While we were spending the dog days of summer in a haze of trashy television and lounging on the beach, Kate Imbach was busy turning her novel idea into our new obsession. Her viral Matchbook Tumblr account has caught the eye of wordsmiths and fashionistas alike, and has even scored coverage by the Huffington Post.
We chatted with Imbach about her favorite reads, how long it takes to match a book to a lookalike swimsuit, and how we can offer up our own suggestions for the perfect pairing. Who else is keeping her fingers crossed for a Hunger Games post before swimsuit season ends?
When did you start Matchbook?
“Just a couple of weeks ago.”
What inspired you to start the site?
“I was on vacation a few weeks ago and saw a woman at the pool reading a book that matched her swimsuit. That sparked the idea.”
How did you come up with the name?
“I really don’t remember; it just came to me!”
Have you read all the books you’ve featured?
“I haven’t read all of the books that I’ve featured, but they’re all books that I would read. I’d love for matchbook.nu to be a place where people can find books that they might actually pick up and read.”
What’s on your reading list for the rest of the summer?
“I’m so excited to start reading some of the books that I’ve posted about but haven’t read yet. I just started The Last Hundred Days. And, my dad recently sent me every book Michael Connolly has ever written, so I’m working my way through those in the background. We’re both big fans of crime novels.”
Why did you choose to list the first sentence of the featured book in each post?
“I think the first sentence of a book is always more interesting that the description or a review. In the context of matchbook.nu posts, it’s almost always a non-sequitur. And sometimes the first sentence comes across as a very random caption for the swimsuit model’s photo.”
Do you have any personal favorite posting?
“It’s hard to choose a favorite, but I think the Kurt Vonnegut post is the most mind-blowingly accurate match. I loved matching up a very long and important book like Infinite Jest with a cute model in a matching bikini.”
How long does it usually take to match a suit to a book?
“It depends. I love the cover of I Was Told There’d Be Cake, and it took a long time to stumble upon the perfect match. I loved the idea of matching a bikini with The Hidden Reality. That one took a long time too. Some are easier – I read Prep a long time ago and just figured Vineyard Vines would have a suit to match, and they did. I love spending time in book stores, so I think I have a lot of good covers in mind already.”
Are you open to book suggestions from readers?
“Yes, and I’m getting the best emails from authors, publishers, agents, swimwear designers, readers and more. It’s been so fun and I love the suggestions. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.”
What other projects are you working on?
Have you spoken to any of the authors of the books you’ve featured? What has been the best piece of feedback you’ve received about the site?
“I have spoken with some of the authors or their agents, and I think they all really like it. One author told me that when he originally saw matchbook.nu, he thought that a swimwear designer had created the bikinis specifically to match the books. Someone else on Twitter said that I was ‘”single-handedly saving literature” – hilarious.”
Images courtesy of Matchbook.