novels
01:05:13

Hey listeners! Today we’re talking about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As you probably know, this play ends tragically with the two star-crossed lovers taking their own lives. Today’s episode includes a conversation about using this play as a bridge to discuss mental health and suicide with high schoolers. We believe this is an important part of the conversation about this play, but if this topic is triggering for you, we recommend skipping ahead about 2 and a half minutes starting at minute 26 to minute. Alright, let’s get into the episode!

 

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. This play is the perfect match for spring fever, and for many of us, it was our first encounter with Shakespeare. We share lots of thoughts on reading this play as freshmen in high school and later as English teachers. Plus, we have opinions on how Shakespeare should be read and taught in general. Listen in for book recommendations that capture the star-crossed lovers theme but don’t end quite so tragically. Our discussion includes:

 

  • How we may have misunderstood the main characters (11:58)
  • Why Mercutio is our favorite character (20:57)
  • Content warning: brief discussion on teaching suicide awareness as part of the Romeo and Juliet curriculum (26:10-29:00)
  • Why this play endures, and is still read in high schools (31:18)

 

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic include an unexpected literary retelling and a few YA romances.

 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Libro.fm, the only audiobook company that allows you to purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite indie bookstore. You can get THREE audiobooks for $15 by clicking this link or by using code NOVELPAIRINGS at checkout.

 

Librofm: https://libro.fm/membership/new

 

Shop our pairings at Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-romeo-and-juliet

 

Shakespeare in Love Prologue

Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing

Ian McKellen as King Lear

The American Player’s Theatre

10 Things I Hate About You

She’s the Man



Chelsey’s Pairings:

The Opposite of Always by Jason Reynolds (47:00)

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (51:31)

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (55:41)

 

Sara’s Pairings:

The Shakespeare Miscellany by Ben and David Crystal (45:41)

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson (49:02)

Circe by Madeline Miller (53:06)

 

Sara: Don’t Quill the Messenger podcast 


Chelsey: No Holds Bard “So You’re Going to See Shakespeare” podcast episodes

Apr 21, 2020
7. Celebrating National Poetry Month with reading tips and poem recommendations
53:04

Today Chelsey and Sara are celebrating National Poetry Month. We chat about our strong feelings towards poetry in high school, how our view has changed as teachers, and the ways in which we incorporate poetry into our daily reading lives. Our discussion includes:

  • How we feel about poetry and how our high school experiences shaped our view (1:45)
  • Our favorite poets and poetry collections (28:30)
  •  Amazing YA novels in verse (42:30)

Shop this episode in our affiliate shop at Bookshop.org to support independent bookstores. 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Libro.fm, the only audiobook company that allows you to purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite indie bookstore. You can get THREE audiobooks for $15 by clicking this link or by using code NOVELPAIRINGS at checkout.

--Scroll down for titles and timestamps--

 

 

 

Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins

Eating Poetry by Mark Strand

If I Should Have a Daughter by Sarah Kay (13:38)

3 Ways to Speak English by Jamila Lyiscott (13:55)

Romantic poets

A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver (17:40)

Japan by Billy Collins (24:35)

Emily Dickinson (28:47)

Funeral Blues by WH Auden (31:22)

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (31:44)

No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay (31:49)

The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy (32:56)

Felicity by Mary Oliver (34:33)

Audre Lorde (35:33)

Shakespeare’s Sonnets (36:33)

Sir Patrick Stewart Reading a Sonnet a Day

Sonnet 116

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda (38:37)

Langston Hughes (38:45)

Theme for English B

Rupi Kaur

I, Too

I Hear American Singing by Walt Whitman (40:54)

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (42:42)

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (43:32)

Red at the Bone 

Brown Girl Dreaming 

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (44:36)

Kwame Alexander (45:39)

Poem-a-day emails

Poetry Foundation

Poets.org

Button Poetry

 

Apr 14, 2020
6. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and books for Downton Abbey fans
57:55

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Set in 1954, this Booker Prize winning novel follows a quintessential English butler named Stevens on a road trip to visit his manor’s former housekeeper Miss Kenton. This is the perfect novel for Downton Abbey fans, but it’s darker and more introspective than the show. In addition to the historical context of this modern classic, we discuss character-driven novels and four of Sara’s all-time favorite books.

 Our discussion includes:

  •  Personal reading preferences and the appeal of character-driven novels (6:55)
  •  The theme of regret (20:00)
  •  Connections to Downton Abbey and why fans needs to read this book  (28:28)

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic including a time-hopping literary fiction novel and a cozy historical mystery.

Today’s episode is brought to you by Libro.fm, the only audiobook company that allows you to purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite indie bookstore. You can get THREE audiobooks for $15 by clicking this link or by using code NOVELPAIRINGS at checkout.

