The Paired Reading Page

[Note: The Paired Reading Page is not dead, it's just resting. I do intend to update it as soon as time, carpal tunnel, and the rest permit.]

What is a paired reading?

I use the term to mean two good novels or stories which are interesting explorations of different variations on a major element (plot, theme, or structure). I tend to find them rather than look for them: I put down one novel, think it over for a while, and realize, "Hey, that reminds me of...". The list is thus partly recommendations and partly a possible starting point for discussion. Not entirely clear what I mean? See some of the list for examples. (I should note that technically, some of these are not pairs but triplets or quartets, but for convenience I'm calling them pairs.)

The Paired Reading List

The list is split up over four pages. You can go straight to the first page if you wish to browse. There is also a title index, an author index, and a few reviews.

What's New:

An incredibly-overdue update. New pairs from Emmet O'Brien and some new contributors.

I've also removed the contributors page for the moment, becase I'm not convinced it added anything useful and because I'd hate to subject all those nice people to extra spam. If anyone wants to discuss a pairing with a contributor, e-mail me and I will forward your message. [12/19/2000]


If you have a paired reading you'd like to add to this list, email me at Include the correct title and author of the novel, and why you think these novels make a good pair, i.e., what theme or structural element they share and how far that similarity extends. Longer discussions are welcome as well.

I would prefer that you include an email address where you can be reached should I have questions, but I do not insist upon it. I reserve the right to reject submissions on the grounds of insufficient information provided about the novels or otherwise inappropriate content.

A Note on Spoilers

I am aware that pairing some novels can only be done by spoiling one or both of them (e.g., book X and book Y both end with the world exploding). PLEASE indicate to me if your description of a pairing, or a pairing itself, constitutes a spoiler, and how major a spoiler that is. Keep in mind that I will not have read every book that you mention, and I would hate to ruin someone else's reading experience (as for my reading experience, I'll just have to take my chances).

There is a separate page for spoilered items. Read at your own risk!

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