100 episodes

Welcome to Novel Pairings, a podcast dedicated to making the classics readable, relevant, and fun. As two nerdy bookworms, we appreciate the role of classic lit, but we but we won’t get too academic about it. We’ll talk about the books we love and the books we loath, and help stock your TBR pile with old and new reads for every literary taste.

Novel Pairings Novel Pairings

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 464 Ratings

Welcome to Novel Pairings, a podcast dedicated to making the classics readable, relevant, and fun. As two nerdy bookworms, we appreciate the role of classic lit, but we but we won’t get too academic about it. We’ll talk about the books we love and the books we loath, and help stock your TBR pile with old and new reads for every literary taste.

    Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes and stories of community, music, and home

    Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes and stories of community, music, and home

    Chelsey and Sara discuss Langston Hughes’s 1930 novel: Not Without Laughter,  the story of a young boy coming of age in small-town Kansas with his matriarchal family. His mother Annjee works as a maid and cook for a wealthy white family, his grandmother Hager takes in laundry work, and his Aunt Harriet has big dreams of performing. His wandering father, Jimboy makes appearances as does his upper class Aunt Tempy. As a collective, these characters reveal varied philosophies and histories of the Black diasporic experience. 
    We expected to enjoy Hughes’ use of language and imagery, but we did not anticipate the rich tapestry of history and themes explored in this  short classic. We hope you take something away from this spoiler-free episode before, during, or after listening, whether you choose to pick up the book or one of our contemporary pairings. These pairings include complex families in fiction, sweeping historical accounts, and blues-y musings on the power of music. 
    Are you ready for deeper reading in 2023? This spring we’re exploring the world of Classic Children’s Literature in your podcast feed and with our Patreon community. Together, we’re learning to be better, more critical and thorough readers of classic and contemporary literature. We love discussing books and reading with all of you and hope you’ll join our group of nerdy readers at patreon.com/novelpairings. Annual subscriptions are now available at a discounted price. 
    Pairings Timestamp: 29:50
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    Books Mentioned:
    A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib
    The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
    The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
    Perish by Latoya Watkins
    Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell
    On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
     
    Links & Things Mentioned:
    "Done Made Us Leave Our Home": Langston Hughes's Not without Laughter--Unifying Image and Three Dimensions - R. Baxter Miller (JSTOR)

    • 53 min
    Reading classic children's literature with Alice, Anne and Aslan

    Reading classic children's literature with Alice, Anne and Aslan

    This spring semester, we are trying something a little different. We hope you all are up for venturing into uncharted territory together as we spend a few months reading Classic Children's Literature! From fantasy to historical fiction to adventure, we will explore the influences of children's stories on contemporary literature. Using our signature literary lens, we intend to reflect on some of our favorite books as young readers while scrutinizing how well they hold up to the modern kid lit canon. 
    We will discuss each of these selections on the main feed, but if you'd like to dive deeper into the themes, history, and connections between these texts, consider joining our Patreon community at patreon.com/novelpairings. 
    A quick note: we don't share which books are our book club selections for each month, because we haven't chosen them yet! We'll put out a poll on Patreon.
    Novel Pairings Spring 2023: Classic Children's Literature 
    February: Fantasy 
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman Patreon Lecture: Reading Children's Classics with a Literary Lens March: Historical Fiction
    Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman Patreon Seminar: Should Grown-Ups Read Twilight?: The role of children's literature in the adult reader's life April: Orphans and Scamps
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg Patreon Lecture: From Alice to Amari: The Hero's Journey in Children's Fiction May: Books in Translation
    Inkheart by Cornelia Funke The Wild Book by Juan Villaro Patreon Office Hours

    • 34 min
    Our favorite (and least favorite) books of 2022

    Our favorite (and least favorite) books of 2022

    Today we enter the towering stack of “Best Book” lists, but we like to think our annual episode stands out from the crowd. Instead of narrowing down a list of favorites every year, we share superlatives to include a wider variety of genres, themes, and reading experiences in our year end wrap up episode. Check our stories at @novelpairingspod on Instagram for templates to share your 2022 superlatives, and please do not forget to tag us! We would love to see which books you select in each category.
    For more superlatives, go to patreon.com/novelpairings. We will share a bonus episode on Friday FULL of more titles we loved this year. 
     
