It’s Week 2 of Nonfiction November!
Nonfiction / Fiction Book Pairing (Hosted by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves)
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 absolutely love this prompt, but damnit if it wasn’t a hard one! When reading, I’m always Googling to see which parts of the story are true, where people are not, and to find out as much as I can about the “true story” that inspired the book, so I’m surprised that it took me a minute to come up with one a duo I wanted to share.
There were a few books I considered but could not find a paired book to go with them.
Tinderbox, Robert Fieseler- I’m reading this ASAP. I read a couple of pages this morning and it had me in tears. It’s the true story of the arson at the Up Stairs night club in 1973, that prior to the 2016 Pulse night club shooting, was the biggest massacre of gay people in the US. I didn’t pick it for today, though, because I couldn’t find a fiction pairing that felt right enough.
The Good Nurse, Charles Graeber- This is a bananas story that I wanted to fit into Nonfiction November somehow, but again this is a case of real life being stranger than fiction. Charles Cullen was a nurse, who, over the span of a 16 year career, is (allegedly) responsible for the deaths of up to 400 people. These are not mercy killings; they’re random and ruthless. I really enjoyed reading this- it makes for a great, lesser known, true crime recommendation.
Here is the Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairing that I did choose!
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Bryn Greenwood
Before I begin- let me say right off the bat that this book is not for everyone. It features a a very, very nontraditional romance and it’s going to put a lot of people off right away (I get it. And it should.) However, Bryn Greenwood is an exceptional storyteller and her writing allowed me to get past the point of being uncomfortable and feel happy that these two characters that I grew to love found each other. An integral part of this story was the unimaginable home life that forced Wavy to grow up fast. Her mother was addicted to meth and her father was a drug dealer. They lived in a low income, rural community and had few resources. At 8, she was the only “adult” around to take care of her baby brother and had to bear witness to things no one should ever see. Addiction and drugs played a huge role in this town, and would have been all too easy for our protagonist to stay in the cycle of poverty and develop an addition of her own.
Dopesick, Beth Macy
The abject poverty and depraved home life due to drugs was such an integral part of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, so I wanted to find a nonfiction book that examines the drug crisis in America. The title, Dopesick, is in reference to the crushing physical and psychological pain that comes from withdrawal- the factor that often drives people to keep using. I thought it worked here because it takes a look at all of the factors that contribute to the huge drug problem in the U.S.- fault does not lie squarely on the shoulders of those with low income and addiction problems. The book includes points from many angles- from rural Appalachia, to rich suburbs, the medical industry itself, and to prisons. It shares stories of families that are affected by addiction and first responders who have to deal with the aftermath. It gives you context as to the real people (and there are so many), who are affected by the drug crisis. And- it is a crisis, especially since our country is seemingly unable (unwilling) to provide adequate access to healthcare for everyone, and Dopesick is a really important book.
I’m definitely looking forward to see what other people come up with this week! The rest of the posts are linked over at Sarah’s Book Shelves.
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