Posts tagged book flight
Holiday Book Pairings

You all know we generally do book lists and book flights to fit each season, but since the holiday season is so packed and busy, we thought we'd just do book pairings with some classic holiday stories! Bonus: a lot of these are short stories and the perfect size to sneak into your December TBR!

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A Christmas Classic

Start with the most classic of all classic Christmas stories: A Christmas Carol. After you've spent 100 pages in Dickens' holiday wonderland, learning the true meaning of Christmas with Mr. Scrooge, pick up Mr. Dickens and His Carol for a great imagined look at how this masterpiece of a story came to be.

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Nutcracker Magic

We've probably all seen the ballet at some time or another; maybe it's even a beloved family tradition for you (my best friend always danced in our home town's production!), but have you read the text it's based on? Pick it up and get acquainted with the original short story before you move to Maguire's retelling. Maguire is, of course, famous for his fairytale retellings, and reframes the story of the nutcracker by focusing on Drosselmayer, the godfather who gives Clara the nutcracker. This is on our own TBR this month, but we've heard great things from readers we trust! 

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A touch of holiday weirdness

I paired these two because they're both a little odd, in the best way. Gogol is a really popular Russian author, and his story of the Devil and the blacksmith in love with the same girl is a pretty famous one. The two lovers compete for her affections on Christmas Eve, and the story is a little dark and a little humorous and a lot different. Capote's short story A Christmas Memory is much warmer and realistic, but still has that very offbeat, quirky tone  to it that all his writing does, especially compared to most Christmas tales. I think if you're looking for something other than the standard fare this year, these two will do it for you. 

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The real santa claus

Both of these focus on Santa Claus himself, rather than Christmas as a tradition or a feeling. Baum tells the story of Santa Claus, starting with his childhood, and details how he became the Jolly Old Elf sneaking down your chimney each December 25th, while Tolkien compiled his own letters to his children "from Santa" wherein Santa regales them with tales of the year he had, including wars between magical creatures, disaster-prone polar bears, and reindeer on the loose. Both of them are just utterly inventive, charming little books. 

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Christmas Mysteries

If you just need a trusty cozy mystery, give Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a chance with their most famous detectives solving mysteries at Christmastime. A simple and satisfying way to get some holiday cheer into your reading life!

 

What holiday books would you pair? We'd love to hear!

 

Fall Book Flights
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Ever had a tasting flight of something, probably at a brewery or restaurant? Wine, beer, spirits, maybe even cheese? Basically the concept is you get several different portions of something, and taste them all back to back. By tasting them together, you really get a feel for their differences and are better able to pinpoint nuanced tasting notes in each individual one, while appreciating them together as a whole. 

While the previous examples are based on food, you can do the exact same thing with books! Reading a group of books together can really expand the depth and breadth of a topic for you. This can be as straightforward as reading all of a specific author's works, or choosing a really niche area, like Beat Poets, but it also works well in plenty of other varied combinations. 

This fall (you can see spring and summer) I started thinking (inspired by Anne!) about all the moods the season inspires and how to create book flights to cater to them, and these are what I came up with. The groupings are designed to have books that are fabulous on their own, but combined really give a lush, broad view of a subject. The dynamic interplay between books set around a central theme is the sweet spot!

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Campus + Secrets + Violence

Secret societies, friendships, campuses, darkness, violence, and more! Start with The Secret History for Tartt's powerful, classic campus novel filled to the brim with dreamy, brooding atmosphere and dark, twisted friendships. Move to If We Were Villains for more campus vibes and violent secrets between a close knit group of friends, with drama often playing out on the stage. Finish up with The Lake of Dead Languages for a lady- centered take on the same themes. All three will more than satisfy any craving you had for campus settings, complicated friendships, secret societies, and dark atmosphere this fall. 

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The End of an Era

Does the turning of the seasons trigger a deep nostalgia, as you watch the world around you slowly decay? Start with Wharton's classic, The Age of Innocence, and be swept back into the Gilded Age of high society in the 1870's, where the struggle between old and new rages, and a love story curls and twists around itself, while dealing deeply with "what-ifs." Move into the 1920's and the decline of the British nobility, where Charles Ryder is enfolded into the complicated family of his best friend. Love triangles, alcoholism, religion, and bone-deep nostalgia color these pages. Finish it off with Greene's slim novel of love and loss in post World War II London. All three deal with complicated love stories, changing worlds, and heart-achingly beautiful prose. 

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Getting HygGe With It

If you need some straightforward, cozy mysteries in your life, first pick from the queen herself: Agatha Christie. Really any of her novels will do, but we are currently partial to Murder on the Orient Express because the movie is coming out next month! You'll get basically a game of Clue in book form, peppered with interesting characters, vivid details and delightfully unexpected endings. You'll find more cozy mystery goodness with Mrs. Polifax, a feisty, charming older woman determined to spend her remaining years doing something uncharacteristically exciting, which leads her to joining the CIA and leading a life of solving mystery and crime. Round out this flight with a contemporary mystery, and spend some time in Three Pines with Chief Inspector Gamache in Still Life. Small town life, a fascinating cast of characters, and layered plot lines make this series both fun and emotionally resonant.

