Nonfiction November – Book Pairings

Week 2 of #NonfictionNov is hosted by Julz Reads with the prompt:

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.

It didn’t take me long to come up with four pairings …

1. Be Prepared

O’Connell’s recent book (my full review here) looks at all the different ways people are preparing for the end of the world. In the first chapters, he visits preppers, bunkers, wilderness retreats and more. This took me back to…

Claire Fuller’s debut novel involved a father who was a prepper telling his daughter her mother was dead and they had to go to a remote cabin in the German forests to live. The novel plays out in a dual timeline with what happened afterwards told in parallel, and remains a favourite of mine. (Full review here, and more here).

2. An antidote to too much Shakespeare

I very much enjoyed reading Louise Welsh’s super novella Tamburlaine Must Die this summer (see here) which tells of the last days of Christopher Marlowe.

This made me want to dig out my copy of Charles Nicholl’s The Reckoning, which I read when it was first published. A wonderful investigation of the death of Marlowe, written as new information came to light. It was fascinating, and I would love to re-read it.

3. Reliving the 1970s

Andy Beckett’s history of the 1970s (reviewed here) tells it like it really was – all the politics and economic disasters, the rise of the unions and the ‘Winter of Discontent’. Absolutely fascinating.

I was a teenager throughout the decade, and saw things rather differently – much more like the events in Jonathan Coe’s novel The Rotter’s Club, which introduced us to the characters he revisited in his prize-winning Brexit novel Middle England (see here).

4. “Thank-you-very-much”

I love Bethan Roberts’s novels, and in her 2019 book Graceland (reviewed here) she looked at Elvis’s rise, seen through his very close relationship with his mother.

Peter Guralnick has written a magnificent two volume life of Elvis, which I read pre-blog. The first, Last Train to Memphis was published in 1994, Careless Love five years later. They’re very detailed, and go broader than just looking at Elvis, capturing life in that musical era really well. The first book on the younger Elvis was particularly strong.

10 thoughts on “Nonfiction November – Book Pairings

  1. DoingDewey says:

    I love that you found something to pair with Our Endless Numbered Days! That was such a strange piece of fiction, I’m not sure I’d have thought to try to pair it with something real, but the book you suggest sounds perfect.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thank you! I know Claire slightly through events for her wonderful novels, but her first is still my favourite. O’Connell is a great journalist (the chapter on visiting Chernobyl in this book was particularly fab).

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