Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

It’s week two of Nonfiction November and I’ve already added a bunch of great sounding books to my TBR!

Nonfiction November is a month-long celebration of nonfiction, a genre that just doesn’t seem to get the same kind of love as fiction! This year, Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Julie (JulzReads), Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves), Katie (Doing Dewey), Rennie (What’s Nonfiction)  are all hosting.


This week Sarah @ Sarah’s Bookshelves is hosting a fiction/non-fiction book pairing:

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.

Last year when I put this list together, my choices were all pretty heavy. This year, the pairings I’ve come up with are decidedly lighter!

Reality TV

I unapologetically love trashy reality TV. Give me housewives, bachelors, Kardashians, and the really bad stuff on TLC. This year, some of my reading followed suit.

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll follows a Real Housewives type group where all the women are successful, single entrepreneurs of some kind. This year’s newest addition is the sister of an original cast member, who winds up dead during shooting. It was a really interesting fictional look at how those shows manipulate storylines, the cast and ultimately, viewers.

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir follows Esther-called-Essie, the youngest daughter of a mega-famous reality TV preacher family after she finds herself pregnant and tries to take control of her own life for once. This one has loads of dark undertones and also examines the price that some of these reality TV stars pay for fame, especially the ones that have been on camera since they were little kids.

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman was such a treat! As someone who hate-watches most seasons of The Bachelor, reading Kaufman’s insider look at how the franchise really runs was fascinating, hilarious and gross. Let’s just say that UnReal didn’t get it all that wrong.

Romanov Women

Those of you who have been here before will be familiar with my love of royal women. Those of you who are here for the first time, welcome – I love reading about royal women.

From Splendor to Revolution by Julia P. Gelardi is an incredible biography of four Romanov women, their lives, loves and ultimately their downfall from 1847-1928. That is an immense amount of history at a really crucial time for the Romanovs and Gelardi handles all their stories so well. I will never pass up an opportunity to yell at people about how amazing Julia P. Gelardi is. I am really hoping she releases something new soon!

The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner is the first time that Empress Maria Feodorovna has ever been the star of her own story and I’m just wondering what the heck took so long? Danish by birth, her sister was Queen Alexandra, she was married to Tsar Alexander III and the mother of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. I promise you she is so worth reading about, in fiction or nonfiction.

Magazine Life

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza is a smart, funny look at what happens when you get your dream job, are sidelined by illness and watch your protege step in and run your magazine into the ground. Do you bow out of the game altogether? Fight for your old job? Try and use your talents and connections for something better? The Knockoff is the kind of delicious book that’s perfect for vacation.

The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown is kind of the real life version of The Knockoff, except in the time that Brown writes about she is young, hungry and can get just about any job that she wants. It was interesting to read, not just about the immense wealth and glamour of the 1980s, but also about what it was like for Tina Brown to rise to the top (and stay there) in a man’s world.

Hopefully I’ve added some books to your list! Now I’m going to hop around and find some additions for my list. If you’re looking to do the same, head on over to Sarah’s Bookshelves for links to participating blogs!

27 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

  1. Thoughtful selections! Bachelor Nation seems to be a popular recommendation for this week’s theme. The premise seems really promising.

  2. Haha! I guess I’m not surprised that we both went for the reality TV pairing…given our Twitter rantings every Monday night!

  3. darn it, I am totally going to end up reading Bachelor Nation. I feel myself getting sucked back into the pull of the show…

    And I was just feeling like I needed Romanov reading! Thanks for setting me on that course as well.

  4. I also love some trashy reality TV but never got into the Bachelor. The book seems interesting though, I’m curious about the kind of fakery and drama-enhancing measures that go on behind the scenes.

    And thank you so much for the recommendation of From Splendor to Revolution. I’d never heard of it and I LOVE Romanov history! Especially of the women, that sounds just fantastic. I’m curious about the author’s other books too since she’s a favorite of yours. Will have to explore her back catalog 🙂

    • Romanov history is just so fascinating! Gelardi does really excellent biographies of royal women in groups – the Romanov empresses is one, and the others are five granddaughters of Queen Victoria who all became queens and mother daughter pairs, the mothers who were the greatest and the daughters who were all quite tragic. Every one of her books I’ve loved. Just waiting for a new one…

  5. For years I thought I was an anomaly because as a grown woman I enjoyed reality TV so much. Then I started blogging and connecting with other serious readers and have been amazed at how many of us are addicted to reality TV. It’s fun to have that AND books in common. Loved The Book of Essie and need to read Bachelor Nation. The magazine life books are another pair I know I’d enjoy. (Loved Fitness Junkie by Piazza and Sykes.) Really fun pairings!

    • It’s nice to take a break from the serious reading. It was different watching all the reality stuff before we had an understanding of the behind-the-scenes machinations though. Now you kind of have to watch with a healthy dose of cynicism.
      I loved Fitness Junkie too! And I just read Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win which I thought was also really well done.

  6. I don’t even watch much trashy TV, but you have me wanting to read all those books! The Book of Essie sounds especially good.
    The royal women sound interesting every time, but I still have not gotten around to reading about them.
    I love these selections – so much fun!

  7. Oh, and read BACHELOR NATION, which was interesting although not as fascinating as if I were a fan of the show, but loved the stories of what really happens behind the scenes. I couldn’t get into Jessica Knoll’s book even though I enjoyed her previous title. Did like BOOK OF ESSIE. Even though it’s teen, Libba Bray’s BEAUTY QUEENS is a hoot and best “read” by listening to the audio format. (If you can’t tell I’m a fan of reality show reality. 🙂 )

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

  9. Pingback: Nonfiction November – New to My TBR | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

  10. Pingback: Nonfiction November – New to My TBR – What's Nonfiction?

  11. Pingback: Nonfiction November (Week 2): Book Pairings | The Paperback Princess

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s