A while back I posted the first edition of book pairings – books that you really should read together. After I stumbled upon another great pairing, I realized it was time to revisit this topic – this, time with a theme.
March is the story of Mister March, the father of Louisa May Alcott’s four Little Women, during the year he serves as a chaplain in the Union army. This is pretty clear in the description on the back of the book, only I didn’t pay attention so I didn’t catch this until I started reading. After I finished March (loved it!), I had to revisit Little Women, which I vaguely remember reading at some point. I’m at the halfway point, and, while I understand its long-lived sentimental appeal, I very much appreciate being able to fill in the boring bits with some of the backstory from March. There is more than meets the eye to the March family, according to Geraldine Brooks!
Okay, there are a number of Poe works that I could have added to this pair, but, since I’d like this list to include books I might actually get to in the semi-near future, I chose this short, 80-page scholastic collection of Poe poems over an 800-page Poe anthology. You guys, I live down the street from Poe’s honeymoon retreat with his 13-year old cousin. This takes place years later in New York, but I’m still pretty intrigued by this historical fiction. And, if I’m going to read it, I really ought to pair it with some authentic Poe, right?
I definitely stole this one from a comment on my first Book Pairings post (thanks Katie!). I know I read some Hemingway in high school, though I’m pretty sure it was A Farewell to Arms. I’m also fairly certain that I did not enjoy it, but I’m willing to give it another go. After all, I had some questionable taste in high school. So, maybe I’ll start with The Paris Wife and then give ol’ Ernest another shot. Maybe.
Any other pairs about spouses to add to the list?
*Updated 10/24/2014 because I had my facts wrong about Mrs. Poe. The Mrs. Poe in the title is indeed the same cousin that Poe honeymooned in Petersburg with, and was the only woman that Poe married. However, the story centers around Frances Osgood, an alleged mistress, and her relationship with Poe – and with Mrs. Poe.
Oh I love this! I’ve had March sitting in a bookshelf for ages and I’ve got Little Women on my classics list. Like you, I’ve read it but it’s been awhile. I’ll have to remember to read March and than Little Women. What a great idea!
This is such a great idea for a post. Love it. Are you loving Little Women? I remember trying to get through it several times from the age of 8 on and finally getting it. It’s one of my very favourite books (even though there are sections that are long and kind of dry – I never liked the Pickwick Papers chapters or the whole Pilgrim’s Progress but I suppose they were a mark of the time) and just seems to get better every tine I read it.
I did not like The Paris Wife. I wanted to like it – it had everything that I usually like in a novel. But Hadley took so much crap and Hemingway was such a douche, however brilliant he might have been (I’ve never actually read any of his work being so turned off by his personality).
BUT you are now the second person to tell me about Mrs. Poe and I’m totally going to read that one of these days. AND I see that you’re reading The Secret History of the Pink Carnation which was also just recommended to me recently. I hope you post a review of it!
I don’t think I can say I’m LOVING Little Women. Those girls are just entirely too well-behaved! But, I’m enjoying it for what it is and I’ll keep at it! And, based on your Paris Wife comments, I think I’ll try to read Mrs. Poe first!
And yes, get on the Pink Carnation. Like, now! Amanda signed us up for this: http://thebubblebathreader.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/announcement-part-ii/.
Stick with Little Women. It’s so great. And then you should read Little Men because they are not well behaved at all.
Not that I can think of. But good ones there
This is a fantastic idea! I really enjoyed March and I agree that it gave Little Women some much-needed depth.