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I don’t know about you, but I’ve already collected loads of new titles just from the first week of Nonfiction November. Week 2’s topic is my favorite, book pairings, where we tie together a nonfiction book and a fiction counterpart that either have similar themes or would make great reading partners. Nonfiction November is hosted this week by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves, so if you haven’t already, head over there and add your own link or (even better) find links to lots of other great bookish sites. I know I’m excited to share my pairings this year.
Getting to Know Yourself
This year I read both Out East by John Glynn (my review) and Cape May by Chip Creek (my review), and though one is a memoir and the other historical fiction, they had much in common.
- Both took place in East Coast beachside communities.
- Though the main person/characters in the book struggled with money, they were surrounded by wealth.
- There was a lot of partying going on.
- Regrets, both big and small surfaced.
- Anguish abounded.
- Each featured young people who were struggling to understand who they were.
- By the end of Glynn’s Montauk summer he was a different person and so were Effie and Henry by the time their Cape May honeymoon ended.
I actually listened The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall a couple years ago (my review), but the whole time I listened to Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis (my review), I kept thinking about it. The two have as many differences as they do similarities, but what they shared stood out most for me.
- Both books feature women from the south, one has left and one has stayed.
- In her life Helen and Polly both had to find ways to navigate completely new territories.
- The two lived by their own codes, neither easily influenced by others.
- Saying what they thought was part of their personalities, though Hellen Ellis did it a little more nicely than Polly.
- I sort of wanted to be friends with both women.
- The books were laugh-out-loud funny!
Parents Behaving Badly
Parents. We’ve all got them. Sometimes they’re amazing; other times they’re not. Adrienne Brodeur’s memoir Wild Game (my review), shares the later sort of parents with this fall’s All This Could be Yours by Jami Attenberg (my review), and Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth from three years ago (my review).
- Family dysfunction at its peak!
- All three feature one or more parents who are completely self-absorbed.
- Affairs abound.
- In all, kids need to learn to rely on themselves because the parents can’t be bothered.
- Though Wild Game‘s Malabar wins the prize for selfish moms, Commonwealth‘s Bev and All This Could Be Yours‘ Barbra aren’t far behind.
- Wild Game and Commonwealth share a disengaged father, to whom the kids stay loyal.
- All feature children who even as adults are still trying to disentangle their lives from their parents’ mistakes.
What are your favorite fiction/nonfiction pairings?
I love your Southern Ladies pairing – I really enjoyed Southern Lady Code, so I’ll have to check out The Book of Polly!
Emma @ Words And Peace says
I hated Commonwealth, but it does seem to fit perfectly in your pairing, lol.
My post is here: https://wordsandpeace.com/2019/11/05/nonfiction-november-2019-book-pairings/
I liked Commonwealth because it reminded me a little bit of my own upbringing. It’s often a matter of perspective.
Jane @ Raincity Librarian says
Oh, those dysfunctional parents! 😉
Gotta love ’em!
YES to All This Could be Yours and Wild Game! Totally see the similarities. Also Cape May being compared to Out East definitely makes me want to add it to the list!
Well, on The Cape May Out East pairing, I definitely liked Out East much more.
Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says
Parents Behaving Badly could use a whole bookshelf, perhaps a whole bookcase! Very clever. Thank you.
I think so many of us love parents behaving badly, too. Reminds some of us of our own childhoods.
Erin @ Cracker Crumb Life says
I am a sucker for those East Coast beach community books. Lol. So Cape May and Out East are definitely going on my TBR! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the books when you get to them. (I know how huge those TBR piles can grow.)
Is the Polly novel funny too? If so, I’ll likely have to pick it up. The Southern Lady Code had some good laughs in it. I think I even listened to the whole thing twice. These are good pairings. Gosh it would take me awhile to think a few up.
The Book of Polly is funny and very different. It’s actually told by Polly’s daughter if I remember correctly and Polly was much more irreverent than Helen.
Sarah's Book Shelves says
Oooh – I love your Attenberg, Wild Game, Commonwealth pairing! That one never occurred to me despite having read all 3 books, but it’s perfect!
Thanks, Sarah. I actually thought you’d pair one of them with Wild Game.
Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out says
Some thoughtful pairings, than you for sharing
Please stop by to see my NonFicNov Book Pairings
Jade @ Reading with Jade says
A thoughtful trio of pairings here – I like how you’ve included a list of the similarities & elements, not just the specific topic. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much, Jade. Happy you enjoyed them.
Love your pairings, Susie. I can’t wait to read All This Could Be Yours!
booker talk says
I’ve yet to read Commonwealth but your pairing sounds good.
Like you my wishlist of books is expanding rapidly by seeing everyone else;s postings