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Ghosts + Creepiness

If you're in the mood for a good ghost story, set the mood with Irving's classic short story (like, 30-ish pages short) of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. His beautiful descriptions and perfectly creepy tone will really set the stage. Continue on to The Woman in White, one of the first mystery novels, peppered with mysterious ladies, love stories, foreboding letters, death, mental asylums, and good old victorian melodrama. Finish off with the more lighthearted ghost story in The Graveyard Book. Still undeniably creepy, and very unique, it will leave you with a satisfying blend of the known and the unknown tied up with friendly (and not so friendly) ghosts, complicated relationships with vampires, and old, sinister forces. 

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Do you have any books you think pair well together? We'd love to hear!!

 

Summer Book Flights

Ever had a tasting flight of something, probably at a brewery or restaurant? Wine, beer, spirits, maybe even cheese? Basically the concept is you get several different portions of something, and taste them all back to back. By tasting them together, you really get a feel for their differences and are better able to pinpoint nuanced tasting notes in each individual one, while appreciating them together as a whole. This usually enhances the experience of tasting, and elevates your observation of the distinctness of flavors and awareness of how they work together to give you a fuller view of the range in flavor.

Books can do the same thing; by reading a group of books together it can really expand the depth and breadth of a topic for you, and broaden the scope of your view on a subject. This can be as straightforward as reading all of a specific author's works, or choosing a really niche area, like Beat Poets, but it also works well in plenty of other varied combinations. 

This summer (you can see spring here!) I started thinking (inspired by Anne!) about all the moods the season inspires and how to create book flights to cater to them, and these are what I came up with. The groupings are designed to have books that are fabulous on their own, but combined really give a lush, broad view of a subject. The dynamic interplay between books set around a central theme is the sweet spot!

A Year Abroad

  • My Life in France | Julia Child
  • A Year in Provence | Peter Mayle
  • The Year of Living Danishly | Helen Russell

Warmer weather always has me dreaming about my summers spent traveling both within the US and in Europe, and since I can't go abroad this summer the next best thing is to live vicariously through someone else. Start with My Life in France, the warm, beautiful memoir of Julia Child and see how her move to France changed her entire life as she discovered cooking and set off on the path to celebrity. Move South to Provence next, and spend a year with Peter Mayle as he discovers the rhythm of the seasons and beauty of the region. Next head to the happiest country in the world and join the lighthearted account of Russell's move to Denmark and her observations about Danish society. 

Behind the scenes Restaurant Life

  • Delancey | Molly Wizenberg
  • Cork Dork | Bianca Bosker
  • Sweetbitter | Stephanie Danler

Does summer make you want to live on a restaurant patio, drink in hand? Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes in that restaurant while you sip your crisp glass of rosé or ice cold cocktail? Start with Delancey to learn about how one couple opened a pizza restaurant right here in Seattle, and all the triumphs and heartache that came with bringing their restaurant dream to life. Move on to Cork Dork to get a feel for what sommeliers (the wine professional who curated the wine list at the restaurant you're at, and probably recommended that glass of rosé you're holding) have to go through to be successful in their field and gain some real appreciation for wine in a no-bullshit, hilarious format. End with Sweetbitter, a fun, slightly dark, fictional (but based on real experience!) account of what it's like to work in a restaurant.

Good Old Fashioned Adventure

  • The Three Musketeers | Alexandre Dumas
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora | Scott Lynch
  • The Name of the Wind | Patrick Rothfuss

Start with a classic of the genre, The Three Musketeers and follow the swashbuckling adventures and various romantic exploits of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis along with D'Artagnan as they defend the honor of their Queen against villains and power struggles in 17th century France. Continue on to  The Lies of Locke Lamora, a sort of Ocean's Eleven-Robin Hood- The Godfather hybrid and acquaint yourself with the "Gentleman Bastards". Set in a sort of fantasy Middle Ages, join their adventures in heists, mob bosses, thievery, and all the witty banter you could ever want. Finish up with a slower burn adventure story, that of the mysterious Kvothe and follow from his humble beginnings, through his education in an ancient and renowned school of magic, and through his rise to become the world's most powerful and infamous wizard in The Name of the Wind.

Glittering Society Without the Fluff

  • The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton
  • Mrs. Dalloway | Virginia Woolf

If you dream of being in the Hamptons for the summer, or on your own private yacht, but don't like fluff novels, go ahead and let these three books rip your heart out while you're standing dazzled by the glittering society they revel in. Set the tone with The Age of Innocence and let the satirical voice of Edith Wharton bite into you as she shows off high society of the Gilded Age during the 1870's. Move on to Fitzgerald's magical writing in The Great Gatsby, a classic of American literature and as full of  1920's glamour and opulence as it is heart achingly beautiful nostalgia. Finish with slim Mrs. Dalloway, a much more experimental style, and follow the inner life of high society figure Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party one day. Expect plenty of wistful feelings for "the one that got away" and the thunderous echoes that reverberate in the hollowness of parties. 

