Five Fiction to Nonfiction Pairings

Posted 10 November, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook / 25 Comments


Nonfiction November 2015

Hello! Around these parts we’re still celebrating Nonfiction November! I finally finished Dracula last week so have started All Joy and No Fun on paper and The Walmart Effect on audio. I’ve had a really great nonfiction year so far and I look forward to squeezing in a few more books before the end of the year!

Week Two Nonfiction November: Book Pairing! Leslie of Regular Rumination asks us to match a fiction book with a nonfiction book that you would recommend.

This was a tough topic for me last year and I finally just went with broad topics for the ultimate guiding to finding a nonfiction title. This year I tried to think of nonfiction books I’ve read and then match them with fiction books with similar topics. Perhaps I’m reaching a bit on some of these!

Fiction to nonfiction book pairings

Five Fiction to Nonfiction Book Pairings

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro vs Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

Art Forger vs Crimes of Paris

The Art Forger and Crimes of Paris are about two different time periods, two different cities, two different paintings, and two different crimes but both discuss fine art, museums, and are fascinating in their own rights. While The Art Forger is much more about the characters involved and Crimes of Paris is much more about crime during the turn of the century in Paris, both are great stories of art capers. (My thoughts on The Art Forger | My thoughts on Crimes of Paris).


Dracula by Bram Stoker vs. Immunity by Eula Biss
Dracula vs On ImmunityWhat the heck do vampires and vaccinations/immunity have in common? Well, Eula Biss has all kinds of theories about this! I listened to On Immunity before I read Dracula and wish that the order had been reversed because Biss talks a great deal about Dracula. On Immunity reads a bit like literary criticism of Dracula and would make a great follow-up read of this spooky classic. (My thoughts on On Immunity).


The Martian by Andy Weir vs. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
The Martian vs Packing for Mars

In The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars. In Packing for Mars, Mary Roach explains what it takes to become an astronaut and what it might take for someone to travel to mars. Both rely heavily on science, though there is a bit of humor included in each. Plus, they both make great audiobooks! (My thoughts on The Martian | My thoughts on Packing for Mars).


State of Wonder by Ann Patchett vs. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
State of Wonder vs Lost City of Z
Both State of Wonder and The Lost City of Z revolve around the search for something elusive and perhaps mythical in the Amazon. Both are great books and The Lost City of Z is the perfect case of “truth is stranger than fiction.” (My thoughts on The Lost City of Z).


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close vs. Tiny Beautiful Things

Extremely Loud vs Tiny Beautiful Things

Ok ok ok, so maybe I just wanted to include Tiny Beautiful Things on this list because I love it so much and want everyone to read it. Perhaps the only thing these two books have in common is that they will make you feel all the feels, but just because Tiny Beautiful Things is billed as an advice book, you shouldn’t let that turn you off. It is so much more than that. In fact, read both of them. Let them wash over you. Feel all the feels and then push these books into everyone else’s hands as well.  (My thoughts on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close | My thoughts on Tiny Beautiful Things).


Have you read any of these? What fiction to nonfiction pairings would you recommend?

Happy Reading!


25 Responses to “Five Fiction to Nonfiction Pairings”

  1. bex

    I couldn’t think of something to pair Tiny Beautiful Things with,well done! I do have Wild on my list though. I need to read both The Martian and Packing for Mars as I own both!

  2. The Martian and Packing for Mars seems to be a popular one this week! And – you have me intrigued by The Lost City of Z (b/c I loved State of Wonder) and yet another selling point for Tiny Beautiful Things. I’m one of those people who has been turned off by the advice column thing, but enough people have told me to push on that I will. It’s just a question of when. I am “reading”/flipping through a few quotes every night Strayed’s Brave Enough right now.

    • I’ll be curious what you think of Tiny Beautiful Things if you ever get to it. It didn’t really sound like my thing either but I couldn’t ignore the praise. There were some columns that didn’t speak to me but some that did very much. I read it in small doses so as to not feel bombarded but “advice” just doesn’t seem like the right word to describe her book!

