November 12

Nonfiction November: Fiction/Nonfiction Pairings

November 12, 2015

nonfiction november2015It’s week 2 of Nonfiction November. I haven’t done a ton of nonfiction reading yet, but I should finish up a book in a day or two that will free up lots of nonfiction time for me. In the meantime, let’s chat about fiction/nonfiction pairings. Whether you are a fan of fiction that is looking to read a bit more nonfiction, or a fan of nonfiction that is looking to read a bit more fiction, below are some recommendations to help you out. I’ve included quite a wide range, so you should be able to find a little something that appeals to you!


NFF pairing 1

Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center – Both books feature a strong female embarking on an enormous physical challenge in an attempt to regroup and move forward in life in a more positive way. I was inspired by both books, and I could totally see myself doing something like this someday!

NFF pairing 2

Columbine by Dave Cullen and We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – I haven’t actually had the chance to read Columbine yet, but I’ve heard great things. It’s near the top of my TBR, but I am a bit overwhelmed by the size. We Need to Talk About Kevin gives a very interesting perspective into the life of a family of a school shooter.

NFF pairing 3

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen and Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail – Both books provide a different twist on typical books set during the Holocaust. Each of these features a relationship involving a Nazi officer in the context of its story.

NFF pairing 7

You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen and The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus – Although these books aren’t on my list of all time favorite reads, they both give you a glimpse into the less-than-glamorous side of the life of nannying for a wealthy family.

NFF pairing 8

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer and The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall – I’ve always been intrigued by polygamy and the fundamental Mormon faith. These are very different books, but give you a peek into what that lifestyle might look like.

NFF pairing 6

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman and Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – True Notebooks had a strong impact on me and the way I view juvenile offenders. Saint Anything is a fictional account of one family’s difficulty coming to terms with a teen that has to go to prison. Both make you take a deeper look at the circumstances that surround tragedies such as these.

NFF pairing 5

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott and What the Lady Wants by Renee Rosen – I was fascinated by Sin in the Second City and the lives of enormous wealth that madams could build for themselves. One of the infamous Chicago frequents to the brothel featured in the book was Marshall Field Jr, and his habit is mentioned in What the Lady Wants. I love how both books featured Chicago history and famous Chicagoans.

NFF pairing 4

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – Hurry Down Sunshine features a father’s struggle as he goes through the diagnosis and acceptance of his daughter’s mental health issues. All the Bright Places is my favorite read of 2015 so far and also features the struggle of a teen that’s dealing with his own mental health issues. Both books bring so much awareness to mental health issues and the struggles that those suffering face.

What fiction/nonfiction pairing would you recommend? Have you read any of the above pairings? What did you think if you did?

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Posted November 12, 2015 by Lisa @ Reading, Writing, and Random Musings in category "Nonfiction November


  1. By Sarah's Book Shelves on

    Fantastic pairing list! I loved In the Garden of Beasts and have never heard of Playing for the Commandant..another add to my TBR list! And – same goes for Under the Banner of Heaven….adding The Lonely Polygamist as well. Have also seen the Kevin/Columbine pairing around this week…and Kevin has been on my TBR for years.

  2. By Katie @ Doing Dewey on

    I loved Larson’s Devil in the White City enough that I’m always excited to see more of his books on these lists :) The two books on nannying also sound fascinating. I always enjoy learning about interesting careers.

    1. By Lisa @ Reading, Writing, and Random Musings (Post author) on

      If you loved Devil in the White City, I really think you would love anything by Renee Rosen. She has become one of my favorite authors, and I love that I learn so much when I read her books! The books on nannying aren’t 5 star reads by any means, but they do give you a glimpse of life different from your own!

  3. By Laura @ The Buttontapper on

    I started reading Sin in the Second City a few years ago, and I think I got sidetracked by a bunch of other books I had to review at the time, so I never finished it! But I enjoyed Abbott’s writing style, and as someone who grew up in a suburb of Chicago, I also appreciated this look at Chicago history. I’ve got Devil in the White City on my To Read list as well, but now I’ll have to add What the Lady Wants as well! (I still can’t believe Marshall Fields has been turned into another Macy’s!)

    1. By Lisa @ Reading, Writing, and Random Musings (Post author) on

      If you enjoy historical fiction, you must check out all of Renee Rosen’s work. I’m from the burbs of Chicago as well, and her work contains so much amazing Chicago history. She is also great to see in person if you ever get a chance!


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