Do you have any books you think pair well together? We'd love to hear!!

5 Spring Book Flights

Ever had a tasting flight of something, probably at a brewery or restaurant? Wine, beer, spirits, maybe even cheese? Basically the concept is you get several different portions of something, and taste them all back to back. By tasting them together, you really get a feel for their differences and are better able to pinpoint nuanced tasting notes in each individual one, while appreciating them together as a whole. This usually enhances the experience of tasting, and elevates your observation of the distinctness of flavors and awareness of how they work together to give you a fuller view of the range in flavor.

Books can do the same thing; by reading a group of books together it can really expand the depth and breadth of a topic for you, and broaden the scope of your view on a subject. This can be as straightforward as reading all of a specific author's works, or choosing a really niche area, like Beat Poets, but it also works well in plenty of other varied combinations. 

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This spring I started thinking (inspired by Anne!) about all the moods the season inspires and how to create book flights to cater to them, and these are what I came up with. The groupings are designed to have books that are fabulous on their own, but combined really give a lush, broad view of a subject. The dynamic interplay between books set around a central theme is the sweet spot!

Italy + rejuvenation

  • A Room With a View | E.M. Forster
  • The Enchanted April | Elizabeth Von Arnim
  • Under the Tuscan Sun | Frances Mayes

Spring is so classically tied to rejuvenation and rebirth, what better topic to delve into than personal growth and lush springy settings in beautiful, magical Italy? Start with A Room With A View, set in the early 1900's and soak in Forster's warm writing style and Lucy's self discovery. Plus, there's a gorgeous, super famous kiss on a wildflower covered hill in Italy that is just fabulous. Move into the 1920's and follow four women on their separate paths to discovering themselves and transforming their lives while they vacation in an Italian castle together in The Enchanted April. Finally, pick up Under the Tuscan Sun and watch a modern woman buy a villa in Tuscany and restore it as she rebuilds her life. Bonus: ALL of these are great movies, too!

 

We love Paris In the Springtime

  • A Moveable Feast | Ernest Hemingway
  • The Paris Wife | Paula McLain
  • My Life in France | Julia Child

Ugh I miss Paris, especially in the spring; it's uniquely magical! Start off with Hemingway's chronicling of his years in Paris as a young author and hanging out at café's and exploring the city with other literary giants like Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein. Follow up with McLain's fictionalized account of Hemingway and is his first wife Hadley during their Paris years, and bask in the the spring of Jazz Age Paris. Finish off with Julia Child's memoir about her own experience of being a wife in Paris, and how that led her to discover cooking and become the famous chef we all know her as. Child's writing is shocking, warm, and humorous, and just a complete delight to read as she recounts her personal journey through French cooking.

 

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America : Journey + discovery

  • On the Road | Jack Kerouac
  • Travels with Charley | John Steinbeck
  • Blue Highways | William Least Heat-Moon

Maybe spring has got you dreaming about spring break, with sunshine and road trips; inspiring some serious wanderlust. If that sounds like you, pick these up and travel through America with some amazing authors. Start with Kerouac's classic to explore the side of late 1940's America filled with jazz, drugs, and poets, before switching gears into Steinbeck's cross country adventures with his pet poodle and his quieter observations about what people are like throughout the country circa 1962. Finally, finish with a more modern travelogue in Blue Highways, and journey into what small town America looked like in the 1980's.

 

Books, Books, Books

  • The King's English | Betsy Burton

  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry | Gabrielle Zevin

  • The Invisible Library | Genevieve Cogman

For some, spring weather means flowers and brunch and bookstores and the approaching season of summer beach reads. If you're craving the world of books, dive into this flight. Start with The King's English for an amazing look at what it's like to own and operate a real life bookstore. After that, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will sweep you into the fictional story of a bookstore owner, and fill you up with the power of books, and the wonder of reading in this feel-good novel. Finally, twist into the fantasy side of the bookish world with The Invisible Library and join Irene in her quest for a stolen book in an alternative London. Bonus: this is a series, so if you love it, there are several more!

 

Flowers, Bees, + Bursting Spring

  • The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Elizabeth and Her German Garden | Elizabeth Von Arnim
  • Merry Hall | Beverly Nichols

If you're like Rikki, your favorite part of spring is gardens and flowers and bees and baby chicks and watching the earth literally renew its self with twisting vines and fields of wildflowers. If that's your mood, start off with Burnett's classic and watch young Mary learn to keep her secret garden and absolutely revel in the coming of spring and the awakening of herself. Follow up with Elizabeth von Arnim in her musical semi-autobiographical work about navigating friendships and learning to tend and enjoy her own garden in late 1800's Germany. Finally, dive into a non-fiction account of the restoration of a house and garden in post-war England with sassy, high spirited Beverly Nichols. Riotously funny and peppered with interactions absolutely dripping with classic English sarcasm, this book is too much fun and a definite high note to end on!

 

Which one would you like to try out? And any ideas for book flights of your own? We'd sincerely love to hear!

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