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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Interesting Book Pairings

It's another Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's theme is "Top 10 Contemporary Books That Would Be Great Paired With A Required Reading Book".  I almost skipped this one as I had no idea what to choose - I read a lot of classics so it was hard to pick just contemporary pair-ups - but I managed to come up with a few ideas.  

1.  Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet paired with... Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell:  This works because Eleanor and Park actually do discuss Romeo and Juliet in the book.  Both works touch on the intoxication of first love and unlikely couples from two very different backgrounds.

2.  Shakespeare's MacBeth paired with... Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:  Both deal with very dysfunctional marriages and a woman who has no moral scruples about getting her way.

3.  Catcher in the Rye paired with... Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling:  Okay, I had to sneak Harry in here somewhere.  This probably isn't my best pairing, but Order of the Phoenix is where we see Harry angry, disillusioned, and at his most teen angst-y moment.

4.  To Kill a Mockingbird paired with...  Cape Town by Brenda Hammond:  Both books deal with race relations at a pivotal time in history.  The books each feature a young person realizing the fact that injustice is widespread in our world.  Plus, I think Cape Town would be great required reading in North American schools, as we rarely learn anything about African history.

5.  The Diary of Anne Frank paired with... Between Shades of Gray by Ruth Sepetys:  Both books feature a teenage girl thrown from ordinary life into a nightmare, and finding art/writing as a creative outlet to cope.  We didn't actually read Anne Frank in school, but lots of people did, so it counts, right?

6.  Animal Farm paired with... Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins:  Both books show that the rebels can quickly become the oppressors when they get into power.

7.  Our Town paired with No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel:  This may seem like a stretch since Ausubel's book deals with the Holocaust, but it's also a look at one town, how people see themselves and how they would write their own story.  While Grover's Corners isn't as isolated as the town in Ausubel, it seems to exist in a void, which is what the townspeople are trying to do in the Ausubel book.
8.  John Wyndham's The Chrysalids paired with...  Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy OR Fire by Kristin Cashore:  I went back and forth on this one.  The MaddAddam books deal with a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world, which seems to fit The Chrysalids (although I read that book in Grade 9 so I've obviously forgotten a lot).  On the other hand, Fire reminded me of The Chrysalids because of the suspicion and fire of genetic "monsters".

There were some other books we read in school, but I couldn't decided what to pair them with, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Camus' L'Etranger, Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish", and Hamlet.  I especially agonized over finding a pairing for Lord of the Flies, but ended up drawing a blank.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Great list you put together! :) I read The Chrysalids in high school too (grade 10); I think I would be interested in reading it again now because omg, we analysed that book to death, I was so sick of it by the end, lol. I'm very curious about Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy; I honestly haven't read any of her books yet but the premise sounds fantastic *goes off to add it on her want-to-read list*

    My TTT

    1. I feel the same way about Death of a Salesman. We analyzed it so much that I never ever want to read that play again. We did The Chrysalids in Grade 9, and I really should read it again. I loved the first two books in Atwood's series and have been salivating over MaddAddam every time I go to Chapters, but I'm waiting to see if I get gift cards for my upcoming birthday. :-)

  2. I like your pairing of Macbeth with Gone Girl! I haven't read Between Shades of Grey yet but I've seen it on a lot of lists, so might have to purchase it soon.

    In terms of your unpaired books, I'd probably put It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I've never read It's Kind of a Funny Story, so I'll have to check it out. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was one of my favourite required reads from hig school.

  3. Anyone with Kristin Cashore and Margaret Atwood gets an automatic virtual brownie for me haha. And I loved your Animal Farm/Mockingjay pairing! I never finished Animal Farm, but your reasoning behind it is awesome. In general I liked your pairings - maybe not the most obvious but they definitely really work!

    1. Thank you! I haven't read Animal Farm in ages and should probably pick it up again since I studied a lot of Russian in the meantime.

  4. Ooh love this! Great pairing choices! Romeo & Juliet + Eleanor & Park is perfect! E&P reminded me a lot of R&J when I read it!