61. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, plus books about complicated families, romance, and boundaries

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. 

Listen to this episode in your web browser or download and subscribe in your favorite podcast app.

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

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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]

Books mentioned (affiliate links):

Chelsey

Sara

Picks of the week:

Want to buy an island in Canada

The History Chicks: Lucy Maud Montgomery episode

60. Backlist coming of age novels for book clubs and beach reads

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!

Listen to the episode right in your web browser with this link.

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:

59. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, coming of age stories, and sweeping historical fiction

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.  

Listen to the episode here or download it in your favorite podcast app (don’t forget to subscribe!).

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!

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.

58. Grounded and inventive speculative fiction recommendations for your TBR

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. 

Listen to the episode here or download it in your favorite podcast app (don’t forget to subscribe!).

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:

57. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and science fiction stories for literary fiction lovers

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.

Listen to the episode here or download it in your favorite podcast app.

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!

Chelsey

Sara

Also mentioned:

56. Speech Sounds by Octavia Butler, a short story club discussion

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.

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

55. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin and modern pairings with evocative writing

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.

Listen to the episode in your web browser with this link.

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.

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: [31:00]

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!

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

54. Pride and Prejudice retellings, sequels, and pastiche

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. 

Download the episode in your favorite podcast app or use this link to listen in your web browser.

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

53. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Part Two

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. 

Listen in your web browser with this link.

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:

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

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (Amazon)

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

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

Sara’s pick of the week: Austenland

Chelsey’s pick of the week: Austen ASMR room

52. Backlist pairings for our most anticipated Spring 2021 book releases

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.

Listen to this episode in your favorite podcast player or in your web browser.

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

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)

Ad break: 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)