Book “Duos” for Book Clubs

May. 10th 2011

A friend of mine recently told me about an interesting thing she did for her book club. I’d recommended that she read Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. She brought this recommendation to book club and added an interesting element: read A Moveable Feast AND The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, which is written in the voice of Hadley, Hemingway’s first wife. A Moveable Feast recounts Papa’s time in Paris with Hadley, and McLain herself was inspired to write her book while she was reading A Moveable Feast.

I thought the idea was brilliant.

My friend said the book club discussion went well, even though not everyone could get through Hemingway’s memoir (a book I love, by the way).

This got me thinking about other “book duos” that can lead to enriching discussions. During my MFA program, we read Ann Patchett’s Truth & Beauty about her friendship with the late author Lucy Grealy, and we read Grealy’s magnificent Autobiography of a Face. Our instructor didn’t dictate what order we read the books in…I read Patchett’s first, and I’m sure that tainted my reading of Grealy’s work, which had been published years earlier. Still, it led to a fascinating discussion.

What other book duos can you think of? I want to start a running list. Leave your ideas in the comments.

PS — that’s Ernest Hemingway’s passport photo circa 1923 on the right — I love old pics.

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Posted by Robyn | in Book clubs, MFA programs | 1 Comment »