Nonfiction November Week Two: Book Pairing

It’s Week Two of Nonfiction November—a celebration of all those totally true and fact-filled books out there. One of the things I love the most about great books—nonfiction or otherwise—is that they usually have me wanting to find similar reads. I’ll read a tantalizing tidbit and then I’m off down a rabbit hole looking for more information, and gradually expanding my to-be-read pile in the process.

With that in mind, this week’s prompt from Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves has me thinking about some fiction/nonfiction books that I think go together:

Week 2 (Nov. 4 to 8) – Book Pairing: 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.

Gay New York

Two lesbians. Two stories of finding life and exploring love in New York City. One fiction, the other totally true.

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir by Edie Windsor and Joshua Lyon

The Partition of India

Veera Hiranandani explores the partition of India through the fictional lens of a young half-Muslim, half-Hindu Girl, while Urvashi Butali gives voice to the individuals who lived it.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
The Other Side of Silence by Urvashi Butalia

Life Upon the Wicked Stage

Actress Ivy Meadows has a killer opening night, though it might not be as bad as some of the biggest flops in Broadway history—including the musical adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie.

MacDeath by Cindy Brown
Not Since Carrie by Ken Mandelbaum

Cute Consumerism

Everyone’s favorite department store bear with a missing button is cute and cuddly, but the story behind one of the most famous stuffed animal corporations is pure grown-up greed.

Corduroy by Don Freeman
The Great Beanie Baby Bubble by Zac Bissonnette

Food, Glorious Food

The Waverly women know a bit of food magic, and whenever Ruth Reichl writes about her culinary career, it is magic.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl


  1. I love your pairings!!! Seriously, what an interesting bunch of topics!! Cute Consumerism involving Corduroy has got to be one of the best pairing themes I’ve seen.

    I’m reading Save Me the Plums right now and I love it. I read two of her older memoirs over the summer but this one just might be my favorite. You said it perfectly, her writing is magic. The Other Side of Silence sounds fascinating and is a topic I don’t know anything about, I think I need to try that one.

    And there was a musical adaptation of Carrie??? WHAT?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! Thank you so much! I was a bit worried when I started this one because I couldn’t think of any pairings that felt natural … but then I tried to have a little fun with it and it all clicked.

      And I’m so glad you’re reading Save Me the Plums! So far it’s the only book of Reichl’s I’ve read, but it’s ridiculously good. Who knew an ‘office job’ could be so fascinating? I finally bought two of her other memoirs, so I’m excited to get around to those, too. Looking forward to seeing what you think when you’re finished with it!

      And YES! It played an out of town try-out in the UK in early 1988 and then transferred to Broadway that year. It was … weird. Very much a product of the ’80s. It closed after five performances, but it’s gradually grown a following and there have been a few more productions of it over the past few years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a tough topic at first but I love the ideas you came up with – so original!

        I read Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me With Apples of Reichl’s this year. I felt weird starting with Save Me the Plums even though reading it now I see it wouldn’t have mattered at all. Tender at the Bone was excellent and I liked Comfort Me with Apples just a tad less, but I’m still glad I read it, and I just enjoy her storytelling style so much. She’s been through such tough stuff in her life but the way she tells it is so realistic and reassuring. Like “yes, this supremely sucked and sometimes I was a mess and made mistakes but I came through it and here’s what I learned.” You know what I mean? And the way she ties food into it is always perfect. I’m excited to hear what you think of her other memoirs.

        Is it weird that “very much a product of the ’80s” makes me even more interested in Carrie the musical? It sounds like a train wreck but a weirdly mesmerizing one. I just can’t imagine anyone thinking it was a good idea to adapt it. Thanks for introducing me to that!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m really interested to read more about her earlier life because she touches on it a bit in Save Me the Plums—ugh, the section where she discusses the magazine covers and cooking for her parents is the best. And yes! She has a very reassuring style. It’s obvious she’s perfectly comfortable in her story, and she tells it with such focus. It’s all about the food.

        The totally ’80s style is what makes me love it, so I get it! There’s an off-Broadway cast recording from a few years ago that I enjoy, but there are some videos on YouTube of the original production that are spectacularly cheesy.


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