Librofm: https://libro.fm/membership/new

Bookshop List: https://bookshop.org/lists/novel-pairings-for-the-remains-of-the-day-by-kazuo-ishiguro-and-downton-abbey-fans

 

 

 

 

 

Contemporary Pairings & Timestamps: 

Chelsey’s Pairings: Atonement by Ian McEwan (33:45), Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (39:24), Americanah by Chimamamnda Ngozi Adichie (46:15)

Sara’s Pairings: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (36:37), The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (42:08), Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (49:07)

Sara’s Pick: You’re Wrong About Podcast (52:38)

Chelsey’s Pick: The Plot Against America on HBO (55:10)

Apr 07, 2020
5. English Major Lingo and getting academic with the feminist and gender lens
36:34

Today Chelsey and Sara dig  up some well-loved English major lingo and dust it off. We’re talking about critical theory and how it enhances our reading lives, starting with the feminist or gender lens. We provide examples and suggestions for how to incorporate critical theory into your everyday reading life because you don’t have to be a teacher, English major, or scholar in order to get the most out of this tool!

Books Discussed in Today’s Episode:

Emma by Jane Austen: https://bookshop.org/a/1300/9780143107712 

The Awakening by Kate Chopin: https://bookshop.org/a/1300/9780743487672 

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf: https://bookshop.org/a/1300/9780156787338 

If you’d like to learn more, check out these resources:

Introduction to Literary Theory: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/literary_theory_and_schools_of_criticism/index.html 

Feminist Criticism: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/literary_theory_and_schools_of_criticism/feminist_criticism.html 

The Bechdel Test: https://bechdeltest.com/

Resources for Middle and High School teachers:

Critical Encounters in Secondary English by Deborah Appleman: https://bookshop.org/a/1300/9780807756232 

“Teach the How”: https://secure.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/EJ/1034-mar2014/EJ1034Teach.pdf 

How and Why to Teach Literary Theory in Secondary ELA: http://doccopteaching.com/2019/03/26/how-and-why-to-teach-literary-theory-in-secondary-ela/

Mar 31, 2020
4. Comforting Classics and other absorbing reads
01:20:45

Today Chelsey and Sara are toppling your TBR with classics and pairings to keep you company during the pandemic. Comfort reading is different for everyone, so we’ve got a wide range of books to recommend including books with cozy communities, classic comedies (and modern pairings), and big books to last you through many weeks of social distancing.

 

Full Show Notes: https://fictionmattersbooks.com/article/comfort-reading-notes

Shop the Episode: https://bookshop.org/lists/comforting-classics-and-other-absorbing-reads

 

Topics Discussed: 

Current Reads (5:20) 

Comfort Reads (10:40) 

Cozy Communities (32:49) 

Page Turners (40:15) 

Big Books (49:54) 

Escapist Reads (56:28) 

Comedies (1:04:48) 

Books that Make You Think (1:10:57)

Mar 24, 2020
3. The Awakening by Kate Chopin and books that feature feminine self-discovery
58:29

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about The Awakening by Kate Chopin. This novella published in 1899 follows Edna Pontellier as she discovers her desires and her identity outside of wifehood and motherhood. Our discussion includes how this book illustrates the constraints placed on 19th century women, why we don’t seem to have any issues with the infidelity in the novel, and how Kate Chopin speaks to modern-day mom-shaming. We also dig into some of the problematic content in this book and offer suggestions on how to read it through a more modern lens.

Plus, as always, we’re recommending six contemporary books to pair with our classic include a young adult novel full of evocative nature imagery and a closed door second chance romance.

Today’s episode is brought to you by Libro.fm, the only audiobook company that allows you to purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite indie bookstore. You can get THREE audiobooks for $15 by clicking this link or by using code NOVELPAIRINGS at checkout.



Books, Pairings, and Time Stamps

Books Discussed: The Awakening Modern Library Torchbearers Edition (23:50), Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (30:36), Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (30:38)

Chelsey’s Pairings: Educated by Tara Westover (39:45), Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper (44:08), We Are Okay by Nina Lacour (48:40)

Sara’s Pairings: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (41:40), Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (46:02), Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes (50:20)

Picks of the Week: Love is Blind (52:35) and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (54:45)

Mar 17, 2020
2. The New Emma Movie and our favorite Austen adaptations
36:30

Today Chelsey and Sara are chatting about the new Emma movie directed by Autumn de Wilde. In this sparkling new film adaptation, Emma is just as snarky and delightful as she is in the book. Our discussion includes us gushing over the vivid colors and costumes, some love for how the female characters are depicted, and a few serious problems with period piece adaptations in general. . . Today’s episode is brought to you by Libro.fm, the only audiobook company that allows you to purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite indie bookstore. You can get THREE audiobooks for $15 by clicking this link or by using code NOVELPAIRINGS at checkout.

Mar 10, 2020
1. Emma by Jane Austen and our favorite modern romantic heroines
59:51

In this episode, we're discussing Jane Austen's final novel, Emma. We admit our love for Emma's sass and bossiness, debate her potentially problematic friendship with the orphan Harriet Smith, and swoon over Mr. Knightley. Plus we're offering six contemporary reads that perfectly pair with Austen's most memorable heroine.

Mar 03, 2020
0. Introducing Novel Pairings, a podcast dedicated to making the classics readable, relevant, and fun
30:37

Welcome to Novel Pairings, a podcast dedicated to making the classics readable, relevant, and fun. In this welcome episode, Chelsey and Sara introduce themselves and the podcast format, and share exactly what they mean by "pairings."

Mar 03, 2020