Nonfiction November 2016: Nonfiction Book Pairings

This week’s Nonfiction November prompt, hosted by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves, is to pair a nonfiction book with a fiction book. Here’s a couple of thoughts based on books that I’m reading right now: 

Last month I read The Fifth Child, by Doris Lessing. It’s about a family that has a violent “monster” of a child and a mother’s attempts to love that child. This book was horrifying. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child who is violent or psychopathic. Thus, I decided to read The Price of Silence, by Liza Long, which is part memoir part criticism of the mental health system in the US. Liza Long wrote the now “famous” article entitled “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” about the difficulties of raising a child with a violent mental illness. I have not read, but would be interested in adding, We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver, which is an epistolary novel about a mother’s sufferings after her son has committed an outrageously violent crime. 

This month I’m reading The Stand, by Stephen King, which is one of his most popular novels. It’s about a plague which kills all but a small population of people. I think it would be well-paired by non-fiction books about devastating diseases. I haven’t read either of these two books, but have heard they’re great. They are The Hot Zone, by Richard Preston, which is about the Ebola virus; and The Great Mortality, by John Kelly, which is about the black plague. My final fiction pairing would be Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis. I LOVED this book when I was a teenager. 

9 thoughts on “Nonfiction November 2016: Nonfiction Book Pairings

  1. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a great read! A nonfiction book books would be harrowing.
    Plague books are always so scary! The Stand is one of my all time favs. This is the second blog I've seen a Connie Willis book mentioned. Seems like a sign.


  2. Doomsday Book and The Stand are two old favorites of mine. I should reread both of them at some point. In the theme of devastating diseases, I'd suggest The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson if you haven't read it. It's a look at how people came together to deal with an epidemic of cholera in Victorian London and how their discoveries helped to change the world. I remember really enjoying it years ago when I read it.


  3. The Fifth Child and The Price of Silence sound like good, but possibly disturbing books. I'm always drawn to books about plagues and contagious diseases, too. Some great pairings and suggestions this week!


  4. This is the 3rd time someone has recommended 'The Hot Zone' to me (well, indirectly) in the past 2 months! Seems like a hint from the universe, right? Have you read 'The Demon in the Freezer' by Preston as well? It's pretty dang good.


  5. The idea of having a psychopathic child is completely terrifying. I'd really like to read The Hot Zone, which has been recommended to me several times too, and I'd recommend Pandemic on the same topic 🙂


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