Sometimes two books are better than one! These book pairings share a common tie to enrich your overall reading experience.
The Paris Wife is a historical fiction novel by Paula McLain in which she shares a heartbreaking story that allows you to imagine the excruciating circumstances of Hemingway and Hadley’s marriage as it disintegrated. This book may leave you with an intense curiosity to learn more about Hemingway and his view of their time in Paris.
A Movable Feast is a memoir full of vivid observations by Ernest Hemingway. It contains his account of his time in Paris while he was married to Hadley, the first of his four wives. Written before he died and published posthumously, the foreword by Hemingway cautions, ‘This book contains material from the remises of my memory and of my heart. Even if the one has been tampered with and the other does not exist.’
The cover of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer with the simple photograph of an abandoned snow-covered bus and succinct text summarizing the story and fate of Chris McCandess makes one wonder, ‘What could this book be about given that the ending has been revealed?’ When you mine the depths of this exceptionally well-written book, you realize that the in-between moments are what gives this book meaning. Krakauer masterfully follows Chris’ path to learn the nuances of his interactions with others, while deciphering parts of his journal, and detailing his overall journey which ultimately ends with death. After reading the book, watch the movie Into the Wild and listen to the incredible soundtrack.
Christopher McCandless’ younger sister Carine later wrote a memoir titled The Wild Truth. She shares her life story and opens up about her violent and destructive family, revealing missing pieces that provide insight in understanding Chris’ motivation to go into the wild. I recommend audio format as Carine bravely shares her memoir in her own voice.
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough brilliantly reveals how two courageous and determined brothers achieved first flight. In this nonfiction book David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers which includes private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and a bounty of letters saved from private family correspondence. The little-known contributions of their sister Katharine are brought to light, which may lead you to ponder how things may have gone differently without her influence. You may also enjoy The Wright Stuff a PBS American Experience film.
The Wright Sister: A Novel by Patty Dunn imagines the life of Katharine Wright and her relationship with her famous brothers through a series of fictional diary entries and letters. The epistolary format is successful, and one can easily envision Katherine writing neatly with the heron blue ink gifted to her by her brother.
Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson is a true-crime book centered on The Tring Museum, an outpost of the British Museum of Natural History, home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world. Edwin Rist, a champion fly-tyer, entered the museum and left with hundreds of bird skins he intended to be used in the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Don’t let the specificity of fly-tying and avian collections dissuade you from picking this book up, the investigation of this engrossing true heist will capture your attention even without any prior knowledge or interest of those topics.
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis is a historical fiction novel that delves into the past of the New York Public Library through the story of a series of rare book thefts. Both of these books immerse you in the past, revealing the details of prominent buildings that hold valuable irreplaceable items. If you are a lover of libraries and museums and appreciative of the beloved treasures they hold and protect you will be riveted by the mysteries that unfold.
Eat a Peach by chef and restaurateur David Chang is a deeply personal memoir. Clever formatting was used in one chapter to share some stories from his past. Initially written with text to share how he wishes the events could be perceived, he visually edits the text to hold himself accountable and call attention to the much harsher truth. If you haven’t seen PBS Mind of a Chef – Season 1 featuring David Chang, now is the perfect time.
Save Me the Plums is a memoir by restaurant critic Ruth Reichl who entered the world of magazine publishing as editor in chief of Gourmet. Both memoirs reveal intriguing behind-the-scenes details of their food-focused industries, and show the myriad of emotional impacts and effects upon the lives of those who are passionately immersed in the scene.
In search of Mary Shelley is a biography by prize-winning poet Fiona Sampson. To quote the summary, “In this probing narrative, Fiona Sampson pursues Mary Shelley through her turbulent life, much as Victor Frankenstein tracked his monster across the arctic wastes.”
Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Kathryn Markup explores the science behind Shelley’s famed book. Either book would be an excellent accompaniment to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
We hope you enjoyed our list of Perfect Pairings, be sure to visit our book list page for more reading suggestions and resource guides.
Written by Linda, 11/24/20