64. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Part One

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! 

To listen to the episode right here in your web browser, click here.

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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.

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

63. Brand new summer books and backlist pairings to topple your TBR

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)

62. Quarterly Favorites: page-turning reads and reflections on Spring 2021

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

Listen to the episode in your favorite podcast app or with this link.

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):

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

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.

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]

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