Pairing Puzzles With Books

As I completed my latest puzzle today, the mushroom images made me think of a book about fungi on my TBR bookcase. When I went to put the puzzle in one of puzzle cases (basically a bookcase that I’ve converted for puzzles), I looked at some of my other puzzles and started thinking about which puzzles could go with which books. I’ve seen Instagrammers pair puzzles and beverages and bookstagramers have paired books with all sorts of things from dresses to food to other books. So I thought hey, why not pair puzzles with books. (Seriously, this was pretty much my exact thought process.) And voilá! I came up with a whole list of puzzle and book pairings.

It makes me so happy when two hobbies collide in such a delightful way. Booknerds & Puzzlers unite!

Fungi Love

This was the puzzle that started it all, and so it deserves the top spot.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fungi-love.jpg

Elena Essex is a UK-based illustrator, who dove into the world of puzzle designs in 2020. Her whimsical, colorful puzzles have quickly become a fave of mine. Wonderful and unusual mushrooms of the fungus kingdom are illustrated in Woodland Magic, the fourth puzzle I’ve completed by her.

Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave. In Entangled Life, biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an interesting change of perspective.

  • Puzzle Pieces: 1000
  • Puzzle Difficulty: Medium
  • Book Genre: Non-Fiction Science

Travel Adventure

This vintage travel puzzle evokes visions of early 20th century travel, adventure, and exploration of new lands. It pairs perfectly with this classic adventure novel.

I discovered Blue Kazoo on Instagram (IG is a dangerous place for puzzlers and booknerds alike). I first fell in love with Blue Kazoo’s Earth series and then discovered their vintage travel puzzle series. Like books, puzzles are also a way to travel around the world from the comfort of your own home. In fact, the first puzzles, called dissected maps, were designed to teach geography. Blue Kazoo’s vintage travel series, Across the Continent, transports us to the 1930s and ‘40s with retro art that magically transports us across the country—and time.

James Hilton’s classic Lost Horizon is set in the late 1920s/early 1930s. Fleeing from a civil war, British diplomat Hugh Conway’s plane crashes in the Himalayas. Conway and the other survivors are found by a mysterious guide and led to the hidden valley of Shangri-La. Adventure ensues.

  • Puzzle Pieces: 1000
  • Puzzle Difficulty: Medium
  • Book Genre: Fiction, Classics

Parents & Children

Family relationships can be complicated as Trevor Noah explores in Born a Crime. They can also be beautiful and lovely like this gorgeous puzzle from Puzzles of Color.

Another Instagram find, Puzzles of Color, a black-owned sibling business, has the goal to highlight artists of color because #representationMATTERS. Each of their puzzles comes in a gorgeously designed box with a bio on the artist. Priceless by Melrick was inspired by an actual photograph of the artist, Melrick Steele, and his son. I just love this beautiful rainbow image.

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah tells his journey from his birth in South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show. This book focuses on his relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

I listened to the audiobook, which Noah himself narrates. I think it brings an extra something to the story when the author narrates his own memoir. He also includes some fascinating tidbits about South African culture and history that add to his story.

  • Puzzle PIeces: 500
  • Puzzle Difficulty: Medium
  • Book Genre: Non-Fiction Memoir

The Four Seasons

The Earth orbits the sun and the seasons change. A full Earth year consists of two equinoxes (spring and autumn) and two solstices (summer and winter).

The Season Tree by Schmidt beautifully illustrates the four seasons. The same tree is shown in autumn, winter, summer, and spring. I love this image as it shows the continuity of the seasons and of life. While the leaves may change color in the fall and the tree will lose its leaves in the winter, new growth will come again in the spring and the tree will flourish in the warm summer. This is a puzzle I will (one of these days) frame and hang in my office.

In The Nature of Witches, the magic system is based upon the seasons. A witch is either a spring, summer, winter, or autumn and their magic corresponds to that season. For example, spring witches are stronger at making things grow. Clara is an Everwitch, a witch that can harness the power of every season. And it is the witches who for centuries have maintained the climate. But as the shaders (non-magical humans) continue to destroy the Earth, the atmosphere has become more erratic and the storms, more destructive. With lyrical prose, Rachel Griffin has written a story about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

  • Puzzle PIeces: 500
  • Puzzle Difficulty: Medium
  • Book Genre: Urban Fantasy

Garden Secrets

I am not a gardener. I think I actually have a black thumb as I can’t even keep the unkillable plants alive. But despite my inability to keep a plant alive, I believe there’s nothing more splendid than stepping into a beautiful garden.

Abundant Garden by SunsOut is one of several shaped puzzles I’ve done over the years. Aimee Stewart did an amazing job on this incredibly detailed puzzle. Filled with flora and fauna, the fan shape gives this puzzle an extra special something. And if you puzzle regularly, I’m sure you’ve probably done an Aimee Stewart puzzle, or at least, you have seen some of her art.

The Secret Garden is a book that I have loved since I was a child. This is the story of Mary Lennox, who, when orphaned, has to go live in England with an uncle she’s never met. The gloomy mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and yet her uncle keeps himself locked up and isolated and Mary hears crying late a night. The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. With the help of two unexpected companions, Mary discovers a way in only to find the garden has been neglected, and she becomes determined to bring the garden back to life.

The story is enchanting and timeless. Frances Hodgson Burnett has created a story with elements of mystery and spirituality, along with charming characters and an authentic rendering of childhood emotions and experiences. I highly recommend this story to everyone.

  • Puzzle PIeces: 1000
  • Puzzle Difficulty: Hard
  • Book Genre: Fiction

Space Exploration

We traveled through time and now we let’s travel through space. Around the rings of Saturn, across the storms of Jupiter, past the darkness of Neptune to the outer limits of our solar system. Adventure awaits!

The New York Puzzle Co is one of my go-to puzzle brands and their Space-themed puzzle series is one of my faves. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab created this poster series, Visions of the Future, to celebrate NASA’s study of exoplanets. The Grand Tour advertises the alignment of all outer planets that occurs only once every 175 years. NASA’s Voyager mission revealed details about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—using each planet’s gravity to send them on to the next destination. Voyager set the stage for such ambitious orbiter missions as Galileo to Jupiter and Cassini to Saturn. Today both Voyager spacecraft continue to return valuable science from the far reaches of our solar system. And NYPC celebrates that with its Space puzzle series. I loved this poster puzzle so much that I also bought the mug.

The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet follows a motley crew on an exciting journey through space. On a patched-up ship that has seen better days, the crew will explore the far-off corners of the galaxy and will be hired to tunnel wormholes through space to a distant planet. Along the way, the tiny oddball Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and adventures that force them to depend on each other. Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the Wayfarer, but to survive, Rosemary has to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust.

This book is everything I love about sci-fi. Incredible world-building, excellent character development, intriguing plot, and great pacing with the right balance of action and story development. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down.

  • Puzzle PIeces: 1000
  • Puzzle Difficulty: Medium-Hard
  • Book Genre: SciFi Space Opera

I could have paired another half dozen puzzles and books as I had so much fun with this. But I figured I’d save some for another day.

Which puzzle and book pair do you like best? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Some notes on this post:

  • The book links are affiliate links to Bookshop.org where I receive a teeny commission if you click on the link and then purchase something. Read more about my affiliate links here.
  • The two Amazon links are affiliate links and only because that’s the only place I know to purchase these two puzzles. Same as the Bookshop links, I will receive a teeny-tiny commission if you click on them and then purchase the item.
  • All other links are simply for your convenience. They are not affiliate links.

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