Nonfiction November
New Nonfiction (with commentary): 23 November 2015

Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

Again: so sorry to be coming late to the Nonfiction November. The hosts of this event have just been doing such a great job.

The second topic for Nonfiction November was hosted at a site called Regular Ruminations, and asked the question:

The original intention of this week’s theme was put together a fiction book and a nonfiction book that go well together. If you decide to pair two nonfiction books together, that works too!

So: a book pairing. For any reasons whatsoever.

I just thought about this a little bit, and realized, again, that I am not very good at book pairings. Or any book partnerings, really. I don't admit that very often, because I have worked as a librarian doing readers' advisory work, and I have written reference books pointing people to related and similar reads, and I have even given trainings and webinars on how to match readers up with books they might enjoy (based, often, on books they already have enjoyed). I try, and I can do a credible job of it, particularly with nonfiction (it always helped me that librarians are often better read in fiction than they are in nonfiction, so I had the edge there), but I don't even really particularly like doing it.

Why not? Well, it's not the way I read. I'm as likely as not to want my next book to be something completely different, in style, tone, subject, and genre, as my previous book. Sure I have subjects that I return to again and again, but I really do very little reading in the same subject across fiction and nonfiction lines. For example: I do like reading about British history, but I don't very often read (or enjoy) Historical Fiction*. I read a lot of True Crime but I hate most Thrillers and Mysteries (except for Agatha Christie, of course). Anyway.

But after a bit of thought, here's what I'd like to suggest. Have you read Helene Hanff's classic 84, Charing Cross Road?** Then you might enjoy Julie Schumacher's strange and funny little novel written entirely in letters, Dear Committee Members. A nice take on the ridiculousness of recommendation letters on all sides, from begging for, to writing, to receiving. I really enjoyed both these books, on completely different levels (the Hanff made me feel warm and fuzzy; the Schumacher decidedly less so), but they did both involve letters, so I'm calling it close enough.

Thanks again to everyone hosting Nonfiction November. And have a nice weekend, all.

*Okay, well, Poldark notwithstanding.

*And if you haven't, what are you waiting for? I can't BELIEVE I didn't find Helene until I was in my early thirties.