Reading for Two: Five Book Pairings

I’m nothing if not consistent, which means I’m still running a little behind this month. It might be the third week of November, but I’m still stuck in the second week of Nonfiction November. As a refresher, it’s a yearly feature hosted by Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?, Katie at Doing Dewey, Julie at Julz Reads, and Leann at Shelf Aware with the goal of celebrating all of those wonderful nonfiction books we’ve been reading. If you’d like to participate—there’s definitely still time!—head on over to their sites, check out the topics for the month, and be sure to look at the weekly link-up to find other participants.

Week 2 (November 9-13) Book Pairing (Julie at Julz Reads): 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.

This week is all about pairings. You know, just like the classics: wine and cheese. Frog and Toad. Me and a cozy mystery.

Really, this is kind of the perfect topic for me. So often while I’m reading a book, I’ll come across a passage that presents an interesting fact or something I’m not familiar with and I’ll immediately grab my phone to look into it further. A half hour later, I’m usually still browsing online, having fallen down an internet rabbit hole. And if I’m really interested, I’ll usually walk away with one, two—or more—books stacked on top of my to-be-read pile all connected to that one thing I was looking up in the first place.

So below you’ll find five works of fiction—each great in their own right—along with five fantastic nonfiction counterparts that explore their subjects from a different angle.

Are You Ready for Some Sports?


After an accident forces Peter Friedman to end his high school pitching career, he’s forced to consider what his life will be like away from sports.



For some people it might seem bizarre that an individual can form a close attachment to a sport or a team. Yet for many, that’s just an average state of being. Here, author Eric Simons explores what exactly happens to fans that makes them so connected to the sports they love.


Books and the Shops That Love Them

The Thirteenth tale by Diane Setterfield

A bookshop proprietor is tasked with writing the biography of a reclusive author.


the bookshop book by Jen Campbell

Every bookshop has a story and Jen Campbell has tracked down some of the most interesting tale. Spanning six continents—unfortunately, Antarctica doesn’t have a bookshop … yet—The Bookshop Book focuses on the odd and the innovative. Here, you’ll find everything from antiquarian book vending machines and shops floating down rivers.


Far, Far Away Comes Home

what goes up by Wen Jane Baragrey

Robyn’s roof seems to attract everything: kites, cats, even skydivers. Normally that would be little more than annoyance, but when a NASA satellite begins its descent to earth, she can’t help but feeling she knows exactly where it’ll land.


homesteading space: the skylab story by David Hitt, Owen Garriott, and Joe Kerwin

In an interview, author Wen Jane Baragrey discussed part of her inspiration for What Goes Up: the satellite Skylab’s very real fall to Earth. Here, the authors explore its story from its wonderous life in space all the way to its fiery finish in Earth’s atmosphere.


Who Wants to Play a Game?

THE westing game by Ellen Raskin

Sixteen people are gathered together for the reading of an eccentric millionaire’s will and end up playing the game of their lives.


The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game by Mary Pilon

While it’ll never make its players as rich as The Westing Game would, there’s no doubt that Monopoly has become one of the most popular board games in the world. Here, author Mary Pilon unravels its confused history and explores its enduring power over players everywhere.


We All Read Down Here

spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

While a murderer stalks the streets of Paris, Nathalie discovers she has a connection to the victims—and the killer.

My Review | Goodreads

Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt

One of the most pulse-pounding sections of Spectacle involves the incredibly unsettling Catacombs of Paris. Here, author Will Hunt explores the wild world that lies beneath our feet, from caves to subway stations and even the catacombs themselves.



  1. What a super fun post theme! I like this a lot. The only book on this list I’ve read is The Westing Game (I’m on a quest to read all the Newbery Award winners, you might be able to tell…). I like your pairing, but a non-fiction on my TBR is It’s All A Game: The History of Board Games from Monopoly to Settlers of Catan. I’d pick this one over The Monopolists for two reasons — 1) I think The Westing Game has more in common with Clue, which It’s All A Game includes. and 2) I absolutely detest Monopoly– I don’t know if I could read a whole book about it! XD

    Great list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that’s fantastic! I’m on the same mission to read all the Newbery Award winners … even if I am woefully behind. What’s been your favorite so far? I’m adding It’s All a Game to my TBR pile, so thank you for the recommendation. I hadn’t heard of it before! I totally know what you mean about Monopoly, though. It’s … frustrating. Fortunately, the book is much better than the game, mostly because it has such a tumultuous history.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oooh, it’s hard to pick a favorite Newbery Winner. Probably Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis or Holes by Louis Sachar. Reminiscing about this reminds me how far behind I am on writing reviews for all the Newbery winners. XD Here’s hoping I can catch up! ❤

        Does your quest to read all the Newbery Award Winners have a deadline, like mine does? Just curious.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m trying to read all the Newbery Winners by January 2022, when the 100th is announced. However, I’m allowing myself a grace period of “through 2022” just in case… So, I guess by January 2022 is my stretch goal? I’ll feel nice to have them all read. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not read The Thirteenth Tale yet, but that pairing sounds very good. The Monopolists and Underground both sound good. How could I not have heard of these books before?

    TracyK at Bitter Tea and Mystery

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of these pairings. So often I read a fiction book that leads me to want to find out more of the truth behind the fiction. I hadn’t thought of The Westing Game in years. A fellow teacher recommended it, and I thought it was fantastic. That’s one I would enjoy rereading since the main thing I remember is how much I liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post!! You always pick such interesting and different themes. Along the lines of Underground, you might like Robert Macfarlane’s Underworld, if you haven’t read it yet. It was an incredible, nature (but covering many other genres) look at the importance of the underground in human history, and towards the future. Just so, so good.


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