    Podcast episodes mentioned:
    Maryanne Wolf and Ezra Klein discuss “deep reading”
    All about hyped books
    Buzzy summer 2022 books we both read
     
    Books mentioned:
    Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
    Babel by R.F. Kuang
    Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott 
    Book Lovers by Emily Henry
    Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
    Trust by Hernan Diaz
    Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
    The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford
    Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk
    Search by Michelle Hunevan
    Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li
    Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
    Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
    Invisible Storm by Jason Kander
    A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa 
    The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
    A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley
    Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
    The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
    When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O’Neill
    Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
    The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
    Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet
    Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro
    A Certain Appeal by Vanessa King
    The Long Answer by Anna Hogeland
    The Trees by Percival Everett
    Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout
    Recitatif by Toni Morrison
    Have I Told You This Already? By Lauren Graham
    Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
    Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
    These Precious Days by Ann Pachett
    Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles
     
    Share your own superlatives! Here’s the list:
    Lived up to “the hype” Didn’t live up to “the hype” Most likely to become a modern classic Best surprise Biggest disappointment  Most comforting/helped through a hard time Best characters  Best UNlikeable characters Kept you thinking the long after reading Most discussable Best under the radar Best audiobook experience Book you would recommend to a friend  

    • 1 hr 11 min
    The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo and adapting the classics for modern readers

    The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo and adapting the classics for modern readers

    Join us as we discuss the sumptuous, sexy, and speculative adaptation of The Great Gatsby: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo. We adored Vo’s language, voice, and inventive storytelling and will give you a heads up for brief spoilers [20:35-25:00]. In addition to classic themes with a contemporary twist, we also discuss what we’ve learned over the course of this adaptation-themed semester in Novel Pairings University. 
    We are not offering pairings for this episode, but we highly recommend checking out our popular bonus episodes on classic literature from the 1920s Part One and Part Two.  
    If you’ve enjoyed our eclectic and educational content this season, we would love for you to join us for our exciting December and January events in our Patreon community. You can find calendars and details in our newsletter or on our Patreon page. 
    To support Novel Pairings:
    Write a review in Apple Podcasts.  Subscribe to our newsletter at novelpairings.substack.com Join our Patreon community at patreon.com/novelpairings. Follow Novel Pairings on Instagram or Twitter.  Send this episode to a bookish friend! Books & Links mentioned:
    The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor Nghi Vo on the Poured Over podcast Was Gatsby Black? Deconstructing the American Dream: Identity and Illusions in Nghi Vo’s The Chosen and the Beautiful

    • 39 min
    Revisit West Egg with Novel Pairings: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Revisit West Egg with Novel Pairings: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Readers, today we are taking it way back to September 2020 (a lifetime ago!) when we discussed The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This month’s book club is The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo (a Gatsby retelling) so we’re taking this opportunity to refresh our memories about the plot, characters, and themes of Fitzgerald’s iconic work. We hope you enjoy this blast from the past, and we’re so excited to discuss Vo’s novel with you next week!
     
     
    Books mentioned:
    Chelsey’s Pairings:
    Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole
    The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavincencio
    The Diviners by Libba Bray
    Sara’s Pairings:

    The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
    The Affairs of the Falcons by Melissa Rivero
    Severance by Ling Ma

    Coming Up
    Next Week: The Chosen and The Beautiful by Nghi Vo

    To support Novel Pairings:
    Write a review in Apple Podcasts.  Subscribe to our newsletter at novelpairings.substack.com Join our Patreon community at patreon.com/novelpairings. Follow Novel Pairings on Instagram or Twitter.  Send this episode to a bookish friend!

    • 1 hr 15 min
    A stack of sparkling novels set in the Roaring 20s

    A stack of sparkling novels set in the Roaring 20s

    In anticipation of this month's book club read, we're sharing a whole stack of novels set in the 1920s. We are giving you a little bit of everything in this list: historical fiction, romance, mystery, backlist books, and new releases to help you step back in time and witness the opulence and turbulence of the Roaring 20s. We hope you find the perfect glittering, scandalous, or suspenseful novel to escape into. 
    Pairings
    Chelsey:
    The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo  Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich Sara:
    The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh Jazz by Toni Morrison The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters  
    Coming Up
    November: The Chosen and The Beautiful by Nghi Vo
     
    To support Novel Pairings:
    Write a review in Apple Podcasts.  Subscribe to our newsletter at novelpairings.substack.com Join our Patreon community at patreon.com/novelpairings. Follow Novel Pairings on Instagram or Twitter.  Send this episode to a bookish friend!

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
464 Ratings

464 Ratings

Elizgma ,

Enjoy the brain exercise

Intellectually satisfying, this podcast is helping deepen my joy of reading.

wwcbw ,

Love the books

I have been listening to the podcast for some time now. I have so enjoyed all of the episodes(I listened to all the previous ones-sometimes more than once). I am looking forward to the Kidd lit and am planning soon to join Patreon. I love books and your episodes are so enlightening. I have selected books from your recommendations. I highly recommend your podcast to all who love books and reading. Linda

t.s.h.2020 ,

English teacher vibes

As a former English major and teacher, this podcast hits all my vibes! Im always excited to hear what classics will be covered and love the conversation of placing them with modern texts. I feel like I would have loved teaching with Sara and Chelsey! Plus, this podcast helps me check off a few more classics each year.

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