Nonfiction November 2018: Fiction Nonfiction Book Pairings Link-Up

Nonfiction November 2018


Today’s Nonfiction November (hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?, Julie at Julz Reads, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and me) topic is fiction/nonfiction book pairings:

It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

Fiction / Nonfiction Book Pairings is my favorite topic of Nonfiction November and I keep a running list throughout the year of all my ideas for pairings. I hope y’all have just as much fun with it!

Link up your posts below and check out the plans for the rest of the month at here!


Fiction Nonfiction Book Pairings


Campus Stories Involving Basketball

My Losing Season is Pat Conroy’s (my all-time favorite author) memoir about his time playing basketball at The Citadel, the military college in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s a team of underdogs and Conroy is its “mediocre point guard”…but they play with incredible heart as they wrestle with a difficult coach.

In All the Castles Burned (my review), Owen Webb, a scholarship student at the prestigious Rockcastle School (a private day school for boys) embarks on an obsessive, dangerous friendship with Carson Bly, the son of a wealthy and absent father…all against the backdrop of the Rockcastle basketball team.

What it’s Like to Go to Space

Endurance is the true story of astronaut Scott Kelly’s year he spent on the International Space Station and his bumpy journey to becoming an astronaut.

In The Wanderers (my review), Helen, Sergei, and Yoshi (the meticulously selected crew for Prime Space’s – a private space exploration company – first manned mission to Mars) go through an incredibly life-like, seventeen months-long simulation (called Eidolon) of the mission.

The Rwandan Genocide

The Girl Who Smiled Beads (my review) is the true story of six year-old Clemantine and her older sister getting separated from their family during the Rwandan genocide and spending the next six years as refugees before being granted asylum in the U.S., and in Clemantine’s case, going on to get a degree from Yale.

Small Country (which I haven’t read yet) is an “evocative coming-of-age tale, set against the backdrop of the Rwandan genocide and the civil war in Burundi, of a young boy’s childhood innocence shattered by the brutal tides of history.” (Goodreads)

Behind-the-Scenes of Reality TV

Bachelor Nation (my review) exposes the inner workings of The Bachelor franchise.

The Book of Essie (my review) AND The Favorite Sister (my review) are fictional stories set in the world of reality TV.

Sociopathic Husbands / Boyfriends

A Beautiful, Terrible Thing (my review) is Jen Waite’s memoir about her marriage to a psychopath / sociopath (Marco).

In Tell Me Lies, Lucy Albright arrives for her freshman year at Baird College in California and falls into a toxic love affair with Junior Stephen DeMarco (who made my list of Memorable Villains of Fiction).

Books Set in DC Politics That Read Like Brain Candy

From the Corner of the Oval is a quarter life crisis memoir (by Beck Dorey-Stein, one of Obama’s stenographers) set in the world of politics and is my favorite audiobook of the year so far!

In The Hopefuls (my review), young couple Matt and Beth Kelly move from New York City to Washington, D.C. for Matt’s job and must navigate marriage and friendship in the political world.

Incidentally, Tell Me Lies could also pair well with From the Corner of the Oval in a totally different way…yes, From the Corner of the Oval features another possibly sociopathic boyfriend.

What are some of your favorite Nonfiction / Fiction pairings?

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  1. I don’t know why I didn’t realize The Book of Essie was about a reality TV show….a new fiction title for my to-read (yay!).

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  2. Great pairings – interested in the reality TV ones. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  3. Rachel wrote:

    I haven’t heard of any of those that you mentioned. I must be behind the times. However, the Rwandan genocide ones sound interesting. Tough topic, but an important one.

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
    • Brona wrote:

      The Rwandan books caught my eye too Rachel.
      I read a YA book about this a few years ago which reminded of a journalists account that I read not long after the actual events –

      We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families.
      One Thousand Hills by Noel Zihabamwe and James Roy.
      One of my commenters also mentioned – Shake Hands with the Devil by Roméo Dallaire or Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza

      Posted 11.6.18 Reply
  4. Ha! You’ll see tomorrow that we have an identical pair, but I bet you could already guess which it is. I always love this Nonfiction November topic. It’s so fun to see the books people match up.

    Your pairings have me considering Endurance and also All the Castles Burned.

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  5. I love non-fiction pairings and will be checking some of these out.

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  6. Rennie wrote:

    I’ve heard so much about The Girl Who Smiled Beads, it sounds like a tough but interesting and important read. You covered such eclectic topics with this one!

