Book That Go Together

Does it ever happen to you that while you read one book, you find your thoughts constantly returning to another? Sometimes it is an obvious connection -- a sequel, for example, or a continuation of a series. Sometimes it is less obvious but still understandable, like two books by the same author (I'm thinking particularly of Mary Roach, whose books always remind me of each other in the best of ways) or two books on the same subject.

Every once and a while, I find myself reading one book and constantly reminded of another, though the connection is not always apparent. The Casual Vacancy and Emma are one such pairing; for me, a result of reading them at at the same time, but also, I believe, because they dealt with the similar if era-disparate topics of small town gossip, romance, and the neverending wheel of boring, mundane, everyday life.

More recently, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and The Power of Habit seem inextricably linked in my brain; as I read Mastermind, I keep thinking back to all the brain-learning I did while reading Duhigg's The Power of Habit (both, for the record, are excellent books). I suppose both are about recognizing the patterns of one's own thoughts (and then training them so you can do things better), but  beyond that they really are not the same at all. 

Or are they?

Are Gone Girl and The Likeness different (because really, they are), or do they remind me of each other because they are both psychological mysteries that tip readers on their heads every few hundred pages? Are Live by Night and North River linked because they both have urban settings and gangsters? Because in fact, they are very different in theme and scope and purpose; but the two are intertwined in my brain. Same with Forever and Winter's Tale, both striking novels of New York City dealing with a suspension of disbelief and introducing magical realism to a city we all know is magic. But are they really so similar? Why can I not read one without thinking of the other?

Other pairings include Shine Shine Shine and Packing for Mars (both have spaceships, beyond that they could not be farther in subject), Revolutionary Road and Why Have Kids? (parenting, perhaps?), Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Running With Scissors. The Thirteenth Tale and Shadow of the Wind. The list goes on and on and on.

This is one of my secret joys of reading as widely and as much as I do. I suppose it is what makes recommending books enjoyable to those of us who do it (constantly); if you like this, you'll like this. Or, these two may not seem similar at first blush, but they really are a good pair. 

Some books just go together, even if it is only in the mind of one reader. Does anyone else have book pairings that just seem to go together?


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  2. Oh this totally happens to me! Every time I read Jane Eyre, I find myself pining for Rebecca and I Capture the Castle. Don't know why! Or when I read The Time Traveler's Wife I like to follow it up with one of Eva Ibbotson's romances.


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