Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

This week’s topic is hosted by Liz of Adventures in Running, Reading, and Working from Home. And it’s my favorite!

Week 3 (11/13-11/17) Book Pairings: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. Maybe it’s a historical novel and the real history in a nonfiction version, or a memoir and a novel, or a fiction book you’ve read and you would like recommendations for background reading. You can be as creative as you like!

I always have fun with these pairings, because inevitably my fiction and nonfiction reading lists throw up some surprising correlations. Increasingly, these seem eerily serendipitous: some completely unexpected similarity crops up in books that I read in close succession. Here are a few examples from this year.

Preparing for death, with reference to the belief that when a person dies a window must be opened to let the soul fly out

  • Nonfiction: Terry Pratchett: A Life in Footnotes by Rob Wilkins

  • Fiction: Three Apples Fell from a Tree by Narine Abgaryan

A prince who trains as a killer and breaks with family tradition

  • Nonfiction: Spare by Prince Harry

  • Fiction: Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Trekking through Iceland

  • Nonfiction: The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn

  • Fiction: Voyage au centre de la terre by Jules Verne

A person with locked-in syndrome

  • Nonfiction: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Domninique Bauby

  • Fiction: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (Bauby was actually planning a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo when he was paralyzed by a stroke)

These are just some of the most striking connections I found this year. What were yours?

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14 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

  1. Oh these were great ones, some of them very subtle, which I loved. Glad I could run your favourite week – we had a choice out of about seven but I’d already written one of mine up months ago so chose this one!

    1. I was quite surprised that so much of JCE took place on the surface of the earth in Iceland, having expected more of it to be underground. Likewise, I was expecting some more trekking around Britain in The Wild Silence.

  2. Oh, I love your pairings, Lory. I’ve read some of the nonfiction books here, but not the fiction. (I may have started The Count of Monte Cristo once but never finished.)

    1. The Count took me two library borrowing periods to get through, with a slight break in between, but I finally made it. Interestingly, Diving Bell is an extremely short book (understandable for a book that had to be dictated by blinking one eyelid.)

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