Nonfiction November 2020 Week #2 – Book Pairing

This week of #NonFicNov is hosted by Julz of JulzReads

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’ve decided to pair some of the fiction releases I’ve read over the past year or so with nonfiction titles that would provide further reading on its subject or theme.

I loved Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawson which is a fictitious account, based on true events, of Nancy Wake’s role as a spy in German occupied France during World War Two. She was an extraordinary woman, and I was stunned to learn she was an Australian. I’ve since discovered there are several nonfiction biography’s about Nancy Wake available, one of which was published in 2019, Nancy Wake : World War Two’s Most Rebellious Spy by Russell Braddon. I’d also like to read Nancy Wake’s autobiography, The White Mouse, but unfortunately it’s out of print.


In Liz Moore’s Long Bright River, police officer Mickey (Michaela) Fitzgerald patrols the decaying neighbourhoods of Philadelphia where the opioid crisis is taking an increasing toll on its residents, always keeping a look out, among the prostitutes on the sidewalks and the drug addicts slumped in doorways, for her younger sister, Kacey. Much has been written on the opioid crisis plaguing America, I like that American Epidemic: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis by John McMillian presents a collection of articles and essays from American newspapers that examines the issue from multiple perspectives.


The Exiles is the story of a young British governess sentenced to fourteen years transportation to the Australian penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in 1840. If you enjoyed the novel and are interested in experience of female convicts who were sent to Australia, I strongly recommend A Cargo of Women: Susannah Watson and the Convicts of the Princess Royal by Babette Smith. It’s a touch dry but still a fascinating account that illuminates the lives of 99 women of all ages transported in 1822.


Away With the Penguins (published in America as How the Penguins Saved Veronica) by Hazel Prior is a charming tale of a brusque, eccentric, and wealthy old woman who impulsively decides to spend time at a Penguin research project in Antarctica. In My Penguin Year: Living with the Emperors, award-winning wildlife cameraman Lindsay McCrae chronicles the 337 days he spent with 11,000 emperor penguins in Antarctica.


The Night Letters by Denise Leith is the story of an Australian woman doctor who takes a position as a GP in a practice in Kabul, several years after the withdrawal of the Taliban. Written by an Australian woman who herself spent several years in Kabul, it’s a small window into the everyday events of a city, and a people, few have an understanding of outside of news reports about the war and terrorism. I’m interested in reading another perspective on Kabul, and Shadow City: A Woman Walks Kabul by Taran N. Khan sounds intriguing. Taran is an Indian Muslim who spent several years in Kabul with her husband, at about the same time period as Leith’s protagonist. Her view of everyday life in the city is formed by exploring Kabul on foot, and seems as if it may present a more comprehensive perspective of the city.


My Nonfiction November so far…

Nonfiction November 2020: Week #1

Review: Dr Karl’s Surfing Through Science by Dr Karl

Review: The Book Collectors of Daraya by Delphine Minoui

26 thoughts on “Nonfiction November 2020 Week #2 – Book Pairing

  1. I LOVE these unique pairings! Such interesting and varied topics. I hadn’t heard of Nancy Wake and she sounds like quite an interesting figure, I may have to check out her biography. Last year I read A Woman of No Importance, about Virginia Hall, an American spy in France during the same period, and it was outstanding.

    American Epidemic sounds really interesting too. I like the idea of it being articles and essays so easier to digest, maybe. Have you read Dopesick or American Overdose? Those were both quite good looks at aspects of the epidemic, though tough reads for sure.

    Immediately adding Shadow City to my list, that sounds totally fascinating. I love anything that gives a window into life in the Middle East beyond what we might more commonly see on the news. The Underground Girls of Kabul is excellent along those lines if you haven’t come across it already.


  2. I enjoy reading historical fiction, and I often want to to know more about the time or the theme of the book, so I will have to look more into nonfiction books that will do that.

    I am excited to hear about Away with the Penguins, because I love reading about Antarctica. The nonfiction book by Lindsay McCrae sounds very good also.

    (TracyK @ Bitter Tea and Mystery)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh, two books about people living with penguins?! How delightful. I’m also really excited for your Code Name Helene pairing, since that’s on my to-read pile 🙂


  4. I’m finding some new books here to add to my TBR. Living with penguins – that is amazing and hilarious! I will have to check both the fiction and the nonfiction books in that pair. I’ve been reading a few books set in Kabul this year but hadn’t heard of the last two books – will check those out too.

    Liked by 1 person

I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s