    I feel so bad but I couldn’t do fiction/nonfiction pairings because I really haven’t read fiction in so long. I did a writeup of some podcast/nonfiction pairings instead, mostly true crime-related. I hope it’s ok, was the best I could do this time, but so impressed with your pairings!!

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  7. Brittany wrote:

    After reading “The Losing Season”, did you get the sense that “The Lords of Discipline” was semi-autobiographical?…Does Conroy seem similar to Will?

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  8. I love this prompt. So enjoying seeing all the pairings!

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  9. Sarah!! We picked the EXACT SAME reality TV pairings! I should have known you’d totally be on the same page there.

    From the Corner of the Oval Office has been on my rader for a few weeks now – my interest has ratcheted up because of your pairing. I really liked The Hopefuls – it didn’t get enough love in my opinion.

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  10. Michael wrote:

    Interesting pairings! Books analyzing reality TV are always fun: I’ll have to check out Bachelor Nation sometime.

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  11. Torrie wrote:

    The only one of these I’ve read is The Book of Essie, which I had pretty mixed feelings about (I wish so much it had just been told from Essie’s point of view and no one else’s! I feel like the author tried to take on way too much). I do think it would make a fabulous book club discussion book though, and it would be especially fascinating to pair it with that Bachelor one you’ve recommended!

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  12. I really liked The Hopefuls, so I’m super excited to add From the Corner of the Oval to my TBR…

    Posted 11.5.18 Reply
  13. renee wrote:

    I’m going to work on my post today, this is a fun challenge for me. I’ve only read Bachelor Nation on your list but I really want to listen to From the Corner of the Oval

    Posted 11.6.18 Reply
  14. I really want to read The Girl Who Smiled Beadsand now Small Country. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Posted 11.6.18 Reply
  15. Hmm I didn’t know what Essie was about. This was a fun and challenging prompt!

    Posted 11.6.18 Reply
  16. Allison wrote:

    Oh, I’m glad you mentioned Small Country. I was actually looking for a Rwanda pairing after the Humans of New York series on Rwanda, but I hadn’t found a fiction book. I definitely want to check out both of these.

    Posted 11.6.18 Reply
  17. Angela wrote:

    Great pairings! I like the outer space one, I had a similar one. And Bachelor Nation is a perfect one for pairing with any number of fiction stories that deal with reality tv! The Book of Essie is on my TBR.

    Posted 11.6.18 Reply
  18. You found some nicely unusual topics to focus on. I love seeing what everybody comes up with.

    Posted 11.7.18 Reply
  19. wow ice variety! and I haven’t read any. I have 3 pairings:

    Posted 11.7.18 Reply
  20. These are such good pairings! I love the last one — The Hopefuls and From the Corner… are a great match. Endurance and The Wanderers are both on my list too!

    Posted 11.7.18 Reply
  21. Tara wrote:

    Of course, the reality TV section is my favorite! 🙂 These are such great pairings, Sarah! Way to go and thank you for hosting this week!

    Posted 11.7.18 Reply
  22. The hopefuls is on my list. I didn’t get my post done in time, but it will be up next week!

    Posted 11.8.18 Reply
  23. Claire wrote:

    I think fiction/non-fiction book pairings is just the smartest idea ever! Non-fiction books need all the love they can get 🙂 I really want to participate but I am just SO SLOW when it comes to reading … I think I will try to get something ready for next September … Will you be hosting again?

    Posted 11.8.18 Reply
  24. Amanda wrote:

    Great pairings Sarah! Now I have to go back and look at the Hopefuls to see why I gave up on that one. Book of Essie is going on my list to pick up since Bachelor Nation is waiting for me at the library!

    Posted 11.9.18 Reply
  25. Beth wrote:

    Fantastic pairings! I really want to read The Girl Who Smiled Beads, must remember to put it on my Amazon wishlist to buy really soon. I haven’t been able to add my link, maybe I’m too late? Here it is anyway 😀

    Posted 11.11.18 Reply
  26. I need to read BOTH books in your “What it’s Like to Go to Space” category!

    Posted 11.12.18 Reply
  27. I love your last category!

    Very late, but here is my post:

    Posted 11.15.18 Reply
  28. Erin wrote:

    Great list! So many nonfiction books – that’s truly impressive. I lised by 15 here!

    Posted 11.16.18 Reply
  29. Ooh, great topics! I particularly loved The Wanderers and I’m particularly interested in The Book of Essie 🙂

    Posted 11.18.18 Reply
  30. Adding The Girl who Smiled Beads to my TBR- for next year’s NonFicNov. Because I WILL get it together by then!

    Posted 12.3.18 Reply

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