9 Book Pairings to Enhance Your Reading

Friday, May 22, 2020

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A Guest Post by Karen Geiger


My 5th grader is required to write a book report every week, and one of the recurring questions is, “Does this book remind you of another book you have read?” Suffice it to say, making connections between books is something we are taught to do from a young age. These days, I love creating both obvious and not-so-obvious pairings between books I’ve read. Here are 9 of my concoctions, visualized!


Writers & Lovers by Lily King 
Normal People by Sally Rooney
You would think Writers & Lovers is a book about present-day millennials, but it takes place in the 1990s. 31-year-old Casey Peabody is facing the aggravation of early adulthood, just as Connell and Marianne do in Normal People. They suffer from the consequences of foolish choices, missed connections, and crippling indecision. In between wanting to yell at them, you will recognize yourself in their vulnerabilities.




Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid 
Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin Kiley Reid and Laura Hankin have each written searing, satirical accounts of wealthy Manhattan mommies behaving badly. These privileged moms are juxtaposed by their younger hired help – an African-American nanny in Such a Fun Age, and a singer turned playgroup musician in Happy & You Know It. When the moms try to befriend their employees, be prepared for all hell to break loose.






The Dutch House by Ann Patchett 
The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe
The first person male narration immediately connected The Dutch House and The Knockout Queen for me. In both stories, the narrators are outcast from their homes as young boys. They then spend their formative years pining (non-romantically) after females that have protected them. Patchett and Thorpe have created utterly unique characters with unconventional yet compelling relationships.




Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb 
Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn 
It turns out that witnessing the dialogue between psychotherapists and their patients is a surprisingly effective narrative device. Lori Gottlieb is a practicing psychotherapist who shares the journey of four real-life patients, while Listen to the Marriage is the fictional account of a separated couple’s experience with therapy. There are universal truths inside these pages that will make you realize you probably need therapy, too.




Three Women by Lisa Taddeo 
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell Russell’s fictional account of a 15-year-old girl groomed by her 42-year-old teacher is highly reminiscent of Taddeo’s true account of 17-year-old Maggie's story in Three Women. Neither victim can come to terms with what they’ve experienced, as they grapple with how the most formative relationships of their lives could constitute abuse. Both stories are at once shocking and palpable.




Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This is probably my most unconventional pairing, but it rings so true for me. Untamed is a powerful anthem to women: to dismantle the world’s expectations of us and begin reclaiming who we are truly meant to be. Convenience Store Woman is the story of Keiko, who never quite fits in and struggles to conform….until she delightfully decides to live her quirky, unabashed truth.





On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong 
How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones Both Vuong and Jones take a deep dive into intersectionality, with coming of age stories of young gay men of color. What makes them distinct is their language. Vuong is a poet whose lyricism is lush, layered, and at times inscrutable. Jones delivers a more straight-forward narrative with language that is refreshingly unadorned, yet no less profound.





The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes 
The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
The Giver of Stars and The Henna Artist give new meaning to The Resistance: we are not the first, nor will we be the last. Both books feature fierce, unapologetic feminists who fight the patriarchy in 1930s Kentucky and 1950s India respectively. Moyes’ Alice Wright and Joshi’s Lakshmi Shastri are downright modern in their insistence on charting their own paths regarding marriage, motherhood, and career.





The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah 
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Educated by Tara Westover
Three stories of young women facing harsh circumstances – on the Alaskan frontier, the marshlands of the North Carolina coast, and a survivalist’s compound in rural Idaho. The sense of place in each story provides an immersive backdrop for each woman’s transformative journey. You will be transfixed as they break through devastating cycles of violence, mental illness, and isolation.





Bio: Karen Geiger is a technology executive by day and a voracious reader by night. She resides in the Bay Area, California with her husband, two young boys, and a Labradoodle. She shares book musings and reviews on Instagram at @kindlepics.


Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think of Karen's Book Pairings! 
Do you have pairings of your own?  
Do tell.
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In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Release Date: March 10th, 2020
Genre: Romance/Fiction/Contemporary
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My Goodreads Rating 

BOOK BLURB:

Perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day—a striking, powerful, and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

MY THOUGHTS:

What if you wake up one day, 5 years in the future, and your life is totally different?  Different apartment.  Different fiancee.  How did this happen?⁠

Well, grab a copy of In Five Years and you're in for a ride! It's a love story, but don't jump into any conclusions, because the real love story is about a lifelong friendship and all the memories built throughout the years...the love of NYC, the love of bagels, the beach house, all the summers spent together, the careers they chose, and the promise of forever.⁠

Dannie and Bella have the kind of friendship you last saw on the movie "Beaches" (I know, that's an oldie) and I think I too, longed for that feeling.
OMG, so many feelings!

I liked this audiobook SO much that I now want a physical copy for my personal library!

“You mistake love. You think it has to have a future in order to matter, but it doesn't. It's the only thing that does not need to become at all. It matters only insofar as it exists. Here. Now. Love doesn't require a future.”⁠

⁠⁠🎧Thank you @librofm & @atriabooks #ALCprogram for the gifted listening copy!
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