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A pair or two

DEBBIE JACOB Monday, March 20 2017

HERE we go again with more books to read in pairs. I often read a book that inspires me to read another book similar to it. After reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, I was inspired to read The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Pepper.

I wouldn’t have searched for Arthur if it wasn’t for Harold.

Both books feature elderly men on a journey to understand their lives. Harold embarks on a walking journey because he believes it will keep his friend Queenie Hennessey alive and Arthur traces the charms on his late wife’s charm bracelet to learn more about her life.

And where would I be in life if I hadn’t discovered The Hours by Michael Cunningham, which is a modern imagining of Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolf. Both books feature a party that is being planned.

Here is another list that features some of my favourite books I have read in pairs.

Does This Beach make Me Look Fat?: True Stories and Confessions by Lisa Scottoline and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole – We all need a little humour in our lives and these books hit the spot. The first is a collection of essays or columns by a mother/ daughter team exploring the place of ordinary women searching for love and a sense of belonging in this world. It’s good sometimes to laugh at the events that make us feel gaudy or unacceptable. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces is considered one of the best satires and funniest books to come out of American literature. This satire features the outrageous adventures of Ignatius J Reilly, described as a “huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua.” It takes place in the French Quarter.

Keep Moving: And Other Tips About Old Age by Dick Van Dyke and Your Life Calling by Jane Pauley – I’ve read a ton of books about redefining your life in middle age or after retirement and these turned out to be my favourite two books on alternative life styles for the elderly. Van Dyke’s book is a whimsical look at ageing, chock-full of advice. Your Life Calling is more journalistic.

Pauley offers her own story of redefining herself through the years along with plenty of anecdotes from people who have taken the plunge and followed their dreams. Everyone needs to read these two books.

Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang and Into the Magic Shop by James Doty – Both of these books are about self improvement.

After Jia Jiang quits his job to pursue his dream job, he decides to toughen himself up by making himself rejection proof. He makes some outrageous requests like using a neighbour’s yard. Much to Jiang’s surprise his requests are often granted. Jiang then starts to explore how we all can make ourselves less afraid of rejection.

Into the Magic Shop explores how we can programme our brains for success.

Sometimes, I find it’s really difficult to change gears and take a chance on another book.

There’s great comfort in exploring a theme on a whole new level with a different author. It’s not the same feeling as plunging into a series, it’s a special feeling that comes from reading books in pairs.



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