The Ultimate Book Pairings

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

Our world is filled with quintessential pairings. Bacon and eggs. Bert and Ernie. Peanut butter and jelly. We seek out wine pairings to complement our meals; we set up our friends because they’re sure to be the perfect pair. But here at Quirk Books, we spend our time coming up with book pairings. And today — because we’re so wonderful and generous — we’re sharing those pairings with you.


For fans of prestige dramas

If you prefer your television on premium cable and your movies indie and delightfully messy, you’ll want to pick up Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff immediately. In fact, we’re surprised these haven’t both been picked up to series. The producers of Big Little Lies would have a field day with this material. Station Eleven takes its readers through a post apocalyptic journey across the United States — an incredible bout of mental gymnastics with an ensemble cast. Fates and Furies takes a more personal tact, focusing instead on a young married couple and the intricate way their lives fit together — lies and all. They’re perfect accompaniments to each other: expertly paced and just a hint of “Could that really happen?”


For fans of boy bands and slash fic

If the sweet sounds of Hansen hold a special place in your heart, you’ll want to pair Ship It by Britta Lundin with Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff. Between the obsession with slash fanfic and the beautifully complex teenage protagonists, these two novels could be long lost sisters. Ship It shows readers the high octane world of comic cons across the western United States, journeying from the Pacific Northwest all the way to the mother of all comic cons in San Diego. Grace and the Fever chooses instead to focus on a single locale: the palm tree laden streets of Los Angeles. Both involve a teenage protagonist encountering a pop culture hero, to varying degrees of joy and disappointment. They do say you should never meet your heroes.


For fans of short, satisfying reads

If reading a book in one sitting brings you an indescribable amount of joy, All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg and Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong are the books for you. In All Grown Up, readers are introduced to a protagonist who has a love/hate relationship with New York, but that doesn’t stop her from drawing the Empire State Building every day. It’s a view that she can see from her apartment window — a symbol of success. This slim novel is simultaneously a meditation on creativity and an exploration of what it means to come of age for a second time. Like All Grown Up, Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin focuses on a singular place: Rancho Cucamonga, California. When her protagonist is faced with a major breakup and a sick father, she packs up her San Francisco life and moves into her childhood home for a year — a town chock full of soft rock radio, dry heat, and too many memories. Read together, these novels make for an incredibly satisfying week.


For fans of female-centered nonfiction

If the Netflix algorithm is consistently recommending Dramas With a Strong Female Lead, The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy and The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson are the memoirs for you. With their non-linear storytelling and gorgeous prose, these books feel like they should be in conversation with each other. The Rules Do Not Apply takes readers through the journey of Levy’s miscarriage, divorce, and an incredible financial loss. It’s a year you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, and yet Levy approaches each topic with sentence-by-sentence beauty. In The Argonauts, Nelson documents the birth of her first child with so much honesty, it’ll have the childless wondering why anyone would ever go through with it. Paired together, these two compliment each other gorgeously.