Nonfiction November 2017: Book Pairings

Welcome to the second week of Nonfiction November. This week we’re pairing nonfiction books with works of fiction. Our host this week is Sarah from Sarah’s Book Shelves. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a lot of fun. It reminds a lot of the bookish conversations I used to have with a former a co-worker. He was a voracious reader who read almost exclusively fiction, while I on the other hand tend to gravitate towards nonfiction. But despite our differing tastes, on numerous occasions our reading choices ran parallel. Specifically, he might have been reading a novel that was set in some country, or during the same time period as whatever nonfiction book I was reading at the time. Whenever our selections mutually aligned it led to stimulating conversations.

After letting my imagination run wild for a few days here’s what I came up with for fiction and nonfiction pairings.

Conclave by Robert Harris and The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church by John Thavis 

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great America Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann and 1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol, and the Birth of Post-Sixties America by Andreas Killen

A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam and The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J. Bass

The Chosen by Chaim Potok and The Rabbi of 84th Street: The Extraordinary Life of Haskel Besser by Warren Kozak

Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer and The Bridge at Andau: The Compelling True Story of a Brave, Embattled People by James Michener

Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe and The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée

Native Son by Richard Wright and The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

Girl at War by Sara Nović and The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War by Misha Glenny

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan by Gregory Feifer

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P.W. Singer and August Cole and  The Next Decade: Where We’ve Been….and Where We’re Going by George Friedman

Partitions by Amit Majmudar and Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition by Nisid Hajari

The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad and I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai

The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari and We Look Like the Enemy: The Hidden Story of Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands

The Mission Song by John le Carre and Consuming the Congo:War and Conflict Minerals in the World’s Deadliest Place by Peter Eichstaedt


21 thoughts on “Nonfiction November 2017: Book Pairings

  1. I remember reading The Chosen about twenty years ago. When I reached the climax of the novel I was sitting home alone one afternoon and it brought me to tears. I’m glad I had an undistracted period of time to read it. It had a profound impact on me. And thanks for the reminder about Conclave. I had seen it earlier this year and forgot to put it on my wish list.


    • Sadly, I read The Chosen only a few years ago but loved it! Potok’s novel touched on so many things: friendship, embracing religious/cultural differences, familial duties and the whole faith vs modernism debate. A superb novel!


      • I’ll never forget how the two boys’respective fathers were so broken as human beings once they finally learned of the horrible scope and depth of the Holocaust. So sad.


  2. You did a great job with your book pairings. I’ve only read 2 books on the whole list; The Grapes of Wrath, The Kite Runner and I Am Malala. I’ll take a look at the books you’ve paired with them. I also want to take a look at the Watergate era pairing.


  3. Pingback: Nonfiction November 2017: Fiction / Nonfiction Pairings Round-Up - Sarah's Book Shelves

  4. So I’ve been avoiding Potok for years. Maybe it’s time to pick it up. Your pairing seems like a good one. ‘Ghost Fleet’ sounds like one I’d enjoy as well, it’s certainly going on the list. I had seen it before, but never considered it. Which, now, seems like I missed out.


  5. Pingback: Nonfiction November – New to My TBR | JulzReads

  6. Pingback: Nonfiction November Week 2: Nonfiction and Fiction Pairings | Maphead's Book Blog

  7. Pingback: Nonfiction November 2019 Week 2: Book Pairings | Maphead's Book Blog

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