#NonficNov Nonfiction November Week 2: Book Pairings

nonficnovgraphic-e1569211904841-768x768Nonfiction November has commenced and the second of this year’s weekly discussion prompts is Book Pairings, hosted by Sarah of Sarah’s Book Shelves.

The idea is to 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.

Looking back at the nonfiction books I’ve read so far this year, here are some suggested pairings. Links from the titles will take you to my review or the book description on Goodreads.

Pair Where The Hornbeam Grows by Beth Lynch with The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – the much-loved classic that demonstrates the healing power of nature and gardening

Pair Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan by Ursula Buchan with (obviously) The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan – the classic spy thriller for which the author is best known (or watch the Hitchcock film version starring Robert Donat which Buchan generously described as improving on the book)

Pair In My Life: A Music Memoir by Alan Johnson with The Commitments by Roddy Doyle – set in 1980s Dublin (rather than 1960s South London), Jimmy Rabbitte forms a soul band, The Commitments, and dreams of musical success.

Pair Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark and Nick Cook with Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle – the author’s fictionalized account of his wartime service with the SOE.

Pair Untitled: The Real Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anna Pasternak with Ike and Kay by James MacManus – a fictionalized account of the real life relationship between another couple in the public eye.

Pair Chanel’s Riviera: Peace and War on the Cote d’Azur, 1930 – 1944 by Anne de Courcy with The Dressmaker’s War by Mary Chamberlain – the story of an English dressmaker caught in Germany during World War II, the choices she must make to stay alive and the implications of those choices in the aftermath of the war.

19 thoughts on “#NonficNov Nonfiction November Week 2: Book Pairings

    1. Full disclosure, I haven’t actually read The Dressmaker’s War but having recently finished Chanel’s Riviera, I was looking around for a fictional take on the same period and came across it. My review of Chanel’s Riviera will be up later this week.


    1. As well as a lovely book about making a garden, Where The Hornbeam Grows is also insightful about trying to integrate in a new country/community and the barriers to that. As a keen gardener myself, I was attracted to it for the first reason but found the other aspect really made me think.


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