A Simple Way to Get More Pleasure From Reading
Pair books up and read them as a couple
Reading is supposed to be fun. Sometimes we read for information. Sometimes we want a different viewpoint. Sometimes we read for pure pleasure.
Why not get more information, more perspective, more emotional impact, AND more pleasure every time you read?
All you have to do is play literary matchmaker.
Think of it like a dating app for books where you look for similar interests.
Find books that connect to each other and pair them up
Let them hook-up in heated relationships and witness the spontaneous combustion of mental fire. Feel the sparks of their union bursting into your consciousness, then burrowing into your mind. A conflagration of literary lust.
Watch what happens when characters wander from one book to the next. Events in one book are portrayed differently in another. Opposite viewpoints in separate works collide. Minor characters become major. Backstories come to the forefront.
Book pairings, matched like the perfect wine to dinner, create a tasteful experience with a lasting impression.
Try these pairings of “classics” with similarly-themed books:
You’ll believe Jay Gatsby was a real person:
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1925 +
- The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian, 2008
You’ll sympathize with the madwoman in the attic:
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, published in 1847 +
- The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, 1966
You’ll be tasting dust and longing for a clear glass of water:
- Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, published in 1939 +
- The Worst Hard Times: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived The Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan, 2006
You’ll wonder what “minor” characters have to offer:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, published in 1813 +
- The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow, 2020
You’ll witness the backstories that explain a character’s emotion:
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, published between 1595 and 1597 +
- Juliet’s Nurse by Lois Leveen, 2016
If you are hoping to be a well-read person, pairing books up is a great approach because indulging in different genres, time periods, categories, and perspectives broadens your knowledge base.
Thousands of books exist where a new author draws from ideas or characters in a “classic.” Reading “spin-offs” is not a new strategy, but it’s an often- forgotten-one in our rush to move on to the next read on a different topic.
Take the time to read a pair of intertwined works and you’ll get more impact — and more pleasure — from your books.
This article was originally published by Melissa gouty on medium.
Award-winning teacher, entrepreneur, and writer. Marketing manager in the HVAC and Plumbing industries. Author of The Magic of Ordinary, a memoir of a "Daddy," his daughters, and the power of one good man to change the world.