I absolutely love doing “If You Like This, Try This” pairings and regularly do about 18 of them every couple months for the bookstore I work at. I, however, tend to read things based on what I’ve watched as well, so this year I’m going with a nonfiction book / movie or tv series pairing for most of my selections!
Week 2: (November 8-12) – Book Pairing with Katie at Doing Dewey
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.
Midnight in Chernobyl & Chernobyl
Last year I was obsessed with all things radiation and Marie Curie. This year, Chernobyl. When we got HBO Max, Chernobyl was one of the first shows I watched and then later in the year we read Midnight in Chernobyl in nonfiction book club. Here I recommend watching the show first, if you can, as it is helpful in establishing the timeline, visually, of everything that happened that fateful spring in Ukraine.
Clanlands & Outlander
Okay, this one is a bit of a cop out since Clanlands is written by two of the stars of Outlander. But I haven’t watched too much of the show so it was really cool to read about Sam and Graham’s real life friendship. If you haven’t watched the show or read the books and intend to, I do recommend doing so before reading Clanlands as there are some plot spoilers.
The Real Valkyrie & Vikings
The Real Valkyrie is a very well researched and reasoned book about the role of women in Viking culture and who better embodies that than shieldmaiden and possible Valkyrie Lagertha? Vikings is one of my all time favorite shows and Lagertha is hands down my favorite character.
Say Nothing & Derry Girls
Say Nothing and Derry Girls couldn’t be more different in terms of the overall feel of them – Say Nothing is about a murder and Derry Girls is a comedy. But they both deal with The Troubles and the conflict between Ireland and Northern Ireland and so I highly recommend binge-watching Derry Girls after reading Say Anything if you want a closer look at what everyday life was like on the Emerald Isle in the early ’90s or are just in need of a good laugh!
Black Flags, Blue Waters & Black Sails
I love pirate books and while I matched Empire of Blue Water with the only notable pirate fiction book, Cinnamon and Gunpowder last year, there is a wealth of good pirate nonfiction and a dearth of good pirate fiction so once again I’m going with a TV show. Black Flags, Blue Waters focuses exclusively on the pirates who were active around the American colonies and as Black Sails is set in the Bahamas, the vibes match.
The Disappearing Spoon & Lessons in Chemistry
While Lessons in Chemistry doesn’t come out until next April, I read it in one sitting this September, right alongside The Disappearing Spoon and they are a perfect match! The Disappearing Spoon is another nonfiction book club selection and is all about the periodic table and Lessons in Chemistry is the story of Elizabeth Zott, a chemist in the 1960s who is one of my new favorite protagonists!
2 thoughts on “Nonfiction November Week 2: Nonfiction, Meet Fiction”
Your TV pairings are so fun! I loved Midnight in Chernobyl and might recommend people read the book first, so they can spot inaccuracies when they show up in the show, but it is a dense book and I think you’re right that watching the show first could add some clarity.
I’m also really interested in your last pairing. I’d never heard of Lessons in Chemistry, but I enjoyed Sam Kean’s book on genetics and I’ll always go for a novel that features a female scientist 🙂
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