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Non-Fiction Fiction Pairings

I am growing to love non-fiction. I know that not everyone reads non-fiction, which is fine, but if you don’t have much idea where to start, I thought I’d do a post pairing books popular in the blogosphere with some non-fiction books I love. If you recognise these books, or think you’d enjoy them, then definitely see if you can pick a copy up. I’ve tried to group books that are similar in content and tone, even if they come at it from totally different angles.

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Extraordinary MeansQuackery

These two books match so well! Remember in 2014 when everyone was talking about Extraordinary Means? It effectively parodies the ‘sick-lit’ thing and also has everything you liked about the trope. I really enjoyed it at the time, and related more, because I have actually had TB and I have not had cancer. Quackery is about all sorts of weird and gross medicine. It’s very funny, like Extraordinary Means, and even talks about the specific kind of TB I had, scrofula (did you know that once upon a time, if you had scrofula, it was thought that the tough of the king could cure you?). If you’re intersted in medicine and the human relationship to health, both these books are a good idea.

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Foolish HeartsThe Friendship Cure

So I’m obsessed with Foolish Hearts , it is a quite excellent story about learning to go beyond the boundaries of habit and make friends with someone. The Friendship Cure is about the mechanisms which enable this, out circles of friends, and all the types of friendships, and friendship in the modern world. I really appreciated the mix of personal experience and psychology journalism, which is a bit easier to read and relate to if you’re more used to novels.

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Final DraftThe Sense of Style

So I love Final Draft and I also love A Sense of Style. Both are wonderful to read, because the authors have such control of their prose. I read quite a few writing and word books (if you want to know more non-fiction titles, hit me up in the comments!), and A Sense of Style is especially aimed at academic non-fiction. But its message of clarity and precision matches well with Final Draft’s story of perfecting your narrative.

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Bookishly Ever AfterBrowsings

Both of these books are about people who love books. In Bookishly Ever After, Phoebe is an introverted booklover with a tendency to apply what she learns from novels to her real life with disastrous consequences. Michael Dirda is a book critic who works to incorporate books into every aspect of his existenct. Browsings is a collection of columns he has written, almost a diary, about the books he chases and why he loves them.

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Who’s that GirlHit Makers

These books are both about what it means to be popular. In Who’s That Girl, Natalie wrestles with unintentional infamy when she inspires a hit song. In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson examines the factors that make something (especially pieces of media) popular. It’s fascinating. If you’re someone who often wonders about why things happen, or who looks at someone who has ‘gone viral’ and wonders who they are beyond the retweets, you will benefit from reading either of these books.

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InvictusA History of the World in 100 Objects

Invictus is about the power of objects: their value, the time and space they have occupied, the memories they contain, why they must be cherished. In the story, objects and characters become tangled with time, lost in its bast expanse, unmoored from its breath and orientation. If your head is spinning from reading Invictus, you should definitely pick up A History of the World in 100 Objects. It’s a massive book, but each object features on just a few pages, so you can read a few each evening for a month (at least, that’s what I did). There is obviously a lot of things to critique about the British Museum: like the crew of Invictus, they have relied often on theft one way or another. But you can’t fault them for budget, and so this book is stunningly curated, condensing history into digestible chunks, surprising you with the way the world is connected.

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Spellbook of the Lost and FoundLandmarks

If you like dreamy, dense writing, then I highly recommend these books. Both are stronly rooted in place, and are about the power of words. Landmarks pieces landscapes together from the words used to understand them: the result is not clinical, but instead intensely textured and transportative; MacFarlanes lists of words are reminscent of the charms in Spellbook of the Lost and Found. As Olive and her friends piece their town together in fragments, they grown to know the land intimately. If you like to be immersed in words like journeying through a valley, then I suggest you read either of these books.

have you read any of these books? is there any that you want to read now? would you like another post like this one? (if yes, leave novels I’ve read to be paired in the comments)

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17 thoughts on “Non-Fiction Fiction Pairings

  1. The only book I’ve read out of all these is foolish hearts– I’m pretty sure I read it after you reviewed it, so thanks for that– and I loved it! So definitely have added some of these to my TBR pile–help, it’s always growing and might just crush me.

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    1. I’m glad that I encouraged you to read it. TBR’s are very very dangerous–I have 30 books on my physical tbr as well as all my library and ebooks and articles that I want to read and magazines and yeah it’s just terrifying. But at least it’s a trouble shared, haha!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! I’ll definitely try to do another post like this then. There’s some really accessible nonfiction–in general, if you’re reading it, go for things written by journalists, not academics, because they tend to have more accessible writing. Browsings is great–it’s like the book blog your grandfather would write!

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  2. This is like, the most creative post I’ve seen in a while!! You made me interested in Dirda’s book, but I think I’ll read Classics for Pleasure by him first, because I’ve been looking at that for a looong time.This is the first time I’m hearing about Hit Makers, and you’ve made me add it to my wishlist – it sounds super-interesting.

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

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    1. Thanks Veronika! Oooh Classics for Pleasure sounds good–maybe reading it would inspre me to read more classics? I mainly read them for my degree at the moment.

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  3. This is an amazing post, Shanti! I’m particularly interested in Hit Makers, being the social media student that I am! The Friendship Cure sounds amazing as making friends is something I struggle with. I love that you read non-fiction which is a rarity for me, to be honest! I’ll be taking a cue from you and working on changing that.

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    1. Thanks Cam! You’d love Hit Makers. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it really intrigued me all the same. And Derek Thompson’s other work is also really fascinating.

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  4. Shanti this is such a great post and kinda mirrors the idea that fiction is only good if it connects us to our own inner world. Non-ficiotn too I reckon, or maybe it is also allowed to connect us to our outer world too- the world of our experience. I would love another post like this.

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    1. Thank you so much! Yes non-fiction is so important to me, and I’m glad that I no longer have a closed minded attitude to it. I want to read more (or like everything but non ficiton particularly, I’m reading a geopolitical book right now that I’d love to discuss with you when I’m done)

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  5. Oh this is such a great idea for a post,I love it! I don’t read much non-fiction so I am really happy that you did this, it makes me discover new books for sure 🙂
    I’m especially interested in the one you paired up with Foolish Hearts (need to read that book!), The Friendship Cure. I’m so interested in anything about friendship, especially today, where this changes so, so much and sometimes gets very complicated, too.
    Thank you for sharing! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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