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Topic: "Pairing Books"

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Subject: "Pairing Books"
Date Posted: 2/5/2008 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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Our book club wants to try something different!  Instead of picking one book for our next discussion, we are looking for two books that would somehow compliment each other.  We read everything.....contemporary, classics, fiction and non-fiction.  Any suggestions?

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 240
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It would be fun to read two books (biographies or autobiographies) about leaders who lived during the same time, interacted with each other, etc., to understand how they looked at events differently.

Another idea is to read books by authors who belong to a similar group.  For example, two jewish authors or two authors who were very young when they wrote the books. 

I think it sounds like a great idea for discussions.

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2007
Posts: 812
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Last year, I wanted our book club to do March (Geraldine Brooks) and Little Women.  Nobody went for the idea.  March is the story of the girls' father away at war, if I remember right.

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2007
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Or:  Reading Lolita in Tehran, and Lolita...

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
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I once belonged to a book club that read one fairly current book and one classic.  I loved it because I definitely wanted to read the newer book and reading a classic that I missed or re-reading one appealed to me.  Unfortunately, the other members decided that they couldn't keep up with this pace. 

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 5:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,727
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Our book discussion group will sometimes pick one author, but we each read a different book by that person.  I remember we did this with Alice Hoffman...it was really fun! 

There's a new book out called "Becky" by Lenore Hart--it's the story of Tom Sawyer's Becky Thatcher, all grown up.  That would be fun to read with Tom Sawyer.   Or "My Jim" by Nancy Rawls and Huck Finn.  ("My Jim" is the story of Jim the slave's wife...it's short, but wonderful!)

Let us know what you decide to do!



Date Posted: 2/5/2008 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
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How about "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the recent biography of Harper Lee, titled "Mockingbird"?

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 2/5/2008 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy and Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett

Date Posted: 2/5/2008 9:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2005
Posts: 3
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I love reading books in pairs.  Here are a few ideas:

Persepolis by Marjane Satrap and Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni   (Two nonfiction memoirs about Iran by women, one in graphic novel format.)

Soon, I will be Invincible by Austin Grossman and Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks (Two fiction books about supervillains, one written for adults and the other for older children.)

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Best of Friends by Sara James and Ginger Mauney (Two memoirs about women traveling and trying to find themselves.)

I hope your group has fun with this!






Date Posted: 2/6/2008 8:52 AM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2007
Posts: 140
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The Great Gatsby and When Washington WAs in Vogue are great companion books.  The first, obviously the classic, but the second was a "harlem rennaissance" book written about the black upper class.  There are many parallels that can be drawn and some very interesting discussions about old/new money and darker/lighter skin (within the black community, not speaking of the black/white difference).  The second book, by  Edward Christopher Williams,  was "found" by a graduate student and republished fairly recently (it was originally published as a serial) also there are interesting discussions to be had about the way each story is told (Washington . . .  is an epistolary novel) and the choice of narrators.  How would Gatsby read from his own point of view in letters?? 

- Tracy

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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WOW!  What great recommendations.  I will take them all with me to the next meeting.  We are hoping to put together our reading list for the year.  Any more suggestions?

Last Edited on: 2/7/08 11:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2008 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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(my computer had a hiccup, sorry)

Last Edited on: 2/7/08 12:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2008 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,727
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Once, just for fun, my group picked a book and the movie; we read the book, then got together for a Saturday afternoon movie meeting (complete with popcorn!) and then discussed both.  It was fun, for something different.

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
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The two Hosseini books complement each other:

The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

Date Posted: 2/10/2008 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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What about Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next Series book the Eyre Affair  and Jane Eyre.  One is light hearted and funny and the other is a classic.

I also suggest you do a fiction and non fiction pairing as most of my friends read this way normally.

I recommend the House of the Scorpian and The Goodness gene, they are both about clones but different takes on the idea.

