Nonfiction November- Book Pairings

I love reading these posts every year, but I always struggle personally with writing them! I am going to attempt to recommend a nonfiction and a fiction book that I think would make a good pairing. I did this a little differently last year, as I recommended both nonfiction and fiction books for readers who loved Educated by Tara Westover.

Jon Ronson’s book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, focuses on the effects of social media and how what you put out into the world can have drastic effects on every aspect of your life. Ronson focuses one a few cases where an individual’s comments on social media negatively impacted both their careers and personal lives, and what they are up to today.

As the title suggest, The Subtweet, which is a fiction novel by Vivik Shraya, also focuses on the effects of social media, Twitter in this case. It is an interesting look at how you can’t take back something you said on social media, no matter how much you regret it. There is a lot to think about in this story, and it is one of my favourite books of the year. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green is another novel that does an amazing job of commentating on social media.

I know that right now there are those of us who want to avoid any book that has to do with a pandemic, and then there are those of us turning to these kinds of books. I myself am part of the latter group, which has surprised me.

I just started reading Pandemic 1918, and, while it is a difficult read, I am learning a lot and it is powerful. The Pull of the Stars, a fiction novel written by Emma Donoghue, is also set during 1918 and follows a nurse on a maternity ward, with many of her patients suffering from The Spanish Flu. Though this is another difficult read, I also found it to be quite hopeful. Arguably my favourite book of the year!

I really could have paired any true crime novel with Sadie. I truly think that if you are a true crime lover, like many of us are, you will absolutely love Sadie. I know that I am a few years late of this one, but Sadie deserves all the hype, as does I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, which I credit as the book that got me into true crime. I also believe that fans of true crime and/or of Sadie will enjoy The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis.

I just finished reading What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About, which is a collection of essay written by various authors about their complicated relationships with their mothers. I am very close with my own mom, but I know how difficult that relationship can be for many people. I think many readers will relate to some of these stories.

While The Dutch House mainly focuses on the relationship between a brother and sister, the scars that their mother left when she walked out of the lives have a profound effect on both of the main characters and set the tone for the rest of the story. Another book that I think would be a good pairing is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Catch and Kill is one of my favourite nonfiction books ever, and Women Talking is one of my favourite novels. Catch and Kill focuses on the beginning of the #metoo movement and everything that went on behind the scenes, while Women Talking focuses on a group of Mennonite women who are being assaulted by the men in their community and must decide what to do about it. Both are books I continue to think about and evoked a lot of the same emotions in me. I also recommended My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell for fans of either of these books.

If you have read any of these books, I would love some read-alikes!

Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

22 thoughts on “Nonfiction November- Book Pairings

  1. So many good ones!! I love the different topics you came up with! And like you, I was very surprised to find myself more drawn towards books addressing pandemics and public health this year. But having more information in this area has really helped me, it sounds like for you too! I might have to check out Pandemic 1918, and I want to read Influenza by Jeremy Brown too.

    And yay for including a Jon Ronson book, I loved that one!

      1. omg yes, EVERYTHING by Jon Ronson is amazing! I really love Lost at Sea, his essays, because they’re like quicker looks at a bunch of interesting stories, and The Psychopath Test. Them and The Men Who Stare at Goats are also excellent. You can’t really go wrong with him!

        And I agree, having more knowledge has definitely been comforting. I guess maybe like you it surprised me that that’s what comforted me so much, because I used to be more avoidant when I felt anxious. It was a good change!

  2. These books are so interesting!! I really like the concept of pairing a nonfiction book with a fiction book— I know personally I don’t read half enough nonfiction books as I should, so I’m definitely going to check some of these out, especially “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.” Do you have a favorite of these ones?? Also do you know why you find yourself drawn to pandemic novels (I firmly fall into the wanting-to-avoid-anything-to-do-with-the-pandemic camp hahahah)???

    1. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is so interesting! I think You’ll Be Gone in the Dark is fantastic, but it can be difficult to read all the details of the case. What he did to his victims is horrifying.

      I think it might be because I feel more empowered when I have more understanding of past pandemics? Maybe in some way it gives me hope? I can’t really say!

  3. Great pairings Kristin! As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner is also another one about the 1918 pandemic (histfic). So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed seems to be currently relevant with all the political labeling and canceling and calling out!!!

  4. I’ve never heard of Nonfiction November, but I love it! Pairing with fiction books is pretty awesome. I’m going to have to try this. Great recommendations 🙂

  5. So many good suggestions here! I love your fiction suggestions, which gives me some excellent nonfiction books to look up (especially the Ronan Farrow one). I really loved The Dutch House, The Pull of the Stars, Sadie. I also second your recommendations of My Dark Vanessa and Eleanor Oliphant.

Leave a Reply