Book Reviews

Nonfiction November: Fiction to Nonfiction Book Pairings


This week in nonfiction November, aka #NonficNov

Week 2: (Nov. 4 to 8) – Book Pairing (Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves): This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. 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. [Doing Dewey]

My Post

I supposed because I’m a lifelong nonfiction reader who is also a librarian, book pairing is just a natural thing to me. So, here are a few that have come to mind. Since I am picking books as I go and do not plan my reading, here are some that easily came to mind instead of one that goes with this week’s book.

A note on biographies:

I wanted to skip pairing biographies with biographical fiction if possible. I read and enjoy lots of historical fiction based on real people.


1. Hitler’s Forgotten Children and Some Named Eva: A Novel

The Lebensborn is a group around which mythology has grown. Born to increase the “stock” of pure Aryan children or stolen from parents in occupied territories due to their very Aryan traits, these children were to be raised to fanatically support Hitler. You can read more about both books here.


2. London 1945 and Girls of Slender Means [a Novel]

Muriel Spark’s Girls of Slender Means [links to my review]had a meager existence at the May of Teck Club, but then so did everyone in London in 1945. I own and have read selections from, London 1945: Life in the Debris of War.


3. Pearls and Pinstripes… and Biglaw: A Novel

Not an exact date/era match, but a “You’ve come a long way baby to get where you’ve got to today” pairing. Elizabeth Dole faced a very different law firm world in 1964 than that of fictional Mackenzie Corbett does at a modern-day Manhattan white-shoe law firm. You can read more about both books here.


4. I Don’t Know How She Does It and I KNOW How She Does it: A Novel



Okay, I couldn’t resist this one! Dead obvious, but fun. Both are good reads. You can read about I KNOW How here and, if you haven’t read I Don’t Know How She Does It I highly recommend it.


5. Factory Girls and River of Stars: A Novel


Young people flee China’s rural villages to make money in factories. Factory Girls tells the real story of living and working in China’s factories while River of Stars tells the story of a factory girl and the consequences of her affair with her much older factory manager. You can read about Factory Girls here or about River of Stars here.


6. A World Elsewhere and Women in the Castle: A Novel



In both stories, the women must cope with the end of the war and the approach Soviet troops who were determined to rape and pillage everyone and everywhere possible. You can read about both books here.


7. A Boat A Whale & A Walrus and Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel


Both are about great palates, great food, great cooking, great restaurant dinners. You can read more about both books here.


8. Circus at the Edge of the Earth and Water for Elephants


Read more about the Circus at the Edge of the Earth [Amazon link–I do not make money off your click] and Water for Elephants I highly recommend both.


9. The Women Who Wrote The War and The Race for Paris: A Novel


There are fictionalized accounts of Martha Gelhorn’s life with Hemmingway, but Race for Paris has fictionalized correspondents so this is not a biography to fictionalized biography match-up. I have read and enjoyed Women Who Wrote the War, but like a few others on this list, the review was on my old blog. Here is the link on Amazon: Women Who Wrote The War. You can read about Race For Paris here.


10. Havana Real and Next Year in Havana: A Novel



In the novel, a granddaughter goes to Cuba in the present day. Havana Real is now a few years old but still paints a reasonable portrait of the city at the end of Fidel’s days and looking forward to today. You can read more about Havana Real here or Next Year in Havana here.

8 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: Fiction to Nonfiction Book Pairings

  1. Factory Girls sounds fascinating! My book group read A River of Stars and had a really good discussion about it, and we all commented about how little we knew previously about the dynamic of leaving villages for factory work. Thanks for the recommendation! This is a great list — lots to look into!

    Liked by 1 person

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