Book Pairings

Let’s talk about books that you should read together. No, not like series or books by the same author, but books that make more sense (or are more fun), if you read both.

This post is inspired by my recent reading of For Darkness Shows the Stars (futuristic/post-apocalyptic Jane Austen) and companion Across a Star Swept Sea (retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel), but I fully enjoyed those without (yet) reading the accompanying classics. So, here are some pairings where you must read both, in order for the magic to truly happen.

1. Jane Eyre + The Eyre Affair


No one should be shocked that my sister demanded I read a book set in a bizarro 1985 London involving time travel and literary detectives. The Eyre Affair is about our heroine, Thursday Next’s, attempt to track down the villain who stole one Jane Eyre. As in, just plucked her, right out of the story! So, you see where I’m going with this – I had to first read Jane Eyre, then read this silly Jasper Fforde novel.

And, of course she was right. I loved Jane Eyre. I loved Thursday Next. I reference the Toast Marketing Board as often as possible. Amanda win.


2. The Great Gatsby + Great


I’ve seen a few positive reviews of Great recently, and I’m intrigued. I loved The Great Gatsby in high school English. I read it again last year, and I wondered why I loved it so much since the characters are generally unlikeable, shallow, and vapid. Oh dear, what does that say about me? Don’t answer that.

Anyway, Great is a contemporary YA retelling where Nick has become Naomi and Gatsby is Jacinta. Scrolling through Goodreads, there are definitely some haters of this book, but whether people loved or hated, the consensus is that Great makes the most sense with the background of the original work. This is totally on my list to read soon.


3. Treasure Island + Treasure Island!!!


You guys. Have you heard of Literary Disco, the amazing book podcast co-hosted by 90s teenage heartthrob Rider Strong? Yeah, I hadn’t either, until recently, but now I am totally hooked and working my way through 50+ episodes. It’s amazing. (Note, J may disagree as he had the pleasure of listening to several episodes on a recent drive to NC. However, I think his disdain was less about the show and more about my excitement over Shawn Hunter.)

Okay, so the show is actually really really funny. One of the books they covered was this goofy Treasure-Island-With-3-Exclamation-Points. It’s Episode 6: go listen, and then try and tell me that you don’t want to read this book. But I think we should read Treasure Island first, for maximum effectiveness. Agree?


What other book pairings do you suggest?


Review – For Darkness Shows the Stars

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

for darkness shows the stars

Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1

Published 2012

402 pages

Source: Library

Reviewed by Holly

I could start with the synopsis of this book, but the synopsis did not really made sense to me when I read it – or maybe I just didn’t read it very carefully.  I thought that this book took place in space for some reason. It does not.

So never mind about that. Let’s start over. For Darkness is set in a futuristic society with basically zero technology. Wait, what? Yeah, apparently people had gotten so caught up in trying to enhance human genetics that things all went to hell – and hence, the Luddites rule the land, technology is outlawed, and social distinction is based on whether or not your ancestors messed with their genes or not.

Okay, so the premise is a little bizarre. And, on top of that, the story is a retelling of Jane Austen’s  Persuasion which I have now found myself a little sad that I haven’t read. Underneath the crazy setting, I can totally see how the story arc closely follows an Austen plot: upper class girl befriends lower class boy working on her family’s estate. As teenagers, boy makes the decision to seek out better options off the farm, and she decides to stay home and support her family. When they meet again, boy has made good in the world – and the estate is falling apart. He’s angry and bitter. She is trying to keep it together. A whole bunch of miscommunication ensues.

It’s great. I really thoroughly enjoyed this one, and I just saw that the second one, Across a Star-Swept Sea is also available at the library. Score! This one is inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, so I might have to add that one to my reading list too.

Parting words:

“The old poems said that lovers were made for each other. But that wasn’t true for Kai and Elliot. They hadn’t been made for each other at all – quite the opposite. But they’d grown together, the two of them, until they were like two trees from a single trunk, stronger together than either could have been alone. And ever since he’d left, she’s been feeling his loss. He’d thrived without her, but Elliot – she’d just withered.”

4 Stars