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.
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and glittering contemporary books full of social commentary
Chelsey and Sara discuss The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton*, a glittering Gilded Age classic that feels particularly relevant today. We chat about our experiences rereading one of Wharton’s early novels, how we felt about the divisive character Lily Bart, and our recommendations for contemporary pairings—including one of our favorite essay collections and a coming of age novel set at a boarding school.
A short story to read in one sitting this summer: The Prairie Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Today in “Short Story Club,” Chelsey and Sara are discussing “The Prairie Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld. It’s a quick, absorbing read about summer camp, social media, and how stories shape our identities. We’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Note: Short Story Club episodes do contain spoilers. Read the story first, and then come back to hear our nerdy discussion.
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson and contemplative books for moody summer reading
Today, Chelsey and Sara discuss The Summer Book by Tove Jansson*, a contemplative and vivid book in translation about a young girl, her grandmother, and the little island they inhabit. We discuss our favorite vignettes, the endearing characters, and our recommendations for contemporary pairings—including memoir, literary fiction, and poetry.
Sweeping family sagas for classic and contemporary reading tastes
Today, Sara and Chelsey share their favorite classic and contemporary sweeping family sagas. We recommend intergenerational stories that take place over decades or centuries—or across multiple continents. We also define and discuss this sub genre and speculate about why it’s become such a popular phrase in publishing. Do you have a favorite novel that fits on our list?
For more bonus episodes, nerdy classes, and extra book talk, join our Classics Club: patreon.com/novelpairings.com.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Part Two
Today Chelsey and Sara discuss the second half of The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Chapters 7 through 14. In this episode, we cover new characters, prominent themes, and final thoughts on spending so much time with the Trueba family, plus our contemporary pairings! We’ve paired Allende’s masterpiece with novels of magical realism from all over the world, and we can’t wait to hear your recommendations for further reading.
Classic novels to read with your book club and tips for getting more out of book club discussions
Today, Chelsey and Sara discuss: when it comes to the classics, what makes a great book club pick? They also share a handful of highly discussable classics, plus their top tips for better book club discussions. Tell us which classics your book club loved (or loathed) on Instagram.
My own private book club
Novel Pairings is like hanging out with your Lit friends talking books. I never thought of myself as a classics reader until I started listening to this podcast. The episodes have caused me to revisit books I read in college as a lit major and find more classics to add to my own canon. I also add a ton of books to my tbr each week.
My favorite bookish podcast
I’m so in love with this podcast. It strikes the perfect balance between feeling like you’re chatting about books with friends, getting recommendations from well-read book lovers, and being back in your favorite English class. Every episode is an absolute delight, and although I’m not the biggest classics reader, I enjoy every conversation Sara and Chelsey have and take something new away. I’d recommend this podcast to anyone who misses English class, proudly considers themselves to be a bit of a nerd, and appreciates genuine, comfortable conversation about books with other book lovers. Thank you, Sara and Chelsey, for always giving me something to look forward to on Tuesdays.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
I've been searching for the perfect bookish podcast for several months, and although I've enjoyed some of them, Novel Parings is my favorite. I'm already a classics reader, so I love getting thoughtful ideas for pairings of my favorites to add to my (already huge) TBR list. My favorite feature of this podcast is that Sara and Chelsey provide reveiws, reviews, reviews without the typical author interviews and aimless chit chat some of the other podcasts employ.