Nonfiction November: A no-brainer fiction/nonfiction pairing

Last week I joined in for Week 1 of the event Nonfiction November, with the prompt to look back at your year in nonfiction. This week, I am joining in again, with the prompt to 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,” according to host Sarah of the blog Sarah’s Bookshelves (click to see Sarah’s post – and a linkup of other bloggers- on the topic).

This was an easy one for me since I just read them last month during Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises by Lesley M.M. Blume. I purchased a Hemingway collection earlier in the month from our library’s bookstore that includes The Sun Also Rises, and then as I was preparing my readathon stack, I remembered that I had purchased as a Kindle deal last year Everybody Behaves Badly about the “making of” the book. It was a no-brainer for me to pair the two together for the readathon, and now after I’ve read them both, a no-brainer for me to use them both as my choice for nonfiction/fiction pairing for this event.

I had read The Sun Also Rises, back in high school or in college or maybe both, and remembered enjoying but I didn’t remember the story specifically. So it was good to revisit the book and become reacquainted with why I liked Hemingway in the first place: his quick, back-and-forth dialogue, on the one hand, and his almost stream-of-consciousness descriptions, on the other hand.

I was less acquainted –and by that, I mean, not at all– with the story behind the book. I didn’t realize that he had based all of the main characters off people he knew and the story off one specific trip to Pamplona with that group of people. In fact, when the novel was originally published, some thought of it as more of very good journalism than a very good first novel since Hemingway was a newspaper reporter at the time. While that part of the story about the real people behind the characters was good, I think the parts about the other people, especially those in the publishing world, enhanced the book. For example, Hemingway “hung out” with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Sherwood Anderson, just to name a few authors of the time.

Whether or not you’re participating or not in Nonfiction November, I’ll leave you with a question, based on this week’s prompt: Can you think of any books fiction and nonfiction that pair well together?

Author’s Note: I was going to try to pair an alcohol with the book too, but then after looking around online, most notably this post that listed every drink in the book and this post that included a map of everywhere the characters drank and what and how much they drank, I couldn’t narrow it down to just one alcohol.

Next week (Nov. 11 to 15) Katie from the blog Doing Dewey will be hosting Week 3 of Nonfiction November with Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert, where: 1.) You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), 2.) You can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or 3.) you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert). 

The following week (Nov. 18 to Nov. 22) Leann from the Instagram account Shelf Aware will be hosting (for the first time) with the topic of what makes a nonfiction book one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone?

The final week (Nov. 25 to 29) Rennie from the blog What’s Nonfiction will finish up Nonfiction November with the topic of what new nonfiction books you added to your TBR (to-be-read) after reading other participants’ posts. 

21 thoughts on “Nonfiction November: A no-brainer fiction/nonfiction pairing

  1. I’m impressed by your ability to pair books like this. You call it a no-brainer, but I’d be hard pressed to find any kind of fiction/nonfic pairing! I’m so bad with that kind of thing, haha! I’m looking into People Behaving Badly now, it might be my kind of book!

  2. I am planning to reread The Sun Also Rises (don’t remember a thing about it from high school) for The Classics Club. My classics reading has been neglected this year, but I’m planning to make it priority for 2020. Hadn’t heard of I love the idea of reading Everybody Behaves Badly, too. Thanks!

  3. Bryan, for this week’s topic, I paired the brilliant biography, Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley and my comforting re-read of Emma by Jane Austen, although any of Austen’s wonderful novels would be good to be fair. 🙂

  4. It was either good fortune or good planning on your part to have just read the perfect pairing. I take it from your comment that there is a lot of drinking involved in these books???

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