Nonfiction November (Week 2): Book Pairings

Well. Things look a little brighter on this Monday no?

This week Julie @ Julz Reads is our host for what is probably my favourite week of Nonfiction November:

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.

I love the idea of this prompt so much. One of my favourite things to do is follow up a fiction read with the nonfiction version! Here are my pairings this year!


I read How to Kill A City: Gentrification, Inequality and the Fight for the Neighborhood back when it came out in 2016. It was the first time that I was really introduced to the policies that shaped the way cities are formed, often at the expense of Black and Brown people. Pride and When No One is Watching use the theme of gentrification as the anchor for their stories, a chance to see how these policies affect the people cities aren’t thinking about.


I really enjoyed getting to read the behind-the-scenes story of Instagram. I spend an embarrassing amount of time on there and it was interesting learning about how it became what it is, how it changed our culture. More books featuring instagram and influencers are starting to come out (Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner comes to mind) but My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella was an early adopter and I loved it.

Edward VIII’s Loves

This wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t include at least ONE historical fiction/biography pairing! I’ve characterized them as Edward VIII’s loves but one thing you should know about Edward VIII was that he didn’t fall in love with pushovers. I consider Anne Sebba’s biography of Mrs Simpson to be the definitive one. I read The Woman before Wallis this summer and it was a delight; I’m on the hunt for a thorough biography of Thelma Morgan please.

Those are my pairings for 2020! I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has picked this year!

And if you want to see what I recommended in year’s past, here are some of my old posts!

16 thoughts on “Nonfiction November (Week 2): Book Pairings

  1. My husband and I are very slowly making our way through The Crown. It’s so good but I just haven’t been in the mood for dramas much this year. That said, The Woman Before Wallis has caught my eye. I especially like that it mentions the Vanderbilts. Home is in Asheville, North Carolina, the location of George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate.

    • It’s been a weird year that way – lots of things that normally would be our thing are just not hitting the right tone right now! The Woman Before Wallis gets into the Vanderbilts stuff a LOT. I’m also very much interested in reading about Gloria Vanderbilt now. I would love to get to see that Biltmore Estate!

  2. I love the Wallis Simpson pairing – I read another nonfiction about her, and The Woman Before Wallis is on my TBR! And the No Filter pairing with My Not-So-Perfect Life is genius!

  3. I had Untitled (a Wallis Simpson bio) on my list last year, but if That Woman is definitive, well, I’m adding that this year.

    Is there such a thing as too much time on IG? OK, maybe, but that’s why we’re friends 🙂

  4. Oh wow, I want to read every one of these! I got really into urban planning books early this year and gentrification is an adjacent topic that fascinates me as well.

    I really wanted to pair No Filter with something, because it was so good and it seemed like their should be a contemporary or YA pair for it, but I hadn’t read anything that would work. I’m glad you found it a match 🙂

    And I find Wallis fascinating as well. Great list!

  5. Waah, this is the first year where I’ve read enough nonfiction that I could actually do this, but I forgot! I’m further shamed by the fact that you have a job, a toddler, and a puppy and you still rocked this. Sigh.

    I love the Wallis options. The pairing I was thinking of for The Woman Before Wallis is the audio of Gloria Vanderbilt’s memoir The Rainbow Comes and Goes. She narrates with her son Anderson Cooper and goes into those years when the custody battle raged and her relationship with her mother. Fascinating!

  6. Pingback: Nonfiction November – Week 4 – New To My TBR | JulzReads

  7. Pingback: Nonfiction November (Week 2): Fiction/Nonfiction Pairings | The Paperback Princess

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