  3. 5! You are such an overeachiever!
    I am interested in all of them. I just listened to The Vanished Smile about the theft of Mona Lisa, so your two suggestions would complement it. Another suggestion for you as well on this topic.
    I listened to Dracula this summer, and I am very intrigued on the connection to immunization. I definitely want to find this one.
    Loved State of Wonder and I didn’t realize that The Lost City of Z was about the Amazon.
    I also paired The Martian and Packing for Mars. Great minds!

    • Thanks for letting me know about The Vanished Smile! Definitely sounds like a great pairing with Crimes of Paris. Going to add it to the list. And yes–The Lost City of Z is about an explorer (Fawcett) who disappeared in the 20s in the Amazon. Learned last night that the movie is finally moving forward next year with Charlie Hunnam and Seinna Miller. :)

  4. I read Dracula earlier this year, and now that you’ve paired it with On Immunity, I definitely want to read the latter. I actually read State of Wonder and The Lost City of Z at the same time, though quite by accident. I thought some of the things in SoW were pretty far-fetched, until Lost City made me realize that maybe they aren’t so far-fetched after all. Great pairings!

  5. I *may* have just yelled out YES!!! in the middle of the office when I saw Incredibly Close matched with Tiny Beautiful Things! Ha! That’s brilliant linking them together, and so true, even though I never would have thought of it. Loved your pairings!

  6. I too read On Immunity before Dracula and think I would have gotten much more out of it if the order had been reversed! Love these pairings. :)

  7. I have On Immunity on my bookshelves but haven’t read it yet. You all have me wondering if I should read Dracula first. I had no idea that Dracula was even discussed in Eula Biss’ book.
    Lost City of Z is already on my to-read list, but I can’t remember if State of Wonder is. Will have to check on that. I did read a nonfiction book by Peter Fleming (Ian Fleming’s brother who specialized in self-deprecating travelogues) where he took a trip to the Amazon on a 1930’s quest to find Colonel Fawcett. The book’s title is Brazilian Adventure. I really enjoyed it, but it may not be to everyone’s taste.

    • I’ll have to check out Brazilian Adventure! Lost City of Z is also about Fawcett and when I was googling it (to make sure since it’s been a few years since I read it) I realized that there will be a movie out next year based on the book (which is based on the true story…so…). ;)

      Dracula is discussed quite a bit in On Immunity. While I didn’t LOVE Biss’s book, the connection is quite fascinating and makes me wish that I had read Dracula first!

  8. I tried to think of a pairing for Tiny beautiful Things too but came up short!
    I love the panel you made of ‘if you like, read this’.

  9. I love these pairings! I am with you on the Tiny Beautiful Things/Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close pairing. Maybe just because they are both amazing books.

    I want to read The Lost City of Z because it sounds incredibly interesting and now that you’ve paired it with State of Wonder, I’m super in. On a related note, if you liked State of Wonder I HIGHLY recommend reading The People in the Trees – it’s along the same lines but a little more … emotionally heavy I guess you could say. And it is amazing.

    • So! I just learned last night that The Lost City of Z will be a movie next year! Talks of production have been going on since the book’s publication, but seems as though they’re moving forward. Hey–any extra push I can give towards nonfiction reading. ;) And thanks for letting me know about People in the Trees. I actually have a copy but know NOTHING about it. Need to push it up my list!!

  10. Nice pairings! I am really starting to feel guilty that I haven’t read Tiny Beautiful Things! Must get on that. The Lost City of Z sounds really interesting. Definitely going on my list.

  11. Wow, I want to read all of the books you’re recommending! On Immunity is towards the top of my to-read pile right now and I’d never have guessed it would have any relation to Dracula.

  12. You know that pairing anything with Dracula is the best way to get me interested, right? So, On Immunity is now next on my audiobook list. I want to see for myself how vaccines relate to vampires. :)

  13. My non-fiction TBR is growing and growing. I HAVE TO get Tiny Little things–so much good about it I’ve heard this month (how’s that for good sentence structure?)

  14. These are great pairings but I have to say I’m most intrigued by the Dracula and On Immunity! Wow… I must add On Immunity to my list.