Date Posted: 2/10/2008 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 6,102
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Vicky, this sounds like a terrific group you belong to!  And to think, soon we will be almost neighbors...hahaha.  (Only teasing here.)

This is so interesting.  Does your group like history?  I especially like the idea of historical figures.  Like, how about U.S. Grant's autobio and Lee's.  Or W.T. Sherman and Longstreet? 

Another historical idea would be Beloved Bride: Stonewall Jackson's Letters to His Wife.  And to contrast, probably any of the historicals that show that religiously fanatic, harsh, driven commander who could easily have his desserters shot (young, scared farm boys).  Beloved was a really nice book, especially tender, unexpected if you know anything of his history. 

I am going to watch this thread to get some good ideas for my own reading. 

Also, I heartily agree with Little Women and March.  Heartily.

Last Edited on: 2/10/08 7:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/11/2008 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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This is a combo that I read last year:

A Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark


1776  by David McCullough

A Mount Vernon Love Story is the fictional novelization of the love story between George and Martha Washington, so it's a very personal look at George Washington's life.  It's not a total fluff novel, either.  It's obvious that Mary Higgins Clark did her research for this book.

1776 is non-fiction about the military campaign (led by George Washington) during that one critical year in the America Revolution.  In this book you also see the personal side of George Washington - but only his military personal side.

So when you put the two books together, you get a very well rounded look at our first president.

I recommend reading A Mount Vernon Love Story first.  


Date Posted: 2/12/2008 7:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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I'm jealous about your book club's great idea.

When I remember books I enjoyed and reminded me of another I'd read, these are my thoughts....

East of Eden and Seabiscuit (same time period - 1930's, although EoE is long by itself...are you going to expand the time frame?)

Secret LIfe of Bees /Mother of Pearl/Getting Mother's Body (late 1950s/early '60's and the Civil Rights era)

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime and The Speed of Wind (autism... I usually don't like science fiction, but SoW was enjoyable and made one ponder...what it? I didn't really care for Curious)

The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo by Paula Huntley (one of my favorite memoirs) and The Old Man and the Sea or/ Pretty Bird by Scott Simon (Bosnian war and aftermath)

We Need to Talk About Kevin and Nineteen MInutes (school shootings - although that's a lot of tragedy and dysfunction for one discussion)

Sunday at a Pool in Kigali (slow) and We Wish to Remind You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed (watch Hotel Rwanda)

The Sparrow and Children of God (a science fiction series of two) by Mary Doria Russell

Any two books on the culture of India.  There are so many titles to choose from.


I could go on and on....but I won't.  And I'm with Vicky.  Please let us know what you come up with.

Date Posted: 2/12/2008 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Gosh, this is such a great idea. My reading groups have done the read the novel / watch the movie combination, but none of us has come up with the book pairing idea. Many thanks for bringing this up and to all who contributed ideas.


Date Posted: 2/12/2008 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/29/2007
Posts: 185
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Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut and Venus on the Half-Shell, by "Kilgore Trout" from S-5.

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Spartan Planet by Bertram Chandler. One is a planet of men who have never seen women, and one is a "lost world" utopia of women in the Amazon jungle, cut off from all outside contact.

Wicked and Wizard of Oz? Marley's Ghost and Dickens' A Christmas Carol? The Phantom of the Opera and Terry Pratchett's Maskerade?  I recently read Tolkien's Hobbit and Pat Murphy's There and Back Again at the same time. That was fun!

Date Posted: 2/12/2008 11:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2006
Posts: 18
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How about pairing a fiction book such as A Thousand Splendid Suns and a nonfiction book with the same time period, area  and subject such as The Bookseller of Kabul  and then comparing facts, research, etc.

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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Ooops!  In my haste, I made a mistake on a title above.  Along with Curious Incident, the paired book title should have been The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon.  It has 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.  Sorry for the misinformation. I listed it as the Speed of Wind.

Alas, I don't know how to edit my previous post, so I had to enter a new one.  I hope anyone who was interested notices this.