Today, Sara and Chelsey share their favorite books of the year (so far) with a series of bookish superlatives to guide them. From most surprising to most disappointing, we discuss the books that have shaped our reading lives in the first half of 2021. We love this low pressure format for sharing “the best” books and would love to hear about YOUR favorites, using our superlatives list.
Chelsey and Sara discuss The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton*, a glittering Gilded Age classic that feels particularly relevant today. We chat about our experiences rereading one of Wharton’s early novels, how we felt about the divisive character Lily Bart, and our recommendations for contemporary pairings—including one of our favorite essay collections and a coming of age novel set at a boarding school.
*This episode does include spoilers, so listen carefully for spoiler warnings if you haven’t read The House of Mirth yet.
Today in “Short Story Club,” Chelsey and Sara are discussing “The Prairie Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld. It’s a quick, absorbing read about summer camp, social media, and how stories shape our identities. We’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Note: Short Story Club episodes do contain spoilers. Read the story first, and then come back to hear our nerdy discussion!
Today, Chelsey and Sara discuss The Summer Book by Tove Jansson*, a contemplative and vivid book in translation about a young girl, her grandmother, and the little island they inhabit. We discuss our favorite vignettes, the endearing characters, and our recommendations for contemporary pairings—including memoir, literary fiction, and poetry.
*This episode is spoiler-free. Click here to listen in your web browser, or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts.
Today, Sara and Chelsey share their favorite classic and contemporary sweeping family sagas. We recommend intergenerational stories that take place over decades or centuries—or across multiple continents. We also define and discuss this sub genre and speculate about why it’s become such a popular phrase in publishing. Do you have a favorite novel that fits on our list?
Today Chelsey and Sara discuss the second half of The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Chapters 7 through 14. In this episode, we cover new characters, prominent themes, and final thoughts on spending so much time with the Trueba family, plus our contemporary pairings! We’ve paired Allende’s masterpiece with novels of magical realism from all over the world, and we can’t wait to hear your recommendations for further reading.
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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.
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!
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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!
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.
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