89. Behind the scenes of the shop around the corner with Annie B. Jones

Here at Novel Pairings, if there’s one thing we love almost as much as reading it’s supporting independent bookstores. Today, we’re re-airing an interview with one of our favorite indie bookstore insiders, Annie B. Jones, owner of The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia. Annie shares a little about her own reading life and tastes, and offers some sweet and moving book pairings for one of her favorite classics: Little Women

Remember, you can support The Bookshelf or your favorite local indie bookstore and the Novel Pairings podcast by signing up or gifting a Libro.fm membership. Use our code NOVELPAIRINGS when you join, and help boost business at your favorite bookstore through another difficult holiday season.

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:

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

88. A new-to-us and nuanced novel of manners: There is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset

We love revisiting our favorite books for episodes of Novel Pairings, but there’s also something truly special about finding a new-to-us classic that becomes a forever favorite. There is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset was a book neither of us had read or even knew much about before deciding to cover it on the podcast. 

What we found was a beautiful and nuanced novel of manners that both echoed many of our favorite works while offering something wholly original. We keep this episode spoiler-free to encourage more readers to give this novel a chance. We hope you’ll listen and then pick up this too long neglected Harlem Renaissance classic.

Click here to listen or download the episode in your favorite podcast app.

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.

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

Shop the pairings with our affiliate links below:

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]

87. Perfectly paired gifts for every bookworm

Our penchant for pairings goes far beyond books and in today’s gift guide rerelease we’re offering a variety of suggestions for what to give the literary minded loved ones in your life. Each book and gift pairing is put together with a particular type of reader in mind to help you find the perfect holiday gift no matter who you’re shopping for this season. Listen to the episode wherever you get your podcasts, and shop our gift guide below:

Our Gift Guide: https://novelpairings.com/2020/11/10/35-a-2020-gift-guide-for-every-literary-taste/

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:

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

86. Palpable tension and shocking twists in Passing by Nella Larsen

When we first released our episode on Passing by Nella Larsen in June of 2020, we were already professing our excitement for the new movie starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Nega. This month, the film is finally releasing on Netflix. 

We can’t wait to watch and see how the palpable tension and twisty tone translate to the screen. This episode contains spoilers, but we give you ample warning so feel free to listen before or after watching.

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.

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.

Show Notes:

Emily Bernard’s intro

Excerpt from Vanishing Half

@reggiereads review

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

85. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and perfectly psychological pairings

Today, Sara and Chelsey discuss “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. We’ve read this story more times than we can count—as students and as teachers, and today we’re sharing new insights and appreciation for its themes, tone, and terrifying ending. We cover connections to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s biography, historical context, and deeper analysis as we talk through this 1892 classic and classroom staple. In Short Story Club we do share spoilers, so read this story for free and then tune in to our discussion—or listen to see what you remember from a previous reading experience. As always, we offer pairings with similar themes to add to your TBR.

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.

Skip to the pairings: [48:10]

Photo: @penguinclassics

Books mentioned:

Thank you for supporting the show by shopping our affiliate links! 

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Read “The Yellow Wallpaper” for free

“The Yellow Wallpaper” audiobook on Hoopla

Chelsey:

Sara:

Picks of the week:

Chelsey – “The Yellow Wallpaper” The Musical and All’s Well by Mona Awad

Sara – Gaslight (1944)

84. Literary terms, book recommendations, and learning about the horror genre with Raelyn Torngren

Today, we welcome Raelyn Torngren to the podcast to educate us on the horror genre. From defining tropes to engaging in literary criticism to offering excellent book recommendations, we cover a lot of ground! This episode is excellent for readers who are ready to lean into their darker tastes this season or readers who are new to the genre. You can find Raelyn on Instagram @reading.reverie and follow her Youtube channel, Reading Reverie for video essays and book recommendations. She also hosts a horror book club!

For more bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk,  join our Novel Pairings  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.

Photo: @reading.reverie

Books mentioned:

Thank you for supporting the show by shopping our affiliate links! 

Also mentioned:

83. Revisiting Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This season we’ve been getting into the autumnal mood with Gothic short stories, Victorian fiction, and an upcoming exploration of horror literature. Today, we’re rereleasing our episode on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a work that fits perfectly into our seasonal theme. 

We hope listening or relistening to our discussion about this classroom staple will be enhanced by all the additional Gothic content in the Novel Pairings feed this fall.

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:

  1. Victor thinking about creating his creature
  2. Creating the monster
  3. Monster talking to Victor
  4. Skip all of the wandering around the countryside

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

82. How to read a BIG book: an introduction to Middlemarch by George Eliot

In case you missed it, we’re reading Middlemarch together! We’re both excited (and, let’s be honest) a little apprehensive about diving into George Eliot’s Middlemarch with you this fall and winter. This is a BIG book filled with lots of historical references and Eliot’s signature attention to the smallest of details. It’s also a cozy and thoughtful depiction of a small town that brings us relationships to root for, villains to hate, and characters we’ll remember for a long time to come.

Today, we’re sharing some logistics of how our big book readalong will work, basic background information on the text, and tips for making your reading experience valuable and enjoyable.

We can’t wait to get reading with you!

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.

Links:

Middlemarch by George Eliot (Penguin Classics Deluxe) 

Middlemarch on the Serial Reader app 

Middlmarch on Spotify 

A brief biography of George Eliot 

“Silly Novels by Lady Novelists” by George Eliot 

Virginia Woolf on George Eliot 

Henry James’ review of Middlemarch 

Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith 

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

A Secret Sisterhood by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney 

81. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe and creepy fictional houses to explore

Today, Sara and Chelsey discuss “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. This delightfully creepy story ushers in (that pun was NOT intended, but let’s go with it) chilling fall breezes, spooky October vibes, and atmosphere galore. We walk through a close reading of this classic horror story and cover Poe’s signature writing style and the horror tropes he plays with here, leaving a legacy for modern authors and even filmmakers in the horror genre. As always in Short Story Club, we offer four contemporary pairings to add to your gothic reading pile this fall. 

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.

Skip to the pairings: [43:50]

Books mentioned:

Thank you for supporting the show by shopping our affiliate links! 

“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe’s stories on audio

A collection of Poe’s short stories

Chelsey:

Sara:

Both (Bonus):

Picks of the week:

Chelsey – For students: The Poe Museum  & Common Lit For teachers: Drunk History, Edgar Allan Poe feuds with Rufus Griswold

Sara – The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez and The Fall by Bethan Griffin

80. Forecasting our fall reading with anticipated backlist titles from our shelves

Today, Sara and Chelsey share the backlist books they’re putting on their To Be Read lists for the next few months. We speculate on which books will carry us through the early days of motherhood and which reading formats might work best in a totally unpredictable season. This episode is for anyone who wants to read more backlist, readers who have a hard time focusing right now, and bookworms eager to add overlooked titles to their book stacks. 

Click here to listen to the episode or download it wherever you get your podcasts.

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 supporting the show by shopping our affiliate links! 

Also mentioned:

Marlon and Jake Read Dead People